Chances are you have seen a film that he worked on.
Chances are it was a big-budget studio film.
And, chances are that film was made in New York.
Seasoned location manager Jason Farrar knows his way around New York State very well. Not only was he raised in Syracuse, New York, but he also attended the State University of New York at New Paltz in upstate New York, where he studied music and psychology. A huge fan of movies, he got his start in the film business as a production assistant and assistant accountant in the late 1990’s. He was able to parlay that experience into work in the locations department, gaining more experience, working his way through the production ranks, while establishing and nurturing what have become long-standing relationships within the industry.
Jason Farrar, Location Manager
With few exceptions, most of the projects Jason has worked on have filmed in New York, and are high-profile productions. Most recently he worked on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, due to be released on May 2, which filmed throughout New York State in New York City, Rochester and Long Island. Due to the logistics of a challenging, urban car chase scene, the crew had to consider leaving the metropolitan NYC area. Farrar adds, “The producers were very committed to keeping the entire production in New York State. So we scouted urban areas upstate - Albany, Syracuse, Rochester & Buffalo – and decided Rochester was the best look and fit. I’d love to bring another film there soon.”
Filming so much in New York presents him with different opportunities, and sometimes challenges, depending on the project. One of his favorite projects was working on Disney’s Enchanted in 2007 because it was a love story to New York City. “We were able to do things that had never been done before, i.e. all the filming in Central Park, which can get tricky at times,” Jason says.
But Jason loves a challenge. While recently filming The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, there was a chase scene which presented logistical complications that required the involvement and coordination of many public and private entities, which resulted in many street closures, redirection of traffic and long hours of shooting on weekends. On this and other projects he will rely on his long-standing relationship with the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting, to provide access to locations and to facilitate the filming process throughout New York City and State.
When asked what is the key to working as a Location Manager, Jason responds, “I think it is very important to work with people I like and respect.” In 1998, he had the opportunity to be part of the locations team on A Beautiful Mind and learned that the hard work and the dedication of your team are key to success in this business. It was on that production that he met future colleagues he would continuously work to this day. He continues, “It fascinates me that the young, talented people I worked with on A Beautiful Mind have moved on to become the busiest, most sought-after and respected New York location professionals in the business, with whom I continue to work today.”
Jason also likes that film production is one of the few lines of work around that reward what he calls the “mailroom mentality.” So, for everyone who’s looking for a career in production, Jason advises, “When you are a Production Assistant, don’t question any task you’re given. No job is meaningless. Be on time, be proud of every task you do, and people will notice.”
For a more detailed list of Jason Farrar’s credits, click here.
Saratoga’s scenic beauty, historical place in American history, architecture and unique locations make it a great place to film. Just ask Annamaria Bellantoni, who does double duty in the area, both as Vice President of Tourism at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, and handling film requests for the Saratoga Film Commission. Bellantoni, who has been with the Chamber of Commerce for 25 years, has worked in every department including events, marketing, customer relations and administration. She was very excited when handling film requests was added to her responsibilities and feels that her work in tourism and the Chamber of Commerce definitely enhances her work with the film industry. It’s a perfect fit, since many of the film locations are tourism attractions and her experience makes her better able to help filmmakers coordinate a whole host of related services, including lodging and catering.
Bellantoni has lived in Saratoga Springs her entire life, with the exception of her college years, so she is quick to sing the praises of the area. “Saratoga Springs is a great community. We have received numerous lifestyle awards that can attest to that!” Her enthusiasm for the area and dedication to the film industry serves her well when working with filmmakers.
Annamaria Bellantoni, VP of Tourism at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce
Some iconic movies that were filmed in Saratoga include Ghost Story, Billy Bathgate, Horse Whisperer, and Seabiscuit, and the Saratoga Film Commission is currently working on developing a larger presence within the industry, as well as trying to support their growing talented film community. The community of Saratoga is welcoming and excited about the prospects of filming and understands the economics behind it, so they will support the efforts of the Film Commission to grow the industry in their area.
Saratoga offers fabulous, unique locations, including the Saratoga Race Course - the oldest operating sporting venue in the country. There are plenty of historic landmarks in Saratoga and over 1,100 buildings and two parks (Congress Park and Saratoga Spa State Park) on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
One of the historic landmarks, Saratoga Spa State Park, is located on 2,200 acres that include woods, trails, mineral springs, golf courses classical architecture, two pools, and two bath houses (one active and one non-active), thus offering a wide variety of location options. Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Yaddo Gardens, Congress Park and Canfield Casino, and a historic hotel also lend themselves to ideal film locations. And for something truly unique, filmmakers should check out the Copeland Covered Bridge that is located in Edinburg, New York.
Skidmore College is also open for filming and offers a variety of architectural styles from English Tudor style http://www.skidmore.edu/surrey/surrey-history.php to modern, as in the Zankel Music Center that includes a full glass wall that is the backdrop to the stage overlooking nature http://www.skidmore.edu/zankel/photo_gallery/insidezankel.php.
The Saratoga Film Commission is dedicated to increasing film production in the area and is implementing initiatives to grow the industry. As part of that initiative, Bellantoni coordinated a highly successful New York Loves Film Production Roadshow at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs earlier this month. The workshop, that attracted over two dozen attendees, was an opportunity for filmmakers and students to meet with state representatives in an informal setting to learn about film production in New York, and how the state’s tax credit program can make it possible for them to create and produce their films within New York State.
To further their efforts, the Saratoga Film Commission is currently in the planning stages of creating a dedicated website, building a full digital library of photos and a complete data base of resources available to filmmakers.
Annamaria Bellantoni says, “We pride ourselves on applying our individualized approach to each project to make it a reality in Saratoga.” As their visibility continues to grow and more and more filmmakers discover the value of filming in Saratoga, more projects will become a reality in Saratoga, thanks to the efforts of Bellantoni and the Saratoga Film Commission.
Historic Downtown Waterfront is Open for Film Business
South Street Seaport is a filmmakers’ dream. It is a designated historic district and includes the largest concentration in New York City of restored early 19th century commercial buildings that are a testament to the Seaport’s heyday (1820 to 1860). The Seaport sits on a 12 square-block site that was the location of the original port of New York City. South Street Seaport was recently touted as the 26th most visited site in the world, and ties with the Great Wall of China. It has often been thought that the phrase, “The city that never sleeps” was coined in Times Square. In fact, it began at South Street Seaport since, because of the shipping industry there, it became the first 24-hour neighborhood.
South Street Seaport has been a film and television location for many years and can be seen in such iconic movies as On the Waterfront, Annie Hall, Working Girl, and I Am Legend, to name a few, and television shows such as Law and Order, NYPD Blue, Geraldo Rivera and Ellen. Most recently the new series, The Knick, filmed on nearby Front Street, and South Street Seaport provided space for holding, crew and catering for the production.
Though the Seaport sustained damage from Hurricane Sandy and is undergoing a major renovation, Howard Hughes Corporation Events Development Director Joel Lippman, says, “The renovation actually affords opportunities for filming since they can easily take advantage of current empty spaces. When the renovation is complete in the fall of 2016, South Street Seaport will be an even more desirable filming location.” Lippman says that they felt that the Seaport was ripe for a renovation that would do justice to the waterfront. Plenty of historic locations will still be available after the renovation, and the cobblestone streets will remain untouched, but there will be innovations that will lend themselves to even more filming possibilities. Pier 17 will be demolished and will be replaced by a new building that will provide fabulous filming possibilities with its rooftop event venue. Space in this new center will also be identified as potential for green rooms, and studio space for film interviews. Contact Joan Cooney at 646-822-6985 or email@example.com for further information.
Howard Hughes Corporation is also proposing that a portion of the former Fulton Fish Market (also known as the Tin Building) will be renovated and restored meticulously and reoriented 30 feet from its current location on South Street. This will remove it from the flood plain post Superstorm Sandy, and will allow for better filming vantages. They are also insuring that electrical, water, and fiber will be well connected to make the Seaport as turnkey as possible for filmmakers.
In addition to the extraordinary locations, filmmakers will find the South Street Seaport area to be extremely film-friendly. The Howard Hughes Corporation works closely with the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District, so navigating the community and the de-mapped streets can be effortless. Also, to enhance the experience of filming on nearby streets, the Corporation can also arrange to provide ancillary space, and can easily address such production needs as holding, crew, and catering areas.
Period dramas and cheating for European areas are easily accommodated at South Street Seaport. The block of buildings known as Schermerhorn Row on the south side of Fulton Street, and the walk-through known as Cannon’s Walk can easily lend themselves to a variety of locations. With the right set dressing, Cannon’s Walk can be transformed into a side street in Rome or Dublin, or wherever your imagination takes you.
When they were built in the early 1800’s, the historic buildings known as Schermerhorn Row were the tallest buildings in New York and the area was the “Wall Street” of its time. Now managed by the South Street Seaport Museum, many of the interiors of those buildings remain untouched, creating amazing location possibilities for filmmakers. Across the block, stepping inside the Bowne & Co. print shop that contains operating 18th century printing presses, is like stepping back in time. Aside from being the set for a 19th century print shop, the quaint location could easily be transformed into a candy shop or general store from that era.
The South Street Seaport Museum also manages the largest privately owned fleet of historic ships in the country and includes fully rigged ships, schooners, and the last New York built wooden tugboat, plus numerous antiquities. Last year, Winter’s Tale filmed on the “Wavertree”, one of the larger ships in the fleet.
Contact Sheri Signer at 212-748-8735 or firstname.lastname@example.org for film requests for Pier 16, the ships and the historic interiors that are managed by the South Street Museum. Management of the Museum welcomes film requests, is flexible and will work with filmmakers to make sure that their transport back into an earlier time is an easy one.
When Warner Bros. Pictures was looking for snowy locations to film Winter’s Tale last year, Ximena and Kurt Gardner from Adirondack Mountain Productions stepped up to the plate. In addition to being a production company with a wide range of services, they also operate as an unofficial film office, promoting filming in the Adirondacks and helping to make life easier for productions in the area.
Several scenes of Winter’s Tale were being filmed on a green screen in New York City and the production needed very specific views to drop into the background. Gardner was sent images of those scenes, and she and her team had to find backgrounds that would match. Though some of the requests may have been challenging, Gardner was able to offer the perfect options and the results are breathtaking.
Kurt and Ximena Gardner
The first location challenge was to find a clearing that was six to seven feet high (for camera angle) and approximately 100 feet wide with no trees or obstructions of any kind. The “Forever Wild” Adirondacks is known for its vast amounts of natural beauty, but not too many cleared areas. Gardner was undaunted, and the perfect location was finally identified at a local bed and breakfast that raises cattle on the field behind it in Boonville, New York, which is about 35 minutes south of Adirondack Park. The farm field had just the right amount of rise, as well as cleared land to suit the producers.
The real challenge came when they were tasked with finding a large frozen lake where they could safely walk a horse or drive a car. The filming took place in March and to maintain the frozen water, the temperatures had to be on their side, so the long winter was definitely welcomed last year. The crew and their “Ultimate Arm” camera car were taken to an “ice road” in the Adirondacks to capture the scene. Then they hired a “cherry picker” or “condor crane” from a local tree cutting service to get the needed overhead shots from a nearby lake.
The crew of 18, which included 1st AD, T. Sean Ferguson, and Director of Photography, Pat Capone, spent six days in Old Forge, New York and pumped thousands of dollars into the local economy. They loved the area and were very pleased with the footage they were able to get in the Adirondacks because they thought they would have to go to Canada to shoot the winter scenes. But it was all right here in New York State, proving that “If it’s in the script, it’s in New York.” Winter’s Tale is just one example of the enormous economic benefit productions bring to the State after being attracted by the successful and stable film production tax credit program.
The history of Adirondack Mountain Productions began in Old Forge, New York in August 2010. Ximena Gardner, an agent/producer and Kurt Gardner, an advertising and fashion photographer had moved to the area from New York City in 2008. What started the ball rolling for the creation of their company was when they had shot a few images of the Adirondacks for a client project. The client loved the images and the Gardners loved filming in the area. It got them thinking of other people who would love to shoot there as much as they did and how “local support” could enhance the experience. They created Adirondack Mountain Productions to fill the void and now they offer location scouting, location management, prop rentals, catering, transportation, accommodations, and large scale prop rentals of planes, trains, boats and cars.
Their first movie production, And Winter Slow was an NYU student thesis short film. The 16-minute short went on to win several film festivals, including Cinequest, which led to the opportunity to be one of 20 films that were reviewed by the Academy Awards 2012. Although And Winter Slow didn’t win the Oscar, it was an amazing opportunity and experience for all involved and an important learning tool for the young Adirondack Mountain Productions. Since that first production, the Gardners have brought many productions to the area and all the clients have left happy with everything they found in the Adirondacks. Ximena Gardner says, “Ultimately our goal has always been to have everyone come back again and again to shoot more productions. So far, this has been the case!” Aside from assisting with numerous still shoots, commercials, and documentaries, Adirondack Mountain Productions has also scouted for Disney and Paramount films.
Recently, Old Forge, New York was turned into 19th century Montana, when a New York University film student created movie magic with his thesis, Blackwell - a short film that has been described as a “western in the snow”. Blackwell will be entered in film festivals and will be shown in Old Forge in the fall. To see a clip of a news team on the set of Blackwell, click here.
As more and more filmmakers become aware of the many advantages of filming in the Adirondacks, it is no doubt that Ximena and Kurt Gardner will realize their dream of a booming film industry in their own backyard. Ximena says, “We are grateful for the continued support that the New York State Film Office has given us and look forward to many more productions shooting here in the Adirondacks.”
Goldcrest Post New York is part of the family of companies which grew out of the storied British production company Goldcrest Films, founded in London in 1977 and producer of some of the most prestigious films coming out of the U.K. of that era, including Oscar winners Chariots of Fire and Ghandi.
The company has been through many changes since those days, most notable being its acquisition in the early 1990s by producer John Quested, and the subsequent launch of Goldcrest Post in 1992 in the heart of London’s Soho neighborhood. Goldcrest Post New York, a U.S. sister to the London facility, was born eight years later when John’s son Nick Quested, having graduated from film school at NYU, got into producing and directing music videos and other independent productions in New York. Recognizing that there was a shortage of office space and basic post facilities for indie producers like him – and that real estate in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan was undervalued and likely to rise—Nick opened Goldcrest Post New York in 2000. The company soon became known as particularly friendly to independents, and their popularity as a “go-to creative boutique” grew. For those first few years, Goldcrest concentrated mostly on screening, sound mixing and audio post production services.
As the business continued to grow and the technologies of post production started to change, Quested realized they needed to get more into finishing services and offline editing for their expanding client base. Managing Director Tim Spitzer came aboard in 2004, and helped oversee the construction on one of the first Digital Intermediate theaters in New York. Sound mixing alone was no longer enough, so they also added a Foley stage, ADR capabilities, and a host of other services (offline, online, color correction, etc.) to meet their client’s changing needs.
Around the same time (late 2004), New York State introduced the first incarnation of what has become the highly successful Film Production Tax Credit programs, and the indie film business in New York that was Goldcrest’s main client base started to grow. “Financing has gotten a lot tougher for independent producers in recent years,” says Spizter. “There is no question the NYS production tax credits have been a huge boon to letting these independent features get made. We’ve seen the number of indie films in New York going up directly because of the state tax credits.”
Of course the film business never sits still, and technological changes kept coming at a rapid pace. Several stalwarts of the post production scene in New York and elsewhere were unable to keep pace, releasing experienced, highly regarded post production artists and technicians, some whom migrated quickly to Goldcrest Post New York, adding to Goldcrest’s roster of skilled post production talent. At the same time, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation enhancing and extending the production tax credits; then, in July 2012, Governor Cuomo tripled the post production tax credit from 10% to 30% of qualified costs. The post business in New York really started to take off, and it hasn’t slowed down since. For example, in the first two years of the post credit program, when it was at 10%, 17 projects applied. Since Governor Cuomo signed the increase to 30%, 97 projects have applied representing over $96 million in spending and 1150 hires in New York State. And the trajectory keeps going up.
All this vibrant activity prompted another round of expansion and investment in infrastructure at Goldcrest Post New York. “Quite specifically, the post production tax credit has helped fuel our entree into Television Audio Finishing for shows such as Treme, Blue Bloods, The Red Road, and The Michael J Fox Show, “says Quested. “We have also been providing picture finishing services for an increased number of 2K and 4K Independent theatrical features. To accommodate this increased business, Goldcrest recently invested over 2 million dollars in building a DI Theater, Mix Theater, ADR room, Digital Laboratory Carts, a 4K San, and acquiring new talent and support staff. Our next anticipated stage of expansion is in Television Picture finishing, to meet the demand of providing all post-services to our clients in that marketplace.”
Most recently Goldcrest has branched into providing onset/near set dailies to their clients, moving beyond the traditional boundaries of “post” production and finishing services. “As capture and post have migrated into the all digital world, it’s become important to get involved with our clients as early on in the workflow as possible,” says Spitzer. “It allows us to catch problems early and to develop the trust with the client going forward into post.”
Quested agrees. “We’re not here just to be ‘data jockeys’” he says. “We want to get to know them and their project from the start, to understand all the dynamics of what they’re striving for not just technically but creatively, aesthetically. That relationship with a director, the editor and the whole creative team becomes critical in the approach to the finishing phases of a production. “
As one branch of a family of companies (literally - Nick’s brother Christopher Quested runs the original Goldcrest Post in London, and all are overseen by their father, John), Goldcrest Post New York is an integral part of an international network of distribution, finance and production, as well as post production, and that broad base gives them a unique perspective from which to speculate on the future of the film and television industries. With the support of the NYS Post Production Credit Program behind them, the future of the New York production community has never looked brighter.
Creating opportunities for women for almost four decades
As the preeminent entertainment industry association for women in New York City, NYWIFT supports women calling the shots in film, television, and digital media. NYWIFT energizes the careers of women in entertainment by illuminating their achievements, providing training and professional development, and advocating for equity.
Their mission statement says it all, yet Terry Lawler, Executive Director, adds, “we are about creating opportunities for women in the industry, and raising awareness of the achievements and accomplishments of these talented women.” The organization does this through networking and support events, partnerships, two annual award presentations, an intern/mentor program, and the dissemination of several grants and funds.
Terry Lawler, Executive Director, NYWIFT
In the spirit of creating opportunities, some of NYWIFT’s most generous programs are their granting and funding. The NYWIFT Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to second-year female students enrolled in graduate film programs in New York City. NYWIFT works directly with the graduate film schools in the city, who recommend talented film students who also demonstrate a financial need. Last year, students from City College, NYU, the School of Visual Arts, and Columbia received scholarships.
Additionally, there is The Fund for Women Filmmakers, which provides completion funding and in-kind contributions to independent producers and nonprofit organizations for documentary, dramatic, educational, animated, and experimental films. NYWIFT works with a number of generous partners on its funding programs, including: The Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant, which provides a production completion grant to a woman filmmaker for a film on a physical or developmental disability issue; the Nancy Malone Marketing and Promotion Award, which goes to a first or second-time woman director to help get her narrative feature on the map; the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Grant, which is awarded annually to a promising New York City-based female filmmaker; and In-Kind Post-Production Grants, which offer in-kind post-production services to documentary films directed and produced by New York area-based women filmmakers, and made possible by Park Avenue Post and Onomatopoeia.
Invitation To Dance, one of whose filmmakers was a recent recipient of the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant, is a documentary produced and directed by Simi Linton and Christian Von Tippelskirch, about Simi’s experience as a disabled woman at the rise of the disabilities rights movement. The project was a labor of love for many years for Simi and Christian, who concur that, “NYWIFT’s grant allowed us to keep the project going, to continue post production, to pay our editor and keep her on board.” Now the filmmakers are enjoying the film’s launch on the film festival circuit. Invitation To Dance had its world premiere earlier this year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and its New York premiere at the Reel Abilities Film Festival on March 8.
Another recent recipient of one of NYWIFT’s funding programs is Lilian Mehrel, a third-year graduate film student at NYU Tisch, who was awarded an ABC/Disney scholarship. Lilian says, “Female directors are a minority in this industry, and a diverse group of voices is missing. NYWIFT recognizes and gives opportunities to talented new female filmmakers, they will be supporting a new generation of media that honors the importance of these varied voices, in new numbers. I hope opportunities for fresh female voices in film and television will continue to expand with the help of NYWIFT, and to affect the world as a whole.” The scholarship money allows Ms. Mehrel to focus on her filmmaking projects, one of which is a short, entitled A Crack.
Even with all the opportunities and awareness that NYWIFT currently provides women in the industry, there is always more to do. Terry Lawler would love to see a fund created at NYWIFT to match women writers with a producer/director who may have an idea for a script, but needs a talented writer to see their idea reach fruition. Often times some great ideas never see the light of day because there is no writer attached to create the professional prose necessary for the project to be developed and taken seriously. This pairing will give the idea a literal legitimacy that will help get more of these great ideas developed.
For more information about NYWIFT’s tireless work, and how you may become a member, please visit www.nywift.org.
New York is experiencing another very busy pilot season, and is on track for a record-breaking year. Even though television pilots film throughout the year, the majority of them film during the first quarter of the calendar year to gear up for the networks’ fall television season.
Comedies, dramas, network, cable, streaming – you name it – are shooting in New York this season. Since September 2013, 24 pilots have applied to the New York State Film Production Credit program and filmed in New York, so far. And as the season ramps up, there are plenty more in pre-production getting ready to film here.
The spike in pilot production demonstrates the success of New York State’s Film Production Credit program under the leadership of Governor Cuomo whose commitment to the film and television production industry was solidly proven when he extended and expanded the program last year. By extending the credit through calendar year 2019, providing 30% savings on most below-the-line expenses, and eliminating the threshold on eligible post-production costs, New York positioned itself to sustain and expand the vital television production industry in the state.
A few of the pilots that filmed last fall have already been ordered to series including Showtime’s The Affair, a drama about the psychological effects of an affair between a married waitress in a small seaside town; Amazon’s Mozart In The Jungle, a comedy illustrating what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what occurs on stage, and; MTV’s thriller drama, Eye Candy, about a tech genius who suspects that one of her online suitors might be a deadly cyber stalker.
Pilot production means thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity in New York State. Networks may spend upwards of $8 million on one pilot, with the intent of developing it into a series, which will lead to even more economic activity and jobs for New York, provided the series continues to film here. Tommy O’Donnell of Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 said, “The benefit to Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 is not just the hundreds of its members put to work, but the prospect of continuous work for years to come as these pilots are the seeds for enduring episodic television. The Teamsters owe great thanks to New York State for long term continuance of the Film Tax Credit. In a world of lucrative incentives, from both countries and other states, it has leveled the playing field and provided the stability for New York to enter into a golden age of television production.”
New York International Children’s Film Festival – March 7-30, 2014
NYICFF was founded in 1997 to promote intelligent, passionate, provocative cinematic works for ages 3-18 and to help define a more compelling film for kids. Since its launch, the event has grown to become the largest festival for children and teens in North America, with an audience of over 25,000 attending the most recent event. Each year the festival presents 100 animated, live action and experimental shorts and features from around the world plus gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmaker Q&As, workshops, audience voting, and the NYICFF Awards Ceremony.
New Directors/New Films – March 19-30, 2014
Each year New Directors/New Films unveils a brand-new lineup of fresh faces on the filmmaking scene. A co-presentation of The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the festival is now in its 42nd year. You may recognize some names from past festivals: Pedro Almodovar, Kelly Reichardt, Atom Egoyan, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Sally Potter, John Sayles, Steven Spielberg, Wim Wenders, and Wong Kar Wai, for example, were all featured by New Directors/New Films early in their careers.
Brooklyn Girl Film Festival – March 27–29, 2014
A three-day annual event that takes place in March, BGFF features screenings, workshops, an opening night reception, special events and a party/awards ceremony. BGFF attendees include local filmmakers as well as those from around the country and the world. The local community is encouraged to attend, “Our programs and events are designed not only for filmmakers, but anyone interested in the moving image,” said April, “I love to hear it when our films go on to receive distribution and play other festivals. It’s very rewarding to see these women form friendships and inspire each other.”
Celebration of Individuals with Disabilities in Film: International Film Festival & Discussion Panel at Pace University – March 31, 2014 @ 6pm
“Celebration of Individuals with Disabilities in Film: International Film Festival & Discussion Panel” focuses on individuals with disabilities expressing dreams and hopes to be contributing members of society like other individuals without disabilities. The festival highlights short documentary and narrative films from leading domestic and international film festivals, respecting the autonomy and the empowerment of people with disabilities.
Friar’s Club Comedy Film Festival – April 1-5, 2014
FCCFF is a star-studded celebration of the comedy genre in the heart of vibrant New York City. Known widely for its roasts and “100 years of antics,” members of the Friars Club include the industry’s top comedians and entertainers. The Friars Club introduces FCCFF to foster the next generation of comedy filmmakers, to offer comedic filmmakers a platform for presenting their work, and to fill a void by paying tribute to a genre that often gets overlooked. FCCFF promises four days of films, networking, parties, and laughter, and offers filmmakers the opportunity to introduce their work to leading executives, comedians, and industry professionals. The Festival’s Board of Advisors alone offers a virtual who’s who in film and comedy.
First Time Fest – Players’ Club – April 3-7, 2014
First Time Fest (FTF) is a five-day event showcasing new and exciting first films from filmmakers around the globe, in addition to the debut works of prominent filmmakers, all in an intimate old New York City setting. We invite you to be a part of this truly special celebration of independent cinema and remind you: you never forget your first time.
Tribeca International Film Festival - April 16-27, 2014
Tribeca Film is a comprehensive distribution platform dedicated to acquiring and marketing independent films across multiple platforms, including video-on-demand, theatrical and home video. It is an initiative from Tribeca Enterprises designed to provide new platforms for how film can be experienced, while supporting filmmakers and introducing audiences to films they might not otherwise see.
High Falls Film Festival – April 23-26, 2014
(Mini Spring Festival – See October 2014 for Full Festival)
Founded in 2001, the High Falls Film Festival is one of the few film festivals worldwide that celebrates the work of women filmmakers, and is one of the longest running women’s film festivals on the East Coast. Based in Rochester, NY, the birthplace of motion picture film and the early women’s activist movement, High Falls Film Festival explores and celebrates artistry and innovation of the most imaginative female cinematic visionaries.
Buffalo/Niagara Film Festival – April 24-May 3, 2014
The BNFF can be a great place for you to network on the East Coast as well as see the beautiful sites of Buffalo, NY, Niagara Falls, NY and Canada, which is just minutes away from many extraordinary sites, including the Great Niagara Falls, Wonderful Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright Houses, Wine Country, and much more.
Disabilities Film Festival and Speaker Series – April 25, 2014
The goal of the Disabilities Film Festival and Speaking Series is to provide entertainment and information while exploring issues faced by individuals with disabilities. The programs are intended to educate viewers, offer different perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities to popular culture.
SoHo International Film Festival – April 25-May 2, 2014
SohoFilmFest celebrates cutting-edge digital technology while honoring traditional forms of storytelling, encourages new and seasoned filmmakers from here in New York City and around the world to create and send in their fresh and innovative cinematic pieces. By enticing filmmakers, journalists and cineastes from America and across the globe, we expect to draw audiences to NYC, known for its artistic community and cultural sophistication. It is our way of helping boost the profile, the sense of pride, and the economy of the local community and the city itself.
TV & FILM PREMIERES
Believe Season 1– March 16, 2014, 9:00pm on NBC
Believe is about an unlikely relationship between a gifted young girl and a man sprung from prison who has been tasked with protecting her from the evil elements that hunt her power.
Awakened – March 21, 2014 - Supernova Media
A modern day Jekyll and Hyde who knows no bounds.
Noah – March 28, 2014 - Paramount Pictures
The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood. Starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.
Inside Amy Schumer Season 2 – April 1, 2014 at 10:30pm on Comedy Central
Inside Amy Schumer is an American sketch comedy television series hosted by comedian Amy Schumer.
Deadbeat Season 1– April 9, 2014 on HULU
An unfiltered-yet-endearing, perennial underdog who constantly struggles with his weight and scrapes by as a medium-for-hire, using his only skill– the ability to communicate with ghosts. He helps New York’s ghosts settle their unfinished business.
St. Vincent De Van Nuys – April 11, 2014 – The Weinstein Company
A young boy whose parents just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran who lives next door.
Hateship Loveship– April 11, 2014 – IFC Films
(Participated in the New York State Post Production Credit program)
A wild teenage girl orchestrates a romance between her nanny and her father, who is a recovering addict.
Draft Day – April 11, 2014 - Summit Entertainment
(Participated in the New York State Post Production Credit program)
The General Manager of the Cleveland Browns struggles to acquire the number one draft pick for his team.
Nurse Jackie Season 6 – April 13, 2014, 9:00pm on Showtime Network
A drug-addicted nurse struggles to find a balance between the demands of her frenetic job at a New York City hospital and an array of personal dramas.
The Black Box Season 1 – April 24, 2014, 10:00pm on ABC
Catherine Black, a famed neuroscientist, with a job at the Center for Neurological Research and Treatment, struggles with mental illness and its one of the many secrets she hides from her fiancé and her family.
The Other Woman – April 25, 2014 - 20th Century Fox Film Corp
After realizing she is not her boyfriend’s primary lover, a woman teams up with his wife and plots mutual revenge.
Governor Cuomo Announces Disney Marvel & Netflix To Bring Epic Superhero Four Series + Mini Series Production to New York!
At a well attended news conference in ABC’s Times Square Studios, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was joined by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company and Joseph Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, to announce that New York has been chosen as the site for filming of the largest film/television production in New York State history.
The landmark production will include nearly 60 one-hour television episodes, and is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in direct investment in New York State and lead to more than 400 new full time jobs, with potential for several thousand more as the production progresses.
To see the full press release, click here.
BROADWAY STAGES BUYS ARTHUR KILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Thanks to the successful and stable tax incentive program, the film industry continues to soar in New York State and a recent development brings that success to Staten Island. Empire State Development (ESD) recently announced that Broadway Stages, already a major player in film, television and music video production in New York, plans to purchase the former Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island and will transform it into a film, television and music production facility. Broadway Stages will invest $20 million in the project, which will include the construction of five new sound stages totaling 100,000 square-feet and the creation of 800 jobs over the next two years, with as many as 1,500 jobs in the next five years.
As film and television production continues to increase in New York State, the Arthur Kill/Broadway Stages project will provide even more stage options and services to the continuously growing film industry in the State.
To read the complete ESD press release, click here.
Enhancements to Post Credit Under Governor Cuomo Bring New Jobs, New Companies and Nearly $100 Million in Spending
New figures released in early February show that the strengthening and expansion of the post production tax credit championed by Governor Cuomo has had a remarkable effect on the New York post production community, creating more than 240 new jobs, fueling over $25 million in expansion costs for five existing companies, and attracting ten new post companies to the state – three of them upstate.
These statistics demonstrate the remarkable impact that legislative changes championed by Governor Cuomo have had on New York’s thriving post production industry. These changes included raising the film credit percentage from 10-30% (35% upstate) and lowering thresholds to make it easier for productions to post in New York.
The see the full press release, click here.
February 17th marked the beginning of a new era in the New York television scene when, after more than 40 years in Los Angeles under hosts Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show (now The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) returned to New York City – the home it left in 1972. Along with all the buzz and excitement, the show is bringing millions of dollars in significant economic impact. Thousands of jobs will be created in New York, including an estimated 540 full-time positions and more than 1,500 sketch performers and background actors employed each year. An estimated 1,000 Tonight Show featured talent and visiting band members will be coming to New York for the show, patronizing hotels and restaurants. And that’s not counting the over 50,000 visitors from around the world who will participate as audience members every year.
There is a sense of history and nostalgia because the roots of The Tonight Show run very deep in New York. In 1953, the pioneering comedian/composer/host Steve Allen started a talk program on the local NBC affiliate WNBT, briefly called The Knickerbocker Beer Show before a quick name change to The Steve Allen Show. Given a short, late night slot of 11:20 P.M. to 12 midnight, the show caught on, and after a few tweaks, NBC started broadcasting Allen’s program—now at 105 minutes run time— on the national network in September 1954 with a new name: Tonight! The show was broadcast live from the Hudson Theatre at 44th and Broadway in Manhattan. The format of that early incarnation– an opening monologue, a mix of celebrity interviews, audience participation, comedy bits, musical guests, and a regular house band (the first was led by “Skitch” Henderson) — became the basic structure and rhythm that endures in the show today.
Two years later, as Tonight! grew more popular, Allen was given another program to host, a Sunday night prime time comedy/variety show. In order to give him time to do both, NBC decided to split the hosting duties with another comedy great, Ernie Kovacs. For the 1956-57 season, Kovacs acted as host on Monday and Tuesday nights, with Allen stepping in for the rest of the week.
When both Allen and Kovacs left in 1957, there was a brief departure from the established format. NBC introduced a news and features element, changing the name to Tonight! America After Dark and bringing in several different hosts and bandleaders. The show sank in popularity and affiliates started dropping the program. A major change was needed or Tonight! was going to fade into the dusty archives of television history.
Installing Jack Paar as host brought back the audience. He became one of the most beloved and memorable — as well as temperamental and controversial — hosts in television history. Paar returned the show to its talk/variety format, but with more emphasis on compelling conversation and intellectual banter mixed with the humor. He added political guests to the lineup, including William F. Buckley, Jr., presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. He also brought in a group of supporting players, including Cliff Arquette (as the homespun “Charlie Weaver”), Peggy Cass, Jonathan Winters and Dody Goodman, actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, and others to act as regulars in sketches and as recurring guests.
In one of the most famous episodes of television history on February 11, 1960, Paar literally quit the show and walked off mid broadcast, leaving his stunned announcer, Hugh Downs, to finish the show himself. Paar was furious because the network had censored a joke he had told the night before, cutting it from the broadcast. A month later, on March 7th , he returned to the show in a typically dramatic style; he walked out on stage, struck a pose, and said: “As I was saying before I was interrupted…” The audience exploded with applause, and Paar became a celebrity in his own right, a figure of national fascination.
During most of its run, the Tonight Show with Jack Paar was broadcast from Studio 6B (formerly known as the home of Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theatre” series) inside the GE Building in New York. Beginning in 1960, it was one of the first regularly scheduled shows to be videotaped in color; it was recorded early in the evening and broadcast from 11:15 P.M. to 1 A.M. EST the same night.
Jack Paar left the show in 1962. His chosen successor, Johnny Carson, is probably the host now most associated with the modern Tonight Show. Carson had been a host of Who Do You Trust?, an afternoon quiz show, and his easy, sophisticated manner, ready wit, and wisecracking style quickly won him a huge following that stayed with him throughout his stewardship. Along with his reliable sidekick Ed McMahon, Carson narrated the American experience through some of the most turbulent decades the country has known, and became a surrogate friend and late night companion to millions. Carson was host from 1962 to 1992. It was under Carson that the show moved from New York to Burbank, CA in May 1972.
From that point on, first under Carson, later under Jay Leno (with a brief interruption from 2009-10 when Conan O’Brien took over) the show was taped in “beautiful downtown Burbank” California. And now, four decades later, New York is very happy to welcome this iconic show back home to where it all began, over 60 years ago.
Filmmaking is big business, and big business means impactful economic activity in New York State. On February 14, 2014, Warner Bros. released its latest film, Winter’s Tale. Last year the production filmed in numerous regions around the State including NYC, Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, North Country and Long Island. During the course of that production, New York benefitted from over $15 million in direct spend with local vendors, as well as job creation for nearly 5,000 local cast, crew and extras to the tune of $26 million in wages.
This is just one of many film and television productions that shoot in New York State every year, take advantage of the generous New York State Film Production Credit program, and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into New York’s economy by patronizing local businesses, hiring New Yorkers, and fully utilizing all the support services New York has to offer.
Recently, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) issued a press release about the economic impact that the production of Winter’s Tale had on New York State (read it here) and recent press coverage also highlights the benefits of the New York State Film Production Tax Credit Program (read here)
For more information on how you can take advantage of New York State’s generous film incentive, visit http://www.nylovesbiz.com/BusinessPrograms/filmCredit.html.
You could say Lydia Dean Pilcher is someone who likes to “start things.” Back in 2002, after working as a producer and line producer on movies like After Hours (director: Martin Scorcese), The Talented Mr. Ripley (director: Anthony Minghella), and Quiz Show (director: Robert Redford), she started her own New York-based production company, Cine Mosaic. Founded with a mission of producing “feature films with an energetic focus on entertaining stories that promote social, cultural and political diversity,” Cine Mosaic has consistently delivered films – The Namesake (director: Mira Nair), You Don’t Know Jack (director: Barry Levinsion), Iron Jawed Angels (director: Katja von Garnier), The Darjeeling Limited (director: Wes Anderson) – that have garnered critical acclaim and awards from festivals and audiences around the world. As a producer, Pilcher has been nominated for Emmys, Golden Globes, Producer’s Guild awards and now, with her 2013 documentary Cutie and The Boxer, an Oscar. Cutie, which already took home the 2013 Sundance Directing Award, was one of three releases from Cine Mosaic in 2013, and while post production on the latest production Sisterhood of the Night is finishing up, she has at least several more starting in 2014, including Fela: Music is the Weapon, an ambitious international co-production based on the life of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti.
Why the focus on social and cultural diversity in her films? “I’m an independent producer,” says Pilcher. “If you drill down on what the word ‘independent’ means, for me it means taking on stories that challenge the status quo, with compelling characters who resonate with different perspectives. Being an indie means you want your films to entertain, yes absolutely, but independent films are made from a place of vision and a real sense of purpose. We want to open up the world and touch people in new and surprising ways.”
That sense of purpose is not limited to her film work alone; Pilcher is an activist and leader for positive change within her industry, too. In 2006, she co-founded PGA Green, the widely respected Producer’s Guild initiative that fosters awareness and promotes best practices on recycling and environmental planning to the film industry through things like the ”Green Production Guide,” a web-based directory featuring over 2,000 companies that provide sustainable and energy saving products and services for film, television and commercial productions. Eight years after founding PGA Green, she still serves as Chair of the program, which has grown into one of the most widely utilized and effective progressive initiatives in the entertainment business (for more on PGA Green, click here).
And she’s not done starting things. Last January, while attending the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, she heard about a study sponsored by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film that painted a bleak picture of the role of women in the film and television industries. The study found that “for the past 15 years, there has been no perceptible change in the proportion of women working behind the camera in the entertainment industry” (Produced by, Jan-Feb 2014). Then and there, Pilcher decided to address the issue of gender inequity; she reached out to colleagues on both coasts and asked them to join her in the effort. By November 11, 2013, the PGA Women’s Impact Network had been formed, with Pilcher and fellow indie producer Deborah Calla as Co-Chairs. Working in collaboration with the Sundance Institute, the PGA Win is now busy creating a variety of initiatives, forums, and programs to address these inequities and promote gender diversity in the PGA and across the entertainment industry. If her track record of success as a producer and with the PGA Green is any indication, change is on the way.
A New Yorker by background (she got her MFA from NYU), Pilcher has participated in the New York State Film Production tax credits on several of her films, including The Namesake, You Don’t Know Jack, and most recently Sisterhood of the Night. “No question, the tax credits have made it possible for me to make movies in New York that previously would have gone to another state with a strong incentive.” she says. “The Sisterhood of Night,” currently in post-production,was not written as New York, but thanks to the tax credits we were able to keep the movie close to home and make it in Kingston, in the Hudson Valley. The whole community got involved as additional crew, vendors, locations, background and day player actors — it was an amazing location for us.”
For Pilcher, the different challenges she takes on are really all part of one vision for herself; there is no separation between her role as an artist, as a producer and as a working member of the production community. “We live in a rapidly changing world, and I see my role, as a filmmaker and as a producer, as part artist and part activist. We have a kind of bully pulpit in the entertainment business, and that’s both a responsibility and a privilege. I love using storytelling to inspire people to think about things differently, and to bring new ideas and issues forward. Maybe we can help motivate folks to exert more control over their lives. Maybe we can make a difference.”
New York State boasts extraordinary talent from Brooklyn to Buffalo, and last month the Grammys put a spotlight on Western New York when they presented the first-ever Music Educator Award to Kent Knappenberger. Being chosen for this award was no small feat, as more than 30,000 initial nominations were submitted from all 50 states. The beloved Knappenberger, who has been a music teacher and choir director at Westfield Academy and Central School for over 25 years, was nominated by students, former students and their parents.
“The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation created this award to highlight the extraordinary influence of music teachers on the students in and beyond the classroom,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy. “Many musicians would not be expressing their gift for creativity had it not been for the dedication and encouragement of a music teacher who inspired them to pursue a professional career.”
Knappenberger’s curriculum consists of three basic elements: Listening, Composing, and Performing, including composing for film. He not only teaches music to his students, but he inspires their dreams. Music is such a vital component of film, and Knappenberger’s students are taught the basics so they will be well equipped should their dreams lead them towards the film industry. For example, they learn to use an Apple application called “Garage Band” that can outline by a millisecond and manipulate sound, timbre, speed, and texture to use as a building block for a film score – all to reflect or enhance action on the screen. They learn film score from loops, how to identify where the action takes place, and how to compose their own themes. They are taught how music can drive the logical progression of a film, and how to compose for commercials, cartoons and trailers.
The fact that Knappenberger’s nomination for the special Grammy Award came from students, former students, and their parents is a real testament to his dedication to teaching. “I am extremely humbled and honored to be the recipient of the first-ever Music Educator Award,” said Knappenberger. “I believe that this award has already been and will continue to be a tremendous encouragement to all music educators. Besides the attention it has brought to many fine teachers, it brings attention to the importance of music education in general.”
Congratulations, Kent Knappenberger – both for winning the first-ever Grammy Music Educator Award and for your dedication to instilling the importance of music in your students to keep the song alive in New York! We look forward to hearing their film scores in the years to come.