'Shark Movie' to feature backdrop of Reno, Tahoe

RENO — Filming for a major motion picture is scheduled to begin soon in Northern Nevada, something a producer says will become more common in the years ahead as new tax incentives for the industry kick in.

Lake Tahoe and the Reno area will serve as the backdrop for the movie, which has the working title “Shark Movie.” It features a carnivorous beast raising havoc in the tranquil waters of the azure alpine lake.

Jeffrey Spilman, a producer with Reno Tahoe Studio, said it’s a thriller being directed by Jerry Duggan. Spilman couldn’t disclose the names of the stars yet, but they include some familiar actors.

“Names you recognize and you see,” Spilman told KOLO-TV.

His Reno Tahoe Studios opened in August at the Reno Sparks Convention Center. A sharp rise in business is expected thanks to a bill Gov. Brian Sandoval signed this year granting a 19 percent tax break for filmmakers who shoot movies in Nevada.

“The idea of the incentive is to hire local folks, do business with local companies and have an economic engine here that is really generated by the film industry,” Spilman said. “Being a Reno resident here, I, of course, encourage it because that way I don’t have to travel down to L.A. or the Bay to make films.”

The tax break doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1.

Brian Perry, a local actor and producer, said “Shark Movie” is the first step in setting up a production framework.

“The next couple months, you’re going to see a lot of people staging to get ready to shoot next year because they are going to want to see how that incentive will actually play out,” he said.

Actor Nicholas Cage was among those who traveled to Carson City in the spring to testify before legislators in support of the tax break.

Spilman helped lawmakers write SB165, dubbed the “film production incentive.” His Reno Tahoe Studios opened inside the convention center owned and operated by the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.

“This would never have happened without the RSCVA’s leadership and hands-on involvement,” Spilman said.

Christopher Baume, president and CEO of the visitors authority, said the tax break will allow the state to compete for billions of dollars in movie and television productions that have been lured to Louisiana, Georgia, Michigan and other states with similar incentives.

“Reno-Tahoe has a wide variety of cityscapes and outdoor locations that allow Hollywood to re-create almost any location in the world,” Baum said.

“With Reno Tahoe Studios offering three clear-span stages of 50,000, 60,000 and 70,000 square feet, and numerous production offices and additional spaces, we now have one of the most flexible studios for building interior sets in the country,” he said.