Cleveland Ranked No. 18 on Best Places to Live and Work as a MovieMaker, 2024

SOURCE: MovieMaker Magazine | Deirdre McCarrick, Tim Molloy, and Margeaux Sippell
January 18, 2024

18. Cleveland, OHIO

Cleveland and the area around it have produced the Russo brothers, Jim Jarmusch, and LeBron James, the rising star of filmmaking behind the SpringHill Company. It has a very experienced, deep crew base that can handle multiple major productions at a time, and entices them with Ohio’s 30% refundable tax credit based on $300,000 minimum spend. You’ll also find plenty of equipment rental houses, including Cleveland Camera Rental and Midwest Grip & Lighting. 

Cleveland’s cultural offerings include the Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, on the shores of Lake Erie. The city’s cost of living is well below average — housing costs are remarkably affordable. The city is also a mere two hours away from Pittsburgh, which appears soon on this list.

The wide range of projects shot in Cleveland include the feature film Lost and Found in Cleveland, Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries, and Netflix’s Baby Gorilla Cam, a livestream from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo that we just learned about while writing this and need to go watch immediately — be right back.

Notable Film Festivals: Cleveland International Film Festival and Chagrin Documentary Film Festival

The Cleveland International Film Festival is one of the handful of film festivals in the world that is one of our 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee and one of our 25 Coolest Film Festivals. It’s known for bold, energetic, crowd-pleasing programming, for inclusivity — including programs focused on BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ filmmakers — and for education. It also offers massive prize packages. 

The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, meanwhile, basks in the small-town charm of Chagrin Falls, known for the scenic falls in the town’s center. It recognizes great documentaries in honor of David Ponce, a young filmmaker who died of leukemia in 2006, but whose spirit and legacy live on in his community’s annual embrace of storytelling and its capacity for increasing our understanding ofthe world.