Comstock Movie Studios – A New Vision for Virginia City Nevada
There are many colorful characters in Virginia City, Nevada, some long-time local residents, some transplants, and some are the legends that make up the rich history of this small western town. One of the most fascinating people is local resident, Jim Clark; he is a Hollywood actor with over 300 credits to his name.
However, Clark’s heart is not in Hollywood, it is in the Comstock, where he lives; he has a passion for the area, the land, and the people. He has an idea that will help revitalize this northern Nevada area and bring jobs, tourists, and movie executives to this beautiful and quaint piece of history.
Clark proposes a themed movie studio in the heart of the Comstock, Virginia City. The Comstock Studios would encompass the existing Gold Hill Mine Tours, Stagecoach Rides, and would have newly built additions of a western studio town, Indian village, and frontier fort. Additionally, Clark is in negotiations to obtain the licensing for the Ponderosa Ranch; while the buildings are too dilapidated to move from their current home in Incline Village, he can have them recreated from original plans.
When people come to Virginia City, they think the Ponderosa Ranch is just minutes from town; reruns of Bonanza show Hoss, Little Joe and Pa riding into a dusty Virginia City only seconds after they leave their home. In reality, the set was built in Incline Village in a different mountain range; it would have taken probably a day for them to ride their horses into town. Having a connection to the Ponderosa would be a coup and help make the town a tourist destination.
Scott Jolcover owns the land for the proposed Comstock Studios; he is supportive of the project. Jolcover, an employee of Comstock Mining Inc. would like to see anything that helps bring tourists and vitality to the area.
For years, Clark has lobbied for Hollywood executives to produce movies in the state of Nevada; he tires of traveling and would prefer to stay in the state he loves. He was successful in getting a state film representative; however, the representative is in Las Vegas and is primarily focused on establishing shots filmed in Clark County. In 15 years, the representative had not been to northern Nevada; Clark invited him to tour the area to determine what he was representing. It is somewhat challenging to sell the area to Hollywood executives if you are unfamiliar with the product.
An apathetic representative is not the only challenge Clark has faced when trying to get movies filmed in the state of Nevada. Nevada is one of only five states not offering any incentives to executives for filming movies in their states; even the movie about infamous Nevadan Joe Conforte was not filmed in the state. They took a few establishing shots, and then filmed the rest of it in New Mexico.
Clark is hoping his western themed studio will change that, and he is looking for investors to help fund the project. “We are in the running for a $100,000 grant from the State of Nevada Governor’s Office, and we qualified on our first presentation. We’re looking for investors, and Scott (Jolcover) has approved the concept. I think this can be done.”
Nevada was one of the states hit the hardest during the economic downturn; northern Nevada saw a particularly high rate of unemployment. With Comstock Mining Inc. Storey County now has a 70% employment rate; Comstock Movie Studios would raise the rate even higher.
To contact Jim Clark:
PO Box 99
150 N Summit
Virginia City, NV 89440