The Film Industry's Impact On Westchester

The film biz’s long history with Westchester and its growing impact on the area.

Westchester has a long and (mostly) proud history in the movie industry. Thanhouser Film Corporation produced more than 1,000 silent films, many of them in a studio in New Rochelle, which opened in 1909. Birth of a Nation director D.W. Griffith had his studio in Mamaroneck’s Orienta Point. And Mighty Mouse‘s Terrytoons produced thousands of animated features in New Rochelle beginning in the 1930s. 

While current data on the economic impact of the film business isn’t available, it’s considerable and growing. Through May of this year, the number of requests for location assistance received by the Westchester Office of Tourism increased by 112 percent over 2013. In addition to the county office several Westchester towns have offices that aid film producers in finding locations and navigating permits and other necessary paperwork. They will also help the companies nail down tax credits, sales tax exemptions, and other incentives through the NY State Film Tax Credit Program.

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Those requests translate into dollars for area restaurants, gas stations, and various suppliers for the film crews. One producer (who pledged us to secrecy), booked 865 “room nights” at a Westchester hotel this year.

Sisters Nicole and Gabrielle Zeller market their Mount Vernon facility, Haven Studios, to companies like Warner Bros. Television, which is using it as a home for the HBO drama, The Leftovers. Other beneficiaries of the production included the Harrison Public Library, which received $3,500 in donations when the company shot several scenes at the library for the series this spring. Harrison was one of 10 municipalities with locations used by the producers.

And film producers Roger Paradiso and Mike Tadross have been hosting high-profile shoots at Yonkers Stage, a 32,000-square-foot production space on Tuckahoe Road, since 1989. Among the movies that have used the facility are Mona Lisa Smile, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and Inside Llewyn Davis.

See also: Twelves Movies Filmed In Westchester

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