If you follow my blog or my twitter feed (@lawyerrussell) you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been sharing a lot about the Sundance Film Festival lately, and for good reason. The largest independent film festival in the United States is only a 6 hour drive away and encompasses two different weekends over the period of January 21-31, making it very road-trip worthy for residents of the Las Vegas Valley.  It’s also an excellent case study for a city that has its own successful Film Festival and bills itself as the “Entertainment Capital of the World”. Most people instantly recognize Las Vegas as the backdrop for countless films, including iconic scenes in Best Picture winners Rainman and The Godfather. What people may not know is that thanks to recently passed tax incentives, Las Vegas and the entire State of Nevada have placed themselves amongst states such as Georgia, Louisiana, and Michigan as ideal filming locations for studios weary of the red tape and tax burdens of filming in California. In this friendly competition, of course, Nevada offers three competitive edges to its sister states. First, Nevada has the iconic Las Vegas Strip featured prominently in so many films. Secondly, Nevada offers over 70 million acres of breathtaking natural beauty you won’t find anywhere else in the world, including the famous Valley of Fire State Park, whose red rocks have passed convincingly as extraterrestrial worlds in films such as Total Recall, Red Planet Star Trek Generations. Rural Nevada, with its mountains, rivers, valleys, canyons, and of course deserts, is also a natural setting for any western, period piece, or nature epic. Finally, the big selling point of Nevada is that it’s a half hour flight from Los Angeles. Add to this mix the recent tax incentives and Nevada is geared to make its mark on the film industry.

It is with this enthusiasm and “ground floor” mentality that we here in Nevada get excited when locally filmed films get major exposure at a Film Festival. The Sundance Film Festival is no exception, and today the Sundance Institute completed its feature film lineup for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Amongst the selections is Frank & Lola by Director and screenwriter Matthew Ross. Frank & Lola will be making its World Premiere at Sundance, and it’s described as a “psychosexual noir love story—set in Las Vegas and Paris—about love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption.” Sounds intriguing to me! Frank & Lola features a star studded cast that includes Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Emmanuelle Devos, and Rosanna Arquette.

Initial reports indicate that Frank and Lola filmed at various locations in Downtown Las Vegas, including the El Cortez and the Huntridge Pharmacy & Soda Fountain (see below).

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Along with many other film buffs in the valley, I am hoping to try and make it up to Sundance for at least a day or two, and if I do I hope to catch a screening of Frank and Lola. In the meantime I’ll keep those of you who are planning on attending “in the know” with more press releases as they become available. Stay tuned!