PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh has been the backdrop of several major movies and the presence of film crews has meant big bucks to the region, but all that could change.
In the past 20 years, there have been more than 100 films shot and produced in Western Pennsylvania, not just putting our region on the big screen, but bringing a lot of money to the area.
However, that could all disappear early next month if the state’s film tax credit goes away, and right now it’s up to the governor.
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The night of the Oscars has taken on new meaning across the state since so many movies are now being shot in the area.
“Here in Western Pennsylvania alone, we’re over 4,000 jobs, direct jobs in the industry. Our I.A.T.S.E. (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) union crew base is over 4,000 strong,” said Dawn Keezer, of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “So, these people depend on this industry for their livelihood.”
Even though the night of the Oscars is traditionally about celebrating films, there was a cloud hanging over Sunday night’s gala at Stage AE for the Highmark presents “Lights! Glamour! Action!” event to benefit the Pittsburgh Film Office.
That’s because the state’s film tax credit program could go away after March 8, and bring a grinding halt to film production across the state.
“There are 42 states vying for this film work,” said David Haddad, of Haddad’s Inc. “If we want to create an infrastructure, if we want to create jobs that stay within our state, we have to provide the incentive to be competitive.”
The Pittsburgh Film Office works to attract those films to this region.
The party Sunday evening was a fundraiser to help support those efforts and some of the auction items reflected recent films made in the area from “Unstoppable” to “Locke and Key,” which is currently shooting in Pittsburgh.
Supporters say it’s not just the film crews that will be affected if the money goes away, but related support businesses reap the benefits as well.
“Enterprise Car Rentals, Paul’s Lumber Yard, the dry cleaning services, all those ancillary services that movies use that no one thinks about as being in the movie business,” said Keezer, “they’ve all been making money off this industry and we need it to continue.”
There are high hopes that the next “Batman” movie could be shot in Pittsburgh, but that too could go away, if the film credit disappears after the governor’s budget address on March 8.
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