CINEMA Day Rally Report and News on House Bill 1286

With a vote on House Bill 1286 approaching tomorrow, Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in the House Finance Committee, things could get tight. According to the Denver Film Society, Rep. Jeanne Labuda has said she will vote against the Film Incentives bill. DFS and Mile High Cinema are encouraging concerned filmmakers, producers, artists and film lovers to contact Labuda ([email protected]) and use your persuasive charm to sway her vote.

This all comes hot off the rails of the passing of House Resolution 1010, which declared February 8th ‘Cinema Day’ in Colorado. It also presented House Bill 1286 to legislators with an unusually vocal wave of supporters. Guest reporter for Mile High Cinema, Chris Valderrama was on the ground that day; here is his account:

“At the initial press conference and rally on the west steps of the capital building, legislators conveyed support and determination towards creating an economy for the arts in Colorado. This included Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton), House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs), Asst. Minority Leader Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) and Councilwoman Debbie Ortega.

Newell started her first profession in theater and television in California; she said, “The arts means business…and the arts mean jobs.” There is a video of her speech at the rally on her website. Nancy Todd spoke about bringing the “Urban and Rural together” in bolstering the many facets of Colorado’s economy. She also gave shout-outs to native production, “Dutchman’s Run,” gearing up for a feature length western in Denver this summer and High Noon Entertainment, who have a Denver office.

Todd further explained that Colorado has 13 film schools, with Colorado Film School at 25th in the nation, and yet hasn’t produced/shot a major movie in 4 years. The big question being put to legislators: Are we going to let all our creative talent use state money to train here, but lose them to states with production jobs?

Once the rally moved into the House of Representatives Assembly, it seemed to be business as usual for legislators. Yet, due to the overwhelming pressure of the supporters, Todd requested that (House Joint Resolution) HJR 1010 be proposed out of turn, followed by obvious approval. The 200+ army of supporters completely filled the chairs of the House viewing area. People were standing, crammed into every nook and cranny and they were ready to raise the gold dome right off the roof. Tom Massey addressed the assembly by saying that in his 8 years of politics he’s never seen such support for a bill.

The high point definitely came when the crowd cheered loudly after Nancy Todd addressed the assembly, despite posted signs of “no cheering.” After a few futile attempts reining the crowd in with his gavel, The House Speaker allowed it.”

Local filmmaker, Sean J.S. Jourdan also braved the cold that morning and had this to say about the rally:

“The rally was fantastic, but I think we have to keep this in perspective. 1010 was passed, which made 2/8 Colorado Cinema Day. A small step, sure. But what an impressive one! We spoke to one of the Sergeant-at-Arms in the gallery and he said it was the largest gathering he’d ever seen in support of any measure. And nearly all the representatives were there to witness it.

I like to think, anyway, that they’ve been put on notice that there is a public that is passionate about creating a film industry in Colorado and that will hopefully equate to the passage of a revised and expanded film incentive. My wife and I moved to Denver about two years ago from Chicago. I’ve seen an incentive work. “Batman,” “Transformers,” “Superman.” These films keep my friends working and developing their craft. Craft that my independent films benefit from.

Right now we’re in pre-production for my first feature film, “Teddy Boy.” We’re going to make it Colorado and take advantage of the many elements that this beautiful state has to offer. The budget isn’t large – in fact, we may not even qualify for the existing incentive. Incentive or no incentive, we’ll push forward. There may be very little direct benefit for a production like ours; however, the numerous indirect benefits are worth standing in the freezing cold at 7:30 in the morning. I’d do it again tomorrow in heartbeat. And the day after until we get that incentive passed.”

Watch a recap video of the February 8th ‘Cinema Day’ Rally from local filmmaker James Drake at

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