Film and TV crews are a common sight in New York City, as a slew of TV shows, commercials, and movies are regularly shot all across the five boroughs.
Until now, however, the right to film here has largely been free.
That’s right–access to city-owned parks, streets and other locales have been there for the taking to TV and movie producers and even students making independent films or music videos.
Budget cuts, however, are forcing the city to come up with new ways to make up the lost revenue, and film permits may now be subject to a $300 fee.
If the fee is approved, TV producers would have to pay the amount once per season, while filmmakers would pay the fee once for the duration of shooting–no matter if it’s an NYU production or the sequel to a major zillion-dollar blockbuster.
While the fee may seem surprisingly low, it’s meant to make it easier for smaller producers and directors to be able to come up with the money and not look elsewhere to film.
Some exceptions would apply: Films using hand-held cameras or taking up a tiny amount of space wouldn’t have to pay the fee, and producers can apply for an exemption based on financial hardship.
The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting had to cut $155,000 from its $2 million budget this year. Most city agencies were ordered last month to cut 7.2 percent of their budgets
TV Shows like “Gossip Girl” and big-budget films such as “Sex and The City” regularly film in New York.
Ever thought about a career in film? Wondering what exactly a rigger does on a film set? Well, now may be your chance to find out.
A program is being launched by Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration to help train women, minorities, and New Yorkers who are struggling job-wise to train for jobs in New York’s film and TV production industry.
The training will include teaching hands-on skills like rigging (whatever that may be) and dolly operation. (In other words; you won’t be learning how to be Sandra Bullock’s stand-in, but you will be learning what all that cool equipment does.) Teachers are members of the International Alliance of Theatrical & Stage Employees. It also includes a placement service for mid-level film jobs in those areas.
The first classes launch this spring, and will have about 24 participants. A recruitment event is also being held later this spring, sponsored by the city and held at the New York City College of Technology.
New York is home to a thriving TV and film industry. TV shows from “Sesame Street” to “Ugly Betty” and “Gossip Girl” have filmed (and continue to film) here, while endless movies use the city as a locale, including such recent entries as the “Sex and the City” movies (the latest opens in May) and “Percy Jackson and the Last Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”
While many film and TV shows now shoot in other cities as stand-ins for New York, we know that there’s nothing like the real thing.
You may see movies in color, but the name of the game at New York’s Kaufman Astoria Studios is now green.
The studio, currently home to “Sesame Street” and Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” starring Edie Falco (and future home of the “Smurfs” Movie, to be released next year–no, we can’t wait either) is converting to green energy. Kaufman Astoria is the oldest functioning movie studio in the city; more than 120 silent and sound films have been produced there. They include the Marx Bothers’ “Animal Crackers,” as well as “The Wiz,” “All That Jazz,” and Woody Allen’s “Radio Days.”
The studio is switching from commonly used heating oil to a new mix of petroleum and biodiesel, produced by Brooklyn-based company METRO and known as “Greenheat.” It’s made from 5 percent biodiesel fuel (which includes used vegetable oil from restaurants, as well as soy and canola oils and algae) and 95 percent petroleum. The biodiesel burns much cleaner than oil and has no sulfur. The studio will be supplied with 80,000 gallons of the fuel each year, which will earn it the distinction of being the largest commercial user of Greenheat in New York.
METRO also supplies other distinctive clients–the Hampton Jitney (the bus service that ferries beachgoers to the tony Hamptons) and the City of New York.
The company will be opening a 110-million-gallon processing plant in Brooklyn later this year, which will add not just cleaner energy–but a spate of new jobs as well.
Black History Month in New York means no shortage of ways to celebrate, educate yourself, or simply have a good time. Below, a smattering of events running throughout the month at institutions around the city.
If it’s art you’re after, check out the exhibition “African Americans: Seeing and Seen: 1766-1916” at the Babcock Galleries (724 Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets; 212 767-1852).The show looks at both positive and negative portrayals of African Americans in fine art, going back to Colonial times.
Over at BAM (BAM Cinema; 30 Lafayette Street in Brooklyn; 718 636-4100), a schedule of films is running throughout the month under the heading “The Best of the African Diaspora Film Festival.” Coming up: “Made in Jamaica,” on Feb. 19, which explores the world of reggae music. Events are also running at the Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza; 718-230-2100) and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (145 Brooklyn Avenue; 718 735-4400).
Up at the Dwyer Cultural Center (258 St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan; 212 222-3060), both music and theater are on the bill. This week (Feb. 9) “Rivers Run Deep: The Paul Robeson Story” is being presented.
And New York’s Lincoln Center is offering a roster of performances throughout February. On Feb. 11, for example, swing to “Basie and the Blues” with Wynton Marsalis (Rose Theater at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway and 60th Street; call 212 721-6500.)
So beat those February blues with culture and education. Get out there!