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Richmond named one of the top 10 cities for film

Richmond has been named as one of the ten best cities in the country to “live, work and make movies” by MovieMaker Magazine, one of the country’s premier publications for filmmakers. This much-anticipated list of best cities for filmmakers has been published since 2000 and marks the second time that Richmond has received this honor. The first time was in 2003.

Although the honored cities change from year to year, the criteria for their selection remains the same. A large part of the equation includes quantifiable criteria that make a city livable including such factors as cost of living, employment rates and salaries. The other part, however, includes the qualities that make a city great for filmmaking. This includes film training schools, opportunity to network with other film professionals and opportunities to work on the set. The magazine article commented, “Moviemaking is a collaborative effort, so the experience level of the local talent pool for positions both in front of and behind the camera plays an important part as well.” Richmond and the surrounding area have several good film programs at universities. The Virginia Production Alliance is a statewide organization that supports the filmmaking community.

Director John Stimpson filmed the TV movie A Christmas Kiss in Richmond last fall. When interviewed for the article he commented, “We came to shoot in Richmond originally because of the incentives, but we would return happily because the people were so wonderful … we had no trouble finding spectacular locations that not only matched the look we needed, but raised our production value immensely.”

Richmond-based filmmaker Kevin Hershberger agreed, saying, “As a filmmaker who specializes in historical projects, I’m constantly inspired by the Richmond region. Every street corner, every old barn, every monument seems to hide a legend that’s waiting to be discovered.”

Virginia Film Office Director Rita D. McClenny commented, “We have world-class film training programs at Virginia universities, we have spectacular film locations, experienced crew members and now we have a film incentive program that helps us recruit films and television projects to Virginia. All the things that make Richmond an exceptional city to live and work in also make it a wonderful place for filmmaking.”

The direct and indirect impact of Virginia’s motion picture and video production industry in 2009 was $346 million, representing 2,701 jobs for the state.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at