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slides: Rhode Island’s Film Industry Continues to Thrive

Saturday, January 18, 2014


While it’s not quite Hollywood, Rhode Island has become a popular backdrop for filmmakers--having been utilized for the production of dozens of motion pictures--ranging from critically-acclaimed independent films to big-budget blockbusters.

“Rhode Island offers priceless locations which are not only real, but very often, financially prohibitive from duplicating,” said Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the RI Film and Television Office. “Besides, why recreate something that is a pale imitation when the best of the best is available in our beautiful Ocean State.”

See the many great Rhode Island film productions in the slides below

Director Michael Corrente, credited with many great films, including several Rhode Island film productions such as Outside Providence and Federal Hillexpressed his passion making films in his home state.

“I love making films in Rhode Island. The architecture, a manageable city, and tax credits make the state attractive to filmmakers.”

Tax credits

The Motion Picture Production Tax Credit in Rhode Island currently offers film productions a benefit of 25 percent of state certified directly incurred production costs attributable to activity within the state. To qualify, a minimum of $100,000 must be spent in the Ocean State. The film must also be shot primarily in Rhode Island--meaning that 51 percent or more of the principal photography must take place within the state's borders.

In a 2009 study of the impact from the motion picture production tax credits on the Rhode Island economy, URI Professor of Business, Dr. Edward Mazze concluded that from 2005 through 2009, $56.7 million in tax credits resulted in $465.51 million in total economic activity, and was responsible for creating and supporting 4,184 Full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.

“[Mazze] found that for every one dollar given in a tax credit resulted in eight dollars of economic activity to our local economy,” said Feinberg.

While Rhode Island imposed more restrictions on the tax credits for film and television productions, particularly a $15 million annual cap instituted in 2009, the Ocean State has continued to be an attractive location for filmmakers.

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom was filmed in more than a dozen RI locations in 2011

What’s the draw?

“What makes RI great to me is the proximity and size of it," said Corrente. “You can get from Woonsocket to Newport in 45 minutes, and they offer very different backdrops. This ability to move from shore to city to the country in just a few minutes makes Rhode Island desirable.”

Actor, director, writer, and Cranston-native Tom DeNucci agrees, “RI offers such a wide variety of looks. You've got everything form cites and suburbs, to farms, beaches and the sticks. All within a forty-minute drive. This makes our company moves very efficient.”

Both filmmakers point out that the people of Rhode Island also deserve credit for making the state such a desirable location for film production.

“Rhode Island is a very film friendly state, the people open their arms, and embrace these film projects, said Corrente.

“Everyone is really excited about what we're doing and willing to help out, added DeNucci. “It's a small community, everybody knows everybody. Say you need a classic car for your shoot, there's a good chance you've got an uncle that has one, or at least he 'knows a guy'."

Corrente added that he is constantly spreading the word about the benefit of Rhode Island as a filming location.

“I used to try to keep [Rhode Island] as my own little secret, but now I tell everyone I know how great it is to film here.“


Related Slideshow: 25 Movies Filmed in Rhode Island

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Moonrise Kingdom


Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray Frances McDormand

This Oscar nominated film features many local landmarks including Fort Wetherill State Park, Bayfield Farm, and the Conanicut Lighthouse.

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Mr. North


Director: Danny Huston

Cast: Anthony Edwards, Robert Mitchum, Lauren Bacall

Shot in Newport, this comedy-drama features Anthony Edwards as a con man attempting to break into the 1920s Newport social scene. 

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There's Something About Mary


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller

Filmed partly in Providence, this movie was the highest-grossing comedy in 1998. 

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Federal Hill


Director: Michael Corrente

Cast: Nicholas Turturro, Anthony DeSando, Libby Langdon

Set in Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood, the movie marks the directorial debut of Pawtucket native Michael Corrente.

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Age of Innocence


Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder

This Oscar winning drama was partly filmed in Portsmouth.  

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True Lies


Director: James Cameron

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold

The ballroom scenes in the movie were filmed at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport.

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High Society


Director: Charles Walters

Cast: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra

Nominated for two Academy Awards, the movie's opening shot features a flyover of Newport’s oceanfront mansions. 

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Thirteen Days


Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp

This docudrama about the Cuban Missile Crisis was partly shot in Newport. 

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Little Children


Director: Todd Field

Cast: Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley

Shot partly in Providence, this critically acclaimed drama received three Academy Award nominations, including a Best Lead Actress nod for Kate Winslet.

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Director: Peter M. Lenkov

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon

A car chase for this action-comedy was filmed in downtown Providence.

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Dijimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey

Shot at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport and the State House in Providence, this drama received four Academy Award nominations in 1998. 

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Outside Providence


Director: Michael Corrente

Cast: Shawn Hatosy, Amy Smart, Alec Baldwin

Filmed in multiple locations throughout Rhode Island, this movie is an adaptation of Peter Farrelly's 1988 novel of the same name.

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Me, Myself & Irene


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Jim Carrey, Renée Zellweger. Chris Cooper, Robert Forster, Richard Jenkins

Filmed in Newport, Narragansett, Jamestown, and Galilee, this comedy centers on a Rhode Island State Trooper played by Jim Carrey. 

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Director: Lajos Koltai

Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep

The film was primarily set in Newport and included large portions shot at Gooseberry Beach.

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The Great Gatsby


Director: Jack Clayton

Cast: Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston, Bruce Dern

This Academy Award-winning drama was filmed in Newport at the Rosecliff Mansion on Bellevue Ave.

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Self Storage


Director: Tom DeNucci

Cast: Eric Roberts, Jonathan Silverman, Michael Berryman, Tom DeNucci

Filmed in a self storage facility in East Greenwich, this horror-comedy marks the directorial debut of Cranston native Tom DeNucci. 

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27 Dresses


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Åkerman, Ed Burns

Shot throughout Rhode Island, locations included the Rosecliff and Marble House mansions in Newport and a beach in Charlestown. 

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Dan in Real Life


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Alison Pill

Filmed primarily in Jamestown, the movie also features the Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett.

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale


Director: Lasse Hallström

Cast: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Jason Alexander

Filmed primarily in Bristol and Woonsocket, other locations included the Columbus Theater in Providence and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. 

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The Education of Charlie Banks


Director: Fred Durst

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, Eva Amurri

Shot partially in Brown University in Providence, the movie marks the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst.

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Meet Joe Black


Director: Martin Brest

Cast: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani

Warwick's Aldrich Mansion served as the residence of Anthony Hopkins' character in the film. 

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Reversal of Fortune


Director: Barbet Schroeder

Cast: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver

Jeremy Irons took home the Oscar for Best Actor for this drama, which was partly shot in Newport.

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Director: Frederik Du Chau

Cast: Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, Amy Adams

Shot entirely in Rhode Island, filming locations included Hope High School on the East Side of Providence.

Prev Next

Tanner Hall


Directors: Francesca Gregorini, Tatiana von Furstenberg

Cast: Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson

Shot in Providence and Newport, the film marks the the directorial debut of Brown University graduates Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg.

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Dumb and Dumber


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly

Scenes from the beginning of this comedy were filmed on location in Providence, including a shot of the Big Blue Bug.


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