The New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development (NY♥FILMS) is responsible for the growth of the film, television and commercial production, and related industries in New York State.
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New State Budget Signed by Governor Cuomo Enhances and Extends Two Tax Credit Programs

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed New York State’s fourth consecutive on-time budget into law on April 1 — the first time that has happened in over 40 years.  Included in the 2014-15 budget are two specific provisions that impact the film, television and commercial production industries and, at the same time, work to encourage more production Upstate.  Combined with the new Upstate New York Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit (see accompanying article) these changes further reflect Governor Cuomo’s continuing focus on promoting the growth of jobs and economic development Upstate.

In terms of the film and television industries, the new legislation adds Albany and Schenectady Counties to the list of counties in the New York State Film Production Tax Incentive that will be eligible for a 10% bump on eligible New York State labor beginning in 2015.  The addition of Albany and Schenectady Counties brings the total to 42 Western, Central and Northern New York counties covered in the State’s film incentive where productions can receive an additional 10% tax credit on qualified labor costs for production and post production work. To be eligible, productions must have a total budget of at least $500,000 and submit their completed final applications beginning on January 1, 2015 when this new provision in the NYS Production Incentive takes effect. 

 

Governor Cuomo signing the 2014-15 NYS Budget

This special uplift means a project in the Production credit program will now get a fully refundable 40% credit on their qualified labor costs (30% on the basic credit + 10% for this additional labor bump).   For more details go to www.nylovesfilm.com

For commercial producers, the good news is that the successful Commercial Production Tax Credit program has been extended through December 31, 2017. Companies participating in this program can receive up to a 25% refundable tax credit on qualified costs (20% growth credit + 5% basic credit) based on a full year’s worth of commercial productions. The program had been set to expire at the end of this year.

And, for productions considering shooting their commercials Upstate, there’s more good news. While total annual funding for the program is $7 million per year, $3 million of that total is set aside for commercials filming Upstate. In order to encourage more commercial filming Upstate, the new legislation lowers the threshold for production costs to qualify for the upstate $3 million from $200,000 to $100,000.

These changes combine to make all of New York State even more “film friendlier” (as well as “commercial” and “theater friendlier”!) than ever before. 

Touring Live Musicals Major Generators of Jobs & Spending

Long before the curtain rises on a big theatrical production prepping for a “roadshow” tour of regional theaters around the country, hundreds of people are put to work—actors and musicians rehearsing, carpenters and painters building sets, designers, tailors, costumers, lighting technicians and more are buying materials and supplies, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants as they busily scramble to get a big show up and running.  All that activity translates into a significant economic boost for the community where all this is going on. 

Now, thanks to a provision in the 2014-15 New York State Budget that was signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on April 1 and will go into effect January 1, 2015, it is expected that more and more musical and theatrical productions will be choosing New York State for this vital step in the “roadshow” process.  

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Proctors Theatre in Schenectady, NY

The Upstate New York Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit offers a new 25% tax credit on certain expenses incurred by musical and theatrical productions gearing up for their “roadshow” tours, and is designed to attract the thousands of jobs and beneficial economic impact created when one of these productions comes to New York to prepare for their tour - building sets, hiring crew, staying in hotels, purchasing props, costumes, etc. These productions are big business: according to The Broadway League, one year of touring Broadway at Proctors in Schenectady generates over $30 million of economic boost—a financial bump mirrored in markets like Buffalo, Rochester and Utica.

In order to qualify for the credit, a production must:

  • be a for-profit live, dramatic stage presentation;
  • be presented in a qualified production facility with at least one stage and 1,000 or more seats, plus dressing rooms, storage, etc.
  • have begun or be about to begin a tour of 8 or more shows presented in three or more localities

The credit will be a major plus for the communities that are home to the so-called “Thruway Theaters” upstate, including Proctors in Schenectady; the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica; the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse; The Auditorium Theatre in Rochester; and Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. A September 2013 “tech” of Ghost The Musical at Proctors, for example, provided a massive increase in regional hotel occupancy; dining; shopping; transportation; and tourism. The goal of the incentive is to encourage investment in live events; spur investment and tourism in the mid-and-upstate-regions; and to compete with a growing number of jurisdictions offering favorable tax treatment to investors in live theatre, such as Rhode Island, Illinois and Louisiana. Funding for the credit will be capped at $4 million per year.

To see the full press release from the Broadway League go to:

http://www.broadwayleague.com/index.php?url_identifier=press-releases&news=empire-state-theatre-production-tax-credit-approved&type=news

One of New York’s largest film festivals, the Tribeca Film Festival, is currently taking place in New York City until April 27.  Now in its 13th year, this annual celebration of film, music and culture brings the industry and community together through storytelling.  During the festival, dozens of films will be screened along with an array of panels, Q&A’s and free events.

The Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development is proud to have films that participated in the New York State Film Production Credit Program, and the New York State Post Production Program, be selected to screen in this year’s event.  If you’re attending the Festival, please show your support for the following films that were shot in New York:

5 To 7
Aspiring novelist Brian (Anton Yelchin) meets Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe), the sophisticated wife of a French diplomat. They soon embark on a “cinq-a-sept” affair that challenges Brian’s traditional American ideas of love and relationships. A cosmopolitan comedy of manners told with surprising warmth and lightness, 5 to 7 marks Victor Levin’s directorial debut and welcomes Marlohe as a glamorous, ebullient screen presence. With Glenn Close and Frank Langella.

About Alex
A circle of twenty-something friends reunite to console a suicidal member of their group. Despite their best efforts, old jealousies, unrequited love, and their widening political differences cannot be contained. About Alex is a sometimes irreverent, always moving examination of the struggles of a generation that has it all—and wants more. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Nate Parker, and Maggie Grace.

Begin Again
From writer-director John Carney (Once), Begin Again is a soul-stirring comedy about what happens when lost souls meet and make beautiful music together. Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.


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 Begin Again


Every Secret Thing
A baby goes missing in a New York suburb. Two young girls serve seven years for the crime and are released into a town that has neither forgiven nor forgotten. Soon, another child is missing, and two detectives investigate the mystery in a community where everyone seems to have a secret. An ensemble cast including Elizabeth Banks, Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning, and Nate Parker brings to life Laura Lippman’s acclaimed novel of secrets and murder.

Gabriel
Rory Culkin delivers an electrifying performance as Gabriel, a vulnerable and confused twenty-something longing for stability and happiness. Convinced that reuniting with his old girlfriend will bring his dreams to fruition, Gabriel risks it all in a desperate and increasingly obsessive pursuit. First-time writer/director Lou Howe authentically portrays the heartbreaking reality of a young man battling his inner demons, establishing himself as an extraordinary new filmmaking talent.

Glass Chin
After going down in the fifth round, boxer Bud Gordon bowed out of the limelight. Now residing in a fixer-upper apartment in New Jersey, Bud tries to get back into the game, making a deal with a crooked restaurateur. Quick schemes rarely bring easy payoffs, and as the consequences of his business negotiations unfold, Bud has to make a choice between his integrity and his aspirations. With Corey Stoll, Kelly Lynch, and Billy Crudup.

Loitering With Intent
After running into a film producer eager to invest in a new project, aspiring writers Dominic (Michael Godere ) and Raphael (Ivan Martin) need to come up with a script fast. But when Dominic’s siren of a sister (Marisa Tomei) turns up desperate for reprieve from her boyfriend (Sam Rockwell), they soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for in this hilarious latest effort from director Adam Rapp.

Love Is Strange
Ira Sachs returns to the indie scene following 2012’s acclaimed Keep the Lights On (also filmed in New York and a participant in the NYS Film Production Credit Program) with another new take on modern love. Acting veterans John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as Ben and George, a Manhattan couple who are finally given the opportunity to make their union official. But when Ben loses his teaching job as a result, the relationship is tested in unconventional ways, leaving them to lean more heavily than ever on their love to hold things together.

Match
A Seattle couple (Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino) travel to New York to interview colorful former dancer Tobi (played with remarkable dexterity by Patrick Stewart) for research on a dissertation. Common niceties erode when the questions turn personal and the interview itself is called into doubt. Based on the Tony Award nominated play, Match moves effortlessly between riotous wit and delicate poignancy in this story of responsibility, artistic commitment, and love.

X/Y
Ryan Piers Williams directs and stars alongside America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn and Melonie Diaz in a character-driven drama centered around four restless New Yorkers, and their shifting sexual and romantic relationships. As Mark, Jen, Sylvia, and Jake navigate through their emotionally-arrested states, X/Y reveals the honest and wanton desire we all have to connect with someone and what is at stake when that connection fades.

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Also, check out the following films that did their principal photography elsewhere, but chose to take advantage of New York’s vibrant post-production industry and did their post work here so they could participate in the New York State Post Production Credit Program:

Goodbye To All That
Otto Wall is just a little unlucky in life, and unbeknownst to him, in love. When his wife suddenly asks for a divorce, he bounces between a search for answers, desperate attempts to stay connected to his daughter, and his fateful reentry into the dating pool. Junebug screenwriter Angus MacLachlan returns to the woods of North Carolina for this sharp and sensitive comedy starring Paul Schneider, Melanie Lynskey, Heather Graham, Anna Camp, Amy Sedaris, and Celia Weston.

Lucky Them
More interested in partying and flirting than work, veteran rock journalist Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) has one last chance to prove her value to her editor: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god and her ex-boyfriend, Matt Smith. Teaming up with an eccentric amateur documentarian (Thomas Haden Church in a delightful performance), Ellie hits the road for a charming dramedy set against Seattle’s vibrant indie music scene.

Manos Sucias
Towing a submerged torpedo in the wake of their battered fishing boat, a desperate fisherman and naive kid embark on a journey trafficking millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Shot entirely on location along the Pacific coast of Colombia—in areas that bear the indelible scars of the drug trade—Manos Sucias refuses to glamorize the drug trade but rather seeks to offer a rare glimpse of its devastating effects. Executive produced by Spike Lee.

Traitors
In Sean Gullette’s feature debut, Malika is the lead singer of an all-female punk band and sees music as a means to escape a dull and conservative life in Tangier. When a producer expresses interest in her, she jumps at the chance, but first she’ll need to find the money for recording. A drug run into the Rif Mountains may be her only option. Fiery and energetic, Traitors is a spirited and rebellious journey of a young woman breaking from the traditional life set before her.

Cynthia Lopez to Head Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Cynthia Lopez as his Film Commissioner.  Lopez had been a PBS executive and co-executive producer of the public station’s POV series, a document series that has won numerous awards.

With regional film offices throughout New York State, Ms. Lopez is the latest addition to the network of experienced, film-friendly professionals who facilitate filming and build the industry in New York.


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Mayor de Blasio and Cynthia Lopez


 The appointment of Cynthia Lopez will strengthen ongoing efforts to grow the entertainment industry and attract productions to New York State. Governor Cuomo has made the film and television industry a key component of his economic development agenda, which has resulted in record-breaking years for production, significant job growth, and major economic benefits Statewide. 


To read Mayor de Blasio’s press release, click here.

Production is Booming Just North of the Bronx

When it comes to film and television productions, nobody gets “lost” in Yonkers anymore: Yonkers is film friendly, and countless producers are heading to New York State’s fourth largest city to shoot their productions.

Yonkers has become popular for some very good reasons: it is entirely within the major union “report to” zones; is easily accessed by public transportation; has a wide variety of urban, suburban, and historic locations; has a New York State Qualified Production Facility soundstage experienced at hosting major studio productions (Yonkers Stages); and now, thanks to film-friendly policies instituted under Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, has a can-do attitude that solves problems and works with productions to make all these assets available and accessible for filming—even for the most challenging requests.

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The courthouse in Yonkers, built in 1908

Case(s) in point: Blacklist (NBC) had a scene where they needed a helicopter to land and take off from the top of a building in a crowded urban environment, a difficult feat to pull off in any big city; Yonkers was able to oblige with the roof of the city-owned Buena Vista Parking Garage downtown. Soon after, The Following (Fox) came to Yonkers officials with the exact same helicopter request PLUS, on top of that, a high speed car-chase zooming down congested urban streets. Again, Yonkers made it all happen.

Founded in 1646 –not long after the original purchase of Manhattan Island—Yonkers is filled with historic architecture which makes it great for shows needing period locations like HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and The Knick both of which shoot frequently in the 1908 city hall and courthouse, the historic city jail, the Beaux Arts Metro North train station, the Italian Renaissance Revival-style 1912 Alder Mansion, Philipse Manor Hall (dating to 1682, one of the oldest historic sites in the United States), and more. And it’s not only period shows that are coming to town; Yonkers has become a favorite stop for television productions of all types, including Person of Interest, Hostages, White Collar”, Louie, Law & Order: SVU, and many more.  

On the feature film side, Yonkers is popular both for its locations and for its production facility, Yonkers Stages. Recent features shooting on the streets and neighborhoods of the city include the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last film God’s Pocket (opening in May) and the just wrapped Still Alice starring Kirsten Stewart, Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore.  “I was in front of the Yonkers train station shooting the opening and closing shots of Far From Heaven in 2001 with Julianne Moore, and here I am in 2014 shooting Still Alice in Yonkers with Julianne Moore,” said producer Declan Baldwin. “She is still a great actress and Yonkers is still a great city to shoot movies in; now better than ever with the support of the new administration.”

Baldwin ought to know; he was born in the city and, although he moved away in the 1970’s, over his 27 year career he’s come back four times to shoot movies in Yonkers (Innocence, Far From Heaven, Storytelling and now Still Alice). He is such a believer in the potential he sees in the city today that he recently moved his company offices from Manhattan back to Yonkers. “It’s not just because I am getting twice the space for half the price of what I was paying in Manhattan, which is great of course” he says. “I came back here because I feel like something is really happening now in Yonkers with the new administration, with all the great development on the waterfront, and I really wanted to be a part of it, be a part of a film community I can call my own. I want to catch the wave.”

 “It’s no accident that our production days tripled in the first year after launching the Mayor’s Office of Film and Photography in 2012, and that they’ve increased each year since” says Jason Baker, Director, Mayor’s Office of Film & Photography and Deputy Director of Communications. “Mayor Spano recognized early on that the great New York State tax credit programs Governor Cuomo has been putting in place present a terrific opportunity for Yonkers to grow the film business here by enacting film-friendly policies and procedures across all our city departments, and that’s the message we’ve been sending.” Baker says production days increased by over 20% from 2012 to 2013 and 2014 is on a fast track to significantly surpass that record, with shows like Boardwalk Empire committing to multiple filming days in the weeks ahead.

Location Manager Rob Striem recently brought two shows with major directors to Yonkers: HBO’s The Knick with director Steven Soderberg, and Dead Boss, a pilot directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. “I always put Yonkers near the top of my scouting list now,” says Striem. “They’re extremely user-friendly, very helpful and accommodating to production, even when I’m asking for things on short notice. And I can find so many locations to bundle close to one another there it just makes for a smoother, more efficient shoot.”

Yonkers Stages, conveniently located between I-87 and the Sprain Brook Parkway, has been hosting major studio productions since it opened with The Thomas Crowne Affair back in 2000. Recent productions doing their stage work there include the Cohen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Steven Soderberg’s Side Effects, Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe, and the soon to be released The Other Woman with Cameron Diaz and Run All Night with Liam Neeson.

Yonkers has been enjoying resurgence on many levels. Its waterfront has been redeveloped, a beautiful new park created along the Saw Mill River downtown, even a Yonkers Film Festival (YoFiFest) was successfully launched last year—and the film and television production community have been playing a part in all that, bringing jobs and economic development to the city. As the word spreads throughout the production community it’s a good bet no one’s going to get “lost in Yonkers” anymore.

Tucked away in a secluded 67-acre property situated on the widest part of the Hudson River, Lyndhurst Castle is a National Trust Historic Site and filmmakers might be surprised by the wide variety of location options that can represent aristocratic, fancy, ruined, poor, period, and can even double for Europe.

Located near Tarrytown, just 24 miles from New York City, there are 15 buildings on the property, which is beautifully landscaped and blooms from spring through fall.  Aside from many magnificent trees and blooming plants, there is a rose garden and an apple orchard, and the ground is covered, not by grass, but by creeping thyme. 

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The picture gallery at Lyndhurst Castle

The main house that was built in 1838 is considered to be one of the three most influential houses in the United States - Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water are the other two. Views from the windows at Lyndhurst Castle are breathtaking, especially those from the quaint tower located at the very top of the house where you can see all the way to Manhattan.

Walking through the spectacular house is like stepping back in time.  In 1880, the house was purchased by Jay Gould, a railroad developer who has been ranked as the ninth richest American in history, and 80-90% of what decorated the house in those early years is still there - the historic collection includes over 10,000 items.  The antique kitchen on the lower level still has the huge cast iron stove used in those days, and the cabinet drawers hold an assortment of utensils from that era.

The room called the “picture gallery” has early Tiffany windows and large important paintings that are owned by Lyndhurst so they are easily accessable to filmmakers without need for extra clearance.  A door in the balcony overlooking this room allows for excellent lighting options and overhead camera angles.  A Winter’s Tale filmed extensively at Lyndhurst and included scenes in the “picture gallery”.

The main house is just one of the treasures to be found at Lyndhurst.  Also on the property there is a barn, a carriage house, the Rose Cottage that was built as a children’s playhouse, and a building that is currently being restored that houses a two-lane bowling alley (the first regulation bowling alley in the country).  The “Laundry Building” has institutional-looking interiors that have been used to double for a hospital and a school.  The greenhouse that was built in 1880 was considered to be the largest greenhouse in the world.  When the original wooden greenhouse burned down, it was replaced with cast iron, and the design was copied by the New York Botanical Gardens.

Aside from A Winter’s Tale, other movies of note that have filmed at Lyndhurst are: Reversal of Fortune, Gloria, and Cradle Will Rock.  Dark Shadows filmed there from 1970 through 1989, and Dark Shadows fans gather at Lyndhurst each year for a reunion.

The small enthusiastic staff at Lyndhurst has experience with working with filmmakers and understands their needs.  They pride themselves on offering excellent service and making the filming experience there as stress-free as possible.   Since Lyndhurst is operated as a non-profit organization, Tarrytown will waive the advance time needed to obtain permits and the fee is discounted. 

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The main house at Lyndhurst Castle

All the buildings at Lyndhurst have easy load-in options and there is ample space for parking trucks, vans and cars, so using the property as base camp is also an option. 

There are catering spaces and operating kitchens and many rooms available that can be used for dressing rooms, hair and make-up, etc.  They even make rooms available to television series where they can leave their set and come back to it at a later time.

Executive Director Howard Zar says, “We have appreciative knowledge of the space and how it can be used.  Filmmakers can just tell us what they want, and we will help them figure it out and make it happen.” 

Film requests should be directed to Christine Mortell Plazas at cplazas@savingplaces.org or 914-631-4481, extension 43226.

Dawn Ansbro became Executive Director of the Orange County Arts Council in 2011 and founded the Film Office. Before coming to the Arts Council, Ansbro was Development Officer for Bon Secours Charity Health System in both Warwick and Port Jervis, so she had extensive experience with focusing on economic development. 

Through the Orange County Arts Council, Ansbro found herself frequently involved in conversations about the economic impact of the arts in Orange County and how art in any form has the capacity to revitalize and invigorate a community.  Realizing that film is such a significant art form and how filming can make a strong economic impact in an area, the idea to start a local film office was formed and Ansbro started turning to the film professionals in the area and to the NYS Governor’s Office for Film and Television for guidance on how to best market Orange County.  She researched filmmakers’ needs and explored ways that a film office could best serve the industry. 

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Dawn Ansbro, Executive Director of the Orange County Arts Council and founder of the Orange County Film Office

Ansbro and her partner, Jennifer D’Andrea, started the film office knowing that they had some infrastructure work to do in the county before they could open their doors to the film industry.  Luckily, the Orange County Industrial Development Agency shared Ansbro’s vision and helped fund the efforts to open a film office.  Once funding was in place, Ansbro began talking to municipal leaders about the objectives of the new office, the benefits that the film industry can bring to a community, and what could be expected from a film office. 

Ansbro developed permit processes and encouraged the towns and cities within her territory to adopt local film laws, and identified individuals within the municipalities to act as film liaisons.  Having municipal contacts that know their communities and are willing to work with the film office to make sure that things run smoothly is an important component in developing a film-friendly atmosphere that enables filmmakers to have positive experiences working in the area so they will want to return with future projects.  The new Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus is a tremendous advocate for film and personally stepped in recently when the feature film Ad Inexplorata needed to film in the county’s 911 center.  To this, Ansbro commented, “I would say that our doors are definitely open!”

After only one year in existence, the fruits of the labors of the Orange County Film Office are already beginning to show.  Many municipalities have had great success with filming in their communities and the leaders in those towns have been a huge help in bringing other leaders on board.  Towns like Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Montgomery, Newburgh, Blooming Grove and Middletown are proud of the films that have been made there and they are inspired to make it easy for filmmakers so they will want to come back.

Ansbro says, “My job is different every day, because every day we learn something new about what we should be doing – and sometimes about what we should NOT be doing.  The learning curve has been steep, but we are confident of the abundant resources that can be found in Orange County.  As someone who loves film and understands the enormous benefits it can bring to the region, I am dedicated to showcasing Orange County and all it has to offer filmmakers – and I am determined to make sure that they know that.  This year we are very focused on marketing!”

The Orange County Film Office has much to market since its territory covers over 800 square miles of everything from cities, to villages, to farm land, to river front, to lakes, mountains and forests.  Ansbro boasts, “The only thing we don’t have is the ocean!”  The territory stretches from Tuxedo to the south, to Pine Bush in the north, and from Port Jervis in the west to Newburgh in the east, where Umbra Sound Stage (what Ansbro considers to be their “best and biggest treasure”) is located.  Ansbro points out that “the Umbra Sound Stage has everything the New York City sound stages have, plus plenty of parking!”

When an independent film, Cymbeline, needed to film in a quarry, Orange County was up to the challenge and connected the filmmaker with an amazing family-owned quarry in Blooming Grove that was right next door to a Buddhist retreat center, so the production was able to film at the quarry and have plenty of space close by for parking, craft services, costumes and equipment.  The arrangement proved to be perfect so everything ran smoothly.   Ansbro and her team were invited to visit the set during filming, which she says “was an amazing experience.”

Last March, Brad Pitt’s production Company, Plan B was filming True Story in Warwick with Jonah Hill and James Franco.  It caused quite a stir in the local community and everyone was enthusiastic about having the project in their area.  The Orange County Film Office helped secure a log cabin for filming and Town Supervisor, the Mayor and the police made sure the production had the privacy and support they needed.

As more and more filmmakers become aware of the value of filming in the area covered by the Orange County Film Office, the communities should be experiencing plenty of future projects to warrant their enthusiasm.   Ansbro says, “It seems clear from our conversations with filmmakers that the New York State Film Production Credit Program makes New York a very attractive location for them.”  Combining the lure of the New York State tax credit program, the amazing locations, the cooperation of local officials, and the dedicated efforts of the Orange County Film Office, filmmakers can be assured of a positive experience when they choose Orange County to film their projects.  If the progress made by the Orange County Film Office in its first year is any indication, the area should expect to experience a booming film industry!

Reel Works is a unique program that provides free filmmaking programs for New York City Youth.  Using a unique, one-on-one mentoring model, at-risk youth are challenged to tell their stories and have their voices heard.  In turn, they build vital skills of literacy, leadership and self-confidence to create productive futures.

Students are matched 1:1 with professional filmmaker-mentors - a powerful combination that changes young lives while creating startling and original films that have been seen by over 10 million viewers since it was founded in 2001.  What began as a single workshop of 17 students at the Prospect Park YMCA in Park Slope, Brooklyn has grown to provide free after-school and in-school programs which give a voice to over 500 youth citywide.  Reel Works programs are designed to engage youth through intensive in-school or after-school filmmaking workshops and to provide a safe community and a continuum of learning opportunities that extend from middle school to high school to college and beyond.  All workshops are standards-based, rigorous and centered on literacy, storytelling, hands-on learning and a commitment to excellence.

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Hands-on learning during a Reel Works workshop

Through partnerships with New York’s entertainment industry, participants are able to have their works broadcast, to obtain access to internships, and to gain exposure to the behind-the-scenes workings of the production industry.  Thirteen WNET – PBS has broadcast Reel Works student films to millions locally and nationally since 2003.  Steiner Studios and FilmNation host internships which expose young people to the many crafts and career possibilities in the entertainment industry.

“We have been training the entertainment workforce for 12 years, helping to create a viable and sustainable source of qualified industry professionals,” says Reel Works’ Executive Director, John C. Williams.  “43% of our working graduates are currently working in film and television.  Our students are:  HBO.  Our students are:  Viacom.  Our students are:  The Weinstein Company.  They’re working at NBC.”  Williams, an award-winning film and television writer, producer and director whose credits include independent shorts, features, documentaries, television programming and corporate communications, co-founded the program in 2001 with his wife, filmmaker Stephanie Walter Williams.

Last November First Lady Michelle Obama and Harvey Weinstein invited seven Reel Works teens, along with other groups from Boston and Washington, DC to the first ever, all day symposium on Careers in Film at the White House.  The event included workshops on Acting with Whoopi Goldberg, Directing with Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station and the 2013 Reel Works Visionary Filmmaker Award Winner), Music and Foley sound effects with Gary Hecker (The Empire Strikes Back, Spiderman) and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid), and Costumes and Makeup with Colleen Atwood (Chicago) and Ruth Carter (Amistad, Malcolm X).  “Getting invited to the White House to attend a symposium on careers in film hosted by the First Lady was a once in a lifetime event” said 16-year old Reel Works filmmaker Stephanie Cherng.

To learn more about Reel Works and see how you can participate in this program, visit www.reelworks.org.   

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.

New York Asian Film Festival– April 18-20, 2014

Programmed and operated by Subway Cinema, the festival generally features contemporary premieres and classic titles from Eastern Asia and Southeast Asia. Genres favored by the festival tend toward Horror film, Gangster/Crime, Martial Arts, and Action.

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

A festival hosted by filmmakers and screenwriters for filmmakers and screenwriters in a region that loves the arts and has produced many famous industry icons both behind the camera, on the screen, and abroad.  The BNFF is committed to providing opportunities to fellow filmmakers and all others in bringing cinematographic arts and other related entertainment products to Western New York through high-profile community events, talent, productions and films from around the country and the world.

Knickerbocker Film Festival – April 21-24, 2014

Founded in 2009, the Knickerbocker Film Festival is Albany’s only city-wide film festival, bringing the magic of story-telling through to life for Albany to enjoy.  Now in its fifth year, the Knickerbocker Film Festival continues its tradition of being a citywide film festival in the heart of New York State’s Capital City.

disABILITIES Film Festival and Speaker Series – April 25, 2014

The goal of 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.

Successful Film Producing & Financing:  Making Your Film Happen! – April 26, 2014, 10am - 2pm

An intense4-hour workshop geared toward actors, writers, filmmakers, directors, producers and other working and successful creative professionals who want to produce films.  This is an insider’s presentation to doing what one needs to do to produce a film, play, webseries, fictional or reality tv series.  It is based on 30 years of analysis of the qualities and traits that successful film producers share.

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.

Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival– May 1-3, 2014

The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival is an annual event, featuring contemporary Bosnian- Herzegovinian cinematography and films with Bosnia and Herzegovina as their theme.

Columbia University Film Festival – May 2-8, 2014

 The 27th Annual Columbia University Film Festival premieres short films, feature screenplays and teleplays created by graduate MFA students.

New York Indian Film Festival – May 5-10, 2014

The 14th Annual New York Indian Film Festival is North America’s oldest and most prestigious destination for feature films, documentaries, and shorts from and about the Indian subcontinent. NYIFF is a once-a-year opportunity to experience the rich and diverse film cultures of the Indian subcontinent through a mix of film screenings, discussions, industry panels, nightly parties, an awards ceremony, and gala red carpet events.

Tenth Annual New York Polish Film Festival – May 8-11, 2014

This year the 10th Anniversary edition of The New York Polish Film Festival will take place at the Anthology Film Archives, presenting an eclectic program that reflects the diversity of styles and subjects of Poland’s latest cinema. Many of the feature films presented at NYPFF are internationally acclaimed and hold awards from other renowned festivals.

Rooftop Films Summer Series - May 9 – August 16, 2014

Rooftop Films is known internationally as one of the most dynamic film festivals in the world. We showed over 150 short films in themed programs which have received accolades for being smart, entertaining, and filled with astonishing movies. This combination of brilliant, original programming and stunning outdoor venues makes Rooftop Films one of the best-attended film festivals in New York.

The Golden Dumpster Awards – May 9, 2014

The second annual Golden Dumpster Awards celebrates and recognizes environmental efforts accomplishments in film production.

New York Turkish Film Festival – May 16-25, 2014

The main goal of the New York Turkish Film Festival is to bring more recognition to Turkish films in the U.S., while keeping the Turkish-American audience abreast of the developments in Turkey’s film industry. As we are ready to present the 12th New York Turkish Film Festival, the day we debated the idea of presenting a film festival seems like yesterday.

New York City Mental Health Film Festival – May 17-18, 2014

Welcome to the 10th Annual NYC Mental Health Film Festival - a two-day celebration of fresh, vibrant filmmaking that postively portrays the mental health community. This year’s special theme is Hospitalization and Its Alternatives, and we’re excited to showcase a wonderful line-up of intimate, thought-provoking, and award-winning documentaries and shorts. Plus a filmmaker Q&A, audience discussions, and a free lunch!

NYC Film Festival & Tech Summit  - May 20, 2014, 7pm-11pm

As part of Internet Week NY this event will be an innovative mix of Film, Finance and Technology content to help entrepreneurs, attorneys, bankers, investment managers, entertainment lawyers, film & tech entrepreneurs, mobile developers, tech bloggers, venture capitalists and above the line film professionals educate themselves on the ever changing landscape of film and also to help them connect on film and television projects.

New York International Short Film Festival – May 27-29, 2014

NY Shorts Fest provides a showcase for the best short-form cinema and its creators in the world. We feel that short form cinema and its creators should have their own premier film festival in New York deserving similar recognition given to the feature film and its creators. The heart of the festival will be our quality and scope of extraordinary film programming.

New York City International Film Festival – May 29-June 5, 2014

 The New York City International Film Festival has a well earned reputation nationally and internationally as one of the most respected events of the film festival year. The organization is committed to bringing the best of the world cinematography to New York City and providing a platform for up and coming filmmakers to showcase their work.

Brooklyn Film Festival – May 30-June 8, 2014

The Brooklyn Film Festival (BFF), is an International, competitive festival. BFF mission is to provide a public forum in Brooklyn in order to advance public interest in films and the independent production of films. BFF, inc. is a not-for-profit organization.

Sprout Film Festival – May 31-June 1, 2014

Through this festival’s film programs you will be exposed to film and videos related to the field of developmental disabilities. People with developmental disabilities as subjects and performers remain marginalized in the media. By creating and presenting films of artistry and intellect, we hope to reinforce accurate portrayals of people with developmental disabilities and expose the general public to important issues facing this population.

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TV & FILM PREMIERES


Fading Gigolo – April 18, 2014 (Limited) – Millenium Entertainment

Fioravante decides to become a professional Don Juan as a way of making money to help his cash-strapped friend, Murray. With Murray acting as his “manager”, the duo quickly finds themselves caught up in the crosscurrents of love and money.

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.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – May 2, 2014 - SONY Pictures

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

Louie (Season 4) – May 5, 2014 - 10:00pm on FX

Sitcom in which we follow Louie’s everyday ordeals, quest to find love and pursuit of humor.

God’s Pocket – May 9, 2014 – IFC Films

When Mickey’s crazy stepson Leon is killed in a construction ‘accident’, nobody in the working class neighborhood of God’s Pocket is sorry he’s gone. Mickey tries to bury the bad news with the body, but when the boy’s mother demands the truth, Mickey finds himself stuck in a life and death struggle between a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please and a debt he can’t pay.

The Normal Heart – May 25, 2014 – 9:00pm on HBO

A gay activist attempts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness during the early 1980s.

America’s Got Talent (Season 9) – May 27, 2014 – 8:00pm on NBC

A weekly talent competition where an array of performers — from singers and dancers, to comedians and novelty acts — vie for a $1 million cash prize.

Crossbones (Season 1) – May 30, 2014 – 10:00pm on NBC

Set during the golden age of piracy in the 1700s and centers on legendary pirate Blackbeard.

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.


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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.”

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.

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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

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. 

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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.

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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.”

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.

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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 seaportevents@howardhughes.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.

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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 ssigner@seany.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.