With production crews regularly using Cincinnati as their backdrops for movies, it’s not unusual to see a film crew set up somewhere around town. But seeing what goes on in the middle of the movie set? That’s reserved for the professionals—unless you come to Film Cincinnati’s annual “Backlot” party and experience movie magic firsthand.

What started last year as a way to mark Film Cincinnati’s 30 years in the movie business has become a yearly celebration of the growth of the film industry in the area.  And once again this year, Film Cincinnati is partnering with Brave Berlin, of Lumenocity and Blink fame, to replicate a working soundstage and backlot for its annual gala and fundraiser, coming up Saturday, September 8.

“We want to immerse guests in an event like no other, where fantasy, art and entertainment celebrate Cincinnati as ‘the’ destination for film,” said Steve McGowan of Brave Berlin. “This is all about seeing and being seen so don’t hold back on your paparazzi fashion statements.”

What makes a Backlot experience? First, the location, along West Mehring Way, which has been a star in its own right in several movie chase scenes. Once on set, guests will be pampered just like a movie star in the Hair, Make-Up and Wardrobe trailers, while being treated like a celebrity VIP with a Red Carpet pre-show entrance hosted by Ms. Penny Tration from RuPaul’s Drag Race. 

Entertainment includes live music by Fixx Band Cincy with dance performances by Dance Fix and video projection and DJ interactive by Brave Berlin and Toad Productions. Walk around the lot, and you’ll also see some of the cars and other props from movies shot on location right here in Greater Cincinnati. Local food favorites and top shelf drinks will be available as well.

Also at Backlot, Cincinnati native and Vice President for Creative Affairs for legendary French film studio Gaumont, Johanna Byer, will receive the annual Film Cincinnati Lori Holladay Founder’s Award. The award, created last year to mark Film Cincinnati’s 30th anniversary, goes to a person or group whose determination and passion for filmmaking serves Cincinnati with the same drive that Lori Holladay exhibited day in and day out for more than 17 years as the executive director of Film Cincinnati. Actor, writer and director Emilio Estevez received the award last year. 

“The magic to this spectacle is how we tell the story of Film Cincinnati,” said Dan Reynolds of Brave Berlin. “When we created the new brand of Film Cincinnati we put experience at the top of the list. Expect to see dramatic effects and projection mapping as a part of the scenery as well as a few tricks that we have up our sleeve.” 

The motion picture industry contributed $38.3 million to the local economy in 2016, the last year figures are available. In 2016, the expenditures of films based and shot here totaled $19.1 million, which was spent on wages, location fees, sound effects, catering, equipment and the like. This spending led to additional spending of more than $19.1 million for a total economic impact of $38.3 million. 

Tickets are still available for the Backlot gala at www.filmcincinnati.com.