Is the tax credit helpful for indie filmmakers participating at the CLE International Film Festival?

Posted at 8:17 AM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 08:45:08-04

There will be some glitz and glamour downtown, as The Cleveland Film Festival gets underway. Over the years, it's been an industry that continues to grow in Northeast Ohio and there's a plan for more films to be shot here.

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission President Ivan Schwarz said it’s all about expanding the possibilities, as he’s pushing legislation for a bigger tax credit, hoping to take our town from being known for manufacturing to movie making.

RELATED: Hundreds of filmmakers embark on Cleveland for the city's 42nd International Film Festival

“We need to diversify our economy here…there’s no reason we can’t have the creative arts where it’s an art form that actually creates huge amounts of jobs,” Schwarz said.

Since 2010, 13 states have scrapped their film credits saying they’re not worth taxpayer dollars, but here in Ohio, Schwarz and other advocates say it’s making our cities economies better.

The bill is seeking more than double the $40 million credit that stands right now for filmmakers to $100 million.

RELATED: Hollywood Hijacking: How movie producers make off with millions in Ohio tax dollars.

The would mean more Hollywood productions brought in and more vendors needed like hotels, food caterers, and local filmmakers.

But some independent filmmakers like Stephon J. Davis, whose company Serlo Media, is making socially conscious films said while there’s excitement around Cleveland’s booming film scene, there’s also a fear of being left in the dust.

“It’s tough now for the average local filmmaker to get their projects going because of the film commission or whoever they’re really trying to focus on the bigger projects.”

Davis has had films debut at the Cleveland International Film Festival in the past.

The legislation for the tax credit is making it’s way through the Ohio Statehouse right now.