CLEVELAND — Lights, camera, Cleveland.
Cleveland is a city full of many characteristics that put it on the list among Hall of Fame cities like Los Angeles and New York City.
“We're steadily growing and showing that in Northeast Ohio, that it's a viable place to make movies,” said Mike Wendt of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
With two Ohio Cities making the list,
Cincinnati coming in at No. 13 and Cleveland coming in at No. 14, the Buckeye State is putting Midwest movie-making on the map.
“We kind of go the extra mile. We show that, OK, we're not L.A. We're not New York. But, you know, we have that extra bit of Midwest charm,” Wendt said.
With films like the Avengers, Captain America, and White Boy Rick, Cleveland has been the backdrop for a number of scenes in famous movies.
Stephen Campanella is an award-winning film and TV producer based in Cleveland.
Campanella was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. He’s worked in other cities, but he said he's found Cleveland to be a top competitor.
“Cuyahoga County, which Cleveland's part of is a production city. So when you're looking, it's considered a production city like Chicago and New York and Los Angeles from the union standpoint. And part of the reason for that is New York City, of course, from Times Square and all the theaters there, Cleveland is the second-largest theater district in the world, a little known secret,” Campanella said.
With a long history of film tied to Cleveland, it has a lot going for it.
The city not only has diverse architecture and locations ranging from city to rural, but also a competitive crew base, highly skilled actors and the Ohio Film Incentive.
“Ohio is actually a cash rebate presently. So you actually get a check from the state of Ohio for whatever your incentive amount is. And it's a very nice incentive. A lot of producers need that as part of their packaging for the film to finance the film,” said Campanella.
Wendt likes the Midwest cost of living.
“Here you can still get in the field that you want to do, get to the level that you want to get to. But also you can own that house for much cheaper and you can grow a family and that's why I stay here,” Wendt said.
Whether it's launching a career here or the end game, Cleveland can fill both shoes.
“I've been very fortunate that I've been able to carve out a living here. I'm traveling a little bit more now than I did when I began. But Cleveland is a great place to work,” Campanella said.