To say the very least, the 90’s was a a bad decade for New York’s film industry, and in this financial crisis the 2010’s might be worse.
If you take a look at the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting‘s website, one of the first thing’s you’ll see is a video of a man by the name of Jono. The video is part of ‘Real Jobs, Real Proud, Real New Yorkers,’ a campaign that’s features New Yorkers working in the film and television industries with the purpose to thank locals for hosting film and television production in their neighborhoods.
These public service announcements are definitely called for, as New York’s film industry has “enjoyed record growth since the state started its tax incentive plan five years ago,” writes Miriam Kreinin in an article for crainsnewyork.com. But now, it “is being hit with a number of new obstacles that could wreck the business and send longtime hits like Law & Order packing to cheaper locales.”
Today at least 7 feature films and 16 television shows are being shot in city, but producers might have to think twice about filming in the New York if the city government’s plan to make the fees for filming in buildings the most expensive in the country goes ahead.
The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting is the first film commission in the country and was created to serve as a “one-stop shop for all production needs in New York City,” according to the commission’s mission statement.
The commission offers free permits, free public locations and free police assistance for production companies shooting a feature films, commercials, television shows or music videos. “The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting serves as an invaluable resource to the New York City entertainment production industry,” states the commission in it’s website. But now, the office has plans to charge for it’s “famous free permits” and “the city’s tax incentive is out of money and in the process of being scaled back, and the state is in negotiations over whether to renew its tax incentives,” writes Kreinin.
According to the film commissioner, Katherine Oliver, the plan is the result of the economic crisis and “filming at city buildings represents less than 5% of the total location shooting,” which is almost nothing compared to the cost of shooting in private locations. The Film Commission and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, another city agency, are suggesting the city should charge $3,200 for shooting in city buildings, according to Kreinin’s article, the cost at a private location can go up $10,ooo a day.
One of the commission’s major incentives, ‘Made in NY,’ was created to offer film and television productions a combination of tax and marketing credits, as well as customer services for production. But now, as of June 30, 2009, New York City’s “Made in NY” tax credit has reached its full allocation of $192.5 million and funds are no longer available for new applications. As stated in the commissions website, the City proposed an extension of the program in May and is awaiting passage of its legislation in Albany that will allow the credit program to continue.
But as they wait for an answer on the extension for this ‘Made in Ny,’ they must also think of other program budget extensions for next year’s budget. For example, the ‘Motion Picture and Television Development,’ a program that has a 30% tax incentive, did get a $350 million one-year extension this year, but will expire in March 2010.
And “with state budget deficit that could reach $4.1 billion this year, it is unlikely it will be refunded at the same level,” says Kreinin.
(The images used where found on the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting’s website.)