Film Production in Western PA Film Industry Due for Record 2016!




Despite receiving ample exposure in recent years, the film industry in Western Pennsylvania is in for a record-breaking 2016.  Much like many other industries in the region, the film and production industry has had tremendous success with blockbusters such as “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Concussion.”

“Pittsburgh is killing it in the film arena right now,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “In the last five years, we’ve brought in $100 million of new money to this economy every single year.”


For Keezer and her team, the long-term focus has been bringing episodic television to Western Pennsylvania, and ultimately creating steady work opportunities for local filmmakers and producers – a goal that is beginning to materialize.


“Currently on the ground, we have WGN’s ‘Outsiders’ getting ready to start their second season,” Keezer said. “We also have ‘Mindhunter,’ which is a Netflix show, which is also considered episodic.”


Even through Pittsburgh is becoming a popular choice for Hollywood directors, there have been growing pains in getting work done in the state.


One of the biggest obstacles that has challenged the local film industry has been Pennsylvania’s long-disputed budget impasse, which held up the annual state tax credit, ultimately costing the state film work.


“They didn’t want to hang around for us waiting to pass the budget,” Keezer said. “We were finally able to get letters signed in December, which is why you see the work we have on the ground now.”


With the next budget due on June 30, concerns are looming.

“We are desperately hoping to have the film tax credit program at $100 million dollars, but to have it signed on time so we don’t have a slowdown of business coming in,” Keezer said.


Currently the state’s tax credit incentive offers a 25 percent tax credit to films that spend 60 percent of their total production budget in Pennsylvania. Is looking that the film industry can create sustainable jobs for talent in Western Pennsylvania.


“These are people’s jobs. These are lives. (This is) the way people pay for their kids’ college,” Keezer said.


For more information on the Pennsylvania Tax Credit, visit their website.

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