"Me and Earl, and the Dying Girl"

Here’s a best of list with a twist: Pittsburgh was named one of the Top 5 Small Cities on MovieMaker’s larger list of Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker 2015 for best locales for filmmakers.

Ted Elrick of Moviemaker writes: “The one time steel capital has transitioned to become a hotbed of entertainment production, with heavy emphasis on nurturing a crew base and creating opportunities for aspiring filmmakers.”

The Top 5 Small Cities list was one of three lists for best places to live and work as a moviemaker by Moviemaker. They include: big cities (population 400,000 and up), small cities ( 100,000 to 400,000), and towns (under 100,000). Numbers are based on actual city population, not metro area.

Places were rated according to six criteria, explains Moviemaker, billed as the nation’s leading resource on the art and business of making movies: Film Production in 2014 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that includes lifestyle, weather, transportation and other “livability” categories.

MovieMaker spoke with Russ Streiner, board chair of the Pittsburgh Film Office (and Night of the Living Dead actor), who says the “filmmaking climate is only going to get better here.”

MovieMaker points out that this may be due largely to Pennsylvania’s tax incentives– movies that produce at least 60% of their content in the commonwealth receive a 25% credit.

“We’re in the top 10 of the first places people call when they’re thinking of locations,” says Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “It’s not just the incentives—it’s the workforce in Pittsburgh, and people know that.”

Recent Pittsburgh projects that were cited in the article include Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto’s The Chair (two directors, one script), and the Sundance entry Me & Earl & The Dying Girl. Carl Kurlander (writer of 80s classic St. Elmo’s Fire) also directs the ongoing Steeltown Film Factory Competition, complete with an indie development and mentoring program.

Also on the list for small cities is Savannah, GA, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Read the full article here.

Rebekah Zook is a Duquesne grad and all-around story-telling enthusiast. A former fellow at WESA, she worked as a production assistant for their daily talk show. Most recently, she taught in the Propel Charter School system as a visiting artist. When she isn’t writing, Rebekah is a trip leader for the local non-profit organization Venture Outdoors. You can usually find her in a bright yellow kayak.