Utah Film Commission celebrates 100 years of Utah-made films

Jan 12, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: May 29, 2024, 11:37 am

A black and white storyboard from Thelma & Louise....

A storyboard from Thelma & Louise is displayed at the Utah State Capitol on January 11, 2024. (Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

(Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY —  According to the Utah Film Commission, 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the premieres of the first Utah-made films.

“The Covered Wagon” was the first Utah-made film to premiere. Filmed in 1923, Utah’s picturesque scenery set the standard for the appearances of Western movies that followed. 

Sept. 8, 2024, will mark the centennial anniversary of the release of the 1924 silent film. Additionally, “The Deadwood Coach,” also filmed in Utah, premiered Dec. 7, 1924, according to The American Film Institute. 

Celebrating the occasion

In honor of Utah’s vast, century-long involvement in film, the Utah Film Commission is presenting an exhibition at the state Capitol. 

According to the Utah Film Commission website, the exhibit was inspired by James V. D’Arc’s book, “When Hollywood Came to Utah.”

The exhibit includes items such as props, scripts, crew gifts and behind-the-scenes photos. Additionally, information panels throughout the exhibit highlight the array of Utah-made films that have been brought to life in the state.

(Mariah Maynes/KSL NewsRadio)

According to the exhibit, Utah’s scenery has “inspire[d] great storytelling.” Kanab, a city in Southern Utah, was called “Little Hollywood” by many because of the numerous productions made there. 

While exploring the numerous Utah-made films, visitors to the exhibit also learn about what goes on behind the camera. One section details just a handful of the many roles played in the making of a movie or television show. 

Lastly, the exhibit highlights the Beehive State’s love and support of filmmaking. 

“From its early days, Utahns have demonstrated a passion for the silver screen,” according to an information panel in the exhibit. 

In 1974, the Utah Film Commission was created by Gov. Calvin Rampton. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the commission. 

Support of the filmmaking industry was strong.

“Pioneering Utahns created systems of support for film production around the state,” according to the exhibit. 

The exhibit will be open for public viewing from Jan. 12 to Dec. 31 and is located on the fourth floor of the state Capitol building. 

Related: Did whales really live in the Great Salt Lake? New film explores the infamous legend

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Utah Film Commission celebrates 100 years of Utah-made films