Why isn't 'Race to Save Nome' being filmed in Alaska?

Kyle Hopkins
Movie with the word 'Nome' in the title will film in Canada: Actress Hilary Swank poses with the Oscar she won for best actress for her work in "Million Dollar Baby" in 2005. Swank will star in a movie about the 1925 serum run to Nome that will film early next year in Canada, Calgary newspapers report. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

"Race to Save Nome," a big-budget mushing tale starring Kurt Russell and Hilary Swank, will begin filming this January in Alberta, the Calgary Herald reports.

This is at least the second large film to skip filming here despite an Alaska-based script within the past two years. The other was 2011's "The Grey." The move raises questions about the ability of the recently renewed state film subsidy program -- one of the most generous in the country -- to lure major movies to Alaska.

I've asked the state film office if the producers scouted Alaska and, if so, indicated why they chose to take the production somewhere else.

The film is a retelling of the 1925 serum run. About 150 carpenters will work to build a small town of 70 buildings west of Calgary for the filming, according to the Calgary Sun.

The movie does not appear to be the same project as a film called "The Cruelest Miles" -- also known as "Kings of the Trail" -- that Alaska movie-boosters hope to see produced in and around Anchorage.

What does the production of "Race to Save Nome" mean for that competing project? Is there room in theaters for two history-based mushing films?

By Kyle Hopkins
Anchorage Daily News
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