Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Though it’s not really common knowledge, Pittsburgh is a great place to make movies — and always has been. From the groundbreaking landmark of both independent and horror filmmaking, “Night of the Living Dead,” to the recent tour de force by Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” for Netflix, moviemaking history runs deep here.

Now, a new ranking by MovieMaker Magazine puts Pittsburgh at #3 in the nation for the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker, 2021.

Oddly, Pittsburgh ends up in MovieMaker’s Small Cities & Towns category.

“It could qualify as a big city, but always emphasizes a friendly, folksy small-town feel that keeps visiting moviemakers from feeling homesick,” writes MovieMaker. “The ’Burgh is a magnificent movie town, home to top-tier productions from David Fincher’s ‘Mindhunter’ to Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ Recent productions include Clea DuVall’s new holiday classic ‘Happiest Season,’ where Pittsburgh’s winter wonderland feel was on full display.”

A scene from “Happiest Season” shot in Lawrenceville with Daniel Levy and Kristen Stewart.
A scene from “Happiest Season” shot in Lawrenceville with Daniel Levy and Kristen Stewart.

The region drew $100 million in direct spending in 2020, the article notes, with the help of a state tax credit.

It also cites Carnegie Mellon as a stellar school for aspiring filmmakers, and gives Lawrenceville’s Row House Cinema credit for keeping moviegoing alive (online) during lockdowns with unique programming like the Quarantine Cat Film Festival.

The two cities that ranked ahead of Pittsburgh are Santa Fe, New Mexico and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Read the MovieMaker rankings here.

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife, Shaunna, and 10-year old son.