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Film industry brought record $184M to Illinois

Gov. PQuinn speaks set film 'Divergent' Cinespace Chicago Film Studios Chicago Ill. Friday April 12 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at the set of the film "Divergent" at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, April 12, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 14, 2013 6:10AM



Illinois may be miles away from Hollywood.

But thanks in large part to tax incentives, the Land of Lincoln has been attracting hordes of film crews that have helped the state generate a record $184 million in spending, officials said Friday.

“When you take our tax credit and combine it with our locations, our unbelievable crew base and infrastructure, we’re a home run,” said Betsy Steinberg, the managing director of the Illinois Film Office.

Steinberg joined Gov. Pat Quinn and others inside the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios to tout the state’s 30 percent film tax credit, which has drawn shows such as “Chicago Fire” and “Boss” to the area.

Illinois’s film industry spent $184 million in 2012, up from $161 million in 2010 and $154 million in 2011, according to state officials.

Steinberg said the increase from 2011 to 2012 reflects, in part, the many Cinespace stages that have been available since 2011.

Currently, Cinespace, at 2621 W. 15th Place, is serving as the set for science-fiction film “Divergent” starring Kate Winslet and Shailene Woodley.

“You get a lot of people working. That’s the key,” Cinespace’s president, Alex Pissios said on the film set.

“And all this lumber, these are all bought from local lumber yards. All the steel’s bought from local steel yards. This is all bought from local people.”

Pissios said more and more people from the film industry are heading to the Midwest. And he doesn’t think the celluloid influx here will stop any time soon.

“My family’s been in the business for over 25 years, and we have a great relationship with Los Angeles, and the more they keep coming in and seeing these facilities, they’re just amazed by them,” he said.



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