Untouched landscapes and authentic small towns will lend unforgettable imagery to your next project

From the John Ford Westerns of the 1930s to eager vacationers on summer break, the mythic qualities of the American West have inspired stories and memories for generations. The mountains, valleys and vast rivers of the region can replicate the 19th century or the 23rd, and immense horizon lines make for stunning compositions no matter your subject matter.

Idaho

Idaho, with its rugged mountains, whitewater rapids and dusty back roads, offers various picturesque backgrounds for your film or TV project. Locations in Idaho have helped bring stories to the big and small screen for decades. Dante’s Peak (1997) was filmed in Wallace, Idaho; Bronco Billy (1980) in the state capital Boise; and Napoleon Dynamite (2004) in Preston, the filmmaker’s very own hometown. While the Gem State currently does not have any tax incentives, this state lends itself to production. Summer days are long-lasting (until 10 p.m.), moderate climate and most cities do not require film permits. [Idaho has no tax incentives at this time.]

   

Utah

Utah’s diverse terrain has been used to create fictional towns or described as a different, existing place. Famous films that do this are Footloose (1984), 127 hours (2010), and National Treasure (2004). Between the red rocks, the snow-capped moutains and desert, this state holds worlds within it. You can check out films in Utah productions coming soon on the Utah Film Commission resourceful site.

Learn more from the Utah Film Commission.

Incentive Type: Credit/Rebate Combination 

Incentive Amount: 20-25% (residents), n/a (nonresidents) 

Minimum Spend: $500,000

Bonus: 

  • 5% (the max % allowed per production is 25%) if the production company: 1) verifies $1 million or more of expenditures were made in the state of Utah; and 2) meets the definition of ‘significant percentage of cast and crew from Utah’ which shall beno less than 75% of the total instate hires of cast and crew, excluding extras, 5 principal cast members 
  • 5% (the max % allowed per production is 25%) if 75% of Production is in rural areas. Based on production days only (excludes Weber County, Davis County, Salt Lake County, and Utah County)

Audit Requirements: Independent CPA audit is required. 

Application: Prior to production submit the application in PDF format via e-mail to the Utah Film Commission Director; application will be reviewed by the Utah Film Commission for completion and then submitted to the Motion Picture Advisory Committee for review and recommendation to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) Board of Directors.

The motion picture company must have proof that 100% of financing of the anticipated Dollars left in state for the project are in place.

If a production has initiated principal photography prior to the Office’s receipt of a completed application or will not commence principal photography for more than 90 days from date of application, the application for incentive may be denied.

Applications are accepted on the 15th of each month

Sales Use Tax Relief: Yes

Hotel Occupancy Tax Relief: Yes

Sunset Date: None

Montana

While filming What Dreams May Come (1998)Robin Williams reportedly said, “If it isn’t God’s backyard, He certainly lives near by” when looking at the stunning Montana scenery. He’s talking about the landscape, like the opening scenes in The Shining (1980) shot in Glacier National Park, the beautiful yet suspenseful scenes in The River Wild shot in the Kootenai River, and the scenes of Paradise Valley in Montana Story (2021). This state’s landscape is heaven on Earth for filmmakers. 

Learn more from the Montana Film Office.

Incentive Type: Transferable Non-Refundable Tax Credit

Incentive Amount: 25% (residents above the line) – 15% (nonresidents above the line); 25% (residents below the line) – 15% (nonresidents below the line) 

Minimum Spend: $50,000-$300,000

Bonus: an additional 10% of all in-studio facility and equipment rental expenditures incurred in the state for a production that rents a studio for 20 days or more

Application: $500 for projects spending less than $350,000

$1000 for projects spending $350,000 or more in MT

$1000 for any post production company utilizing the post credit.

The department of commerce shall notify the applicant within 30 days of receipt of the application as to whether the production qualifies as a state-certified production.

Sales Use Tax Relief: Yes

Hotel Occupancy Tax Relief: Yes 

Sunset Date: 12/31/2024

 

Wyoming

It should come as no surprise that Wyoming, the Cowboy State, is a notable location for filmmakers in the Western genre. Scenes shot in Wyoming is the common factor in all successful Westerns. But Wyoming is not for Western stories alone. Its highways have been used in for edgy car commercials. Django Unchained (2012), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Rocky IV (1985); all kinds of great productions happen here. While there are no state incentives at this time, film incentives in Wyoming might be coming soon.

Learn more from the Wyoming Film Commission.

Colorado

Between Denver and the Rockies, Colorado holds the best of both worlds for your production. Its enchanting landscape will aid your talents in content creation. Film lovers from everywhere come here to attend film festivals such as the upcoming Telluride Film Festival, where guest directors Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther) and Peter Bogdanovich (The Sopranos), have offered up their expertise. Rumor has it that Telluride convinced Quentin Tarantino to film (at least part of) The Hateful Eight (2015) here. 

Learn more from the Colorado Office of Film.

Incentive Type: Rebate

Incentive Amount: 20% (residents) – 20% (nonresidents)

Minimum Spend: $100,000 – $1,000,000

Bonus: None

Application: Submit the Statement of Intent and Application for Conditional Approval and all supporting documents prior to production activities in Colorado.

Production shall submit application prior to beginning production activities in the state for the project the production company is seeking the incentives for. You must include a statement of intent by the production company to produce a film in Colorado for which the production company will be eligible to receive the incentive. The production company shall submit any documentation stating the projected qualified local expenditures.

For those companies seeking the CO based incentives, the CO based companies must provide documentation that the production company meets the definition of ‘originates” by showing copies of income tax forms, proof of voter registration, or utilities bills.

Sales Use Tax Relief: No

Hotel Occupancy Tax Relief: Yes

Sunset Date: None