The CFO last year issued 1,922 permits to companies for filming on city streets and property, and recorded 428 individual film and media projects. The all-time high combined total was 2,339 production days. That’s a 25% percent increase from last year’s 1,902 production days, CFO / DCASE reported.
“Another year of record filming is proof positive that the film and television industries have found a new home in Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“The city is committed to being “a good partner to the film industry, as each of these productions contributes to our neighborhoods and local economy,” the mayor continued.
Based on the Illinois Film Office’s calculation of $499 million from film and using a 2.7 multiplier, 2016 film production’s direct and indirect contribution was $1.347 billion to the local economy.
(Or, based on ReelChicago’s wider revenue determination of $700 million, the benefit was $2.550 billon.)
“Cooperation, affordability and talent is essential for this industry to thrive,” said Rich Moskal, who in February will celebrate his 21st anniversary as Chicago Film Office director.
“Chicago offers all of that in a big, hard working, visually stunning environment. Producers, performers, technicians and a growing population of talented crew people call Chicago home for good reason. The city works.”
This year’s filming increase is due mainly to the unprecedented nine television series that selected the city as its main stage for filming. Two other series film here part-time.
On average, a single season of one network television series, like NBC Universal’s “Chicago Fire” or “Chicago PD,” spends $30-40 million locally and hires from 250 to 400 people. According to NBC, they will have spent over $150 million in wages and employed 1,300 people locally on the production of their Chicago series this season alone.
A total of 18 independent features, most locally produced, were filmed here in their entirety and continued a five-year trend in the creation of home grown content for national consumption.
Additionally, IFO / DCASE reported, still photography shoots, often for fashion or advertising campaigns, had a 50% jump from last year. Here’s a quick overview of 2016 activity:
DCASE and the Chicago Film Office are located in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; CFO phone, 312/744-6415.
Sidebar: MovieMaker Magazine named Chicago as the #5 best place to live and work as a moviemaker in North America — the third consecutive year that Chicago ranked in the publication’s Top Ten list.