It’s MovieMaker’s 2014 edition of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker! We’re counting down through our Top 10 Big Cities, Top 5 Small Cities, and Top 5 Towns—releasing one location a day for the entire month of January. The full list, published in MovieMaker‘s Winter 2014 issue, will be available on newsstands January 28.


Unlike previous years where locations were pitted against each other in a single pool, this year we separated the list into three distinct categories: Big Cities (pop. 500,000 and up), Small Cities (pop. 100,000 to 500,000), and Towns (pop. 100,000 and under). After months of research, interviews, and mathematical formulas, we boiled the rankings down to the essential elements. All locations were rated according to six criteria: Film Production in 2013 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that included lifestyle, weather, and transportation. Did your place of choice make the list? If not, maybe you should choose again if you’re serious about rooting yourself in a location that’s conducive to your career and life goals – or drop us a comment proposing a place we overlooked this year!



#8. Portland

Flannel shirts are still in style, girls look cute in glasses, and you won’t have to give up that spoken word gig any time soon—but moviemaking in this quirky northwest community is booming. In the last five years alone, Portland has experienced a 24 percent increase in film-related work. And that doesn’t include the hundreds of small productions, national commercials, and reality television development happening locally.

Copy of Portland

Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, and Miranda July call Portland home. The number of local film festivals (20 at last count) is a bit astounding, and includes the venerable Portland International (PIFF) in addition to notables such as Northwest Filmmakers Festival (formerly the NW Film & Video Festival), Portland Film Festival, Fresh Film NW (for teenagers), POWFest (Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival), and Experimental Film Festival Portland and so many more. This city also boasts a plethora of organizations such as Film Action Oregon, Oregon Media Production Association, and the Northwest Film Center. And digital animation has taken off in Portland as a direct result of the newly created nonprofit Oregon Story Board, which aims to develop digital storytelling talent in town.


One of the greenest cities in the nation, Portland maintains an efficient public transportation system, a terrific microbrew, wine, food and biking culture, and an unbeatable city park system. Along with zero sales tax, there are no fees to the 200 historic state parks, and the city offers a cash rebate of 20 percent off Oregon-based goods and services and 10 percent off Oregon-based payroll. There’s also an additional cash payment of up to 16.2 percent of wages paid to production personnel—all in all, keeping the dream of moviemaking alive and well in Portland. MM

For more information on Portland, visit the Portland Film Office at

Check back every day for the rest of January to see what other places made the list! Previous rankings:


10) San Francisco
9) Memphis

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