CSU Film School Chooses Frederic Lahey as Director

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) congratulates Frederic Lahey on his selection as the inaugural Director of the Cleveland State University (CSU) School of Film, Television and Interactive Media. The process to choose the Director was long and thorough, involving officials from CSU as well as GCFC President Ivan Schwarz.

“Director Lahey is the right person for the job,” said President Schwarz. “Having worked extensively in production, while also leading the Colorado Film School to a position of prominence, he possesses the right mix of academic and industry experience that will start CSU’s program on the right track. We look forward to having a close relationship with Director Lahey and the school as we continue to grow this industry in Cleveland.”

GCFC’s advocacy efforts led to the state of Ohio awarding $7.5 million to CSU last spring to build the first standalone film school in Ohio history. GCFC will continue its efforts to increase the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Incentive, which will not only attract more and larger productions, but bring more jobs and economic impact to the region, and allow for critical production infrastructure like sound stages and production offices.

Where are they now? “Antwone Fisher”

We look back at movies that #FilmedInCLE and what some of the people involved are doing now.


ANTWONE FISHER, Writer/Co-Producer

A Cleveland native, Fisher’s screenplay, based on his memoir “Finding Fish,” tells the story of Fisher as a young man in the Navy and his struggle to master his temperamental nature, address past abuse as a foster child, and find his true family. He continues to write, produce and direct, and in 2003 was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Cleveland State University.



DEREK LUKE, “Antwone Fisher”

Luke was told to audition for the film by Fisher himself (having gotten to know him while Fisher was a security guard on the Sony Pictures lot), and it proved a breakout role for the young talent. He has gone on to roles in numerous films and television series including “Friday Night Lights,” “Miracle at St. Anna,” “The Americans,” and “Notorious.” He most recently appeared in the acclaimed Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”



DENZEL WASHINGTON, Director, “Dr. Jerome Davenport”

Washington’s directorial debut was met with critical acclaim. The late Roger Ebert said of it: “A film that begins with the everyday lives of naval personnel in San Diego and ends with scenes so true and heartbreaking that tears welled up in my eyes both times I saw the film.” His most recently directed work, “Fences,” was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Denzel himself, and an Oscar win for Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress.

Where are they now? “The Avengers”

We look back at movies that #FilmedInCLE and what some of the people involved are doing now.


JOSS WHEDON, Director – The creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” was helming only his second feature film, but his knack for snappy dialogue and meaningful character moments was on display throughout “The Avengers.” Recently, Whedon shocked Marvel fanboys by jumping to DC to write and direct a “Batgirl” film for Warner Bros.




TOM HIDDLESTON, “Loki” – Hiddleston’s second turn as the trickster god of Asgard and half-brother of Thor solidified his star status. In the years since, he’s played Hank Williams, survived a break-up with Taylor Swift (#Hiddleswift), gone up against King Kong and will next reprise his role as Loki in “Thor: Ragnarok” this fall.



ASHLEY JOHNSON, “Waitress” – While the former child star and Whedon favorite’s role as a waitress who has a moment with Captain America was largely cut from the movie, save for a couple quick hits during the battle in New York (East Ninth Street), Ashley Johnson went on to lend her voice to the now iconic heroine “Ellie” in the critically-acclaimed smash hit Playstation game “The Last of Us.” She will reprise that role in the hotly anticipated sequel, which should release in 2018.

McConaughey and Co. Seen Around Town

McConaughey Bowling at Mahall’s (facebook)

As the Matthew McConaughey film known as “Untitled Detroit City Project” continues to shoot throughout Cleveland, more people have been spotting the Oscar winner on and off movie sets:

Matthew McConaughey films scene for “White Boy Rick” in Cleveland’s Tower City – Cleveland.com

Yep, that was Matthew McConaughey at Lakewood bowling alley – Cleveland.com

Mars Bar Lands on Hollywood!!! – Mars Bar Facebook post

Movie Co-Starring Matthew McConaughey to Begin Filming in Lakewood – onelakewood.com

Matthew McConaughey movie shuts down East 9th Street in Cleveland – WKYC

Assembling “The Avengers”, Five Years Later

Dear Friend of GCFC,

Five years ago, Marvel’s “The Avengers” premiered and became the fifth highest grossing motion picture of all time.

As many of you know, it was filmed in large part right here in Cleveland and surrounding areas. However, some might not know exactly how that all came about.

In early Spring 2011, the film was set to shoot in Detroit, where Michigan’s film incentive and soundstages were already doing huge business. However, the Governor of Michigan had made a statement in which he discussed putting a hold on their state’s film incentive.

Not long after that, I received a call from the producers of “The Avengers.” The Governor’s statement was a concern, as was the sudden uncertainty over their tax incentive. They asked me if I could get on a plane to meet with Marvel in L.A.

I was on the next flight.

The next day I met with Marvel and Disney executives and assured them Cleveland was up to the task of filming one of the biggest and most anticipated movies of all time. I then met with officials from the state to make sure their incentive money would be approved, and with county and city officials in Cleveland to talk about the logistics of shooting a blockbuster.

Whether it was closing down East Ninth Street for a month to film explosions and alien invasions, or turning Public Square into Stuttgart, Germany, Cleveland and its residents stepped up in a big way for their city’s star turn.

We are proud to have been the catalyst for the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Incentive, which allowed us to bring this piece of movie history to Cleveland and work every day to bring to town more media productions, and with them more jobs and economic impact.

Happy Fifth Anniversary to “The Avengers,” and thanks to all of you for your continued support.


Ivan Schwarz
President, Greater Cleveland Film Commission