7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jennifer Beals made this industrial city sexy in 1983’s Flashdance, and Jay and Silent Bob made it a cosmic battleground for good and evil in 1999’s Dogma, and the moviemaking scene has only continued to grow in the years since. Pittsburgh generated over $100 million through its productions efforts in 2015, attracting numerous productions with its 25 percent tax credit and robust local production facilities and crews. Ewan McGregor made his directorial debut in Pittsburgh in 2015 with his feature film adaptation of Philip Roth’s modern classic American Pastoral. The family Christmas comedy Love the Coopers also shot in Pittsburgh this year, along with several episodic series, including the fourth season of the crime thriller Banshee from Cinemax and Outsiders from WGN.
An industrial city with infrastructure dating back to the 17th century, Pittsburgh is known for its livability, safety and bikeability. If your film features bridges, consider that Pittsburgh’s bridges total 445—that’s more than Venice, Italy! And if George Romero is your moviemaking idol, Pittsburgh might just be your promised land: “Zombies are particularly popular in Pittsburgh, since Night of the Living Dead was filmed in Evans City,” says Dawn Keezer, director of the ultra-helpful Pittsburgh Film Office. The yearly Pittsburgh Zombie Fest holds a popular zombie walk. Speaking of genre, the city also hosts Steel City Con and Wizard World Comic Con Pittsburgh.
With nine institutions offering courses of study in film production (including Tom Savini’s Special Make-up Effects Program at the Douglas Education Center), seven independent movie theaters, local production studios such as 31st Street Studios and PMI… and the most bars per capita of any city in the United States, Pittsburgh remains staunchly on our list. What a feeling!