From CEOs and politicians to philanthropists and entrepreneurs, Crain’s “Power 150” list is just a snapshot of those leading some of Northeast Ohio’s most influential organizations and who are in a position to move the region forward. There were no specific criteria used in selecting the “Power 150,” nor were they chosen through a nomination process. Rather, our editorial staff collectively gathered names, taking into consideration each person’s role in Northeast Ohio and that of their organization. An effort was made to include a range of people, businesses and industries. Because many of those listed serve on multiple boards, we limited highlighted involvement to three organizations or efforts. The 2022 “Power 150” is an updated version of the 2020 “Power 150,” 2014 “Power 150” and the 2017 “Who’s Who in Northeast Ohio” lists.
Bill Garvey President, Greater Cleveland Film Commission
Highlighted Involvement: Leadership Cleveland
In the news: A year after helping Cleveland land Netflix’s “White Noise,” Garvey and the GCFC worked with Universal on the $25 million LeBron James movie “Shooting Stars.” The Queens, New York, native has worked to add “The Land” to Hollywood. His newest mission? Expanding the state’s tax incentive for films. “Ultimately these projects depend on a tax incentive to come,” he told Cleveland.com
WHITE NOISE – (Front L-R) Greta Gerwig as Babette, Dean Moore/Henry Moore as Wilder and Adam Driver as Jack (Back L-R) Raffey Cassidy as Denise, May Nivola as Steffie and Sam Nivola as Heinrich in White Noise. Netflix
SOURCE: Cleveland.com | Joey Morona
November 30, 2022
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Early in “White Noise,” the filmed-in-Northeast Ohio movie opening at the Cedar Lee Theatre on Friday and streaming on Netflix starting December 30, parents Jack (Adam Driver) and Babette (Greta Gerwig) argue with their kids Denise (Raffey Cassidy), Heinrich (Sam Nivola) and Steffi (May Nivola) over whether the toxic, black smoke headed for their town is a “feathery plume” or a “billowing cloud.”
In a typical disaster movie, the protagonists would be getting the hell out of dodge instead of debating semantics. But while writer-director Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel has all the trappings of a disaster film, it turns out to be much more: a marriage story, a professor movie, even a neo-noir comedy.
These characters aren’t simply trying to make it out of the so-called “airborne toxic event” alive and back home to their cupboards of cereal. In fact, the “disaster” in the disaster movie isn’t even their biggest obstacle. It’s trying to find hope and happiness amid all the “white noise” in the world: excessive consumerism, looming environmental catastrophe, the breakdown of religion, the spread of misinformation, the constant fear of death, etc.,
So, yeah, it’s a lot.
“White Noise” is full of big ideas. In less capable hands, they might come off as overhanded and didactic. But Baumbach’s flair for dialogue (nominated twice for an Oscar for best original screenplay) is like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. There is an inexplicable beauty in his script. Mundane discussions — and there are quite a few of them in this film — sound like poetry. I could listen to Jack and Babette argue over the language of trashy romance novels or Don Cheadle’s Professor Murray Siskind lecture about the evolution of car crash scenes in Hollywood movies all day.
But I suspect you wouldn’t want to watch that movie.
It’s 1985 and this is the story of Jack Gladney, an enigma of an academic who teaches Hitler studies at the local college but doesn’t speak German. He lives in a state of constant dread and insecurity. Babette, who teaches fitness classes and reads for the elderly, conceals her anxiety under her big, glorious head of hair, secretly popping off-market pills to help her cope. Each of their kids (Wilder, played by twins Dean and Henry Moore, is the fourth) is better equipped to handle the pending crisis.
Sam Nivola as Heinrich, Adam Driver as Jack, May Nivola as Steffie, Greta Gerwig as Babette, Dean Moore/Henry Moore as Wilder and Raffey Cassidy as Denise in the Netflix release “White Noise.”Wilson Webb/Netflix
That crisis, err, the airborne toxic event, is the result of a spectacular collision between a train and a tanker trunk. Suddenly, their delicate family dynamic is thrown into chaos and a seemingly endless series of traffic jams and overcrowded evacuation centers. Jack, despite his intellectual bona fides, is totally inept at keeping it together and only adds to the mass hysteria surrounding them. Think if “The Day After Tomorrow” was a comedy.
But cheating death, which they do, just makes matters worse. When Jack learns he’s been exposed to the toxins and probably has only “15 to 30 years” to live, as a disaster simulation intern tells him, he treats it as a death sentence despite all of the other, more immediate health ailments he faces. Babette, meanwhile, becomes even more distant and lost in those pills until Jack confronts her to reveal the truth because, as he puts it to her, “the point of Babette is that she reveals and confides.”
From there, the film goes off the rails in a noir-ish third act as both Jack and Babette are sent over the edge and driven to acts of desperation. The tonal shift is the kind of WTF moment that might make you give up on a movie. But not one that features Driver, pot-bellied and disheveled, delivering one of his best performances as the perpetually exasperated Jack; or Gerwig, more known for her directing and screenwriting efforts than her acting but a revelation here as the quietly, but deeply traumatized Babette.
For the hundreds of industry professionals from the region and thousands of local background actors who worked on the film, the best performance perhaps comes courtesy of Northeast Ohio itself. Baumbach’s 1980s utopia looks stunning in all of its 35mm glory as he, director of photography Lol Crawley and production designer Jess Gonchor transformed Wellington in Lorain County into the idyllic college town of Blacksmith and Downtown Cleveland into its rustbelt neighbor of Iron City. You might have to look closely to see it, but when you know, you know.
Earlier this year, I was watching the closing night film of the Cleveland International Film Festival and, at the end of it, a woman in front of me stood up and said to her companion, “I liked it, I just don’t know how to articulate it.” I had the same reaction when someone asked me on my way out of the theater what I thought of “White Noise.” I have a feeling others will, too.
That’s because Baumbach has made a bold, genre-busting film that has plenty to say and says it in an inventive way that is equally brilliant and frustrating. The ending, for instance, might be a little bit too Hollywood for some tastes. Still, no matter what you make of its sometimes meandering plot or somewhat muddled message, you can’t help but be charmed by the film’s undeniably quirky spirit.
It just might make you want to dance the “New Body Rhumba” in a grocery store.
SOURCE: Cleveland Magazine | Dillon Stewart
November 23, 2022
The new movie starring Adam Driver filmed for more than six months, tapped into local crews and used Wellington, Akron and downtown Cleveland to create the universe of Don DeLillo’s iconic novel. By Dillon Stewart
Late last July, actors Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver mill around outside Addie’s Antiques in Wellington, 45 minutes southwest of Cleveland. Chatting off camera, Gerwig sports a frizzy mop of hairsprayed curls, and Driver hides a paunch under a plaid dress shirt. Most businesses neighboring Addie’s, an actual functioning antique shop, have been transformed into brightly colored restaurants, nightclubs and other fictional storefronts. Sitting in lawn chairs next to paparazzi, locals gawk at the spectacle as if watching an Independence Day parade, and some even get in on the action as extras on this Hollywood film set.
The meta ‘80s fever dream is the brainchild of director Noah Baumbach for his upcoming film, White Noise. But Hollywood descending upon Northeast Ohio is becoming a common scene. Fast and the Furious and Captain America: Winter Soldier shot scenes in and around Downtown Cleveland, and White Boy Rick and Cherry, directed by Cleveland natives John and Joe Russo, filmed almost entirely in the area. Heck, this is even the second film to hit Wellington, a town of just more than 4,000, which hosted Liam Neeson’s film The Minuteman in 2019.
Courtesy of Netflix
But White Noise is different. Author Don DeLillo’s timely, anxiety-riddled ‘80s novel was deemed by some in the industry as “unadaptable” after a few false starts in the early 2000s. The book’s overwhelming feeling of existential dread, strong internal dialogue and unseen threat probably abetted that narrative. But doing it right, according to Baumbach, was enough to give most money men a different kind of dread.
Local crew members describe a spare-no-expense approach that included shutting down a stretch of highway for six weeks, transforming an abandoned Walmart into a film stage, building a faux motel under the Inner Belt Bridge in the Flats, digging a river in rural Ohio and spinning dozens of rolls of real, tactile film.
And that’s exactly what Netflix did. Bill Garvey, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, estimates White Noisespent more than $100 million in Northeast Ohio — the most of any movie to date. Netflix’s original budget was about $82 million, but an extended shoot and an artist-first philosophy drove that up to a rumored $140 million, though official audits won’t come out until next year.
“We have such a diversity of looks here,” says Garvey. “That and the logistical ease of working here is what gets them here. But it is limited by the $40 million [tax incentive] cap we have.”
Production designer Jess Gonchor, who won an Academy Award for True Grit in 2010, is a master of building universes. This project called for a true-to-life Midwestern setting, one with spacious supermarkets, a boy scout camp, a college campus and housing stock that looked like Anywhere, USA. Only one place came to mind: Northeast Ohio.
“I don’t think we could have done this anywhere else in the country,” says Gonchor. “We took major advantages of the locations and kindness of the people. There are not a lot of places that are interested in letting you do that kind of stuff.”
Tasked with setting the scene for DeLillo’s novel, which follows a professor and his family as they react to an airborne toxic event in a “Middle America” college town, Gonchor first explored upstate New York, near Buffalo. Around the time that fell through, Gonchor found an interview where DeLillo mentioned being inspired by a supermarket in Chagrin Falls.
Gonchor never found that supermarket, but two hours west of Buffalo, he did find the perfect location to recreate the book’s fictional town of Blacksmith. In the classrooms of the University of Akron, he saw Jack Gladney’s lecture hall. Wellington and Oberlin perfectly played the cozy town surrounding “College-on-the-Hill.” Peninsula’s Camp Manitoc had a dusty sheen of reality perfect for the boy scout camp to which the Gladney family would eventually escape.
Still, Gonchor admits the deciding factor typically comes down to budget and logistical ease.
“I always try to do, first and foremost, what’s right for the movie,” he says. “But, fortunately and unfortunately, a lot of movies these days are driven by tax incentives.”
The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit incentives were created in 2009 to encourage studios to make movies, shows, video games, theatrical productions and more in the state. For those spending more than $300,000, Ohio offers a refundable tax credit of 30% on production cast and crew wages and other in-state spending.
But Ohio caps these incentives at a combined $40 million per year. That means if (the fictional) LeBron James on Ice eats up $20 million in tax credits, the studio behind The Wild Adventures of Cleveland Magazine Editor Dillon Stewart (in the very early stages of pre-production) only has the remaining $20 million with which to play.
Courtesy of Netflix
Meanwhile, states such as New Mexico and Louisiana have used a $100 million cap to become leaders in the film industry, and Georgia pulled in $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2022 by not having any cap at all.
Opponents call these credits a bad deal for taxpayers. They say these filmmakers would work here anyway. But Garvey points to ripples like the 36,000 nights spent in local hotels by White Noise crewmembers. The NFL Draft, meanwhile, saw an 85% hotel occupancy rate among 26 hotels for one weekend — a number closer to 10,000 nights. A study by consulting firm Olsberg SPI found, from 2010-2020, a $3.09 return for every dollar in tax credits and that 134 projects created 6,192 full-time equivalent jobs and $1.1 billion in total gross economic output. Meanwhile, more than $200 million was turned away due to the tax incentive cap, Garvey says.
“The opportunities have grown exponentially over the past few years, but it’s not at its peak,” says Evan Prunty, co-founder of Black Valve Media who served as a video playback operator on WhiteNoise. Throughout DeLillo’s novel, television clips puncture real life with snippets of consumer culture, creating a uniquely modern state of anxiety. Prunty worked to recreate that motif with the television sets and other circa-1980s props you see throughout the film.
As a member of the Local 209 union, which represents entertainment industry members in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, Prunty is on a list of local crewmembers that studios can tap when making films. He pays $1,500 in dues, which he says “pays off tenfold.”
Studios actually prefer to use local talent, Gonchor says. It’s cheaper. But it’s not always possible.
“When Cherry and Judas and the Black Messiah filmed in Cleveland at the same time, there was nobody left to hire in the area,” Prunty says. “It’s not like there are people sitting around. If there’s a movie, there’s work for you. I guarantee it.”
Ever since Joe and Anthony Russo released “Avengers: Endgame,” in 2019, the sibling directors have been asked over and over if they would ever work again with Marvel Studios. Each time, they’ve tried to politely deflect — “We’re always talking; we’d need to see what would work” — even though, as Joe put it to Variety in early October, they’ve known the truth for years. “We won’t be ready to do anything with Marvel until the end of the decade,” he says.
Instead, the Russos have dedicated themselves to assembling their own creative cosmos with AGBO, the independent, artist-friendly studio they launched in 2017 with producing partner Mike Larocca. Their “Endgame”-sized ambition is no less than to help lead the industry into the future of entertainment, which is why the Russos have been selected as Variety’s Showmen of the Year.
SOURCE: WKYC 3 Studios | Ryan Haidet
October 26, 2022
GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — It’s true. The boogeyman has ties to Northeast Ohio.
James Jude Courtney, the actor who has portrayed horror villain Michael Myers in the three latest Halloween movies alongside Jamie Lee Curtis, was born and raised in our community.
“I was born in Garfield Heights at Marymount Hospital and raised in Bedford,” he tells 3News in an exclusive interview. “I think I had just turned 15 when we moved to South Carolina. I went to St. Mary’s grade school and Holy Name High School.”
Dan O’Shannon, right, a Northeast Ohio native who has worked on classic sitcoms, is the scheduled guest speaker for Greater Cleveland Film Commission’s upcoming “Behind the Camera” event at Pickwick & Frolic. He is shown at an event in Cleveland last year with Mike Miller of Music Box Supper Club.
SOURCE: Cleveland.com | Marc Bona, Cleveland.com
October 19, 2022
Veteran television writer Dan O’Shannon, who grew up in Painesville, has a laundry list of credits of acclaimed shows: “Modern Family,”“Frasier,”“Cheers” and others. He’ll be the guest speaker at the film commission’s annual “Behind the Camera” event Friday, Oct. 21. It’s at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre at Pickwick & Frolic.
O’Shannon will serve as featured guest at the moderated behind-the-scenes conversation that offers a chance for folks to glean an insight into the entertainment business while supporting the mission of the film commission.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to connect with them a little bit by talking about growing up in Ohio and what it took to get into the television industry back then,” he said. “It was a very different time. You couldn’t just Google ‘How to be a TV writer.’ ”
Expect O’Shannon – who gave an engaging talk to scores of people a year ago at the Music Box Supper Club – to paint a picture of what goes on behind the scenes at a situation comedy, from the genesis of jokes and famous bits people might remember to mixing in personal stories.
“It can go in any direction,” said O’Shannon, who has won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. “It depends on the audience.” That means if the audience wants to hear about the technical aspects of script writing or learn how a show gets produced, O’Shannon will deliver.
Proceeds will support the non-profit film commission’s mission to attract production spending to the region – a critical, and competitive, economic component of moviemaking these days.
VIP cocktail reception is 6 to 7 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m. WKYC anchor Christi Paul will moderate.
• “Cast Member, $100. First-come, first-served general seating with complimentary beer and wine.
• “Staff Writer,” $250. The limited VIP tickets offer a reception with O’Shannon, reserved seats, valet, hearty hors d’oeuvres and open bar.
Pickwick & Frolic is at 2035 E. 4th St., Cleveland.
SOURCE: News Radio WTAM 1100 | Tom Moore
October 17, 2022
(Cleveland) – The Greater Cleveland Film Commission will host award-winning screenwriter and producer Dan O’Shannon for the return of its signature Behind the Camera fundraiser event Friday, October 21st, 2022 at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre at Pickwick & Frolic.
Behind the Camera with Dan O’Shannon will be moderated by former CNN Reporter and current WKYC-News Anchor Christi Paul. This look behind-the-scenes will include a wide variety of topics ranging from Dan’s experiences in the entertainment business, how growing up in Northeast Ohio impacted his career, and special insight into the creative process behind some of the greatest TV sitcoms of all time.
The same morning, GCFC will host a student Q&A at Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus with Dan targeted towards local high school and college students.
Proceeds from these events fund the Greater Cleveland Film Commission’s mission to attract production spending to the region, advocate to expand the film industry in Ohio, and educate the local workforce with the skills for a career in the motion picture industry in NE Ohio.
This link will take you to where you can find out more and purchase tickets.
Copyright 2022, iHeartMedia
Listen to WTAM for news at the top and bottom of the hour
The Greater Cleveland Film Commission will host award-winning screenwriter and producer Dan O’Shannon for its “Behind the Camera” fundraiser event at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre at Pickwick & Frolic at 2035 E. 4th St. in Cleveland.
The event will be a moderated conversation that will cover topics from O’Shannon’s experiences in the entertainment business, his childhood in Northeast Ohio, and insight into some of the shows he has worked on. O’Shannon is known for his work on “Cheers,” “Fraiser” and “Modern Family,” among others.
Proceeds from the event will fund the Greater Cleveland Film Commission’s mission to attract production spending to the region, advocate for expanding the film industry in Ohio and educate the local workforce for the jobs created.
A VIP cocktail reception will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Tickets start at $100 at bit.ly/3CMynUG.
SOURCE: LMGI COMPASS | Stevie Nelson
Fall 2022 Issue
2021 LMGI Award winner William Garvey (Judas and the Black Messiah) gives Stevie Nelson a tour of his Ohio hometown of Cleveland – home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a growing destination for film production.