It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley is home to countless Hollywood movie stars and producers—its lush and beautiful landscapes and proximity to New York City providing the best of both worlds. Though a handful of films have showcased the area over the decades, its cinematic footprint paled in comparison to other regions due to a flawed state program that didn’t consider the Hudson Valley “upstate.”
But that’s all changing. Last year, after significant advocacy from Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, New York State passed legislation allowing Ulster County and a handful of other left-behinds to finally compete for productions by offering the same 40-percent tax credit allotted to the rest of upstate New York. The legislation was signed by the governor in November 2016, and as a result, the entire Mid-Hudson region is now included and will benefit.
Recent months have seen Ulster County evolving into a hotbed for major movie productions.
The 2017 film production season in Ulster County kicked off with a bang earlier in the year as Kingston welcomed legendary director and producer Martin Scorsese, who is serving as the executive producer of the feature film Diane.
A new feature film titled Departures starring Maisie Williams of the Game of Thrones and Nina Dobrev of The Vampire Diaries attracted local attention as it filmed in uptown Kingston for over three weeks this spring.
This came on the heels of the comedy Furlough filmed on site in Kingston and the Town of Ulster, including scenes at the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center and featuring Academy Award winners Whoopi Goldberg, Anna Paquin, and Melissa Leo.
The dramatic increase in Ulster County's film production industry comes as a direct result of Ulster County’s inclusion in the New York State Upstate Film Tax Credit program.
"My goal is simple: to make Ulster County a hub for the highly profitable entertainment history," Hein said. "It provides high value opportunities for our workers and low impact on our environment, while delivering millions to our economy."
Hein said the impact is being felt already. In 2016, film production companies spent $8 million in the Hudson Valley. Following the implementation of the film tax credit, film production spending approached that figure in the first quarter of 2017 alone.
Actor and director Mary Stuart Masterson, who thanked Hein for his tireless work in pushing for the tax-credit legislation, said the added 10-percent tax credit will make the Mid-Hudson Valley the go-to location for series television and film production.
"We have the locations, the talent, the workforce, and the amenities producers want when choosing where to base their productions," she said. "Now, they also have the economic incentive to say 'yes' to the Mid-Hudson Valley."
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