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HaleStorm to Build Utah's Largest Film Studio

HaleStorm to Build Utah's Largest Film Studio

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- HaleStorm Entertainment, a film company specializing in Mormon comedy, plans to build Utah's largest film studio, a 42,000-square-foot building at the Riverwoods shopping center.

HaleStorm got its start in 2001 with "The Singles Ward" and has produced other films including "The R.M.," "Suits On The Loose," "Church Ball" and "The Best Two Years." The company's Web site says three of its films grossed over $1 million in box-office sales.

HaleStorm was created by Kurt Hale and Dave Hunter, who studied film together at Brigham Young University, and is supported by corporate owner Stone Five Studio.

"Part of our mission has always been to be super-friendly to other global filmmakers," said Hunter, president of HaleStorm. "We hope that they'll be partnerships there to be formed where we can bring in other local film producers, film companies to share space with us, share ideas with us and that we'll be able to have a real center district company out in Provo."

Hale, HaleStorm's chief operating officer and film director, said film crews often refer to California as a "boneyard" because so many locations have been used over and over again. The partners believe Provo can be turned into a hotbed for feature film production because of Utah's diverse terrain, convenient locations, few union entanglements and talented crews.

"Now we have a full-service sound studio coming on board. ... It just makes us that much more competitive," said Leigh von der Esch, director of Utah's Office of Tourism.

HaleStorm's studio could entice more filmmakers to Utah and to make it easier for ones already here to stay in business, officials said.

"When the production companies from California come in to use this studio they will need meals, lodging, supplies and equipment that they will purchase here. They also will hire local technicians, and everyone will need meals, lodging, supplies. That generates income and sales taxes that will be a real benefit," said Leland Gamette, Provo's economic development director.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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