County executive seeks to attract filmakers to Nassau locations for shoots

County executive seeks to attract filmakers to Nassau locations for shoots

Nassau County executive Edward Mangano isn’t expecting to turn Nassau County into Tinseltown, but his administration is looking to draw more lights, action and cameras to shoot feature films in the region.

The county has been gaining traction in developing more cinematic interest in the local environs, with the number of shooting days and estimated income from locally filmed productions increasing steadily over the past several years.

“There really seem to be a bigger push now,” said Debora Markowitz, director of the Nassau County Film Office. “We have studios now and we’re trying to identify locations for more studios.”

The feature film “Salt” was shot at privately-owned Grumman Studios in Bethpage, where “Man on a Ledge” was also recently shot by Summit Films at Gold Coast Studios, according to Markowitz.

Last year, studios logged 604 production days in the county, Markowitz said, bringing an estimated $88,100,000 worth of business to the county in hotel accommodations, catering, supplies, sets, permits, parking and vehicle rentals. That was significantly more than the 550 days of shooting and estimated $75 million generated in 2007, which showed an increase from the 540 days and $70 million recorded in 2006. Last year’s $88 million was a quantum leap from the $58 million the county film office estimates the industry generated in 2005.

Markowitz said she has already seen a positive trend resulting from the two-day Film Friendly Nassau Location and Studio Tour the county conducted for several film producers and 25 location managers earlier this month. The favorable impression the tour apparently made had a residual effect, as Markowitz said she subsequently received phone calls from location managers who she hadn’t heard from in three years.

Horror film director Stevan Mena of Crimson Films (“Bereavement”) and Larry Strong, who recently landed a theatrical deal for his “Last Day of Summer,” featured in the last Long Island Film Expo were on the tour.

“They’re scouting in a lot of other states and counties. We took them to some locations that a lot of them didn’t know they were available or knew existed,” she said.

The tour included stops at the relatively unknown Allegria Hotel and Spa in Long Beach, and the more familiar Sands Point Preserve and Old Bethpage Village Restoration. Location managers on the tour had credits for films and TV shows including the new “Avengers” movie, “White Collar,” “Michael Clayton,” “Rescue Me,” “Sex and the City II,” “Julie and Julia,” “Morning Glory,” and “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Mangano recently gave the green light to TV shoots for “Royal Pains,” “Running Wilde,” and Comedy Central at the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative and Executive Building in Mineola.

“I’m proud to represent a county that has more production days than any other county or borough in New York outside of the city itself,” said Mangano, who made an appearance with the filmmakers during the two-day tour.

The tour was so successful that Markowitz said the county may schedule another one in the spring. But if setting that up proves difficult since so many films are in production at that time of year, she said the tour will definitely be repeated next year.

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