Illinois Film Office and Chicago Film Office Announce Record Film, Television and Media Production in 2019 with an Estimated $560 Million Economic Impact

February 18, 2020


The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced another growth year for film, television and media production in 2019. The announcement was made at Kennedy-King College’s Sound Stage – a 6,000 square foot production facility located in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. According to data from the Illinois Film Office, which awards a 30% tax credit to qualified productions, filming in 2019 resulted in an estimated economic impact of nearly $560 million in job creation and local expenditures, an 18% increase over the previous year. Over 15,000 non-extra job hires generated over $350 million in wages, with women and minorities representing 51% of the reported crew hires.

“Illinois’ film industry is booming, adding millions of dollars and thousands of quality jobs into the state’s economy each year. By extending the film tax credit, Governor Pritzker has proven his commitment to supporting the industry and ensuring it continues to succeed and grow” said Peter Hawley, Director of the Illinois Film Office.

The Chicago Film Office permitted 522 projects in 2019 and now ranks first in the Midwest region for production, third in the country for commercial advertising production and in the top six nationally for overall production. Eleven full season series and portions of several others filmed in Chicago throughout 2019. The three Chicago-based series from NBC Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago PD all renewed for an additional season. Fargo, the 1940s period piece set in Kansas City, filmed entirely in Chicago. Additionally, Showtime’s The Chi, the HBO series Run and Station 11, FOX’s Next and Comedy Central’s South Side all filmed on location within the city. Also transforming Chicago into Gotham City was the series Batwoman, filming large-scale stunts and driving shots in the central business district.

“I was born and raised on the south side,” said Bashir Salahuddin, Producer and Writer for Comedy Central’s South Side. “We wrote a comedy about my hometown. Filming in Chicago is a dream come true. It was crucial for our show that the world be authentic. Filming in Chicago makes sure we get to showcase the best talent from The Windy City.”

“With our talented residents, state-of-the-art facilities and affordable services – Chicago has established a film industry that attracts work from large studios to independent films to commercial production,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of DCASE. “With the support of Mayor Lightfoot, we continue to grow the city’s current production capacity, identifying new opportunities for film locations and supporting film training programs at youth partner organizations.”

2019 production by genre:

Production Totals 2019 Projects 2019 Permits
Studio Feature 2 53
Indie Feature 61 175
Television 46 1128
Commercials 132 310
Stills 179 256
Other Productions 102 556
Totals: 522 2043


The Illinois Film Production Tax Credit Act, originally passed in 2008, offers a 30% tax credit for qualified production spending and labor expenditures, up to $100,000 per worker, within the state of Illinois. Applicants can receive an additional 15% tax credit on salaries paid to individuals (earning at least $1,000 in total wages) who live in economically disadvantaged areas whose unemployment rate is at least 150% of the State's annual average. Last year, Governor J. B. Pritzker extended the credit bringing long-term stability to the state’s booming film industry.

Illinois DCEO plans to invest $500,000 through the Illinois Film Office Workforce Training Program to enable more women and minorities to access job opportunities within the film industry. As the industry grows, more minority groups are moving toward film production as a career, making up 49% of the accredited productions in the state. To keep this momentum going, DCEO's new job training program will train and graduate regular cohorts of new film and TV production workers annually through program to be adopted by qualified institutions, colleges and universities through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The state-wide training program will position qualified and trained minorities to land entry-level positions on productions across the state and would add 2,500 new minority crew positions over a 10-year period.

The Chicago Film Office’s Independent Film Initiative an industry development program designed to retain and grow the local filmmaker community and increase the number of locally-produced independent features, documentaries, shorts and web series. As part of this initiative, DCASE has partnered with Full Spectrum Features on the new Chicago Independent Producers Lab – a nine-month-long hands-on project accelerator that shepherds producer-driven projects to production viability. The program is designed to increase the number of independent producers working in Chicago—and to significantly deepen and broaden their professional networks and producing expertise


Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development supports and maintains a climate that enables a strong economy for our customers - taxpayers, businesses, workers and communities - by keeping, attracting and growing businesses, maintaining a skilled workforce and enhancing communities so that the climate here is one in which businesses, small and large, and workers can succeed to the greatest extent possible. For more information, visit


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit


Chicago Film Office

The Chicago Film Office, part of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, leads the City’s efforts to attract and enhance the production of feature films, television series, commercials, documentaries and all forms of local screen entertainment. For filmmakers, it is a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs, including permits, City services and logistical support. For more information, visit


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