Quote From Josh Meuwly

“As far as our local film community, last time I checked, there were more than 60 production companies or individuals into production. I think I’ve seen that grow year after year. … To have an opportunity to be a part of this is awesome.” — Josh Meuwly


To help the film industry in Western Colorado continue to grow, CMU Tech Technical Instructor of Digital Filmmaking Josh Meuwly has been selected by the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media (COFTM), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), as its Grand Junction regional film liaison.

Meuwly is tasked with helping develop the local media ecosystem by offering opportunities for professional development through networking events, workshops, and crew and vendor databases specific to the Grand Valley. In addition to helping locals get connected in the local industry, he’ll also be involved in marketing the area more broadly to entice other filmmakers.

He was recognized for his new role as regional liaison at the Avalon Theatre on Monday evening ahead of a double feature of locally produced films “Dragon Soldiers” and “Glowzies,” an event both celebrating both Meuwly’s new position and serving as one of the year’s final celebrations of the Avalon’s centennial.

“I’m very honored. I already work for an awesome university (Colorado Mesa) and I help facilitate students getting jobs anyways, so it naturally made sense for me to help other people also,” Meuwly told The Daily Sentinel. “At first, I volunteered to jump into this position. Once (COFTM Deputy Film Commissioner) Arielle (Brachfeld) kind of nominated me and said, ‘Hey, I want you to be in this position,’ I was honored to take it.

Meuwly said he’s encouraged stepping into the position because he believes filmmaking on the Western Slope is on the rise and will continue that upward trajectory as more people become aware of the area and its cinematic benefits.

“As far as our local film community, last time I checked, there were more than 60 production companies or individuals into production. I think I’ve seen that grow year after year,” he said. “I think that our community, even in the commercial space, is growing because I’m seeing more and more people go to video as their first source of marketing. To have an opportunity to be a part of this is awesome.”


The Film Exposure Program, a program in Mesa County Valley School District 51 that’s sponsored by COFTM, completed its third semester Monday evening, as students gathered at the Mesa County Central Library for a panel, which included Meuwly, and a screening of the project they had worked on together.

The program expanded for its second autumn, adding groups of student filmmakers from Montrose High School and Cripple Creek-Victor High School in Teller County in addition to the original core of Grand Junction, Palisade, Fruita Monument, and Central high schools. Film Exposure Program Coordinator Rachel DeWeber estimated the program had grown by 20 students from this past spring.

“Seeing expansion like this, even just in our second year, just goes to show the success of the program, just to see that it’s wanted,” DeWeber said. “People are interested enough in wanting to pursue film in their schools. It really goes to show that this program is viable for a lot of students.”

DeWeber believes the rural nature of the Western Slope helps the program stand out as an extracurricular option so shortly after its launching. That, in turn, could ultimately benefit the regional film industry.

“This program is mainly centered around rural schools, so we’re giving students in those rural areas an experience that they normally wouldn’t get in their schools in proper filmmaking resources. The fact that we’re offering that to them gives them a bigger and broader idea that film is a viable pathway,” DeWeber said. “In the long run, that’s going to increase our capable crew pools for filmmaking in Colorado in general. To have us emphasize so much workforce development is going to benefit not only our schools but also Colorado in general.”

Another sign of the program’s success, she said, is just how many familiar faces she’s seen at each of the four schools originally in the program.

“What’s really awesome about this program and what really warms my heart is that there are a lot of returning students,” DeWeber said. “We’ve had students that have gone through this program three times since we do it once per semester. They’ve participated in every single semester, and in every single semester, those students get better, they get more hands-on, they start taking leadership roles in the program at those school sites, and to see how the program is affecting the students’ knowledge and experiences is so amazing to see. The program is leaving a long-term effect on students. I hope we can continue to go down that path if students want to keep joining every year. We don’t ever discourage students to come back. We’re just going to keep honing their skills and they’re going to continue getting better.”


The Film Exposure Program is set to receive more widespread attention in early December, as it’s a highlighted accolade for COFTM, which has been recognized as a finalist for the Film Commission Initiative of the Year at the Makers and Shakers Award, hosted by BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts). The annual awards recognize groundbreaking ideas and initiatives from the global creative screen industry. This is COFTM’s third nomination for a Makers and Shakers Award.

Nominated for the award along with COFTM are Innovate Limerick (Ireland), Film London, Film Paris Region, the Miami-Dade County Film Commission (Florida) and the Portugal Film Commission. The awards ceremony will take place Dec. 6.

“I see this pathway that’s been built all by different entities that together formed a bridge to allow an awesome experience for filmmakers to get started really early,” Meuwly said of the Film Exposure Program and other opportunities for local filmmakers.


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