Nevada In The Movies

RENO, NV - You may remember the scene in "Sister Act" with Whoopie Goldberg where the nuns run across Virginia Street right in front of the Reno Arch.

The Arch was also at the beginning of "Up Close and Personal" with Michelle Pfeiffer--so was the Reno Airport.

But Northern Nevada has more to offer film makers than just casino shots.

In 'The Shootist" John Wayne's last film, Carson City was the backdrop--so was Washoe Valley.

Lake Tahoe played a predominate role in "The Godfather Part Two"

But perhaps the most famous film shot here is 'The Misfits"

For Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable it would be their last movie.

“Every footage of film was in this area,” says Robin Holabird, former Deputy Director of the Nevada Film Office, Reno Tahoe Branch..

Holabird who helped lure movie and other productions to Northern Nevada says the area is extremely suitable for films.

From its mountains featured in "Cobb" to its small towns like Genoa, the backdrop for "Misery."

But with her retirement two years ago, there is no one stationed up in Northern Nevada permanently--that's a problem says UNR Professor Howard Rosenberg who teaches film.

“You've got to be a specialist. You've got to know the state. You have to know the people whether or not they'd be willing. When I first came here I cam up on campus and I'm saying to myself wow, this is familiar. Of course it’s familiar, its every university from 1935 and up,” says Rosenberg.

Rosenberg was right, at least as far as the movie industry was concerned.

The campus was used in 1940 and 50s films like "Margie" "Apartment for Peggy" and "Mother was a freshman."

And while more and more films makers came to Northern and Southern Nevada as the years went on, the economic downturn has had an impact on the industry and its decision to come to our state.

Last year Nevada made $102,000,000 from the movie industry---a good showing.

But back in 2001 the state made more than $154,000,000.

“It’s difficult to get a film green lighted now,” says Rosenberg.

Some states have offered tax incentives to get movies produced in their state. New Mexico by all accounts has capitalized on the concept.

“$15,000,000 in New Mexico. They will lend you $15,000,000 to make your move using 85% of New Mexico Resources so that's a real incentive,” says Holabird.

Nevada gives no such breaks to the movie industry.

Currently the Governor in his Economic Development plan, released about a month ago, encourages a study looking at tax incentives and abatements involving all industries here.

95% of all production takes place in Southern Nevada---it’s close to L.A. and The Strip can not be replicated.

For Northern Nevada the challenges to get film production here can be overcome.

Holabird says ten years ago she was working a couple of projects a month.

But as time has gone that activity has slowed.

Our area finds itself competing with other states and locations and in Holabird's opinion recent economic times force Northern Nevada to play catch-up.

“In the time we haven't had the business, we've left the crew base we once had. The old, if you build it they will come. Well, the building kind of fell apart and they left.

Holabird says the industry may be small here, but no less distinguished.

Oscar night the “Muppet Movie” was nominated for best song.

It won.

A portion of that film was shot right here in Reno.

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