Give me a K-R-I-S-T-E-N E-R-W-I-N. What’s that spell? Cincinnati’s biggest cheerleader, of course.
That’s right, Kristen Erwin, executive director for Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission, is responsible for making Cincinnati one of the cool kids on Hollywood’s playground.
“What could make Cincinnati more chic than VH1, MTV and Hollywood?” says Jessie Erickson Folmar, marketing and communications manager at Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau. “In the past year, Kristen Erwin has worked with all three to shine a very cool spotlight on Cincinnati.”
In the Spring, Erwin worked with Lightborne Studios for the production of the 3 Doors Down video, “It’s Not My Time,” shot entirely in Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine. The video skyrocketed to No. 1 on VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown program, and stayed in the Top 20 all Summer.
She didn’t get to enjoy that success too much, though. She was busy all Summer working with Metaphor Studio, LLC to bring VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown to Cincinnati. The network filmed the two-hour program from 18 Cincinnati landmarks. The program aired three times on VH1, which penetrates 95 million homes.
The fun doesn’t stop there, kids. Erwin also helped host two MTV pilots in conjunction with the SCPA and hosted numerous Hollywood scouts this year. So, there’s lots brewing in the 2009 cauldron.
This unknown journey is what makes Erwin passionate about her job. “To be a part of that adventure – in a city that I love and have great pride in – is the perfect fit,” she says. “I’m passionate because I believe a film commission makes this city a more interesting place.”
One reason she loves Cincinnati so much is because of her family’s deep roots here. Those roots often end up being handy for the job, too. “I look to my family for a lot of location scouting and story telling and history for clients,” she says.
As for what gives her inspiration? Her family helps out there, as well. “Both my grandfathers had a passion for ‘Cincinnata'” she laughs. “One is a historian and the other was a banker. I learned a lot from both of them about how to be involved and how to make a difference in community.” Erwin says her father also inspires her because he doesn’t know a stranger and has a knack for making people laugh and feel good about themselves.
Life lessons have also taught her a lot. Erwin says she’s learned one big lesson along the way to all her successes: Don’t be afraid to say “yes.”
“Our city has a tendency to fall in complacency and I realize that a simple ‘yes’ can lead to many opportunities.” she explains. “I have had many locations say ‘no’ to letting us look at the property because they didn’t want to be inconvenienced or were scared of the idea of film. What they didn’t know was that by saying ‘yes,’ they could have in fact had their entire home remodeled and made quite a bit of money.”
But not only is it her life-mission to find more “yes people” in the city, she also wants to see incentives passed statewide so Cincinnati has a chance to recreate “Hollywood on the Ohio,” as she calls it. So, be on the lookout. We’ll be a Tinseltown Tri-State before you know it, thanks to this Cincy-touting film femme.
Photo: Courtesy of Film Cincinnati