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Utah tax incentives help local film become a reality


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MAPLETON -- Filming is underway in Mapleton on a holiday movie. That is good news, not only for the Hollywood actors but the Utah writer/director and crew. They say this is evidence that industry tax incentives are paying off.

Kristy Swanson and Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Herrmann have come to Mapleton, Utah, to star in the independent film "A Root Beer Christmas."

"I absolutely loved the story," Swanson says. "I thought it was a good message; a good, sweet family story."

"It's hard to make a good film about positive values without making it sentimental and sappy, and this treads the line very nicely," Herrmann says.

This year has been a difficult year for those in the film industry as well, but those tax incentives from the Legislature are paying off.

The film also stars Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Tess Harper. She says few legislators realize that offering incentives for films brings in money from food, gas and hotel rooms and helps residents as well.

"What they don't understand is they are making a job market for people from their own state; that this is giving people who live in Utah, in New Mexico, a job," Harper says.

The film's writer/director, Craig Clyde, says he sees a slow but steady recovery for this Utah industry too.

"You need a good story. You need a good cast. You need just a little bit of money," Clyde says. "The Legislature thing has helped a lot, it really has. It helped us big time."

Finding a distributor and making it into a theater near you is the next hopeful step.

"Christmas and the holiday season, for me, is just a time of sharing and giving and that spirit of it," says actor K.C. Clyde. "I think this film, hopefully that will come across."

Craig Clyde says he hopes "A Root Beer Christmas" will premiere next December.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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