Reports show 2015 a big year for state film industry

Mayor Emanuel, Dick Wolfe, Taylor Kinney

The past four years of city and state media and entertainment production has been the most profitable and exciting in the history of the film offices.

And 2015’s production stats, released by the Illinois Film and Chicago Film Offices within a day of each other, provide more evidence of continuing growth.

Calling the film industry “an important economic driver for Illinois,” the Illinois Film Office on Tuesday reported an estimated $330 million was spent in the state on the production of features, TV shows and commercials in 2015.

The report states that the Film Office had worked with 291 projects, up 18% from the previous year; 11,275 hires were made and 200 commercials had filmed throughout the state.

The Chicago Film Office, at the Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), reported 543 projects filming in the city over 1,902 days, a 20% increase over 2014. Feature and indie film project days grew by 18%. Overall commercial production jumped 20% from 2014’s record year of spot production. 

Variation between the two groups of stats is the result of two different reporting methodologies. The Illinois Film Office reports are drawn from estimates that producers provide when they submit applications for the Illinois 30% Film Tax Credit and from actual expenditures when the credit is claimed.

Chicago Film Office gathers its data from film permits that allow producers to film on city streets and property. CFO also accommodates a wider spread of genres, such as indies, corporate, reality TV, student films, et al.

Many productions throughout the year, however, go unreported. The IFO doesn’t include projects that are ineligible for the tax credit.  The CFO can’t record producers filming without a permit or outside city limits. 

So get set.  What these reports proclaim is that Chicago/Illinois is very big, expanding, busy, exciting, competitive and established industry.  Count on the year ahead to be the biggest year ever for media and entertainment in the city’s 117 year history of film production!