Ready for our close-up: Stroger aims to form county film office
Friday, October 09, 2009
by Lisa Donovan\
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger wants to hear the siren
call of "Lights, camera, action" just a little bit more around these
So his staff is working on plans for a Cook County film office,
aimed at eliminating the bureaucracy filmmakers navigate when obtaining
permits to shoot ads, movies and television shows in the forest
preserves and unincorporated parts of the county.
"It's designed to cut out some of the red tape which can be
extremely costly to production companies," said Stroger aide Johnathan
Simply put, time is money when crews have to spend days not only
scouting out locations but searching for the right people for a
Chicago already has a film commission for the city, and the county
is not looking to duplicate that effort. But in addition to the 69,000
acres of forest preserve and unincorporated areas, Cook County's film
office plans to eventually handle film-related permitting for the 128
municipalities under the county umbrella.
On Thursday, Stroger's staff met with various members of the film production industry to talk about some of the problems
Afterward, local filmmaker John Bosher offered a list of hurdles,
from the northern suburbs to the south, to obtaining permits -- or even
permission -- to block sidewalks, roads, even to set up temporary
toilets for actors and the crew.
He said there have been times where he's needed both a city scene
and a suburban scene, but has had to fudge and do both in the city
because it's easier.
"It would be better for the movie creatively, aesthetically,
etcetera if we were able to go out to the real sites we want to shoot,
but there's the sense of fear that we're just not protected by the
municipality the way we are in Chicago," said Bosher, who is behind the
new film "Chicago Overcoat."
The film office would have to be approved by Cook County commissioners.
Contributing: Bill Zwecker