When Parker resident Michelle Ullman began preparing for the first season of her television show, “On the Menu with Michelle Ullman,” it was important that she “put our fork where our mouth …
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$151 million: Economic impact
14: Geographic regions to shoot in with
6,000: Miles of rivers
25: Ski resorts
10: Scenic and historic railroads
10: Regional film commissions
300: Days of sunshine
When Parker resident Michelle Ullman began preparing for the first season of her television show,"Whats on the Menu with Michelle Ullmann," it was important that she “put our fork where our mouth is.”
Which meant filming episode one at La Baguette de Normandy in Parker and doing the rest of the 10-episode season in the Denver metro area.
“Supporting local should lead by example and start at home,” Ullman said. “There is a wonderful film/TV community here, some of whom I hope to hire on as we grow into making feature films. Denver is primarily a commercial market. We hope to add some film work here.”
Ullman is just one example of a growing group of creatives looking to do more filming in the metro area.
Denver native Haylar Garcia recently released his third film, a horror movie titled “Apartment 212,” which was shot in the metro area and in his RiNo studio. The movie was released at the Sie FilmCenter in Denver as well as theaters in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Detroit and other major cities.
“There are so any great artists in the area that deserve a voice, and so many creative communities that deserve to be employed,” he said. “It just seems like the right thing to do to bring national talent here to be a part of it all.”
The Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media works to bring in storytellers of all kinds to the state, including filmmakers, animators, gamers and photographers. The office connects these storytellers to resources they need, like location assistance, crew referrals and inter-governmental cooperation.
Perhaps most importantly, the Colorado Office of Film offers an incentive program that provides a 20 percent cash rebate for eligible production costs. The incentive program covers feature films, television pilots, television series, television commercials, music videos, industrials, documentaries, and video game design and creation, as well as other forms of content creation.
“Keeping the film incentive active will be a big factor in bringing people to the state,” Ullman said. “Keeping a pool of skilled crew, and talented actors to offer filmmakers here in Denver is also important. The current Colorado incentive is only valid on Colorado residents, so the more we can offer them in crew and talent, the less has to be brought in from out of state.”
As anyone who has traveled the state can attest to, the variety of scenery Colorado has to offer is one of the biggest draws for filmmakers, like director William Garrison. He has been working on the pilot for a television series called “Frozen Dead” in Nederland, not far from Golden.
“Colorado has some great locations and great history. It provides an excellent backdrop for great movie ideas,” he said. “There is a wealth of creative talent in the Denver area. That alone should attract new productions — plus, we also have a lot of sunshine and four full seasons, unlike L.A.”
A trip to any of the many small theaters in the metro area demonstrates there’s a wealth acting talent, and that includes all ages. Despite being so young, 10-year-old Payton Maynard, of Arvada, has already worked in several independent films and is one of the leads in “Frozen Dead.” She recently took to the stage for the first time in the role of the Young Queen Elizabeth II in Aurora’s Vintage Theatre’s production of “The Audience.”
“There is obviously going to be double the amount of opportunities to work as an actor in other places like Los Angeles or New York, but I have found a good amount of work here,” she said. “You just have to know how to look for it. I have a fantastic agent and manager that are always giving me opportunities, and I have an amazing mother who works hard to make good connections with people in the film industry.”
Maynard’s mother Courtney has been keeping an eye on the Denver film scene as she helps out her daughter and is eager to see how the form will grow in the area.
“I would love to see bigger directors take advantage of the amazing talent from crew to cast that all call Colorado home,” she said. “Because the Metro area is so condensed there is a large group of actors and crew that all know each other and network together. Having personally worked with a lot of them, I can say that the Denver scene has some dynamite industry professionals.”
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