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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Effort to attract moviemakers adds star power

By Autumn Schanil - staff writer

Autumn Schanil | Democrat
Mary Stuart Masterson, spoke about the benefits and needs of adding Hudson Valley counties to the 10 percent tax credit at the conference on March 10.
HURLEYVILLE — “Dirty Dancing,” an iconic film about the Catskill Mountains, was, ironically, filmed in North Carolina rather than upstate New York.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Ulster County Executive Michael P. Hein, and Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper Ramsay Adams held a media press conference on Thursday afternoon inside the brand new Hurleyville Arts Centre to bring attention to and promote more film production in the counties comprising the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.
In order to boost film production and overall positive impact on the state's economies outside of New York City, the 2013-14 State Budget included “language” to create an additional 10 percent film tax credit for “upstate” counties. Eighty-four percent of upstate counties are included in this tax credit with the exception of Sullivan, Ulster, Orange and Dutchess counties as they were not considered “upstate.”
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther has decided to introduce legislation to include those counties in the 10 percent Empire State Film Production Credit program.

“My great hope is that incentivizing film production and leveling the playing field for the Hudson Valley will create an environment where the next movie made about the Catskills, will be filmed right here in the Catskills,” said Gunther.
Michael P. Hein said he was thrilled to have this piece of legislation come forward, as it can help the economy grow and expand.
“We have the opportunity to get this right, to build an industry from the ground up to make a difference for all of us. This isn't just a single film production. We're talking about the possibilities of studios, new media production facilities, real jobs for our children right here in our own community,” said Hein.
Mary Stuart Masterson, who is known for her roles in “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Benny and Joon,” was also present at the press conference, lending her voice and passion in support, along with Laurent Rejto of the Hudson Valley Film Commission, a not-for-profit organization that works “to create sustainable economic development by attracting, supporting and promoting local film, video and media production in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills.”
“After moving here I thought, ‘I don't want to just live here, I want to work here. I don't want to just work here, I want others to be able to work here,'” said Masterson.
“When you look at what the current tax credit does, it brings people up here because it's a really good tax credit. But those people are only here for a few days and then they boogie, and they take their jobs with them. But if you get the bigger fit, we're talking about TV jobs. So this kind of 10 percent difference, is like a sea-change difference. We could have a huge boom. TV shows come for 6 months, one year, six years.”
Ramsay Adams of Catskill Mountainkeeper also spoke in support of the legislation saying the increased film production would promote awareness of the stunning beauty of the Hudson Valley region and would help in efforts to revitalize our main streets. Adams shared a letter from actor Mark Ruffalo, who is an active Board Member of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “What is learned on a film set can be taken to every profession and every aspect of life. As every other industry dies, films always endure,” wrote Ruffalo.

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