It’s MovieMaker’s 2014 edition of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker! We’re counting down through our Top 10 Big Cities, Top 5 Small Cities, and Top 5 Towns—releasing one location a day for the entire month of January. The full list, published in MovieMaker‘s Winter 2014 issue, is on newsstands now.

Top cities

Unlike previous years where locations were pitted against each other in a single pool, this year we separated the list into three distinct categories: Big Cities (pop. 500,000 and up), Small Cities (pop. 100,000 to 500,000), and Towns (pop. 100,000 and under). After months of research, interviews, and mathematical formulas, we boiled the rankings down to the essential elements. All locations were rated according to six criteria: Film Production in 2013 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that included lifestyle, weather, and transportation. Did your place of choice make the list? If not, maybe you should choose again if you’re serious about rooting yourself in a location that’s conducive to your career and life goals – or drop us a comment proposing a place we overlooked this year!


Top Towns

#3. Boulder, CO

Boulder, Colorado is not your typical college town. It’s a rapidly growing creative think tank, with one of the highest concentrations of educated entrepreneurs, tech-savvy whiz kids, and entertainment leaders in the country. Microsoft, Google, RealD, and dozens of gaming companies, advertising agencies, and production companies call Boulder home. Forbes Magazine even went so far as to label it one of the “Geekiest Cities in America.”

Fall leaves blanket the campus at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado)

“Boulder is becoming the Silicon Valley for documentaries,” said Louie Psihoyos, Oscar-winning director of The Cove. “We have some of the best sound engineers in the world here. We’re currently working on the first feature film to use Direct Stream Digital—the IMAX of sound—developed right here in Boulder.”

Dear Eleanor

Director Kevin Connolly’s Dear Eleanor, starring Jessica Alba and Luke Wilson, was the latest to take advantage of the scenic surroundings in and out of Boulder County and the state’s 20 percent rebate on qualified expenditures. Just a hop, skip, and jump from Denver, Boulder is a proud supporter of environmentalism, having championed the Green Film Resource Guide for environmentally conscious moviemaking. MM

For more information about filming in Boulder visit the Boulder Film Commission.

Check back every day for the rest of January to see which small cities and towns are the best places to live and work as a moviemaker in 2014! Previous rankings:


10) San Francisco

9) Memphis

8) Portland

7) Philadelphia 

6) Boston 

5) Seattle

4) Los Angeles

3) Austin

2) New York 

1) Chicago


5) Savannah, GA

4) Providence, RI

3) Shreveport, LA

2) Wilmington, NC

1) New Orleans, LA


5) Marfa, TX

4) Bozeman, MT

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