Marshall Moore is putting Utah on the film industry map.
At last year’s Utah Entertainment and Choice Awards, Marshall Moore sat calmly as the Contribution to the Arts award winner was announced—never expecting it to be him.
Both Zac Efron and Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford were nominees. “It was just strange,” he says. “Ever since I was little, Robert Redford has been my favorite everything—actor, director. So, just to be mentioned with him was an honor, but I never thought I’d have to take the stage.”
As director of the Utah Film Commission, Moore works annually with Sundance to maintain the commission’s status as the host state sponsor. “We also host the filmmakers’ brunch, where we invite visiting filmmakers to meet with the local film community.”
Supporting the local film community is one of his first objectives, he says, but the Utah Film Commission’s main goal—the reason it was created by the state—is to promote Utah as a filming destination for out-of-state filmmakers.
“Our incentives are what’s driving business,” he says of the up to 25 percent refundable tax rebate based on what filmmakers spend in the state. “Sometimes the incentive helps them decide to come to Utah, or they’ll make some location compromises and shoot in a state where the incentive is greater. Those are the battles we fight daily for production dollars.”
But Moore’s favorite part of the gig is seeing the filmmakers on the job. After working with his team of four to secure production in Utah, Moore loves going to the sets and to watch the action.
“I just went to a fascinating set built by the LDS Church in Goshen,” he says. “They actually built Jerusalem down there for a series of films about the New Testament. It’s probably the most unique set I can think of in the United States, aside from the back lots of the major studios.”
Moore also loves traveling the state, drumming up support for the Utah film industry. “You’ll have a lot of people say, ‘I didn’t know that was filmed here,’ or ‘I didn’t know that was going on.’ ”
Before he was in the commission, Moore worked 20 years as a location manager and assistant manager for TV shows like Everwood and Touched by an Angel and movies like Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Black Moon Rising, among others.
The major films that helped launch his career are also the ones he says most people laugh about: break-dance-themed movies Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.
But Moore’s all-time favorite Utah movie is the baseball classic The Sandlot.