Industry continues to diversify, show potential with increasing need for content
CHICAGO – The Illinois FILM Office today announced that Illinois’ film industry continues to thrive, generating $330 million in Illinois spending in 2015, an 18 percent increase over the previous year, and employing thousands of Illinois residents. In 2015, the FILM Office worked with 291 television, commercial and film projects, representing the state’s multidimensional film infrastructure. Due to sustained growth and strong local support for the film industry, Chicago, Illinois was once again named one of the top 10 best places to live and work as a filmmaker by MovieMaker Magazine.
"The film industry is an important economic driver for Illinois, creating jobs and revenue for local economies throughout the state," Illinois FILM Office Director Christine Dudley said. "Illinois remains popular among filmmakers because they recognize the incredible value our state offers, with a renowned creative community, growing studios, world-class infrastructure and a competitive tax incentive program."
A strong talent pool of cast and crew members, diverse shooting locations and a competitive incentive program attracted a wide variety of projects to film in Illinois in 2015. Primetime hits "Empire" (FOX), "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago PD" (NBC) returned for their latest seasons, adding "Chicago Med" to the lineup. Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy returned to Illinois in 2015 to film Universal Studio’s "The Boss," which will be released this spring. In addition, Bob Teitel’s indie movie Southside with You was selected for Sundance’s 2016 competition.
Television production in Illinois continues to grow, with the recent announcement that a possible fourth addition to NBC’s Chicago trilogy is in development, under the working title ‘Chicago Law.’
Growing production and distribution platforms, such as Netflix, established a presence in Illinois last year, with Chicago natives Andy and Lana Wachowski filming their groundbreaking series "Sense8." Netflix has since renewed the series for a second season.
Illinois maintains a robust commercial advertising community, comprised largely of small to medium size businesses, with nearly 200 commercial projects filmed around the state. These projects fuel spending on goods and services, provide good paying jobs and contribute to local economies and the overall economic growth of the state. Illinois remains in the top three for commercial advertising production in the nation.
The Illinois FILM Office promotes Illinois as a location for film, television and advertising productions, providing assistance with everything from location scouting, hiring cast and crew to working with local unions and guilds. The Office also administers the state’s film tax credit, which has been integral in growing a competitive film industry in Illinois. The 30 percent tax credit is awarded to filmmakers for money spent on Illinois goods and services, including wages paid to Illinois residents. The goal of the Tax Credit Act is to grow, sustain and provide economic and job opportunities for local vendors, crew and filmmakers.
Illinois is the only state in the country to require all film credit applicants to submit a diversity plan, in order to create opportunities for underrepresented groups including women and minority crew members, and promote an inclusive film industry that represents the diversity of Illinois.