Monday, September 20, 2010


During my short tenure on the Ulster County Legislature, there have been several instances where the body recognizes great contributions to the betterment of Ulster County and the towns within, both in awareness and economically.

This Tuesday evening will be the next time we engage in such a prize offering. This time it goes to the Producers and Directors responsible for choosing our region to make their film; Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. Staring Jane Fonda, Chace Crawford, Catherine Keener & Rosanna Arquette.

This comes at the same time as my former colleagues have reconsidered the deterring fee toward film crews who use space within the city. For this, I am thankful. I had made inquiries in the past about local merchants in Kingston having sufficient notice of the closing of streets and interrupting their trade, having heard complaints about the disruption. (look for that bus in the film)

However, the shift in attitude both locally and from officials in and around the county, the economic impact is positive in many forms. Not to mention the delight in seeing our area as a backdrop for a major motion picture.

For Mayor James Sottile to have “second thoughts” about adopting of a flat fee on all filmmakers who choose Kingston is good to hear. I know theres hypothetical talk about getting production people to patron the local establishments, but much of what this industry relies on is through contracted services. Anything outside of that, these folks use local sources. (above scene in Fleishers)

For example; while shooting at the farm house in Accord, the catering truck was all there was on sight. While shooting on Wall St in Kingston, the truck handled lunch, but the feast at wrap-up was provided by Riverside Pizza on Abeel Street. I know, because it was my mobile that made the order. (picture of equipment infront of former Woolworth's)

Still, the Mayor was quoted: “If they bring in their catering and they are not going to support (the restaurants) they should have to pay a modest fee ... or they can go someplace else. If they support the local merchants, I would be willing to waive the fee.”

The Freeman article points out the millions in expenses incurred by "Rocksteady" while they did their work here in Kingston. Including the Seven21 studio work. In addition; I also served as a bar patron extra in a film shot at Snappers last year. That crew hit the diners, pizza delivery from Plaza Pizza and got supplies at Herzogs.

My good buddy Bill Reynolds said he is reluctant to support even a flat fee on film companies. He said the Hudson Valley Film Commission “makes a compelling case. I have to agree.

It will be an honor to present the Pride of Ulster Award to Bruce Beresford and the rest of those who chose our home to film in. I would also like to thank Terry Bernardo for inducing this presentation from the Legislature.


mikeb said...

This is the type of business Ulster County needs to be trying to bring.
Yes, by all means ask the productions to pay for services of police, fire, and ambulance, but add permits to the picture and they will bolt in a second. The very word conjures up lots of red tape and complications. The PLM producers use4d the Accord Fire Police to direct traffic and I'm sure made a donation or paid for the services.
I work in this business and can tell you that while most of the upfront costs are spent out of the shooting area, once onsite it is mostly entirely spent locally. Set decorators run to the nearest antique dealer or hardware store for supples and materials, crews that are not fed by a catering truck run to the closest and best restaurant to eat. Why?...because time down from shooting is money spent.
The crews stay in local housing and look for places to go on their off hours. More money spent. They gas up their production vehicles at local gas stations.
And in time, businesses that cater to the needs of film and video will spring up. Here in Accord/Kerhonkson we have several already.
And once a location gets known in this very word-of-mouth business it can prosper. So make it easy for these films to shoot and use the KISS formula (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Put up with a few minor inconveniences and move on.

Anonymous said...

So what will they see - the Plaza, cigarette butts outside Snapper McGee's? or he beautiful mountains in the background or the Peace Park? Hoffman House, Dallas Hots, Canopy, traffic light with garbage bag over it - what was the attrcation?