Meet Kristen Schlotman, the woman who brings Hollywood jobs (and Hollywood money) to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – During 2021, WCPO’s Tanya O’Rourke will introduce you to nine influential women breaking glass ceilings or using their influence to make the Tri-State a better place to live. Watch previous episodes with Sister Sally Duffy, a nun who hopes to end poverty in our area. Paula Boggs Muething, Cincinnati city manager who survived breast cancer and became the city’s second manager; and Karen Bankston, whose long career in local health care has focused on connecting vulnerable people with medical resources.

CINCINNATI – According to colleague D. Lynn Meyers, Kristen Schlotman is “the best ambassador that Cincinnati has”. She is not an athlete or a politician; Your non-profit film Cincinnati consists of two people.

But Schlotman’s influence leads Oscar winners and directors to shoot their projects in and around the city, generating work for local actors and craftsmen, and at the same time enriching the state of Ohio. The result: an up-and-coming film and television industry, from which Schlotman often learned that it could never support the region.

Fortunately, “Kristen doesn’t understand the word” no “,” Meyers said.

Schlotman comes from Mount Lookout and has the task of “selling” Cincinnati to film production companies. Travel the country to convince directors like Todd Haynes, whose Cincinnati film “Carol” was nominated for six Academy Awards, that the city has the pictures. the local talent and infrastructure to bring their vision to life. Film Cincinnati’s website lists many of the local professionals who may be asked to help execute after a director says yes: casting directors like Meyers, an animal wrangler, carpenters, gaffers, location scouts, Production designer and set designer.

Your job at the top is not traditional and your requirements are changing.

“I’m the firefighter,” joked Schlotman. “I put out fires left and right. We solve problems for people. I think that’s one of the things I love the most because I never know what it is.” The problem is, and I never really know what the answer is, but I know I’ll find out. “

Schlotman said she was excited about the film production when she was cast as a supporting role in “The Pride of Jesse Hallam,” a television movie starring Johnny Cash in 1981.

“They were shooting at Walnut Hills High School,” she said. “And I didn’t know who Johnny Cash was at the time, and I didn’t know who one of the actors was, but I remember looking around at all the other people running around fixing lights and on one Walkie talked to each other -talkies and I thought, ‘This is so cool. I don’t know what they are all doing, but I want to do that. ‘”

She started her dream as an adult and found resistance – not from people who thought it was a bad idea, but from people who just thought it was unrealistic.

“And they kept saying, ‘You know, this is a good idea and we wish you the best of luck, but Cincinnati will never be on the menu for that,” she said. “And if I had listened to you, we wouldn’t.” Don’t be where we are now. “

Well-known Cincinnati-related projects include “Carol” with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara; “Dark Waters” with Mark Ruffalo; and “Killing a Sacred Deer” with Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell. Film Cincinnati was also involved in Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy, which won star Glenn Close a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 2021 Oscars.

Schlotman wants more.

“I want us to be a prime target for all production purposes,” she said. “I want so much work to be done here, that Netflix build a soundstage and then a whole campus, and we’re getting people to work right from UC, right from NKU, right from Miami right in Miami, this industry. “

She believes it is possible too. The advances the Ohio film industry has made over the past decade – according to a recent study, state tax incentives for filmmakers have generated around $ 1.1 billion since 2009 – are “architectures” that support what is called next comes, said Schlotman.

“Although movies and sets are here in our back yard, I want it to be a global destination for filmmakers around the world,” she said. “And I have a feeling that we are currently setting up much of the architecture to achieve that goal.”

According to Meyers, thanks to Schlotman’s work, local artists have every reason to be optimistic.

“I can make a living here as a working artist,” she said. “I can make a living here with lights, props, sets and sounds. I can make a living here with promotions. I can make a living in a city where I want to raise my family.”

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