New York Loves Film
April 30, 2011 @ 12:30pm, Curtis Theatre, George Eastman House
Rochester, New York
Mark Costello, Attorney, Boylan Brown
Jerry Stoeffhaas, Deputy Director, New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development
Nora Brown, Deputy Director, Rochester/Finger Lakes Film & Video Office
Tim Clark, Film Commissioner, Buffalo/Niagara Region
Funded by the New York State Department of Economic Development, The New York State Film Commission is an economic development agency devoted to bringing Film and TV Production as a means of improving the New York State economy. In addition to bringing jobs to New York, Nora Brown pointed out that the benefits of bringing production to the region extends beyond bringing jobs to the area, stating “When you shoot out of town, even if they bring their food from out of town, they’re given per diem money to live on while they’re in town. They’re spending it at restaurants, going to the drugstore to get their shampoo, all the stuff you need to live on while you’re staying at a hotel.”
New York State offers a 30% tax credit for “below the line” costs only—i.e. cinematographers, art directors, make-up artists, script supervisors, etc. This credit was created in response to productions moving to places like Louisiana, Connecticut, and Toronto. The credit is based on the actual, final cost of the production. The credit is also conditional, and you must deliver what you have proposed in order to receive the credit.
How you can receive the credit:
- Fill out an application form. Application forms are available at the NY Loves Film website.
- You will have a meeting at a local NY State Film Commission Office. This is so that you can have face-to-face time with the local film commission and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
- After the meeting, you will make necessary revisions, re-submit. If approved, you will receive a “Certificate of Eligibility”.
- During production, you will need to submit the first day call sheet.
- At the end of the production, contact the office and give photographs of locations, etc. You will be required to submit pictures of any sets you’ve built.
- Send in the Final Application. Credit is based on the actual cost. You will then receive a certificate of a tax credit. You will include this with your tax return. The tax department will issue the credit, the NY Film Office does not.
The New York Film Office also offers budgeting assistance, such as helping the production set up software. This can be particularly helpful for productions with its crew coming from out of the area, where they can help with adjusting the budget to fit local costs. “I can tweak the local budget for what the cost will actually be,” says Brown.
The websites of the NY Film Offices also have an image bank of various locations used for shooting. Sex and the City and The Sopranos have also donated images of locations they have used as a thank you to the state film office.
Recent success stories include:
- An episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition shot in the Buffalo Region left $1-2 million in estimated economic revenue, according to Tim Clark, Film Commissioner for the Buffalo/Niagara region.
- Nora Brown said that “The BBC Seems to be fascinated with all our serial killers,” with the broadcasting company making documentaries on the killers. Brown also hinted at a possible production coming to the Rochester Region that’s set in 1950s Minnesota. They were able to find all the appropriate locations, except for a wooden escalator, with the escalator at Macy’s in Manhattan being the only one that Brown knows of.
- Henry’s Crime, starring Keanu Reeves, spent several days shooting in Buffalo.
- Finally, the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, transformed locations in Peekskill and Long Island into 1930s/1940s Los Angeles/San Bernadino.
You can learn more about the tax incentives and the other services that the New York Film Commission has to offer by checking out their website.