* Press release…
The Illinois FILM Office today announced that Illinois’ film industry generated $499 million in estimated Illinois spending, a 51 percent increase over the same period last year. This adds to the 18 percent increase that was seen in 2015. The office worked with 345 television, commercial and film projects that generated 13,377 non-extra job hires over the course of 2016.
In addition, Chicago, Illinois was just named the #5 best place to live and work as a moviemaker in North America by MovieMaker Magazine. This is the third year in a row that Chicago has made the top-ten list.
“The film industry here in Illinois continues to grow stronger,” Illinois FILM Office Director Christine Dudley said. “Our focus on attracting innovative and diverse projects has led to an unprecedented half a billion dollars in qualified Illinois production spending. My hope is that we continue to build upon these last two years of success to show everyone that there is no better place to film than Illinois.”
A strong talent pool of cast and crew members, diverse shooting locations and a competitive incentive program attracted a wide variety of projects to film in Illinois in 2016. Primetime hits “Empire” (FOX), “Chicago Fire” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” (NBC) returned to the lineup. NBC also green lit the pilot for the fourth installment in the Chicago franchise, “Chicago Justice.” The series was picked up for a full season which began production filming in September 2016. Online media services also increased their presence in Illinois with the production of original content episodic series: Easy (Netflix), Sensa 8 (Netflix) and Patriot (Amazon).
Illinois is the only state in the country to set a diversity standard for production hiring of women and minority crew members. This growing industry is a priority of the Rauner Administration, and by focusing on making it an inclusive and diverse industry, the Illinois FILM Office is creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in every corner of the state.
The Illinois FILM Office promotes Illinois as a location for film, television and advertising productions, providing assistance with everything from location scouting, hiring cast and crew to working with local unions and guilds. The Office also administers the state’s film tax credit, which has been integral in growing a competitive film industry in Illinois. The 30 percent tax credit is awarded to productions for money spent on Illinois goods and services, including wages paid to Illinois residents. The goal of the Tax Credit Act is to grow, sustain and provide economic and job opportunities for local vendors, crew and filmmakers.
* Greg Hinz…
Though the film office did not break down the $499 million by project, a majority of the spending came courtesy of NBC producer Dick Wolf. […]
The previous record was $358 million in 2013, according to the film office.
* As mentioned in the release, MovieMaker Magazine listed Chicago as 5th best spot to live and work in the business. The city placed behind New York and Vancouver (tied for 1st), Hollywood and Atlanta. From the magazine…
Illinois’ 30 percent tax credit has no cap and low minimum spends ($50,000 for shorts under 30 minutes, $100,000 for longer work). We particularly like Illinois’ requirement that production companies submit a plan to proactively hire diverse crew.
There’s room for improvement, of course, in “a state that flirts with bankruptcy at every turn,” notes Ray Pride, film critic for Chicago weekly Newcity. […]
Nicole Bernardi-Reis, executive director of IFP Chicago, agrees: “access to capital, decision makers—distributors, production companies, programmers, commissioning editors, etc.—and talent” can be a challenge. Yet “it has become a lot easier in the last few years,” she says, with “a number of incubator programs, angel investment groups and programs that give filmmakers the opportunity to pitch. IFP Chicago launched one last year that we’ll be expanding in 2017.”