The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved around $538,000 in film incentives for three projects Thursday. The public money comes from Colorado's Office of Film, Television and Media -- a division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

The newly approved projects include a weekly entertainment TV show called "Xfinity Latino" and a local documentary called "Keep A Light In Your Window" about notable Denver restaurateur "Daddy" Bruce Randolph. But the biggest is a $1.6 million budget film called "Battle Borne."

Writer and director Joseph Sorrentino plans to start shooting the movie in Eagle County this summer. That's after the state's Economic Development Commission voted 6 to 0 to give the film more than $321,000.

Sorrentino, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, first considered shooting the low-budget feature in Utah. The director has since settled on the High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Colorado. He told the EDC that the story is about the intelligence world in the Air Force. 

“Colorado just has such a vibrant veteran, active duty and reserve community," Sorrentino said.

To get the rebate money, an out-of-state production company like Sorrentino's will have to spend at least $1 million in Colorado. Half the cast and crew hires must come from within the state as well. After the film is done and its budget audited, "Battle Borne" is eligible to get back 20 percent of the money that the producers spend in the state.

Colorado's film and TV office currently has $3 million to spend each year, approved by state lawmakers.

Three million dollars is a lot of money. That got us thinking: What does the use of public money for film incentives mean for the state? You can find out Monday on CPR News during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.