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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- At least 20 and perhaps as many as three dozen film productions are not being shot in Utah this year because the state could not match financial incentives offered by other states and Canada, said Utah Film Commission Director Aaron Syrett.
He told the Legislature's Tourism Task Force that 65 film production companies asked about possible state incentives. He figured 35 were serious inquiries that could have brought film work to the state if the money was right, and predicted at least 20 would have -- except no incentive money was available.
A $1 million incentive program was approved last session, but most of it was early in the fiscal year, with about half going to makers of the movie "The World's Fastest Indian," about a New Zealand motorcyclist who set speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
That left the fund virtually depleted with eight months left to go.
Several task force members expressed support Monday for increasing Utah's annual incentive package to the $3 million originally recommended a year ago by a separate Motion Picture Task Force.
The task force also asked its staff to investigate the possibility of tapping the Industrial Assistance Fund for its incentive program.
Legislative policy analyst Art Hunsaker said the competition for film business is intense. More than 40 states offer some type of incentive and 17 states enhanced their offerings this year alone.
"One million dollars is just not cutting it," said Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful. "We have been left at the railroad station."
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)