Chicago’s #1! Best place for filmmakers to live and work

Move over New York and Los Angeles!  For years, Chicago was either not ranked in any MovieMaker magazine’s many annual “Best” lists, or barely hanging onto the bottom rung of listings ladder.

This year, however — yes, dreams do come true — MovieMaker ranked Chicago as The #1 Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2014. 

MovieMaker is a well-read, 21-year publication about “the art and business of making movies,” primarily indie features, based in Santa Monica. It publishes many different Top Ten categorical lists throughout the year.

That Chicago crowns MovieMaker’s most important list is reward and tribute to the thousands of production professionals who work their hearts out on being the best. 

To arrive at their rankings, MM divided the list into Big and Small Cities and Towns. After months of research, interviews and mathematical formulas, it announced the rankings in its Winter Issue.

Six criteria were used: 2013 dollars generated, shooting days, indie shooting days, film community and culture (film schools, festivals) equipment and facilities, tax incentives and cost of a living. 

It also included lifestyle, check; transportation, check; and weather. 

So here we are, #1 Top Big City for Filming:

“It may be bitterly cold off the shores of Lake Michigan this time of year, but when it comes to moviemaking, Chicago is as red-hot as they get, setting a city record in 2012 …  and (eclipsing) that in 2013, with a host of titles like Jupiter Ascending, Divergent, Jack Ryan, The Vatican Tapes, Transformers 4, and A Conspiracy on Jekyll Island.

“Chicago’s sandy beaches, city streets, parks, public art, and skyscrapers have all been captured on the big screen, from the North Shore to Union Station, the “L” to Wrigley Field, and Lakeshore Drive to the Willis Tower.

“The city has the nation’s largest municipal harbor system, and its popular waterfront and nightlife are very familiar to Second City natives Jon Favreau, Michael Mann, and The Wachowskis.

“And it scored particularly high on Film Community and Culture, with the Music Box Theatre, Nightingale Chicago, Gene Siskel Film Center, and many other independent art houses regularly showing rarely seen film noir, avant-garde gems, microcinema, and relics of Hollywood’s Golden era in their original format.”

Here’s how the other Big Cities ranked: 2) New York, 3) Austin, 4) Los Angeles, 5) Seattle, 6) Boston, 7) Philadelphia, 8) Portland,9) Memphis and 10) San Francisco.

MM’s Winter Issue will be on newsstands Jan. 28.