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Pittsburgh Film Industry Stunted By End Of Tax Credits

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Thousands of people who have come to depend on the film industry for their livelihoods are now unemployed.

And unless they leave town, they could be on the sidelines for quite a while.

Whether it’s guiding the tumbler into position in the Dark Knight, or setting up for a scene with Tom Cruise on the North Shore of the Allegheny – it has been a great run for local film workers.

“It’s nice to be able to work here in our city put the money into our city and show off our city on camera,” Mamie Stein with IATSE Local 489.

Well over 2,000 strong – it’s been steady work on some big name movies all drawn here by Pennsylvania’s movie tax credit.

“We are currently out of money,” said Dawn Keezer with the Pittsburgh Film Office. “For fiscal year 2012-13, which means right not there not a single person in the film industry that works in the movies and the TV series and all that great work coming in working.”

People like Stein will be sitting and waiting for work until July.

“A lot of us have side jobs that keep us busy, I do volunteer work,” Stein said.

Pennsylvania allocated $60 million in tax credits which went in four weeks and the work ended before 2012 expired, setting up a period of six months of no lights, no camera, no action — for an industry that has been drawing a growing number of young people here to work.

“We have a lot of them already who have jumped ship already for movies elsewhere,” Stein said.

But this is more than just an employment story.

“It’s bringing new money into a community,” Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “For example, last year they filmed ‘Out of the Furnace’ in Braddock, $40 million that they brought into a community.”

Already local crews have has lost out on a Pittsburgh-based TV series that is being filmed in Providence R.I. And now is when film companies are trying to decide where to shoot this summer.

“If they can’t get letters of approval prior to July 1, we’re going to lose out on that work too,” Keezer said.

If Jack Reacher, a.k.a. Tom Cruise, wants to return here to the scene of the crime it won’t be before the end of this fiscal year in June.

KDKA is told there simply is not the will in the legislature to try to find new money, but it is in the budget for next year, if it passes.

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