CLEVELAND – When the crew of the movie “Spiderman 3” rolled into Cleveland, through computer generation effects, we saw Spiderman leaping among the concrete and brick buildings of the city’s downtown area. The effects masters had cars careening along Euclid Avenue, bouncing off the curbs.
“Spiderman 3” was literally on a roll. However, Cleveland hopes Hollywood turns a keener eye toward Cleveland to keep filmmakers coming to this Ohio city on the shores of Lake Erie.
The Greater Cleveland Film Commission, designed to woo filmmakers, both Hollywood big-feature producers and studios and smaller independent ones, to Cleveland.
“Spiderman came here for five days of filming,” said film commission executive director Ivan Schwarz. “I want an industry in Cleveland that can provide opportunities for jobs 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Schwarz is a newcomer to Cleveland. He left southern California where he worked in the film industry for years. In his small office in downtown Cleveland, his walls are plastered with posters from his years as a producer and locations manager for film units. Schwarz won a Golden Globe award as one of the producers of the high HBO film series, “Band of Brothers.”
He tells anyone who asks that his lifestyle, Cleveland is a better place to live than southern California. He is in love with cinema and praises the work of those who have made films for generations in Southern California.
“But there is a lot that Cleveland has to offer any filmmaker,” he said.
“Whether its a covered bridge, or a big Shaker Heights house, or rance-style homes, Cleveland has it,” said Schwarz. “We have Lake Erie, rivers, urban areas, suburban areas. It’s all within thirty minutes of Cleveland.”
With a chuckle, he added the only thing Cleveland could not duplicate for any filmmaker would be high mountains and the desert.
Schwarz is aware filmmaking is about theater. Many films have been made in Chicago, Toronto, and other places. Producers have found it finanacially advantageous to work outside of Southern California.
Legislators in the state of Ohio, as lawmakers in several other states have done, had given financial incentives to filmmakers to turn on their cameras and focus their lenses in this state.
Esthetically, Schwarz sings the praises of Cleveland because of its diverse population and its architectural makeup. “Cleveland could be transformed into almost any city in the world,” said Schwarz.
He envisions a film industry of thousands of people permanently based in Ohio’s largest metropolitan area.