Indy-based 'The Fault in Our Stars' filmed in Pittsburgh - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Indy-based 'The Fault in Our Stars' filmed in Pittsburgh

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INDIANAPOLIS - The much-anticipated movie "The Fault in Our Stars" opened in theaters this weekend, topping the box office.

It's based on a novel by Indianapolis author John Green, with the story set in Indianapolis and Amsterdam. It's about of two young cancer patients, who meet in a support group and fall in love.

The book includes many references to Indianapolis, including the Ruins at Holiday Park, Castleton Square Mall and North Central High School. But you won't see any of those places in the movie, as it was filmed in Pittsburgh.

Kenzie Pitchford and Anna Nguyn, both of Westfield said, "it was so, so good, the best movie ever," but they do wish it was shot here, "because what if we ran into the actors one day? Yeah and then like Indianapolis would get like really famous."

While the two young fans did take note of that pivotal scene where Gus and Hazel picnic near the Funky Bones sculpture at the IMA's Funky Bones, 100 Acres, it wasn't the actual Funky Bones.

It turns out the filmmakers commissioned the artist to recreate the entire outdoor sculpture in Pittsburgh.

Greg Sorvig with Heartland Film said, "this is the case where a panel of people, including us, wanted the film here, so the moral support was there, the Hoosier hospitality, but ultimately it came down to the production cost."

Sorvig said there are 39 states that offer tax incentives for film production and "Indiana is not one of them."

While the state offered small tax rebates for filmmakers for a few years, it stopped doing so in 2012. Sorvig said that's unfortunate.

"'Breaking Bad' put new Mexico on the map for film production, 'Walking Dead' did the same for Georgia. If we had just one in Indiana, it could be huge," he said.

Sorvig said an economic impact study in Illinois found that in 2012, the film industry spent $184 million in the Land of Lincoln.

"Imagine having the Super Bowl on a smaller scale multiple times a year, the whole community is excited when the film comes out, imagine the premieres, the ticket sales," he said.

Jonathan Frey, an independent filmmaker who produces documentary shorts in Indianapolis agrees.

"There's no one here fighting to bring in productions, because there are no tax incentives," Frey said. "That mentality can change but now the state isn't so much focused on the arts as trying to bring businesses in that stay, not just for the short term."

He said moviemakers go for the best deal, because "they're bringing in their own crews. There's no industry here. It all has to be traveled. They're bringing in people and that's costly."

But he and Sorvig remain hopeful that will change.

Referring to "The Fault in Our Stars," Sorvig said, "This was the kind of film we needed to blow the lid off this topic in Indiana. This film is tracking to be number one this weekend. It's a huge film and it's going to beat out Tom Cruise, (in his new release, "Edge of Tomorrow") which is pretty crazy."

Sorvig said that should help when film advocates return to the Statehouse next year to push for new tax incentives.
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