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Forget Hollywood: These 7 cities are becoming film hotspots


The Nickel Tour: These days there’s a shrinking list of reasons to focus on LA for filmmaking.

One of the biggest dramas being staged in Hollywood right now has nothing to do with a script or a set. It’s the real life struggle to keep movie making in Hollywood, as productions are fleeing for the greener pastures beyond Tinseltown.

It’s been an issue years in the making. Tax incentive programs have been implemented in cities and states around the country, rolling out the red (or should we say green) carpet to attract film and tv productions.

Producers are finding it hard to sidestep the temptation of incentives that can cover up to 30 percent of production costs, not to mention shooting in places where it will be cheaper to get accommodation and meals for an out-of-town crew.

Of course, Hollywood isn’t closing up shop anywhere anytime soon. But productions are bringing jobs and revenues to a growing list of film hubs outside of Hollywood, and their impact on the industry is well worth noting.



The Steel City has gained a lot of traction in the film industry in the last three years, providing the backdrop for independent features and blockbusters. The Sundance breakout “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl” is the most to gain acclaim, but “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Foxcatcher” and “The Dark Knight” have also called the city home. Will Smith and Jake Gyllenhall films are both planned in the near future—and a 25 percent tax credit certainly only helps films coming into town.


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Things are buzzing in New Mexico in general, but Albuquerque alone is pulling some major weight. The New Mexico Film Office offers incentives of 25 to 30 percent for most productions. As a result, over the last two years, nearly 50 films have been shot in the city. With a bustling film programming calendar and more productions on deck for this year, it seems they’ll be at the top of the list for a while.


Austin, Texas

South by Southwest, the Austin Film Festival, and a strong film program at UT-Austin have helped carve out a significant spot for the city in the film world, particularly in terms of independent productions. “Boyhood,” “Tree of Life,” “True Grit” and “Friday Night Lights” are just a few of the dozens of films and tv shows that have been filmed here in the past decade. With a large pool of professional crew members, diverse shooting locations and nice weather, there are few reasons NOT to shoot here.



The Midwest town is picking up steam for movie making, providing equal access to pastural settings and more moody city scenes. 2014 alone saw three major films shot there, with Cate Blanchette, Jessica Biel and Don Cheadle among the stars who came through town. The continuation of the tax credit will determine whether the Queen City can keep up the filmmaking momentum.


New Orleans

New Orleans has so much history and culture, it has a way of becoming a character itself. Its list of TV shows and films is expansive, but a few heavy hitters include “American Horror Story,” “True Detective,” “Jurassic World” and “12 Years A Slave.” With very competitive tax credits, it’s a significant option for productions looking for a specific atmospheric feel.



The warm weather, lush greenery and southern charm of Georgia’s capital seem to be a big draw for the film industry. “The Hunger Games,” “The Walking Dead,” “The Vampire Diaries” and scores of Tyler Perry movies are among the productions that have called Atlanta home in recent years. The productions in the state of Georgia spurred $5.1 billion in economic impact in 2014 alone, and the Atlanta Office of Entertainment is responsible for a big chunk of that.



In the 1990’s, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon put Boston on the map for a generation of movie lovers, and the ball has only picked up speed with other productions across the city. “Ted,” “The Equalizer,” “The Heat,” and “Moneyball” are a few of the major studio productions filmed there in the past few years. Whether going for the gritty look, historical charm, or an expansive downtown feel, there’s plenty to choose from in this New England hub.

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35 Responses to Forget Hollywood: These 7 cities are becoming film hotspots

  1. John-Christopher Ward February 20, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    The photo of New Orleans is not of New Orleans. I think it is Disney World or Las Vegas.

  2. Harry Walker February 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    Not surprised to see my beautiful hometown of Pittsburgh at the top of the moviue making list.

  3. Megan Griffith February 20, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

    Surprised Baltimore isn't on the list, especially considering recent filming of popular series' VEEP and House of Cards

  4. Megan Griffith February 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    A list of film shot in Baltimore, check out this page:

  5. Becki Harris February 20, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    sure looks like Café du Monde!

  6. Scott Ogden February 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Wilmington, NC used to be on this list- but our GOP legislature killed the tax credits. Be careful what you wish for or the jobs just go to the next 'hot' place…..

  7. Tom M Halloran February 20, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    I thought the same thing!

  8. Brandon McCarthy February 20, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    Cincinnati, proud of my great city! i don't like Pittsburgh, and Baltimore can stay the hell away from movies! Dirty ass city

  9. Susan Dorris February 21, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    Ahem? What about Detroit?

  10. Caleb Eugene Snowberger February 21, 2015 at 2:45 am #

    Pittsburgh.. Yes>>>>

  11. Phyllis Colmar February 21, 2015 at 5:43 am #

    Selma was filmed on our street and a surprise visit from Oprah fulfilled one of my bucket list items. We are truly Hollywood South now.

  12. Phyllis Colmar February 21, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    Forgot to say I am from Atlanta

  13. Michael D. Montoya February 21, 2015 at 10:10 am #

    Looking at this list and doing a bit of quick research it appears that Albuquerque is tearing up the competition. The writers list also does not include movies and TV shows shot throughout the rest of the State of New Mexico. Plus the amount of actual studios that have been built and expanded there were impressive. They actually have infrastructure and not just filming.

    No offense to Cincinnati or Austin but they are hardly hotspots for filming based on the amount of films and TV shows filmed there. The big kahuna outside of Los Angeles for filming continues to be New York City. Also, the State of California has passed a massive set of incentives for filming in the state. Something that had not happened before.

  14. Michael D. Montoya February 21, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Baltimore is a great place! Surprised also it is not on the list.

  15. Bryce Canyon February 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    A little over one hour north of Manhattan is a small city called Newburgh, NY. Easy to get to by plane, train, or automobile (even a boat up the Hudson if you have the time).

    There's a large soundstage in town, 400 years of historic architecture, scenic views, proximity to natural settings and a gritty downtown area. There's even a vintage motocycle museum for props.

    A few independent producers have already discovered it…so much less expensive than NYC that you almost don't need the State tax credit…

  16. Linsey Marie Thomas February 21, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    Pittsburgh is awesome, great look for movies!

  17. Jimmy Green February 21, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    Not for long. Hollywood kicking in the best incentives in the nation this spring.

  18. Cristina Figgalez February 22, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    Pssshhh…this industry has moved abroad.

  19. Seregon O'Dassey March 2, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    Baltimore and D.C are great for indie film! I've done several projects in those areas 🙂

  20. Elisabeth Betsy Gleckler March 2, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    Watch what our Bobby Jindal is going to do next. Already killing solar credits, next film and then privatizing state universities. Gotta luv a man bent on destruction!

  21. Kerry Rovan March 3, 2015 at 3:32 am #

    Johnstown, Pennsylvania, (the other half of southwestern Pennsylvania…Pittsburgh is one half and Johnstown is the other half) is famous for the most popular hockey movie of all time "Slap Shot" starring Paul Newman. And "All The Right Moves" starring Tom Cruise. Paul Newman is quoted saying before his death in 2008 "The most fun that I ever had was the filming of 'Slap Shot' in Johnstown, Pennsylvania!" Remember that Hollywood! Thank you.

  22. Kerry Rovan March 3, 2015 at 4:10 am #

    Paul Newman quote about the making of "Slap Shot" here in Johnstown, PA.-"The most fun that I ever had making a movie was the filming of 'Slap Shot' in Johnstown, Pennsylvania!"

  23. Erik Boring March 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Baltimore doesnt make the list due to weak, and constantly in limbo, tax incentives. While all of the cities listed have their charms, movies and TV will be made where the best incentives exist.

  24. Wil E Tri March 4, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Notice the common thread here are tax credits

  25. Kelly Ackman Homan March 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    Elisabeth Betsy Gleckler I gather he must be buddy buddy with the Potus then.

  26. Kelly Ackman Homan March 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm #

    Pittsburgh numerous times voted the most livable city and best place to live. Crime is MUCH lower than Cincinnati.

  27. Derek Cunningham March 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm #


    The film industry basically collapsed in Detriot because the State could not pay out the credits that were due.

  28. Derek Cunningham March 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    thinking about relocating to Atlanta. There's a need for my position in GA as they are short handed. Also it's cheaper and no snow. Lastly our Governor just announced that he's planning on eliminating the tax credits in MA. One Republican puts it in and another takes it away.

  29. Troy Nelson March 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm #


  30. Chad Warhold March 4, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    No they want a clean city and not a high probability of getting shot. Thats why they choose pittsburgh. Plus get can get to and win a superbowl

  31. Autumn Keopualani White March 4, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

    I work every week as a PA/ Casting Assistant in Vegas. I wonder how we didn't make the cut.

  32. Mias Cuisine March 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

    Beautiful Caly !!! I love it ❤️

  33. Marc Ratner July 11, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Austin, TX gets lots of sunshine, but I wouldn't really call its weather nice!

  34. Victor D S Man July 13, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    Don't forget Toronto.

  35. Quentin Raff June 17, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    Hollywood North !

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