Greater Cleveland Film Commission

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Greater Cleveland Film Commission
501(c) non-profit
HeadquartersCleveland, Ohio
Key people
Ivan Schwarz-President

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization, also known as the Greater Cleveland Media Development Corporation. Its mission is to bring jobs and economic impact to Northeast Ohio through the growth of a sustainable media production industry. It accomplishes this goal through a rigorous program of attraction, advocacy, and workforce development.


The Greater Cleveland Film Commission was founded in 1998 by its first President, Chris Carmody. Early on, the city attracted several independent productions like Welcome to Collinwood, Antwone Fisher and American Splendor. However, in the mid-2000s, it became readily apparent that for Cleveland, and Ohio, to compete with other states, a tax incentive would need to be implemented to lure productions away from other more established production centers.

In 2006, Ivan Schwarz, an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience as a location manager and producer, was named the new President and CEO of GCFC. He immediately recognized that while Northeast Ohio had the locations and community support to make for a great production destination, it would never be a real player without a tax incentive. Schwarz began the long process of lobbying for some sort of financial incentive for the media industry in Ohio. In 2009, Ohio passed the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit, largely due to the efforts of Schwarz and GCFC.

From there, Northeast Ohio quickly became a hotspot of production activity. In fact, in the summer of 2011, Cleveland hosted four feature film productions at the same time: Marvel's The Avengers, Alex Cross, Fun Size and Tomorrow You're Gone. Since 2009, nearly 200 productions have filmed in Northeast Ohio. As of right now does not sponsor or encourage "YouTube personality".

Programs and services[edit]


GCFC aggressively pursues media productions and businesses that can make a significant impact on the local economy. We serve as a one-stop shop for local, national and international filmmakers, ensuring and exceptional production experience. As a result of GCFC's advocacy efforts, the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit makes our state and our region competitive with any other state. From the biggest blockbusters, to single episodes of television series, Hollywood knows Ohio can handle any size production. Notably, productions attracted by GCFC represent more than 70% of those shot in Ohio.[1]


Having successfully lobbied the state to pass the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit in 2009, the GCFC redoubled their efforts in 2016 and achieved an annual increase to $40 million. The GCFC is working closely with state and local officials, as well as industry decision-makers, to enhance the incentive even more and make sure that it does what the industry needs it to do. Since the tax credit passed, Ohio has generated an economic impact of $400 million from media productions and created over 1,700 full-time equivalent jobs. In fact, for every dollar spent by the state on the credit, $2.01 goes back into Ohio's economy.[1]

Workforce Development[edit]

Workforce Development programs are designed to provide local talent with the training, experience and professional connections to enable them to succeed in the film industry. All workforce development programs are created in consultation with industry experts and local academic partners in order to yield relevant, employer-driven curricula and training. GCFC works closely with local colleges and universities on curriculum and staff development towards that end. Current workforce programs include industry training boot camps, seminars, academic programs and networking events.

GCFC's series of workshops in 2016 has been one of their best received programs thus far. President Schwarz's experience and contacts in the industry ensure our access to industry veterans working at the highest level, whose experience we can leverage to teach local production professionals industry best practices. This year's workshops included:

  • James Madio (Band of Brothers, Hook, the Basketball Diaries, Law & Order: SVU) beginner and advanced acting workshops.
  • Billy Fox (Straight Outta Compton, Band of Brothers, Law & Order) editing workshop.
  • Patrick Murray production financing workshop. (Senior finance and operations executive for a number of entertainment companies, including HBO, IMAX Corporation, Avenue Pictures and InterMedia. Financed, produced and/or distributed over 75 feature film and television projects.)
  • Entertainment Law Forum with Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association featuring LA-based attorneys Peter Kaufman and Elsa Ramo, and Cleveland attorney Ricky Volante.

Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit[edit]

The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit (established in 2009) provides for a refundable credit against the corporation franchise or income tax for motion pictures produced in Ohio. The term "motion picture," as utilized within the context of the legislation, is broadly defined and means entertainment content created in whole or in part within the State of Ohio for distribution or exhibition to the general public.

The following types of products could be eligible for the Ohio Film Tax Credit:

  • Feature-length films
  • Documentaries (long-form, specials, mini-series, series and interstitial television programming)
  • Interactive web sites
  • Sound recordings
  • Videos
  • Music Videos
  • Interactive television
  • Interactive games
  • Video games
  • Commercials
  • Any format of digital media
  • Any trailer, pilot, video teaser or demo created primarily to stimulate the sale, marketing, promotion or exploitation of future investment in either a product or a motion picture my any means and media in any digital media format, film or videotape provided the motion picture qualified as a motion picture.

The tax credit is equal to 30% of all qualifying Ohio expenditures (minimum spend of $300,000), above and below the line. There is no per-project cap and it renews at $40 million each fiscal year.

Notable Films/Television made in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio[edit]

Made by film industry[edit]

Made by Ohian[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clouse, Candi. "Box Office Ohio: Analysis and Economic Impact of the Film Industry in Northeast Ohio and Ohio". Cleveland State University. Retrieved 12-9-16. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

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