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The state of the Cleveland film industry during the coronavirus pandemic

While COVID-19 has brought production of films & shows to a halt, the president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission says the future is bright.

CLEVELAND — The film industry in Cleveland was beginning to thrive before COVID-19 brought filming and production to a halt.

“Unfortunately, the brakes were put on because you have to think of all the other industries that are impacted, just to crew a film. If the vendors aren’t able to work, a production is unable to work,” says Evan Miller, President of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

Miller continued, “We had a Netflix film that was in the middle of its 5 day shoot and then we had a Lion’s Gate film that was prepping to shoot here. That was actually supposed to start next week and they had to go on a hold.”

The good news, Miller says, is that Lion’s Gate film is planning to come back. Not only that, but with Ohio’s current situation compared to other states, there are plenty of other projects calling as well.

Miller says, “We’ve been fielding calls from different studios calling about everything from pilots to series and studio films. They do have concerns about what it’s going to be like to open up business in New York and L.A. and that it could be significantly slower than states like us where things have been controlled a little bit more.”

However, what are local production crews, producers and actors doing until then? Well, if you’re just trying to keep your filming and creative skills sharp, the 48 Hour Film Project has been hosting stay at home competitions. You make a short film without leaving the house, using a crew of whoever you’re stuck at home with.

“You film what you have,” says Ron George, Cleveland producer for the 48 Hour Film Project. “If your kids and your wife are all that you have at home, then that’s your crew. You have a genre. You have a line. You have a character. You have to write, film, edit and turn in your film, all in 48 hours.”

Next up, the organization is doing a script competition for high school students, with a feature script and other contest to follow.

George says, “Right now, we don’t know what’s going to happen, because of the Coronavirus. This is the first time this has ever happened, so we’re trying to come up with creative ways to keep this going.”

When major filming finally does resume, Miller hopes that all the interest from producers will turn into not just more projects, but more jobs.

“Our industry can get a lot of people back to work. Not just those that have been in it, but people whose jobs might not be there when they get back,” says Miller. “There are a myriad of jobs that people can have that can get them back to work sooner, rather than later.”

For more information on the 48 Film Project, click here.

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