Approximately 200 people both inside and outside the film industry recently came together to attend The Accelerator’s Hudson Valley Film Industry Conference at SUNY Orange’s Kaplan Hall in New Windsor.
The mission: To learn and share ideas about various aspects of the rapidly expanding sector in the Hudson Valley, including choosing career paths, finding film locations and partnering with film companies.
According to Laurie Villasuso, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Orange County IDA and The Accelerator, the film industry has seen steady growth in recent years, which provides much promise for the years ahead.
Information gathered from the conference will be used to help people work together to continue to move the industry forward. “Our interest, as economic developers, is to find out what this sector needs to grow in the Hudson Valley region,” explained Vincent Cozzolino, Managing Director of the IDA and The Accelerator.
The Hudson Valley is perfect for shooting films and television because of the proximity to NYC, added Jerry Stoeffhaas, Deputy Director for the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and TV Development. Not to mention, the area is scenic.
“You all live here. So you already know,” he said. “Look out the window. You have a great location. You have mansions, you have small towns, you have urban environments. You’ve got all these things.”
Stoeffhaas also emphasized the tremendous tax credits to work in the Hudson Valley, especially in Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. If productions do more than 75 percent of their work in New York State, they are eligible for a 30 percent tax credit on all “below-the-line” costs – crew and equipment (not actors, producers or directors). For Orange and Putnam counties and other counties north, there is an extra 10 percent tax credit on labor.
The event’s Producers Panel was moderated by actress Mary Stuart Masterson, who is also a director, producer and founder of Kingston-based Stockade Works. The panel included Barbara DeFina, Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Nicole Quinn, all producers in the industry who explained the reasons why they choose a location and how a production company should act on site, among other topics.
The Accelerator wrapped up the event by handing out two Accelerator Awards for Leadership in the Film Industry, which went to Mary Stuart Masterson and Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton.