Pa. ranks sixth in U.S. for filmmaking jobs
Alex O'Loughlin portrayed Dr. Andy Yablonski on "Three Rivers," the CBS medical drama whose pilot was filmed in Pittsburgh. The series has since been canceled.
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The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board released a study Monday commissioned to help determine workforce needs for the film and television production industry in the state.
"This gives us a snapshot of where we are now and where we need to be," said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office.
The study, conducted by The Entertainment Economy Institute of Los Angeles, found the state ranks sixth in the nation, with 2.5 percent of national movie industry employment. The five states with the largest share of motion picture and television industry employment are California, New York, Florida, Texas and Illinois. The study also reports that 64 percent of film work in Pennsylvania is either in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.
"This study helps us nail down how we can target more training to produce special skills and meet the needs of the industry," said Kelleigh Boland, director of research, planning and business development for the TRWIB.
Although film productions are finite -- generally lasting about three months -- Ms. Boland said the jobs should not be considered temporary because they help workers develop a skill set that is transferable. Cinematic, organizational and technical skills are all necessary for film work.
The study recommends retaining or expanding the state's film tax credit and adding a carve-out tied to hiring local crews; expanding the tax credit to include firms that produce animation, games and visual effects; encouraging technical education at community colleges geared toward future employment in the film industry and youth pipeline development and career education.
Movies made in the region in 2009 included "Unstoppable" with Denzel Washington; "Love and Other Drugs," starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway; and "The Next Three Days," headlined by Russell Crowe. The pilot episode of the now-canceled TV series "Three Rivers" also shot locally last year.
So far in 2010, no major motion pictures or TV programs have been produced in Western Pennsylvania. Ms. Keezer of the Pittsburgh Film Office said she expects several feature films will shoot in Western Pennsylvania before summer's end. She blamed the winter weather for a slower start to production announcements this year.
"One scout [to look for filming locations] was postponed three different times because of snow," she said. "People are gearing up now. On Friday I had three different producers calling me about three different projects."
First Published March 23, 2010 12:00 am