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‘Hateful Eight’ seeks aid in ski burn, asks for snow

Lack of snow hindering Tarantino film

TELLURIDE – High temperatures and low snowfall in the Southwest Colorado ski resort have hampered production of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.”

In the last 30 days, Telluride has received just 7 inches of snow, and Tarantino has been forced to shoot indoor scenes of “Hateful Eight” because of the lack of snow on the 900-acre Schmid Family Ranch on Wilson Mesa. Production was launched last month.

“He could use CGI (computer-generated imagery), but being a great filmmaker, he wants real powder,” said Donald Zuckerman, director of the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media.

“The Hateful Eight” script centers on a post-Civil War blizzard, pressing the Hollywood director to wait for favorable weather conditions.

To help the situation, a Telluride blogger recently reported that townspeople gathered with cast and crew on Valentine’s Day for a “ski burn.” The event was aimed to seek aid from Ullr, an ancient Norse god, to bring snow to the San Juan Mountains.

“I talked to the mayor, and they are hopeful for snow this weekend,” said Zuckerman.

With up to a foot of snow and 30-40 mph wind gusts forecast for the weekend, Tarantino could get his break.

Lights, camera, action: Money

Despite the lack of snow, Zuckerman and other Colorado economic officials have been abuzz since the film location was announced in September. The state’s Office of Economic Development has tracked media publicity that mentions the film’s title with either Telluride or Colorado, and under those parameters, Zuckerman said, the film had generated nearly 1.4 billion unique global views through the end of January.

“That means 1 in 5 people in the world have read about Telluride or Colorado,” he said. “This is going to be huge.”

Generating an ad value of $12.6 million in just four months before production wraps, the publicity is expected to pay off, Zuckerman said. After its scheduled release this fall, he projected the film could bring 100,000 tourists to Colorado. On average, each tourist spends $2,500 when visiting.

“This is the kind of movie that will bring a lot of attention to Colorado and Telluride,” said Zuckerman. “It will boost tourism because people will say if Quentin Tarantino likes it, then maybe I’ll like it, too.”

Although it’s too early to determine the exact economic impact, Zuckerman reported more than 9,000 hotel nights would be booked during production, and a Telluride tire shop had sold $40,000 worth of studded tires to California-based film crew members.

“That’s a lot of money,” said Zuckerman.

Budgeted at $44 million, the film qualified for the $5 million maximum in state incentives from the Colorado Economic Development Commission. Zuckerman said a Colorado-based certified public accountant would review total expenditures before any disbursement were made.

“They could get 20 cents back on every dollar spent,” said Zuckerman. “They haven’t gotten a nickel yet.”

Cast and plot

The film’s all-star cast includes Academy Award-nominee Samuel L. Jackson, Golden Globe-nominee Kurt Russell, Academy Award-nominee Tim Roth, Golden Globe-nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh and MTV Trailblazer Award-winner Channing Tatum.

According to insiders, the movie is set in the aftermath of the Civil War. Aboard a stagecoach, a bounty hunter brings a fugitive to justice, and along the road they encounter two strangers: a black former union soldier and a Southern turncoat who claims to be a sheriff.

During a blizzard, the four seek refuge at a mountain pass haberdashery, where they are greeted by a caretaker, a hangman, a cow-puncher and a Confederate general. As the storm bears down, the eight travelers realize they may not make it to their destination, Red Rock, Wyoming.

Expected to be released this fall, “The Hateful Eight” was almost shelved after the script was leaked online last year.

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