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Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Annnnnd Action!

Hi, hello, and welcome to Midwest Movie Maker, your premiere source for informative and entertaining news and views about filmmaking and filmmakers in and from the Midwest.

As you can see, we’re still hanging lights and moving props. You might even call this Midwest Movie Maker: Take Two. (It’s a long story – so let’s just say this: We won.)

So what’s our deal? And why is there a picture of Spider-Man in our profile? (The same one that adorns this blog post?) Originally, it was because our first stab at MMM launched on the same day
Spider-Man 3 premiered in theaters in 2007.

And that’s not a promo pic, by the way. That’s a snapshot I took on my way to work in April 2006. That’s when a second unit crew from Spider-Man 3 spent the better part of a week and a half in Cleveland, shooting one of the summer blockbuster’s larger action set pieces.

The crew took up nearly 10 city blocks along Euclid Avenue. They sped, crashed, flipped and demolished all manner of vehicles, much to the delight of lunchtime onlookers. Spider-Man was spotted slinging webs in the theater district and battling the Sandman in the intersection of E. 9th and Euclid.

By the time the shoot was over, Cleveland had adopted old webhead as one of its own (a Westsider, no doubt), and local news stations were declaring the city Hollywood on the Northcoast.

And at the time, it seemed like this might be a reality. Prior to Spider-Man swinging into town, a crew had wrapped on the comedy
The Oh in Ohio with Paul Rudd, Parker Posey and Danny DeVito.

It seemed like the work of the
Cleveland Film Commission was slowly, but surely, coming to fruition. The small office and its dedicated crew worked hard to convince officials that attracting film crews and productions to the city would be both a mechanism for revenue generation and recognition that is largely – if not completely – overlooked by comparable cities throughout the United States and the Midwest.

They’re still working hard, by the way, to both pass a tax incentive for the state of Ohio that will help draw filmmakers to the region (one that recently was OK’d by the state’s house and senate, but vetoed by Governor Ted Strickland – but more on that in a later news post) and convince filmmakers that locating in Cleveland is not only a viable option, but a desirable one.

It offers everything a production would need: talent and crew, world class accommodations and attractions, a shoreline that can mimic any ocean or sea, a downtown that can mimic Manhattan or L.A., Middle America suburbs, countryside – the list goes on and on.

With technology advancing every day, shooting on location is less and less an obstacle. Before long, locating in Hollywood will no longer be a necessary evil to producing commercial feature films and television programs. For proof, look to Austin’s vibrant film community.

There’s no reason the Midwest can’t become the New Hollywood. The variety of locales, the low cost of living, the burgeoning incentive programs, its accessibility to the rest of the nation – it’s a virtual treasure trove for today’s filmmakers.

All that’s needed is a map to guide them.

And that’s what we aim to be.

Take a look around. Get a sense of what’s coming soon. Or just drop us a note and say hello.

More importantly, if you’re a filmmaker tell us about your film. We’re interested in telling the stories of films of all sizes. So let us know.

In the meantime, we’ll get back to work.

Tom Tennant

Publisher and Editor


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Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Imagine Medina standing in for the rolling hills of Wakanda or the steps of the Sanctum Sanctorum leading down to E. 9th. With a little more infrastructure, it may have happened.

Cleveland natives and Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo said as much recently during a Q&A after a screening of the film at the Cleveland Cinematheque, adding that they would have loved to bring Infinity War to Cleveland. One of the reasons the brothers couldn’t is because it lacks a modern sound stage suitably for a film its size.

The Russos shot much of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland. If the right sound stage was available, they would have kept the film in Northeast Ohio longer.

The directors said the availability of state-of-the-art sound stages was one of the main reasons why nearly 40 feature films are shooting in Georgia. Georgia's Pinewood Atlanta Studios is the second largest purpose-built studio in North America, featuring 18 sound stages rang…

'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…

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…