Rural Tax Incentive Draws Film Productions to Utah


Photo courtesy of the Emery County Travel Bureau

By Julie Johansen

Last week, the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity approved film productions that will bring an estimated $142.5 million to the state of Utah. This was made possible under Utah’s newly restructured rural tax incentive program.

The legislature passed the tax incentive law that will make the state more appealing to productions. Thirteen productions are scheduled to be filmed in rural Utah and these communities should receive 90% of the funds spent on those films.

The productions are a mix of feature films and episode series to be distributed on various platforms. All productions plan to begin filming this summer but filming locations are still being finalized.

“This targeted rural film tax incentive will introduce the film industry to new communities, supporting Governor Cox’s goal of expanding economic opportunities throughout the state,” said Dan Hemmert, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. The film industry will bring immediate economic impact to communities with minimal infrastructure.

Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission, said, “This new rural film incentive allows Utah to attract more film productions.”

The Utah Film Commission markets the entire state as destinations for film, television and commercial productions by promoting the use of professional local crews and talent, support services and Utah’s scenic locations.

Those considering locations in Emery County include “Dark Highway,” “Horizon: An American Saga” and “Retreat: Season 1.”

  • Dark Highway
    • Estimated Utah Spend: $4,004,367
    • Distribution: Independent
    • Locations: Emery County, Juab County, San Juan County
  • Horizon: An American Saga
    • Estimated Utah Spend: $53,925,008
    • Distribution: TBD
    • Locations: Emery County, Grand County, Kane County, San Juan County, Washington County
  • Retreat: Season 1
    • Estimated Utah Spend: $1,407,920
    • Distribution: FX/Hulu
    • Locations: Emery County, Grand County, Tooele County
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