Youngstown: The Next Movie Hot Spot?

By Gabrielle Fellows

Between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, two of Hollywood’s newest movie hubs , can be found Youngstown, an unassuming city with a seemingly absent film scene.

Fred D’Amico, actor, producer and Youngstown native, is determined to change this and put Youngstown on the map as a movie metropolis.

“You don’t have to move out to LA … to pursue your dream. Your dream is 45 minutes away … in Pittsburgh or Cleveland. And we are sitting here in the middle of the Mecca of movies 45 minutes away from us. … Well, we’re going to bring the movies to Youngstown since nobody wants to drive 45 minutes away,” D’Amico said. “Our future is this. It’s a nonprofit that is going to work with another nonprofit school downtown to begin a film series. Every four months, a movie will be made all by local people. There is a possibility that a movie could be coming here as soon as February.”

D’Amico is known for his work on “Carnival of Souls” (1998), “Happy, Texas” (1999), “November” (2004) and his most recent movie, “The Power of Few” (2013) starring Christopher Walken. He said he wants to bring the dream of having the movie industry in Youngstown to life through the nonprofit organization Project Young Hollywood.

“Project Young Hollywood is a nonprofit set up to design every element needed to bring the movie industry here,” D’Amico said. “We want people who want to learn how to write scripts, who want to be building movie sets, working the set, set decorating, etc. … There are a ton of jobs involved with bringing a movie to life that many aren’t aware of.”

Students and members of the community who hope to learn about the movie industry through hands-on experience are encouraged to sign up to be a part of Project Young Hollywood’s cast and crew database at http://projectyounghollywood.org or email jobs@projectyounghollywood.com.

People interested in joining on as movie extras, background talent, actors and actresses, experienced crew members and those who just wish to learn can also be placed in the database directly for $5 by appearing at open casting held on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. or Monday, Jan. 26, Wednesday, Jan. 28 and Friday, Jan. 30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Oakland on 220 West Boardman St. in Youngstown.

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