More movies in Middletown? New partnership could make that happen

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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??€œDonnybrook??€ on location using Central Avenue storefronts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Middletown officials are partnering with FilmDayton, a regional nonprofit film commission, in hopes of bringing more movie work to the city and generating a larger economic impact from the industry that has a growing presence in southwest Ohio.

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“There has been recent film production in the Middletown area and we’d like to grow that interest,” said Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins. “FilmDayton has great experience navigating the film industry and we look forward to working with them to promote Middletown as an area of interest.”

Middletown has seen more recent activity with the filming of the movie “Donnybrook” and several visits by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, who is making a film version of the J.D. Vance book about Middletown, “Hillbilly Elegy.”


Film commissions assist movie producers with filming locations, technical crews, casting calls for movie extras, logistics, catering, booking hotel rooms for cast and crews and office space and police assistance in blocking streets for filming. They also assist production companies in obtaining local permits as well as refundable state tax credits.

ExploreMORE: 12 movies thast came to Butler County for filming

“The state film tax credit is bringing films to Ohio and FilmDayton is excited to work with the city of Middletown to bring more movie production to the area,” said Lisa Grigsby, FilmDayton executive director.

“The economic impact films bring can be huge. Films hire local crew, fill hotel rooms, hire local caterers, rent locations and vehicles and they buy building materials from the hardware store. With $40 million annually in film tax incentive funds, we’d like to help producers and directors use Middletown as a set for their movies.”

ExploreMORE: Ron Howard spotted in Middletown again at popular coffee shop

City spokesperson Shelby Quinlivan said Middletown is talking with Film Cincinnati on similar partnership.

ExploreMORE: Report: Ron Howard movie version of Middletown-inspired ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ goes to Netflix, which will spend $45M

In “Donnybrook,” Rhyan Hanavan , a fourth-grader at St. John XXIII Elementary School in Middletown, appears in six scenes. Hanavan was one of two children in the independent movie whose father is being played by Jamie Bell.

A production crew used a portion of Central Avenue in October 2017 as a location for the filming. That production crew spent some time filming at several locations in Middletown and elsewhere in Butler County.

MORE: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’: The latest in movie adaptation of book based on Middletown

For the past few months, Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard has been in Middletown for pre-production work for the movie version of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Over the past several months, Howard has been seen around Middletown and has been a regular of sorts at the Triple Moon Coffee Company for coffee and sandwiches.

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Howard is directing and producing with his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer and the company’s Karen Lunder. Reports indicate shooting of the movie with begin later this year.

Vance’s memoir was a New York Times bestseller for 74 weeks. In the book, Vance writes about growing up in Middletown.

Also on Thursday, Variety magazine reported that actress Amy Adams has been signed to star in the film.

Adams, 44, was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynne Cheney in “Vice,” the bioptic film about former Vice President Dick Cheney. She has won two Golden Globe awards and has been nominated six times for an Academy Award, according to website. She has 60 film and television credits in her career over the past 20 years.

Recent movies filmed in Butler County

• Ides of March

• Carol

• The Long Home

• Goat

• Tiger

• Gotti

• Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

• Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le

• My Days of Mercy

• Blood Heist

• Blood Ride

• Old Man and the Gun

• Donnybrook

SOURCE: Journal-News archives

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