Today in history: The Winter Soldier comes to Cleveland | Axios Cleveland

Cleveland’s super duo directors, Joe and Anthony Russo. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images








SOURCE: Axios Cleveland | Troy Smith, Sam Allard
May 17, 2023

Ten years ago, Cleveland transformed into a superhero version of Washington, D.C.

Flashback: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” began filming downtown on May 17, 2013.

State of play: Cleveland won the project thanks to a $9.5 million tax credit and “The Winter Soldier” being directed by Cleveland natives Anthony and Joe Russo.

The intrigue: Cleveland played the role of Washington, D.C., in the film for numerous scenes, including action sequences on West Shoreway and Superior Avenue.

  • The kiss between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was filmed on an escalator in Tower City Center.

The bottom line: All the chaos and street closings were worth it as “The Winter Soldier” brought $80 million in economic impact to Cleveland, according to the Cleveland Film Commission.

LeBron James biopic ‘Shooting Stars’ receives gold seal for sustainable production practices |

Cans collected from the production of ‘Shooting Stars.’Sara Griffin












SOURCE: | Peter Krouse
May 11, 2023

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Environmental Media Association has given the upcoming LeBron James biopic “Shooting Stars” a Gold Seal Award for the sustainable practices used in production of the movie.

It’s believed to be the first movie filmed in Northeast Ohio to have been awarded such a distinction, said Bill Garvey, president of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

The motion picture, produced by NBCUniversal and The SpringHill Co. and available for streaming on Peacock June 2, generated its share of waste at dozens of filming locations in an around Akron and Cleveland during several months of filming last year. But thanks to Sara Griffin and her Subaru Legacy, much of those discarded items that would otherwise have been trashed, ended up being recycled, reused or donated to various charities.

“I was a one-man band with a budget of almost nothing,” said Griffin, who was paid $12 an hour to be the sustainability coordinator on location.

A self-described yoga therapeutics facilitator, Griffin said she fell into the job with Shooting Stars because her meditation coach is related to the unit production manager on the film.

“I just walked in with a lot of motivation,” she said, and found a helpful ally in Doreen Schreiber, business recycling specialist at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.

Griffin said she would often spend 16 hours a day moving stuff around, having others make deliveries and talking up sustainable practices with the various crews. She would arrange for everything from water bottles to plywood to leftover food to be carted away.

Some of the recipients of the surplus goods were the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Habitat for Humanity, men’s and women’s shelters in downtown Cleveland. She also helped line up a variety of green vendors.

Griffin also took it upon herself to encourage those operating vehicles to limit their idling and to have food staff consider sustainable menu options.

And if she couldn’t always get people to do the right thing, Griffin at least would have the appropriate conversations with people.

“There’s a lack of education,” she said, “and nobody really wants to be bothered.”
That’s what made it the hardest job she’s ever done, Griffin said, but she would gladly do it again.

“There is so much waste on a film set,” she said. “So much waste.”

Shooting Stars is one of many movies, television shows commercials and print advertisements presented with either a Green Award or the higher Gold Award for how well they complied with various EMA criteria. The filmmakers make their own self assessments that are then turned into the EMA for consideration. A score of 75 points out of 200 warrants a Green Seal; 125 points earns a Gold Seal.

There has been a growing push toward sustainable practices in film production industrywide, Garvey said, especially when it comes to repurposing sets. And the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, which helps provide studios with the resources they need for a successful time in the region, is now placing greater emphasis on helping studios make greener films.

“It’s a focus.,” he said. “And it’s important to us.”

To aid in the effort, Schreiber at the Solid Waste District is producing a “one sheet” that future productions can reference when they come to town. It should list such things as where to get green cleaning supplies, donate clothing and rent costumes, rent electric vehicles, find a sustainable drycleaner and deliver recyclables and leftover food.

It will be a go-to document that will live on the Solid Waste District website that anybody can reference.

“Anybody can use it although the way its set up its really geared for the film industry,” Schreiber said.

Writers Guild Calls First Strike in 15 Years | The Hollywood Reporter









SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter | Katie Kilkenny
May 1, 2023

Picketing by Hollywood scribes is slated to begin at 1 p.m. PT in Los Angeles at production sites across the city, with simultaneous demonstrations occurring in New York.

For the first time in over 15 years, Hollywood’s writers are going out on strike.

The Writers Guild of America announced that a work stoppage will begin Tuesday afternoon after negotiations with the labor group representing studios and streamers faltered on Monday night. In Los Angeles, members will begin picketing at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday at locations including Amazon/Culver Studios, CBS Radford and CBS Television City, Disney’s Burbank headquarters, Netflix’s Hollywood plant and the Fox, Sony, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Universal studio lots in Los Angeles. In New York, picketing will occur at Peacock’s Newfront at Center415 at 1 p.m. ET and Netflix’s Manhattan headquarters at 2:30 p.m. ET.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the WGA said that its negotiating committee “began this process intent on making a fair deal, but the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing.” The union alleged that studios and streamers would not agree to any guaranteed of number of weeks of employment for television writers in the talks, that they proposed creating a “day rate” for comedy-variety writers (essentially creating a day-player category for these writers) and that they “stonewall[ed]” on proposals over minimizing work with no pay and proposals to regulate AI writing, like ChatGPT, in WGA-covered work.

Earlier in the night, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios and streamers in collective bargaining, said in a statement that the negotiations “concluded without an agreement.” In its explanation, the AMPTP said it offered a “comprehensive package proposal” with boosts to compensation and streaming residuals, but sticking points that remained included the guild’s proposals around minimum writing staff sizes and minimum amount of time for employment.

Still, the AMPTP stated that it is “willing to engage in discussions with the WGA in an effort to break this logjam.” Its companies, it added, “remain united in their desire to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry, and to avoid hardship to the thousands of employees who depend upon the industry for their livelihoods.”

The two parties have not yet scheduled a future date to return to the bargaining table.

The decision will have an immediate impact on late night shows, which rely on up-to-the-minute writing from WGA members on the latest news developments. If a strike goes on for a longer period of time, the WGA has warned that it could set back the network TV season, as scribes for fall premieres tend to start work in May or June.

When reached on Monday night, many WGA members pointed to the guild’s detailed proposals for companies in the 2023 negotiations, which the WGA shared with members that night (the document also includes the AMPTP’s alleged responses). One showrunner’s reply to those proposals: The studios and streamers “will regret not being serious, I’m afraid. They tried to pretend but in the end they signaled to the other guilds that they are not willing to look at anything that actually deals with how the business has changed.” One writer added that they “really did a double take at [the AMPTP’s] complete unwillingness to negotiate on AI. They just want to computer-generate story and have maybe one writer punch it up [and] cut us out of the process.”

Another writer, a 20-year WGA television writing veteran, proved to be something of a strike skeptic, telling THR, “All these rich showrunners have riled up the base, led us into battle and put the fate of working middle-class writers, which this is all supposed to be about, on the line. I just hope to God they have a plan now that it’s real.”

On the company side, one executive responded to the proposals document by calling the guild’s proposal on minimum hiring requirements “crazy.” The executive continued, “That [decision] should be up to the showrunners,” who are also represented by the WGA. Another studio source said they were “not surprised” by the strike: “There has been some good forward motion on both sides but not in the areas that matter most to the writers,” including mini-rooms, guaranteed TV staff size and residuals.

In the week preceding the expiration of its contract, the WGA issued some strict strike rules to members: no writing, revising, pitching or negotiating with companies that are members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which is at the bargaining table with writers. The WGA instructed its members to report any peers that may be in violation of these rules to face union discipline and to tell any companies with “spec” scripts in their possession to return and delete them. The WGA is also telling members that they must picket at assigned locations unless they have a “valid medical excuse,” personal issue or emergency.

This development marks the culmination of months of industry speculation that the writers would strike once their current contract ended on May 1. Hampered in their 2020 round of negotiations over a three-year contract due to the then-recent onset of COVID-19, and emboldened by the success of their campaign against agency packaging practices, the thinking went, the writers were sure to mount a credible strike threat in 2023 as they sought major pay boosts in the streaming age. Writers did little to dispel these rumors, with leaders noting that the guild has a reputation for taking action “when necessary” and with nearly 98 percent of members authorizing a strike about two weeks before the end of their contract. (The WGA has long relied on its reputation as a union willing to walk to gain leverage in its negotiations with producers.)

Negotiations for the agreement began March 20 and were cut off by 8 p.m. PT on Monday. The writers had been advocating for great compensation in the streaming era, through higher wage floors, regulation of mini-rooms and greater residuals. Meanwhile, studios and streamers — who have been feeling pressure to cut costs after Wall Street turned on unprofitable streaming operations in 2022 and amid an uncertain economic climate — were seeking to rein in their spending on labor.

The writers have been led in their negotiations by WGA West assistant executive director Ellen Stutzman, who stepped up to the plate after the western branch of the union’s executive director, David Young, went on medical leave on Feb. 28. Carol Lombardini, the AMPTP’s chief negotiator since 2009, has been leading the talks for producers.

Now, it remains to be seen when the two parties will go back to the bargaining table and how long the strike could stretch on until they reach an agreement. The WGA’s last work stoppage, in 2007-08, lasted 100 days, while its strike in 1988 lasted 153 days, and its 1985 strike took 14 days.

In a statement on Tuesday, L.A. mayor Karen Bass exhorted “all sides to come together around an agreement that protects our signature industry and the families it supports.” She said, “Los Angeles relies on a strong entertainment industry that is the envy of the world while putting Angelenos to work in good, middle class jobs.”

California governor Gavin Newsom also weighed in on Tuesday, saying he was “very worried” about the strike. “We’re not unfamiliar with labor issues, and when called in by both sides, we’ll intervene to the extent that both sides are willing and interested in that.” He added, “It has profound consequences, direct and indirect: Every single one of us will be impacted by this.”

Lesley Goldberg contributed reporting.

What Went Wrong? Writers & Studios Reveal What They Couldn’t (And Could) Agree On As Strike Is Set | Deadline

Getty Images








SOURCE: Deadline | Peter White, Dominic Patten, David Robb
May 1, 2023

A clearer picture of how far apart the writers and studios were from a deal has emerged after talks between the WGA and AMPTP broke down, leading to a strike starting on Tuesday.

The WGA said its proposals would have benefited its members by $429M per year and claimed that the AMPTP’s offer was approximately $86M per year, 48% of which is from an increase in minimums. The AMPTP countered that these numbers are hypothetical as it’s unclear how many shows would be ordered over the three years and how many subscribers the streamers would have. They also made it clear to the WGA that those were offers that it was willing to improve.

Many of the biggest issues were in TV such getting more writers on set and what the studios are referring to as “mandatory staffing” and the WGA is calling “preserving the writers’ room”.

On-set experience has been a key plank of the WGA’s drive to help its members. The guild proposed that writers on staff must get at least three weeks per episode, up to a maximum of 52 weeks, of what is called “post-greenlight rooms”. They wanted half of the minimum staff to be employed through production and one writer employed through post.

However, the AMPTP rejected this with studio sources saying that this was difficult because it could last for months, particularly at the streamers, where they often don’t greenlight a show until all of the scripts are written.

There did seem to be some give on comedy/variety shows for streaming coming under the MBA, although the two sides disagreed on certain parts of this issue. The WGA wanted to extend these terms for those essentially working in late-night on streaming to include weekly minimums, 13-week guarantees and residuals based on “aggregate”.

The studios, however, didn’t want to include the 13-week guarantees or aggregate and wanted to allow the possibility of writers being employed on a daily rate.

WGA West board member Adam Conover, creator and star of Netflix’s The G Word with Adam Conover, said, “This is why we’re striking. The studios are trying to turn writing into a gig job. Eliminating the writers room, forcing screenwriters to work for free, paying late night writers a ‘day rate’. If we don’t fight back, writing will cease to exist as a livable career.”

The WGA was also looking to secure a number of staff – six writers including four writer/producers – as part of “pre-greenlight rooms”, otherwise known as mini-rooms – and “post-greenlight rooms” where one writer per episode up to six episodes, then one additional writer required for each two episodes after six. For instance, an eight episode show would require seven writers including four writer/producers and a ten episode show would require eight writers including five writer/producers.

The studios again rejected this, pointing to shows such as HBO’s The White Lotus, which was written entirely by Mike White.

Once it became clear that the studios and writers were very far apart on these issues, all parties left, shortly before 8pm PT.

Elsewhere, on residuals, the guild was asking for 6%-5%-5% increases over the course of a new three-year contract for all minimums including residual bases. But according to the guild, the AMPTP only offered 4%-3%-2% (one-time increase to most residual bases of 2% or 2.5%)

The writers were looking to establish a viewership-based residual, in addition to the existing fixed residual, which it said would reward programs for greater viewership, although would require transparency on its numbers.

Lastly, on AI, the WGA wanted to regulate its use on MBA-covered projects but the studios wanted to introduce annual meetings “to discuss advancements in technology”.


There were some tentative agreements over the last six weeks. These included script fees for staff writers on top of their weekly pay; an increase in span cap from $400,000 to $450,000 with span protection to be extended to writers on limited series, an increase earnings cap from $325,000 to $350,000 on options, a 150% pilot premium and 115% backup script for high-end streaming series; the WGA to have the option to divert 0.5% of negotiated minimums increases to its Pension or Health Fund and to allow one additional free “promotional” run for new made for broadcast series.

The streamers also appeared to give in to residuals based on foreign subscriber counts with Paramount+ and Max continuing to pay a lower license-fee-based residual.

It seems it wasn’t enough. “Less than 1988, more than 2008,” one worried studio insider predicted of how long this just declared strike could last.

Cleveland-founded Kids Film It Festival honors young filmmakers of tomorrow: See the winning videos









SOURCE: | Joey Morona
May 1, 2023

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The next Russo Brothers, Jordan Peeles and Chloé Zhaos of tomorrow were honored recently at the 7th annual Kids Film It Festival. Founded by 19-year-old Pepper Pike resident Ryan Levine when he was a seventh-grader at Hawken School, this year’s event attracted over 100 submissions from filmmakers ages 8 to 18 from all over the world.

The best of the best in three categories (short film, music video and animation) were selected by a panel of judges that included film producer Todd Lieberman (“The Fighter”), TV director Marc Buckland (“Santa Clarita Diet”) and NBC News producer Aaron Brownlee (“The Today Show with Hoda & Jenna”). readers voted for their favorites, too, as Nikki Awards were handed out in three age groups. The honor is named after the late Nikki Delamotte, the arts and culture reporter who often lifted up young creatives in her work.



Anthony and Joe Russo talk ‘Citadel,’ Greater Cleveland roots with Mike Polk Jr.

SOURCE: WKYC Channel 3 | Mike Polk Jr.
April 28, 2023

When it comes to natives of Greater Cleveland who have found enormous success, the Russo Brothers rank right up there with LeBron James and Chef Boyardee. All arguably the very best at what they do.

Since directing their breakthrough film “Welcome to Collinwood” right here in Cleveland in 2002, The Russos have helped to create some of the most memorable and successful entertainment of our time across various genres and platforms. Most notably, they directed a pair of Marvel’s “Captain America” films, plus both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

Their latest effort, the thriller spy series “Citadel” has just arrived on Amazon Prime. “Citadel” was conceived as an international project, with production already underway for local-language versions in Mexico, India, and Italy. Mike Polk Jr. has more from the Russo brothers:

How an Ashland University T-shirt made a surprise appearance on ‘Ted Lasso’

The character Trent Crimm (portrayed by James Lance) in season three, episode seven of “Ted Lasso”, where he can be spotted wearing an Ashland University t-shirt underneath his scarf. Photo courtesy of Apple TV+. Colin Hutton











SOURCE: Ashland Source | Nathan Hart, Report for America Corps Member
April 26, 2023

ASHLAND — Eagle-eyed viewers of the most recent episode of the critically-acclaimed Apple TV comedy show “Ted Lasso” may spot a piece of merchandise from right here in Ashland.

At around the 28-minute mark of Season 3, Episode 7 of the show — which was released on April 26 — the character Trent Crimm (played by James Lance) can be spotted wearing a purple Ashland University T-shirt underneath a blazer.

The costume designer for the show, Jacky Levy, said she bought the AU shirt at a “really cool vintage shop” on Brick Lane in London, England. Her and James Lance “loved the colour and everything about it” and decided to use it for Crimm’s wardrobe, she said.

“It just seemed to suit his style so well,” she said.

Beyond that, there is no “deep and meaningful” reason he wore the shirt, Levy said.

“Ted Lasso” follows American college football coach Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis) as he coaches an English soccer team despite having no experience with the sport. The comedy-drama premiered on Apple TV+ in August, 2020 to critical acclaim, and the show has won 11 Emmy awards since.

Amanda Brown, the director of Ashland University’s campus stores, thought the shirt’s appearance on a such a popular show was “incredible.” The shirt Crimm is wearing hasn’t been sold “in a while,” so Brown decided to start selling them again, this time marketed with “as seen on Ted Lasso.”

“We’re blessed with the capability to be able to make our own merchandise,” Brown said. “So we were able to kind of latch onto this pretty quickly.”

This morning, Daniel Gullotta, a religion and history instructor at AU, woke up and checked social media and was in “disbelief and shock” when he saw some of his Ashland colleagues posting images of Trent Crimm wearing an AU T-shirt, he said.

Daniel Gullotta started watching the show with his wife in 2021 after multiple friends recommended it, telling him it was “optimistic and feel-good.” They quickly “devoured” all the episodes and have followed it ever since. They plan on watching the AU T-shirt episode tonight, he said.

The surprise shirt appearance quickly became the top conversation topic among faculty, who spent the morning developing theories and texting each other.

“It’s been funny because I’ve shown people on my phone like, ‘Hey, have you seen this?’ And then later when I was getting a coffee, I literally saw other people saying like, ‘Hey, have you seen this?’ I was like, ‘Yes, I have seen it.’ So, like everyone’s talking about it,” Gullotta said.

Want to Film a Movie in Ohio? There’s a Tax Credit for That.

NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE. Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2021











SOURCE: Ohio Department of Development
April 14, 2023

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Is your downtown picture perfect? Have you ever wanted to use film to share the story of your hometown? There’s a tax credit that can help.

The Ohio Department of Development (Development) today announced the application for the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit program is available.

The program provides a refundable tax credit of 30% on production cast and crew wages and other in-state spending for eligible productions, including feature-length films, documentaries, pre-Broadway productions, miniseries, video games, and music videos. Applications are now available on the program website.

“Ohio’s big cities, distinctive neighborhoods, and historic small towns can be the perfect backdrop for your next production,” said Lydia Mihalik, Director of the Ohio Department of Development. “This investment supports Ohio’s thriving arts and culture scene, brings good jobs to our state, and creates income for local businesses – that’s a win for Ohio.”

More than $36 million in funding is available. Applications are accepted online now through June 1, at 5 p.m. Projects will be awarded on or before July 31.

A $4.9 million tax credit supported the 2021 Russo brothers’ film, “Cherry,” starring Tom Holland, which was shot in and around Northeast Ohio. And more than $12 million will support the upcoming film, “The Bikeriders,” directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Austin Butler and Tom Hardy, which was filmed in Butler County in the fall of 2022.

Applications are reviewed and awarded in two rounds each year. $40 million is available annually, evenly divided between the two rounds plus any rollover amounts from the proceeding period. Projects are awarded first to television series or miniseries, then to all others, based on the extent of positive economic impact in Ohio and the effect on developing a permanent workforce in motion picture or theatrical production industries in Ohio.

The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit (OMPTC) was created in 2009 to encourage and develop a film industry in Ohio.
The application and additional program information can be found at

The Ohio Department of Development empowers communities to succeed by investing in Ohio’s people, places, and businesses. Learn more about our work at

For more information, contact Sarah Wickham, Ohio Department of Development Communications, (614) 466-2609