According to an October study by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, the state's film industry includes 432 businesses that paid $100 million in wages and salaries in fiscal year 2015. That wage figure is up nearly 50 percent from the $67.5 million paid in 2011.
One of the tools to lure film production, Pearce said, is the Motion Picture Incentive Program, which gives a refundable tax credit of up to 25 percent of what a movie or TV production spends in the state.
In the 2015 fiscal year, the state paid $4.2 million in tax credits to 20 film projects — seven from out of state and 13 generated locally. The return on investment, according to the Gardner Institute, was $29 million in state gross domestic product, $25.8 million in earnings and wages, $19.4 million in in-state spending and $1.4 million in added tax revenue.
At Wednesday's event, companies showed off visual effects, camera equipment mounted on drone aircraft, and VR demonstrations. BYUtv displayed a set from its period series "Granite Flats," while Arrowstorm Entertainment brought two men in armor designed for a TV series the company is developing, "The Outpost." Megaplex Theatres served popcorn and showed off heated theater seats, while nonprofit groups such as the Salt Lake Film Society, Spy Hop Productions, Sundance Institute and Utah Film Center touted their programs.