Chicago film, TV production industry marks record-breaking year

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago marked another record-breaking year in terms of film, television and media production, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday.

More than $474 million were spent locally last year to produce more than 500 projects, according to the Chicago Film Office.

The city's rich production industry is becoming a big attraction for young, up-and-coming talent who hope to break into the business.

At DePaul University's sound stages at Cinespace Studios, students get hands-on experience operating sophisticated film equipment.

TV/film majors have become the most popular majors for incoming freshmen at DePaul not only for the training but for opportunities in the area afterward.

"People are now seeing Chicago as a place where filmmaking can happen, where you can actually have a career in filmmaking," said Gary Novak, a DePaul cinematic arts instructor.

Several DePaul students working at Cinespace on Thursday said they were from out of state but were considering staying in the area after graduation because of the opportunities available here.

Politicians hope the industry's growth and prosperity will continue.

"We're gonna continue to be aggressive in recruiting new film production to Illinois and creating the environment that allows this industry to thrive," Pritzker said.

"I want to thank the governor for being a partner with this and making sure that this becomes a permanent part of our economy," Emanuel said. "People can have their sons and daughters come to the city of Chicago, go to DePaul and be part of a thriving industry."

Cinespace also announced Thursday that it purchased more land and plans to add six more sound stages.
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