Local pull for film production in low-density upstate

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

“We’re ready to move forward,” said Discover Albany Film Commissioner Deb Goedeke. “In the last two months, there has been a dramatic uptick with inquiries regarding film production here … HBO, Netflix, they’re all calling.”

ALBANY COUNTY — Among the businesses that can reopen in the Capital Region on July 1 are television and movie production — and Discover Albany Film Commissioner Deb Goedeke says she is ready.

Because New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, is several weeks behind the Capital Region in reopening, the hope is that TV and movie production may shift here.

Two location scouts were in Albany last week for a Netflix movie and HBO has called as well, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said at his Tuesday press briefing.

“Productions are currently seeking lower-density areas that can provide more flexibility and safety, and we can definitely do that here in Albany,” said Goedeke.

During the three-month shutdown, she said, Discover Albany and Film Albany worked with Empire State Development to draw up guidelines so Albany is ready to safely host production and film crews. “Every company will be sent these documents,” she said.

Movie and television companies can access the state’s film tax credits in Albany since the city has two qualified production facilities: the Albany Capital Center and the Times Union Center.

Goedeke reeled off a list of statistics since 2011 when the tax-credit program was adopted. Since then, over 2,200 applications have been accepted, $30.4 billion has been spent on film and TV production, and there have been over 1,700,000 new hires.

The revenue generated by filming a TV series is estimated at $125,000 per day so, when “The Punisher” was produced in Albany last summer, it brought in roughly $500,000.

Other movies and TV shows that have been filmed in Albany include “SALT,” “The Pretenders,” and “As You Are.”

A feature film generates about $250,000 per day, said Goedeke, which “positively impacts our local hotels, car and truck rentals, catering, barricade rentals ….”

She also said, “Film production can help generate sustained growth in the tourism industry.”

Goedeke concluded, “We’re ready to move forward. In the last two months, there has been a dramatic uptick with inquiries regarding film production here … HBO, Netflix, they’re all calling.”

More Regional News

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  • While Governor Andrew Cuomo is still being criticized for large numbers of nursing-home deaths during the height of the pandemic in New York, an association of long-term care facilities is pushing for less restrictive regulations for testing and for visitors.

  • To present a balanced spending plan for 2021, Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy’s budget relies on tapping the county’s $60 million rainy-day fund for $3 million, reallocating $5 million that would have otherwise been appropriated toward paying off county debt, and $5 million in salaries and benefits savings from 72 employees who each accepted a $15,000 early-separation payout.

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