CLEVELAND - Greater Cleveland Film Commission President Ivan Schwartz looked relaxed Thursday. But, then again, he rarely looks frazzled.
Film crews from Los Angeles have been heaping praises on Schwartz's ability to make a smooth working experience for them in the Cleveland area. It may pay off when it comes to future projects bringing their crews, and money, to the north coast.
Two major films being shot at the same time would not have been an easy feat for many other cities.
"You've got to remember, we had two films, so they shot everywhere from Garfield Heights to Ravenna. I mean people have really taken advantage of all the assets our city has to offer and our community in northeast Ohio has to offer," Schwartz said.
Cleveland won out for site scouts looking for just the right location for their production companies. Cleveland's architecture garnered compliments from cinematographers for its ability to add to unique locations within short distances of downtown. Then there are the city's quiet neighborhoods for sound crews with an added bonus of just the right lighting situations.
Downtown's architecture and hospitality has been a welcome draw for more than 40 films being shot in just the last three years.
"Especially downtown, it's a great city. You know, ‘Captain America' was supposed to take place in Washington D.C. and they used Cleveland. Cleveland became a Washington D.C. back lot, and on ‘Draft Day' it was about the Cleveland Browns and they shot Cleveland for Cleveland, which was great," Schwartz said.
Schwartz's past work in Los Angeles with film crews is highlighted with photos on the set of "Band of Brothers" and with a trophy rarely seen in Ohio: a Golden Globe. He is steadily building an infrastructure of a filmmaking business that will bring Hollywood's gold to Ohio.
So far, success for Cleveland as a destination for filmmakers may just make Schwartz Cuyahoga County's ranking MVP. Schwartz and his team of experts are easily the most prolific winners at bringing money to the city, rivaling any pro sports team.
"In our last study with Cleveland State, it showed that a $113 million was spent in the state of Ohio, $87 million of that 130 was spent right here in northeast Ohio. It created 900 fulltime equivalent jobs in northeast Ohio and for every dollar spent, it returned $1.20 to the state of Ohio," Schwartz said.
"Our mission is to create jobs and bring economic development here and keep young people engaged in our community in the creative arts that normally would need to go elsewhere," Schwartz said. "We want to be good community partners and we really believe in Cleveland."