Originally from New York State, Chris Ranung began his career in film in 1997 while working on the movie Ride, which was under production in Jacksonville. “I came in on the crew level as a Craft Service Assistant,” Chris explains. In Chris’ position providing food and beverages to the cast and crew on several film and television productions, he learned a great deal about the film industry, especially about the behind-the-scenes people who give movies and shows their magic through a multitude of talents.
While working on Ride, Chris found another way to support the people he worked alongside. He joined the local branch of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E), a labor union that represents Florida’s professional film workers. Chris saw the hard work and amazing skills of these workers firsthand and appreciated their high level of service. The artists who design sets and wardrobes are often the unsung heroes of these productions, and I.A.T.S.E. gave him a chance to be their advocate.
Chris Ranung’s career in Craft Service took him all over the United States and to different parts of the world. He became widely known and respected as one of the top people in his profession as he worked on over two dozen feature films and television productions. Serving as “Key Crafty” (or head of his department) on such films as Tigerland, The Punisher, and Miami Vice, Chris not only culivated a closer bond with cinema, but also with the people he worked with on many projects. “I really love the industry!” Chris says fondly. “I care deeply about the people. When you’re working on a movie for weeks at a time with the same group of people, you go through a lot of things together. You become pretty close.”
Although Chris’ craft service career ended in 2014, his compassion for stage employees continued. He has served as the President of the Florida division of I.A.T.S.E since 2010, and his local body has jurisdiction over the majority of the motion picture production crews working in Florida.
His service to the film industry extends even further in his role as the Chair of The Congress of Motion Picture Associations of Florida (COMPASS). His leadership capacity in both of these important positions allows Chris to diligently advocate on behalf of the accomplished Floridians working in his beloved industry.
He also believes that others can also support films locally. “Pay attention to the Film Festival,” he says. “Look at your young people, the people who are trying to create things. Take an interest in the arts.”