A quintet of leaders gathered to announce another record-breaking year of film, television, and media production in Illinois this morning at Kennedy-King College’s 6,000 square foot sound stage in Englewood.
According to the Illinois Film Office, the industry helped add nearly $560 million to the economy last year. Manifesting itself in job creation and local expenditures, the figure represents an 18% increase over 2018.
More than 15,000 non-extra job hires generated over $350 million in wages, with women and minorities representing 51% of the reported crew hires.
Helping to spread the news were Kennedy King Dean of Enrollment Management Tonishea Terry-Jackson, Illinois Film Office Director Peter Hawley, Chicago Film Office Director Kwame Omaoku, Chicago Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, and South Side co-creator Bashir Salahuddin.
The future of our sustainability
Amoaku emphasized the importance of homegrown success, a mission that he has championed since taking office.
“In addition to the surge of work of network television and feature film, we’ve also seen the independent film community make huge strives,” he said. “The Chicago Film Office realizes that the future of our sustainability and content-creation economy is to create our own intellectual property right here in Chicago.”
Then he described how various organizations are helping to get it done, including the CFO’s Independent Film Initiative and the Full Spectrum/DCASE Chicago Independent Producers Lab.
A dream come true
“I was born and raised on the south side,” Salahuddin explained to the crowd. “We wrote a comedy about my hometown. Filming in Chicago is a dream come true.”
After expressing huge gratitude for the city’s film crews, he went on to compliment the warm and helpful attitudes of the Chicago Film Office, the Illinois Film Office, and the people of Chicago.
After making a reference to The Breakfast Club, a film by the “late, great John Hughes,” Director of the Illinois Film Office Peter Hawley got down to business.
“This has been a record-breaking year for film and television production in the state of Illinois and the City of Chicago,” he said. “Last year alone, the film industry alone generated nearly $560 Million in job creation and local spending. We’ve never cracked more than $500 million before. We’re thrilled about that.”
The event was hosted by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).
First in the Midwest
The Chicago Film Office permitted 522 projects in 2019 and now ranks first in the Midwest region for production, third in the country for commercial advertising production, and in the top six nationally for overall production.
Eleven full season series and portions of several others filmed in Chicago throughout 2019.
The three Chicago-based series from NBC — Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD — all renewed for an additional season. Fargo, the 1940s period piece set in Kansas City, filmed entirely in Chicago.
Additionally, Showtime’s The Chi, FOX’s Next, Comedy Central’s South Side, HBO’s Run and Station 11 all filmed on location within the city.
Also transforming Chicago into Gotham City was the series Batwoman, filming large-scale stunts and driving shots in the central business district.
The Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Act
The Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Act, originally passed in 2008 and extended by Governor J. B. Pritzker last year, offers a 30% tax credit for qualified production spending and labor expenditures, up to $100,000 per worker, within the state of Illinois. An additional 15% is granted on salaries paid to individuals who live in economically disadvantaged areas and earn at least $1,000 in total wages.
Illinois DCEO plans to invest $500,000 through the Illinois Film Office Workforce Training Program to enable more women and minorities to access job opportunities within the film industry.
DCEO’s new job training program will train and graduate regular cohorts of new film and TV production workers annually through program to be adopted by qualified institutions, colleges and universities through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
Pictured at top
Chicago Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar, Chicago Film Office Director Kwame Omaoku, Kennedy King Dean of Enrollment Management Tonishea Terry-Jackson, South Side co-creator Bashir Salahuddin, and Illinois Film Office Director Peter Hawley
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development supports and maintains a climate that enables a strong economy for our customers – taxpayers, businesses, workers and communities – by keeping, attracting and growing businesses, maintaining a skilled workforce and enhancing communities so that the climate here is one in which businesses, small and large, and workers can succeed to the greatest extent possible. For more information, visit illinois.gov/dceo.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit chicago.gov/dcase.
Chicago Film Office
The Chicago Film Office, part of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, leads the City’s efforts to attract and enhance the production of feature films, television series, commercials, documentaries and all forms of local screen entertainment. For filmmakers, it is a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs, including permits, City services and logistical support. For more information, visit chicagofilmoffice.us.