Like many regions around the world, Kingston, NY is eager to grow its share of the film and television production industry, which is projected to generate $325B globally by 2020.
As a city of just over 23,000 people, Kingston is never going to be the next Hollywood. However, recent developments (some sudden, some years in the making) have it poised to join places like Portland, ME, Asheville, NC, and Missoula, MT as small-town film meccas; places where the combination of incentives, an existing arts and cultural scene, and natural assets explode into economic success and job creation.
#4. Workforce Training, Infrastructure and Colleges
Kevin Klowden is a smart person from the prestigious Milken Institute’s California Center. He said that while many states and counties throw different tax incentives out to film production companies to stimulate economic development, they don’t work well in a vacuum.
“What makes things work is you need to invest in and build up local workforce,” he said, adding that “states that have provided incentives for investment in permanent infrastructure, like production facilities, have seen the greatest benefits”.
Enter the Mary Stuart Masterson-led Stockade Works.
Award-winning film star Mary Stuart Masterson
On December 8, it was announced that the non-profit “film and television production and post-production studio that will provide training opportunities for young urbanites seeking careers in the entertainment industry,” received $1M in grant funding from New York State. That’s part of an almost $12M investment that’s expected to be raised through a combination of historic and federal tax credits, private investments, and a variety of grant-based funding sources.
The investments will help renovate a dilapidated 70,000 sq. foot factory in Midtown Kingston into (among other things) a powerhouse in workforce development for the local film industry. It will also feature multiple sound stages, work areas, and a community event space for screenings and panels.
That’s in addition to an existing labor pipeline that’s fed by a mix of prestigious private colleges (Bard, Vassar and Marist College within 30 miles), high-performing public schools like SUNY New Paltz, Ulster, and Dutchess, Orange/Ulster BOCES, One Stop Career Center programs and more.