Bega Metzner, director of the Moab Film Commission, is launching the first-ever Moab Showdown, Nov. 7-11. [Photo courtesy Bega Metzner]

***Publisher’s Note – The Moab Film Commission has lowered the pricing for this event to a flat rate of $49 for all participants and free for Grand County Students***

Hollywood filmmakers have been drawn to Moab’s unique scenery for decades – in 1991 the movie “Thelma and Louise” was filmed in the area; in 2012, the movie “John Carter” was shot here; and in 2013, “The Lone Ranger” was made.

The Moab Film Commission was formed in 1949 to help facilitate filmmaking by helping producers find local crews, vendors, caterers, accommodations, and more.

“Between commercials and movies there’s not a year that goes by,” without filming in Moab, city manager Joel Linares said. “The Moab Film Commission is the oldest continuous film commission in the world.”

To celebrate the commission’s 70th anniversary, Moab Film Commission Director Bega Metzner is inviting all filmmakers – both professional and amateur – to compete in making short films (8 minutes or less) in just 49 hours.

The first-ever Moab Showdown will take place Nov. 7-10.

Filmmakers won’t know their film’s genre until the Showdown’s kickoff event which happens Nov. 7, at 11 a.m. at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North. That’s when participants will choose from one of two genres picked out of a hat. At that time, contestants will also be given a mystery prop or idea to use, as well as a line of dialogue – all of which must be incorporated into the film. Then, the scriptwriting can begin.

“They go write, shoot and edit,” to turn in a completed film 49 hours later – by 2 p.m. Saturday,” Metzner said.

A celebration screening will take place during the “Showdown shindig” later that evening, Nov. 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St.

“We would love the public to come,” Metzner said. “We’ll introduce the team of filmmakers and the judges.”

Audience members will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite film. An awards ceremony will take place at the MARC at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“It’s going to be fun to watch it happen, and even more fun to watch the videos,” Linares said.

The ost to enter the film competition is $149 per team for contestants 18 and older, and $70 per team with members 17 and under. Teams can consist of one person or an unlimited number of people.

Grand County middle- and high-school students who wish to participate will be sponsored by the Moab Film Commission who will waive the entry fee.

Professional and semi-professional filmmakers will be competing in a different category than amateur moviemakers. Students will also compete in a separate category. Metzner said schools in Salt Lake City and California have expressed interest in the event.

“We try and bring things into the community to spark interest in students in the different aspects of filmmaking,” she said.

Filmmakers won’t know the locations they’ll be using until their movie genre is selected. Production teams will be given two exterior location options which are also chosen during the kick-off event.

The Moab Film Commission helps filmmakers connect with nearby land-use agencies for required permits to do filming on public lands. For Moab Showdown, Metzner has pre-permitted a number of exterior locations with the city, Bureau of Land Management, Manti-La Sal National Forest, and SITLA. Permitted locations will be posted on the web site for a “sneak preview.”

Interior locations, such as cafes, bars, bike shops are needed as well.

The public can also participate in Moab Showdown by making their property available for set locations. The film commission is currently looking for friendly locations that filmmakers might want to use. That could be ranch property, businesses, or homes.

“We’re asking the community to be a part of this as much as possible,” Metzner said. “A store, or coffeeshop could be in a movie – who knows what will happen with it.”

Those interested in should send photos of their property to to be posted to for filmmakers to view and consider. Filmmaker registration material is also available on In addition, Metzner may be reached by email at or by calling 435-259-4341.

First-ever Moab Showdown as film commission turns 70

“We’re asking the community to be a part of this as much as possible. A store, or coffeeshop could be in a movie – who knows what will happen with it.”

– Bega Metzner, Moab Film Commission director

When: Nov. 7-10

Where: Moab

Cost: Fees to enter the film competition; Free to watch film screenings at Star Hall

Info: website:, email:, phone: 435-259-4341.