The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission
will host a red carpet gala Dec. 12 to celebrate the local premiere of Carol
, filmed entirely on location in Greater Cincinnati. The romantic drama stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and is already garnering critical acclaim and awards
from Cannes and the New York Film Critics Circle, among others.
The benefit gala will celebrate a crowning achievement for the Film Commission, which has played a key role in the increase of major motion pictures shooting in the area over the past couple of years.
The nonprofit works to attract, promote and cultivate various kinds of film production in order to bring the jobs and economic stimulus associated with the industry here. The organization courts production companies and helps facilitate the process of filming in the area to provide filmmakers with a positive experience, hoping those same companies build Cincinnati’s reputation as a good place to do business.
That work has been paying off in the past two years, with Blanchett even giving interviews
stating it was “phenomenal” to work in Cincinnati. But Film Commission Executive Director Kristen Erwin Schlotman also gives some credit to the state of Ohio.
Kristen Erwin Schlotman
Schlotman explains that Cincinnati had film production business in the 1990s but lost much of it when many film shoots left the U.S. for cheaper international destinations. To lure some of that business back into the country, many states began adopting incentives for production companies to film there.
Ohio was one of the later states to adopt such incentives, which Schlotman sees positively.
“We’ve learned a lot from states that have been too aggressive with the programs,” she says. “We don’t want to be a state that is turning away business.”
The incentives must be in place strategically, but with a $1.75 return on every dollar currently spent on them and six major motion pictures having filmed in Cincinnati this year, the strategy seems to be working.
With the Film Commission helping to coordinate all the moving parts that go into film shoots, more movies made here means more work for a host of people involved: actors, crew, technicians and the entire support staff involved in the film industry.
Schlotman is now starting to hear stories of Cincinnatians who are able to work full time in that industry, including young actors who never thought it could be a reality in Cincinnati and those able to change careers because more film-related work is available. These stories will only multiply as film shooting becomes steadier and requires a fully fleshed out support network.
“We don’t just want to have a piece of this business,” Schlotman says, “we want to see the entire film ecosystem here and become a global destination.”
Schlotman sees Cincinnati eventually supporting multiple film projects at one time and in succession, with all aspects of the film industry represented locally, from education to production.
“I just want people to know that while it seems like this is the peak of our efforts, it’s only the beginning,” she says. “This office is changing people’s lives. And I think it’s changing the city, too.”
The Carol gala
is 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Cincinnati Club downtown, with proceeds benefiting the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission. Tickets are $150. The movie screening is sold out.