State putting money into ‘Bigfoot versus Nazis’
Film incentives • Far-fetched fantasy feature is one of eight films offered tax credits.

By Mike Gorrell

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: July 11, 2014 07:40PM
Updated: July 12, 2014 09:08AM

The one and only “Bigfoot versus Nazis” will be filmed in Utah this November — with state financial assistance.

Maybe its plot is a bit far-fetched, acknowledged Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore in a presentation Thursday to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development board. Especially the parts where Einstein and Frankenstein get involved in the fight between monsters mythical and real.

But, he added, the Camera 40 Productions team making the fantasy adventure feature film will spend almost $500,000 in the state, shooting for most of November with a cast of 18, plus 25 crew members and 200 extras.

For that reason, GOED’s board unanimously approved a post-performance tax credit for Camera 40 of up to $98,406, 20 percent of the amount the production team expects to leave in the state.

“Bigfoot versus Nazis” was one of eight film projects that received incentives from GOED. The offers are based on the production companies spending defined amounts of money in the state and, quite often, hiring at least 85 percent of the cast and crew locally.

The tax credit increases from 20 to 25 percent when spending tops $1 million, Moore noted. But it can be cut back if a production falls short of meeting its spending goal.

That happened Thursday when the GOED board reduced the incentive available to Mentor Films Utah Production to $142,000 from a minimum of $270,000 because the company spent only $707,000 in the state to produce a show called “The Mentor.” The producers had told GOED they would spend $1 million.

Among incentives approved Thursday, a feature film titled “Wild Horses” drew the most attention, partly because producer Mark Mathis was present but mostly because its prime writer and director is Robert Duvall.

“He’s an 83-year-old man who can still jump on a horse and ride it,” said Mathis.

“I love working in this state,” Mathis added, noting that Utah has small towns that, viewed from angles to avoid mountains in the background, could pass for west Texas.

These settings, he added, are close to an urban center with production facilities and skilled crew members. “I haven’t had a better experience with crews than here. They know what they’re doing and there’s no drama.”

Wild Horse Productions expects to begin a month of filming in early August, using a cast of 34, 56 crew members and 100 to 150 extras. With spending projected at $1.6 million, the film is eligible for up to $400,000.

Also receiving incentives:

• Vineyard Productions, up to $1.7 million, for shooting eight episodes in season three of the BYU Television series, “Granite Flats,” estimated spending $6.8 million;

• Knights of the Sandwich, up to $450,000, for a comedy, “Mantivities,” directed by former child TV star Fred Savage, estimated spending $1.8 million;

• Waffle Street, LLC., up to $396,000, to film a movie drama, “Waffle Street,” about a hedge fund owner who loses his job and gets a job in a waffle house, estimated spending $1.6 million;

• Calfhead, Inc., up to $60,000, to film a television pilot, “The I.P. Section,” about a successful attorney who tries to become a closet comic, estimated spending $300,000; and

• Minds I Cinema, which got up to $166,000 for “The Other,” about a man who recalls a troubled childhood, along with up to $171,000 for “True,” about the adventures of a military dog and a boy.

Back-to-back production of those two shows allows Minds I to use the same crews, Moore said, estimating total spending on the two shows to be almost $1.7 million.

Rural grants

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development also approved five grants to help small businesses in rural Utah. They are:

ES Innovations in Enoch, outside of Cedar City, $50,000 to add a milling machine used in making essential oil and aromatherapy diffusers. The company expects to hire two to five employees. Total project cost: $134,000;

Western Mine Tools in Helper, Carbon County, $34,113 to diversify the kind of tools it has because of mining’s decline. The grant will help pay half the cost of two employees;

Paul Terry Trucking Co. of Fillmore, $50,000 to go toward the $600,000 purchase of four refrigerated tractor-trailers that will comply with California’s tougher air quality regulations;

Timberline GSE of Richfield, $50,000 for the purchase of a $127,000 hydraulic brake press used in the making of airport tarmac equipment.