How The Film Factory Looks From Outside The Theater


It costs a lot to go to the movies these days, and to bring them to your state.

Many are questioning whether the Midwest is right to pursue film production, arguing that California still has the bulk of the $57 billion industry. It’s hard to replicate the infrastructure, from technical personnel to the labs needed for processing.

However, California’s grip may be loosening.

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Changing Gears: Our Opening Lineup

Changing Gears goes on the air and on the Web Monday with a full week of reports on reinventing the Industrial Midwest.

Here’s the lineup: IMG_0049

MONDAY: Reporters Dan Bobkoff, Niala Boodhoo and Kate Davidson present The Film Factory, a look at the race across the Midwest to land movie deals. You’ll hear Mayor Daley, Clint Eastwood and the family that got a visit from Wes Craven.

On the Web, we have a list of movies that star the Midwest.

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Hungry? You Will Be Monday


There’s nothing like a yummy peach cobbler — but this one has a twist. It’s from Smoque BBQ in Chicago, the first restaurant we’re featuring in Reinvention Recipes.

Come back to on Monday, when our food writer Michael Nagrant tells the story of Smoque and how it serves dessert with a surprise touch.

Sneak Preview: The Film Factory


Changing Gears goes on the air Monday with our first story: The Film Factory.

As industrial jobs have gone away, states across the Midwest are looking at everything. Some think the silver screen may become a silver bullet. Team Gears — Niala Boodhoo in Chicago, Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor — visit movie sets and talk to experts about the generous film incentive programs that pit state against state and even city against city. Continue reading “Sneak Preview: The Film Factory”

One Week to Go! Gearing Up for Changing Gears

Next week, public radio listeners will meet the Changing Gears team for the first time on the air. Niala Boodhoo in Chicago, Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor and Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland are preparing their reports for our launch the week after next.

You’ll be hearing their voices — and mine — throughout next week, as we talk about the stories we’ll be doing about the reinvention of the Great Lakes Region.

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What is Changing Gears All About?

You’ve heard Changing Gears reports on the air, and found us on the Web. Maybe you’ve seen us on Twitter or Facebook. But what is the mission behind Changing Gears — and what’s in the works? We thought we’d devote this week’s podcast to helping you understand our goals.


The Changing Gears region covers a lot of ground, from Wisconsin to Ohio. And our reporters have covered a lot of ground, from movies filming in the Midwest to the future of our cities and budget battles in our states to a backlog at the tax tribunal.

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What Does Labor Day Mean to You?

Parades. Cookouts. Back to school shopping. And for some, the end of summer.

Labor Day has a different meaning to many people throughout the region, depending on their point of view. But in the Great Lakes region, it is hard to overlook its roots as a holiday to celebrate working men and women. Jobs and the redefinition of jobs will be a key focus of Changing Gears, and you’ll be hearing about new approaches to jobs when we go on the air Sept. 20, just two weeks from now.

Labor Day originated in New York, and became a national holiday after the devastating strike involving the Pullman rail car company of Chicago. In Detroit, generations of union members, from the United Automobile Workers to the Teamsters to members of the hotel and restaurant trades have gathered downtown each Labor Day in solidarity.

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Where Should We Eat? What Should We Eat?

Whenever I travel, the first thing I like to know is where to eat, and what to eat. At Changing Gears, we’re determined to make our states as well known for their food as they are for their lakes and what we make here.

So tell us: where should we eat — in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and upstate New York? How about Ontario? What’s your favorite dish in Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago? Which farm markets do you recommend? Wineries, bakeries?

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Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20

Mark your calendars for  Monday Sept. 20. That’s when Changing Gears will go on the air. We’ll be reporting on the future of the Midwest industrial region from our partner stations Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Radio and ideastream in Cleveland.

You’ll hear from all the members of Team Gears — Niala Boodhoo, Kate Davidson and Dan Bobkoff — and we’ll be kicking off our special Web features. Meanwhile, our food writer Michael Nagrant is whipping up a batch of Reinvention Recipes that will give you a new view of some familiar dishes and places.

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From Miami to the Midwest: Niala Boodhoo

Niala BoodhooI’m Niala Boodhoo, and I’m the Chicago-based reporter for Changing Gears.

This Great Recession has been measured by lots of numbers: job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. But along with statistics, the recession has had a personal impact on workers, owners of businesses, small and large, and on our communities.

I’ll be responsible for covering these kinds of stories from Illinois as well as the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana.

I’ll be focusing on community redevelopment, and hope to tell how our region is handling the transition from manufacturing to a new identity. Like my team members, I’ll also be looking at stories about environment, food, arts and our ethnic diversity.

I’ve been a business reporter since 2000 in London, Washington and Miami, where I was born and raised. I’ve covered stories like the British economy and election of Tony Blair as Prime Minister in 2000, as well as the price of aluminum (or as they say it, alu-MIN-ium) on the London Metals Exchange, but the stories I remember the most are features about people, like a story I wrote about a curry shop owner in Bradford, England, a “curry capital’’ of the world. Continue reading “From Miami to the Midwest: Niala Boodhoo”