April 27, 2015

The basics of film/video incentives, permitting and insurance

The Denver Video Professionals Meetup Group recently met at WestWorks Studios for an informative discussion about Colorado’s evolving film incentive program and the newly-aligned City of Denver permitting and insurance processes. Curt Donohue, co-founder of 4th Kind Entertainment, hosted the event and panel that included representatives from the Denver Office of Special Events and the Denver Office of Film, Television and Media. Over 60 Denver Video Professionals members attended and enjoyed drinks, hors d'oeuvres, tours of WestWorks Studios, and a reveal of their new logo. Member, Anna L. commented on the event.

"Hands down the best Denver Video Professional Meetup yet. Fantastic panel, great information, awesome networking session... and an amazing facility that I certainly wouldn't mind being lost/locked up in for a day." Anna L.


Beth Ashby answers a question from event host Curt Donohue.



After only a few months in her new role as Special Events Liaison for the Denver Office of Special Events, Beth Ashby is running on all cylinders. She succinctly described the new structure of the office, which is now responsible for all initial film permit requests and insurance requirements in the city. The office aims to be a “one-stop-shop” for filmmakers, helping with “any event on Denver public property and… some private property questions in Denver as well.” This includes serving as a liaison to other city departments, such as police and fire.

“The questions were great and the presenters had the answers... Hard to beat an informative session like this,” Tim C. 

Ashby covered a lot of ground about the Office of Special events and answered rapid-fire questions from the audience. She kindly offered her direct contact information for the few quandaries that required further research.

Below are some useful tips from the City of Denver Office of Special Events:

  • A film permit is FREE! But failure to have a commercial filming permit can result in penalties. Download permit applications and learn more at http://bit.ly/1NeHKhu.
  • Denver’s permitting process has recently changed—filming for non-commercial purposes no longer requires a permit.
  • Drones are not allowed on City of Denver property.
  • The Denver Office of Special Events does not provide permits for Denver Int’l Airport. DIA’s Media and Marketing offices cover that responsibility.

Film Commissioner Donald Zuckerman and Program Manager Courtney Potts answer questions from the audience.



Film Commissioner Donald Zuckerman, and Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media Program Manager Courtney Potts spoke about Colorado’s Film Incentive program, which offers a 20% cash rebate for production costs incurred in the state. State legislature awarded $5 million to the program in 2014, but, in a state with a balanced budget amendment, the program is currently fighting for $3.4 million for the next fiscal year. As a result of the incentive program, over $74 million has been spent in the state since its launch in 2012.

Eligible productions include feature films, television pilots and series, commercials, music videos, industrials, documentaries, video games, and other content creation, including web series. To receive the incentive, your cast and crew must be comprised of at least 50% Colorado residents, and you must spend a minimum of $100,000 (or $250,000 for out-of-state companies). Projects are selected based on merit rather than order of submission. (Check out http://www.coloradofilm.org/incentives/index.html or email info@coloradofilm.org to get more details.)

Samuel L. Jackson and Quentin Tarantino in Telluride.  (Photo by Ingrid Lundahl)

Quentin Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight” is perhaps the most notable recipient of the film incentive program to date. The production has boosted Telluride’s economy by as much as $9 million. The crowd laughed as Zuckerman recounted a story of the production crew spending over $140,000 at one family-owned tire shop.



The Denver Video Professionals Meetup group was founded to create a forum for learning, sharing, and networking. Its members are video and filmmakers, audio engineers, 3D and graphic artists, colorists, writers, photographers, and others associated with the Colorado film and video industry.

“Super valuable and important for any content creator in Colorado! Great people, great facility, great conversation.” Courtney, Member of the Denver Video Professionals Meetup Group

To learn more, join the DVP Meetup group, or see upcoming Meetups, visit: http://www.meetup.com/Denver-Video-Professionals-Meetup/.



We were thrilled to host the event and provide production professionals with a venue to learn more about the important changes in the Denver production community. We look forward to future events with the Denver Video Professionals Meetup Group. We were also excited to showcase our new branding to the Denver film community. It represents an evolution of our company, driven by a desire to “make production simpler.” If you would like more information on our production facilities, or would like to host an event in the studio, send an email, or call 800-491-1947.