How We're Building the Industry
Since 2003, Steeltown has focused on building people, projects, and industry relationships, especially with arts organizations, governments, foundations, universities, and private businesses. The last ten years have been eclectic in nature but have been important in working towards our goals.
Steeltown adviser and Lionsgate producer and former Senior VP, John Dellaverson, talked about the importance of the film tax credit but also the region's potential for becoming a player in the film business:
- WQED feature: From Hollywood to New Castle
- Hike production incentives, film executives urge Rendell
- The Next Page: Pittsburgh -- we can make it here
How the Film Industry can Drive an Economy:
Imagine the entertainment and media industry as the "new steel" fueling Pittsburgh's economy in the 21st century. Pittsburgh has long been "Hollywood's Best kept secret," with its own impressive entertainment history, from the first movie theatre and public television station, to August Wilson and Fred Rogers. Southwestern Pennsylvania continues to produce the talent and technology that drives the entertainment industry.
In recent years though, Pittsburgh has not reaped the economic benefits the entertainment industry can spawn, as people and projects have been forced to go elsewhere for commercial development.
Fortunately, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to reposition itself as a key player in the $1.5 trillion dollar entertainment and media industry due to:
- Technological advances in producing and distributing visual media.
- New federal and state tax incentives
- A focus on family friendly entertainment and other alternative economic models to studio blockbusters
- Identifying talented individuals who are interested in careers in the entertainment industry.
One of the major proponents of growing the region's entertainment sector is Steeltown advisor, and New Castle native, John Dellaverson. Dellaverson, whose wide-ranging experience in the entertainment industry includes work as a producer for Lionsgate Entertainment, and their subsidiary Cinegate, helping to establish regional entertainment sectors in Canada, Italy, and most recently in New Mexico and Pennsylvania. In his 2007 meeting with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Dellaverson cited the positive impact that film tax legislation was having in New Mexico, a state that went from less than $5 million worth of film production in 2003 to more than $450 million in 2007. To read a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on John's meeting with Governor Rendell, please click here.
Dellaverson, who was interviewed about his desire to bring more film production to Pennsylvania during an interview with OnQ magazine, urged Rendell to approve the tax incentive legislation because in his words, "You want to be the other side of the coin, you want people to say, 'Is there any way we can shoot this in Pennsylvania? It's great, we have a credit, there's a great work ethic there, we have a great time, we get our permits as soon as possible.' That's what you want. You want to be in the business, not the wish business."