Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, once known for its steel mills and smog, is quickly becoming the Hollywood of the East. It has become a hot spot for recent productions because of its generous film tax credit, diverse landscape and skilled labor unions.
In the past few years, 24 movies have been filmed in the western Pennsylvania region, including “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Promised Land,” which stars actor Matt Damon. According to Pittsburgh Film Office Director Dawn Keezer, these 24 movies have brought the Pittsburgh economy an additional $300 million since 2009 and helped small local businesses thrive.
For almost a decade, Pennsylvania has provided a 25% tax credit for films that spend at least 60% of their total production budget in Pennsylvania. In addition, Hollywood film crews are drawn to Pittsburgh for its architectural selection, boundless localities, and the skilled and inexpensive local unions. More than 50 major movies and films have been shot on a location in Pittsburgh. The next movie coming out of Pittsburgh is titled “Frank or Francis.” It is in preparation for shooting on site as we write this. The movie is being directed by screenwriter/director/producer Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) and will include A-list stars like Nicholas Cage, Steve Carell, Jack Black and Elizabeth Banks. “Frank or Francis” is a satire on the movie business that focuses on the conflict between a blogger/movie critic played by Mr. Black and a filmmaker played by Mr. Carell.
Many small businesses in Pittsburgh have benefitted from the amount of film being shot there. Coffee companies, transportation firms, and souvenir shops all have the film industry to thank for some of their success.
Pittsburgh’s local beverage company, Tyler Mountain Water & Coffee, saw much growth through the shooting of “Dark Knight.” The company has supplied beverage cases and water bottles for more than a dozen film sets in the past three years. Another local business, Peak Security, receives 25% of its revenue from the film industry and has doubled its staff in the past five years.
For many years, people have wanted to move to New York or Los Angeles to get their feet wet in acting. Pittsburgh can definitely be the new spot that kids dream of when they are yearning for future spotlight.
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