Westchester County and motion pictures make a perfect match. For decades, producers of everything from film classics such as “Big” to the recently completed HBO five-hour mini-series remake of “Mildred Pierce” have found that Westchester provides ideal settings for an amazing diversity of productions.
More than 55 feature films and cable television productions have been shot in Westchester County since 2000. According to Kim Sinistore, Director of the Westchester County Tourism and Film Office, “From Rye Playland, our most requested site, to gorgeous homes, museums, castles and parks, whatever is needed, Westchester cheerfully provides.”
Since approximately half the county is within the New York Film Zone, “Unions are allowed to work locally within that territory,” Sinistore adds. “That definitely reduces barriers to smooth and efficient film production.”
Furthermore, with the recent merging of the Westchester County Offices of Tourism and Film under the county’s Office of Economic Development, the new body is definitely able to be “instrumental in bringing business into the county,” says Westchester County’s Director of Economic Development, Laurence Gottlieb.
He adds, “When you consider the county’s proximity to New York City, the area’s diverse landscape and abundant locations for filming in all four seasons, then add in the incredible corps of media talent who now call Westchester their home, we are well-positioned to create a powerful economic and artistic development platform.”
The Tourism and Film Office is also working in partnership with the Pleasantville-based Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) to promote filmmaking and new media activity in the county. The film center is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution housing a state-of-the-art theater complex, a 27,000-square-foot Media Arts Lab and a residence for international filmmakers.
“As a champion of film, new media and Westchester County, Jacob Burns Film Center is thrilled to be working with the Tourism and Film Office to increase local opportunities for artists,” says Dominick Balletta, the organization’s Managing Director.