An Inside Look into Alaska’s Entertainment Industry

An Inside Look into Alaska's Entertainment Industry

How much do you know about Alaska's entertainment industry? Believe it or not, there is a long list of movies that have been filmed in Alaska over the years. Below you will find a short list of popular movies that were filmed in the state.

Movies Filmed in Alaska

  • North to Alaska (1960)
  • Runaway Train (1985)
  • White Fang (1991)
  • Balto (1995)
  • Snow Dogs (2002)
  • The Guardian (2006)
  • Snow Buddies (2008)
  • The Bourne Legacy (2012)
  • Pacific Rim (2013)

In addition to these films, there have been a number of Television shows set in Alaska as well. Here’s a few you may recognize.

Television Shows Filmed in Alaska

  • Alaska State Troopers (TV Series)
  • Alaska: The Last Frontier
  • Bering Sea Gold
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Gold Rush (TV series)
  • Klondike (Mini-series and TV series)
  • Northern Exposure
  • Top Chef (season 10)

What makes Alaska so appealing to the film industry? Let’s take an inside look at Alaska’s film industry.


Alaska boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and this scenery provides an incredible backdrop to any film or television series. The state of Alaska offers 572,000 square miles of land mass featuring 10,000 active glaciers, 12 million acres of mountain terrain, 33,000 miles of coastline and 198 square miles of forest. This vast terrain makes it easier for film makers looking for a variety of backdrops in their cinematography. Film makers can come to Alaska and basically get any type of terrain they need for their film with the exception of perhaps sun-baked cactus in the desert.

Tax Credits

To encourage filming in Alaska, the state reimburses certain production costs with tax credits. For example, if Paramount hires an Alaska based lighting crew for $1,000, the state could give the company $500 back in tax credits. Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch has received about $2million to film in Alaska. Some feel this is too much, however others disagree.

“When I think of reality shows, I think of all the people and all of the services that they’re hiring around Alaska, the businesses in the dead of winter that wouldn’t have any economic stimulus [otherwise],” says Carolyn Robinson, owner of the Anchorage based film production company Sprocketheads.

Obviously, Alaska’s film industry is far reaching in its benefits to the state’s over-all economy.

Here is a more specific breakdown of Alaska’s Film Credit structure:



Permits are required for all commercial filming within the state of Alaska. According to the Bureau of Land Management, commercial filming would NOT be allowed if any of the following criteria apply:

  • There is likelihood of resource damage that cannot be mitigated.
  • There would be an unreasonable disruption of the public’s use and enjoyment of the site
  • The activity poses a health or safety risk to the public that cannot be mitigated.

Climate Concerns

Once permits have been approved and the crew has been established, scouting out a location for filming is typically next on the agenda. Filming during the winter months can be especially challenging. Below freezing temperatures, limited daylight hours and remote, rugged areas that are difficult to access are just a few of the challenges production crews deal with when filming in Alaska. Here at Alaska Air Forwarding, we specialize in getting unusual equipment anywhere in the state, including production equipment to even the most remote places. We support film crews by being able to get challenging and unusual equipment to places most other freight companies will not even consider going. We are able to work with most any production schedule and insure that the needed equipment will be at the appropriate site in time for filming to begin.

Shipping Entertainment Equipment

The Entertainment Industry is just one more industry that we serve here at Alaska Air Forwarding. For film crews needing to move equipment from the lower 48 to Alaska, give us a call; we can give you a quote online and provide 24 hour support for your project from start to finish.

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