If you’ve seen the late-night film sets or descried an actor noshing at a local watering hole (Emilio!), you know Cincinnati is quietly becoming a premier film location. Though lest you think that’s all happening by accident, Film Cincinnati Executive Director Kristen Schlotman is here to tell you it’s not.
Not by an Alfonso Cuarón long shot. (A little film humor to brighten your day.)
Schlotman would know. As Executive Director of Film Cincinnati, she’s coordinated production for Elizabethtown, Seabiscuit, In Too Deep, Traffic, Dreamer, Secretariat, Ides of March, Miles Ahead, Carol, The Blunderer, and now The Old Man And The Gun.
Cincinnati Refined: Film Cincinnati has enjoyed a recent run of successes. Obviously, the Ohio Motion Picture Incentive Program has a lot to do with it, but to what else do you attribute that success?
Kristen Schlotman: Cincinnati has had tremendous success, not only because of the tax credit the state of Ohio provides but also the excellent service to films Film Cincinnati has become known for. Film Cincinnati acts like a one-stop shop for all things film. We coordinate your scouting, locations, crew, talent, permits, communication with any city or state agencies, entertainment and housing (i.e. we act as producers from beginning to end to make the project a complete success). We feel our assistance and expertise is the reason every major motion picture that has come to Cincinnati has come back for a second, or a even third. Repeat business is a testament to the quality of service and talent available for productions in greater Cincinnati.
CR: What makes Cincinnati a good place to shoot a film/TV show/commercial?
KS: Cincinnati is a great place to shoot because of the existing and always expanding infrastructure to support a production, as well as the many diverse looks you can get within 15 minutes of downtown.
CR: I imagine part of the process involves introducing studios/producers/directors to Cincinnati. What is that first look like? How do you make sure to showcase the right things?
KS: A great first impression is easy. We feel so lucky to be able to share Cincinnati's renaissance and people with the filmmakers. It's wonderful to have hotels like 21C for a first impression, and our restaurants rival some of the best in the world. We 'wow' filmmakers with our professionalism and knowledge of the industry, and make sure we answer ALL of their questions. Usually, in just a few hours, they have fallen in love with Cincinnati.
CR: How, if at all, has Cincinnati’s decade of urban redevelopment affected its viability in terms of attracting projects?
KS: One might think the redevelopment in urban areas has hurt the attraction of production. While it has made it a little more challenging, it has not deterred projects from coming here. We are still attracting major period films such as Carol, Miles Ahead, A Strange Kind of Murder, and The Old Man and The Gun, just to name a few. One of the things Cincinnati has deemed important is to respect the original architecture while keeping or redeveloping our historic buildings.
CR: What are a few of the most commonly used settings in the city?
KS: There are definitely some favorite locations in Downtown Cincinnati. Union terminal always blows their mind. Arnold's has been used in several films and becomes a favorite very quickly because of its charm and history and the ease of working with proprietor Rhonda Breen. The old police station across from the Queen City Club has often been attractive to filmmakers, as has the Roebling Bridge, OTR, and the beer tunnels.
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