There is a lot of money to be made when blockbuster Hollywood movies are filmed in Northeast Ohio. But Ivan Schwarz is thinking about more than just dollar signs when he tries to bring new film productions to the region through the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
Schwarz, the organization’s executive director, wants people who filming their movies in Cleveland for the first time to have a great experience while they are in town. He brings staff along on trips to other parts of the country to provide examples of what can make these experiences even better.
Schwarz is constantly looking to build strong local talent by working with his people to help them make great contributions to the production effort and take steps toward launching their own entry into the industry. He has worked closely with Cuyahoga Community College and other local colleges and universities on curriculum and staff development and has himself served as an adjunct professor for several classes.
Of course, in addition to these efforts, Schwarz also has his eye on the economic impact that movies can bring when they are produced in Cleveland. After years of lobbying, the two-year, $30 million Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit was passed in July 2009, helping to make Northeast Ohio a top destination for filmmakers. His efforts have brought more than 20 full-length feature films with local budgets in excess of $100 million to the area to be filmed.
He has also formed partnerships with Positively Cleveland to bring business to Cleveland’s hotels, Continental Airlines to bring in location scouts to see Cleveland’s attributes and COSE to work with small businesses and make connections to fulfill the needs of film production efforts. Schwarz has played a key role in positioning the film industry for long-term success in Northeast Ohio.
HOW TO REACH: Greater Cleveland Film Commission, (216) 623-3910 or www.clevelandfilm.com