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Lawmakers cutting through the Utah Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday morning could meet knights in armor, sit in a 1950s living room, fly a drone camera, and dip into virtual reality.
More than a dozen companies, nonprofits and agencies set up in the Rotunda for "Film Day on the Hill" to demonstrate the various facets of Utah's movie industry.
"We really wanted to show the breadth of the industry," said Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission, the state agency that organized Wednesday's event. "It's education, it's film production, it's exhibition, it's emerging media. It represents so much more than [saying] a movie came and shot here."
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.