It doesn't have palm trees or the Hollywood sign, but a field in East Syracuse looked good enough for Ryan Johnson to relocate his movie production company from Los Angeles to Upstate New York. The Film House will be the first tenant at a new nanotech/ film hub complex being built at the Collamer Crossroads business park. The site also has the star quality every producer is looking for - tax credits
"We looked all over the country, we looked at some international locations, we vetted a lot of different ways to go and it became very obvious to us that new York was the place," said Johnson.
Johnson says he hopes to have three feature films shooting in Syracuse this summer. Moving productions to Upstate New York is not as crazy as it might sound. Due to the high cost of shooting in California, feature film production in L.A. is down 50% since 1996 as productions look to save money.
NBC's Dracula series shoots in Hungary to take advantage of incentives and Marvel's upcoming superhero epic Guardians of the Galaxy went to England due to benefits there. Now that New York offers filmmakers a 35% tax credit on production expenses, Syracuse International Film Festival executive director Mike Massurin says Central New York can compete on a global scale.
"We're talking about people going over to Bulgaria to shoot films just because the incentives for them to do so are much better. let's keep those dollars here in our country, let's bring them right here to Onondaga county," said Massurin.
Johnson says The Film House will work with local colleges and plans to start hiring hundreds of full time employees soon.
"Everything from cast, extras to crew depending on the type of show," said Johnson.
Work on the first 52,000 square foot building in the nanotech and film complex will begin in April and is expected to be ready for tenants by October of 2014.