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Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

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Profile: Filmmaker Alex P. Michaels is Just Getting Started

Back before the turn of the last century, Cleveland filmmaker Alex P. Michaels was on the verge of seeing his name on the small screen, credited as the writer and creator of a made-for-television movie titled What Angels Fear.

He was 32 years old at the time, working temp jobs so he could make time to screenwrite. One of those stories was Angels. Michaels entered the script into Procter& Gamble’s Dreambuilder competition for African-American playwrights. He won.

The Dreambuilder program was created in 1997 to give African-American voices and points of view a place on mainstream television in a production that would appeal to all viewers.

“Jim Friedman, a white producer in Cincinnati, created the program for black writers to get their scripts produced,” says Michaels. Friedman is an Emmy-winning director. “In addition to buying the scripts, Jim and his company produced the stories and aired them on television. What Angels Fear won four Emmys. Jim won as director, both lead actors,…

Northeast Ohio Well Represented in 'Avengers: Infinity War'

Copley, Ohio’s Carrie Coon joins Cleveland’s Russo Brothers on Marvel epic You can take The Avengers out of Cleveland (and film in sweaty, old Atlanta), but you can’t take the Cleveland out of The Avengers. While every Marvel fan knows Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo hail from the CLE (or the LAND), they’ll soon discover another Ohio native chewing up the screen as Proxima Midnight.

Carrie Coon, best known for her roles on Fargo and The Leftovers confirmed via Twitter that she’s playing the villain, a member of Thanos’ Black Order. Coon hails from Copley, Ohio, a suburb of Akron.

“It’s true! My voice and a dazzle of gifted animators have teamed up to play Proxima Midnight. To be fair my face is in there somewhere. #MoCapWhilePregnant,” she tweeted.

The Russo Brothers entered the MCU in 2014 with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was filmed primarily in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summer of 2013. They followed that with Captain America: Civil War. Though filmed in Atl…

'Walking Dead' star Emily Kinney joins 'Anhedonia' cast

Emily Kinney, perhaps best known for her role as Beth Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, is joining Anhedonia, the new indie feature from Cleveland’s Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco.

Kinney got her start on stage, with roles in Spring Awakening and August: Osage County, before transitioning to guest roles on television and a star turn as Emily on Showtime’s The Big C.

Her breakout role would come as Beth Greene, Maggie Greene’s little sister, on The Walking Dead. Kinney became a fan favorite during a series of dramatic episodes in the series’ fourth season when Kinney’s Greene bonded with fellow survivor Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus.

Anhedonia co-stars Breckin Meyer and Giselle Eisenberg.

"To have the opportunity to work with such an amazing actress like Emily is beyond exciting,” says Swinderman. “It's also very exciting for the city and people of northeast Ohio to have three huge TV stars coming to town to work on such a wonderful project.”

Anhedonia tells the tal…

Push is on to raise Ohio film tax incentive to $100 million

There’s a bill before the Ohio General Assembly poised to more than double the Motion Picture Tax Credit, lifting the benefit from $40 million per fiscal year to $100 million. The goal is to expand the state’s budding film industry by attracting more film, television and theater production.

The tax credit played a pivotal role in the state landing bigger budget films, like The Avengers, Alex Cross, and Captain America: Winter Soldier. In recent years, however, states with larger tax incentives have lured those productions away.

Georgia, for example, offers a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production and post-production, throwing in another 10 percent if the film includes the state’s logo in its end credits. Broderick Johnson, producer of The Blind Side, referred to the credit as “one of the best, if not the best, in the country,” in an interview with Variety. There appears to be no cap, which is why the state has become the Hollywood of the East.
C…

Cleveland indie nabs 'SNL' alum Abby Elliott, TV veteran Breckin Meyer

Abby Elliott and Breckin Meyer are coming to Cleveland. They are set to star in Anhedonia, the new feature from 1031 Films’ Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco. Filming begins May 1 at locations around Northeast Ohio.

Elliott, an alum of Saturday Night Live, is best known for her roles on How I Met Your Mother, Odd Mom Out, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It may not be Elliott’s first time in Cleveland, either. She played Lara in Fun Size, which shot in Cleveland in 2012.

Meyer starred as Jared Franklin on Franklin & Bash and is well known for roles in Road Trip, Clueless and Garfield.

Also joining the cast is Giselle Eisenberg, who stars as Sophia in Life in Pieces, and Cleveland’s own Debra Herzog, who had a supporting part on Outsiders and serves as a producer on Anhedonia.

Other local stars include Bryant Carroll, Allen O’Reilly, Jonathan Chiarle, and Katherine DeBoer. More roles will soon be cast.

Dark subjects, big questionsAnhedonia tells the tale of Casey (Meyer), who mee…

Cleveland Conquers Pixar: Two Chagrin Falls Filmmakers Up for Animation Oscars

If you’re wondering who to root for during Sunday’s Oscars telecast, I have two names for you: Lee Unkrich and Dave Mullins. Both are Chagrin Falls, Ohio, natives. Both work for animation powerhouse Pixar. And both are nominated for Academy Awards in animation.

Unkrich directed Coco, the Pixar Animation Studios 2017 hit up for Best Animated Feature Film. The film tells the tale of Miguel Rivera, a 12-year-old boy who is transported to the land of the dead. There, he seeks the help of his ancestors to get back to the land of the living. The story is Unkrich’s too, although he didn’t write the screenplay.

Mullins wrote and directed the Pixar short Lou, which played alongside Pixar’s summer hit, Cars 3. Lou, the main character in the short, is made from the assorted unclaimed items of a kindergarten class. Lou’s gifts allow him to reshape the life of a class bully. Lou is up for Best Animated Short Film.

Clevelanders conquer Pixar Unkrich was an actor in his youth, performing at Clevelan…