New York’s tax abatement program has done wonders for production in and around the city. Now, more production might be making its way upstate, where the economy can surely use it.
Buffalo has had some interest to productions with its renowned architecture and locations: Over the past decade the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission has been effective, pulling in, for example, everything from a Keanu Reeves movie to Sharknado 2. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown wants to build on that interest as well as the Cuomo administration’s efforts. The mayor has set aside money to hire a consultant to come up with better ways to get the word out, according to an article by Buffalo Business First Reporter James Fink.
Rather than relying on marketing, the Cuomo administration has instead put money into specific, tangible projects, such as creating the Buffalo-based VFX facility Empire Visual Effects. Meanwhile in December, nearby Daemen College opened its 16,000 sq. ft. VFX training and production space, also with money provided by the state. Empire Visual Effects will work closely with students from Daemen, giving the company an inexpensive team of assistants. Students, meanwhile, will learn while working on real world projects.
Overall, film and television production continue to grow. According to Greg David in a January column in Crain’s New York, film and television production in the city have added 9,300 jobs since the recovery began in 2009. That brings the number of workers statewide to 55,400, for a solid 21.0% gain over that period.
To further sweeten the deal, as of January 1st New York State now offers an additional 10% jump in the tax abatement amount on qualified labor costs for films that shoot or do post production in select upstate counties. Covering films with a budget of $500,000 or more, productions that film in these counties can now receive up to 40% on qualified labor costs and up to 45% on qualified postproduction labor costs, whether they film or just do postproduction in New York.
Not a bad start if you want to begin something big.