by Frank Lewis
Last Friday, Cleveland Film Commission director Ivan Schwarz spoke on WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas, again, to pat himself on the back for everything he’s done to make Cleveland the Hollywood of the Rust Belt. Which would be totally awesome, if it were true. Unfortunately, host Regina Brett doesn’t know as much about movie production as she does about open discovery.
Much ado was made about Nehst Studios, which recently signed a lease for part of the Cleveland convention center. Schwarz figures the company is going to bring in $100 million if one of the competing film-production tax-incentives bills finally passes. Brett didn’t ask for specifics about Nehst Studios, as if tacking “studios” at the end of a name puts you on the same level as Warner Bros. and Paramount.
So what movies has Nehst Studios produced to prompt speculation of nine-figure revenues? Could it be Slumdog Millionaire? No. The Reader? Try again. Howard the Duck? They wish.
Here’s some recent hits associated with Nehst Studios: Running the Sahara. 41. Love and Orgasms. The Uniform Motion of Folly. Heard of any of them? Schwarz loves to remind people that one of Nehst’s CEOs was a producer on Sling Blade, a cool low-budget film that grossed about $24 million — in 1996. And now Nehst Studios is going to bring $100 million to Ohio. Mm-hmm. — James Renner