Notes from a native son:
Cleveland... The land of Rock n' Roll, 'Eco-Villages', Champions! And filmmaking?! Last June, Cleveland met with Hollywood again, in form of Fast 8, the latest installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise. In summers prior, our fair city has seen productions which brought along superheroes in tights with projects like Marvels The Avengers, Captain America and Spider-man 3. Even 2014s Draft Day, staring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, a film about one of the most beloved Cleveland topics besides Cleveland weather, Cleveland sports! Big budget projects like these speak to the demand of filmmaking in Cleveland. Growing up in Forrest City wasn't always easy, and throughout all of its ups and downs, Cleveland as a city hasn't always had it easy either.
According to a study prepared by Cleveland State University's Candi Clouse and Nikki Glazer, Box Office Ohio: Analysis and Economic Impact of the Film Industry in Northeast Ohio and Ohio, of 31 projects that took advantage of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, an estimated $83.2 million was funneled into the economy of Northeast Ohio alone, effectively leaving behind a $22.1 million tax impact on the area. The cost of these projects to the state of Ohio were an estimated $32.6 million, yielding a return on that investment of about $2.01 for every $1.00 spent for the Ohio economy. During this time the Ohio area also experienced the creation of over 1700 full-time equivalent jobs, largely held by local millennial professionals. After successfully lobbying to secure the Motion Picture Tax Credit in 2009, The Greater Cleveland Film Commission, a private non-profit organization, whose mission is for the promotion of increased multimedia production, for the economic benefit of regional Ohio, went on to become one of the largest advocates for the production of film in Northeast Ohio and the surrounding area at large.
Filmmakers, Artists, Videographers, Choreographers, Chefs, Business owners and even budding even Actors can now rejoice! Cleveland is now a potential destination for the production of large scale moviemaking! From Plum to The Hollywood of Ohio! A potential market for any outside producers with large budgets and scrolling resumes filled with some of Hollywoods biggest names and titles.
However, how has this change panned out in the reality of local professionals attempting to make the next Antwone Fisher, A Christmas Story or Welcome to Collinwood, right here in our own backyard? Each year there are a slew of local based films that take place here in Cleveland from classic zombie based scenarios to 2016's The Land, a soon to be widely released film about coming of age in the perilous inner city streets of Cleveland.
Local filmmakers have cited that, although the changes the city have made a positive impact on the city as a market for filmmaking it has only made it cheaper for outside entities from larger markets to come in and reap the benefits, such as tax credits, and scenery, without giving a base to local talent to remain and build in a city flourishing with opportunity.
Capitalizing on the growing interest in Northeast Ohio filmmaking, my team of professionals based in the area and myself are working tirelessly to put together a short film project, entitled Aea. In support of our cinematic venture we've recently launched a crowdfunding campaign via IndieGoGo.com , not only as a way to cultivate a serious audience but also explore the infrastructure of the indie market in our city. As a director, the climate of filmmaking in Cleveland and being a native son of the city, Northeast Ohio just made sense for our film. The city is on the rise, but with our picture we really wanted to showcase the forests and natural surroundings of the city to tell an original story.
To no ones surprise Cleveland has shown so far, with all of the talented figures reaching out to us to help us complete Aea, what we believe is a film that needs to be made, the independent film sector here is most certainly alive and growing! As long as the Midwest and specifically Cleveland continues to capture the imaginations of storytellers and artists alike, it will ensure growing interest in the region and forge the area as a burgeoning center for the filmmaking industry as a whole. It is time for Cleveland to become not only just the land of many rivers or the home of World Champions, but also world class filmmakers! *
If you'd like to support our independent film Aea
Please visit: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/aea#/