FilmToledo’s executive director says a combination of talented new artists and Ohio’s strong tax incentives for filmmakers are helping to promote the medium locally.

TOLEDO, Ohio — For decades, the dream of making a movie was only possible in a handful of U.S. cities. Ohio motion picture tax credit in 2009, cities in the Buckeye State began to grow their own film industries, and Toledo was no exception.

“What we’re trying to do is get a piece of that pie as far as Ohio is concerned, and it’s a very small industry right now, but it’s really growing,” Michael DeSanto, chief executive of FilmToledo, told Glass. City Film Commission.

DeSanto says Toledo is still a long way from competing with Hollywood right now — the goal is to someday compete with Dayton — but the growth he’s seeing is exciting. He says that for the first time in history, local artists are producing content that can compete with larger markets.

“Actually the last one that caught my attention was my good friend Vanessa Leonard,” Desanto said. “She had her own film, A Story Worth Living, and it went all over the international film festival circuit.”

Bigger projects are also coming to Toledo. DeSanto was directly involved in filming Tom Hanks’ upcoming project A Man Called Otto for a one-day shoot at the Amtrak station in Toledo.

“It was like a $60 million movie, and just one day of that movie makes companies hundreds of thousands of dollars,” DeSanto said.

Productions get 30% reimbursement thanks to the Ohio tax break, and Hollywood and Toledo benefit.

While DeSanto says the field still needs more studio space, talent and a trained team before it can be truly competitive, new opportunities for growth are coming soon: This fall, Toledo will have two new mysterious projects will appear.

“These are multi-million dollar productions,” Desanto said. “I can’t say too much about it, but it will bring a lot of money to the local economy.”


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