Denver on Film

FILM - Economic Engine and Growth Industry

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2003-2007, the film industry will reach $1.4 trillion in 2007 from $1.1 trillion in 2002; a 4.8% average annual growth rate.
The Impact of the Film Industry on Colorado, conducted by the Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, states: “As Colorado has one of the highest concentrations of computer, communications, and technology companies in the country, it is positioned to jump on the digital bandwagon and climb to the top of the film industry..."
If Colorado undertakes to stimulate the growth of the digital media segment, it has the potential to be a leader in this field.” While specific data has not been compiled for Denver, the City is the hub of our State’s growing film industry and benefits from film production both in Denver and throughout Colorado.

The 2003 comprehensive study, The Impact of the Film Industry on Colorado revealed the following for 2001:

  • Film and video production, freelance crews, and suppliers
  • $205.5 million in Colorado wages
  • 3,933 Colorado jobs
  • The industry pays higher wages than the state as a whole.
  • It attracts new dollars to the State and City economies. In 2001, 75% of receipts of production companies came from out of state.
  • It is not necessarily tied to normal economic patterns. When the economy falters or is flat, this segment continues to grow.
  • Approximately 87,000 people attend Colorado film festivals.
  • Approximately 60 full-time equivalent employees and 1,800 volunteers work at these festivals.
  • Total film festival spending in Colorado was $12.6 million.

While the potential economic impact of film and film production is not to be understated, additional benefits that can be gained by or attributed to film abound, including increased or improved public relations, tourism and image-building opportunities. While these factors are less quantifiable when measuring change or impact, it is hard to dispute the idea that film can help to shape attitudes and perceptions. As a visual, dynamic art form, film communicates the qualities and distinctions of a place. Film then is an effective advertising tool for our City. 

The Impact of the Film Industry on Colorado also reiterates these points:

  • It encourages tourism. It is a clean industry that increases exposure of the State and the City.
  • It culturally enriches the State and the City.
Denver is the hub for most local film crew and film-related businesses and therefore stands to reap significant benefit from an expanded film industry.

The film industry is often referred to as a “green” industry as few productions create lasting or harmful environmental impact as compared to other industries with similar economic benefit. In addition, there is a movement within the film industry to develop “green” practices. As stated in Greenprint Denver, “creating new jobs in new markets is a key economic factor to being a competitive city.” There is significant room to grow the film industry in Denver.


Double Edge Films shooting a scene for the feature film Ink.
photo: Nathan Evans