Taxpayer-Funded Filmmaker Incentives: What Would Oliver Stone Do?

February 18 2011, 12:00 PM

The seventh annual Boulder International Film Festival kicked off last night, but before any screens lit up, the Daily Camera chatted with director Oliver Stone, who will receive the Master of Cinema award Sunday. Stone—whose many movies include Midnight Express (screening at the Boulder Public Library Friday), Natural Born Killers, Platoon, and Wall Street—thinks Boulder has the right mix for a festival: "It marries the progressiveness of a population that's always been known for that, along with great air, great look, great feel, and kindness."

A political current runs throughout the interview, as is the case with Talk Radio, Stone's late-'80s flick loosely based on the murder of Denver talk radio host Alan Berg. "We were describing a world of extremism," Stone explains, "because extremism can come through a radio, where you're not really living a real situation but you're hearing voices and you're allowing this paranoia to grow."

Talk Radio wasn't shot in Colorado, however, where the idea of taxing movie tickets to pay for filmmaking incentives has been circulating the past few weeks. Incentives have sometimes made a difference for Stone, whose "controversial" films can be difficult to budget: "If Colorado can stick it out, because it has tremendous landscapes, if it can do more for its economy by putting out a certain amount [of taxpayer money], it could certainly compete with New Mexico," where filmmaking is "very lucrative and where a lot of films do get shot."

The Boulder Weekly also takes a look at the festival, talking to Ron Bostwick about his gig as the executive producer of special events.

5280 will be tweeting from the festival throughout the weekend. Join in using hashtag #BIFF1.