July 31, 2015 -- County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced Friday that the film and television industry boosted the Westchester economy by $18 million in 2014, up from $13.8 million in the previous year. The increase is attributable in large measure to a 32 percent increase in on-location production days, which totaled 318 last year.
The numbers are part of an economic report compiled by Westchester County's Office of Tourism & Film. The report includes a 2014 survey of local municipalities, which showed that 90 percent of the county's cities, towns and villages received revenue from the film and television industry; 66 percent of film productions patronized local businesses and 25 percent hired local vendors.
"The film industry in Westchester has never been bigger," Astorino said. "We are enjoying a starring role in Hollywood's featured films and successful television programs because of our incredible and diverse locations—from beautiful parks and shorelines, to historic Main Streets, charming neighborhoods and bustling urban sites. In addition, our team from Tourism & Film has the knowledge to provide expert service to facilitate production in film-friendly Westchester County."
Productions filmed in Westchester earned 29 Emmy nominations in 2014, and 28 in 2015. Top rated shows, including Orange is the New Black (Netflix), The Good Wife (CBS), and Girls (HBO), have been recognized for acting, directing and casting, among other categories. Shows filmed in Westchester also earned nine Golden Globe nominations in 2014.
The film and television industry's interest in Westchester is expected to continue this year, fueled by repeat television series and the release of upcoming featured films, including Ricki and The Flash, starring Meryl Streep. Recent television series that have filmed multiple episodes—and in some cases, multiple seasons—in Westchester include, The Americans (FX, returns winter 2016), The Blacklist (NBC), Blindspot (NBC, premieres this fall), Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Elementary (CBS, returns this fall), "The Following" (FOX), Girls (HBO, returns winter 2016), The Good Wife (CBS, returns this fall), The Leftovers (HBO), Mr. Robot (USA, airing now, renewed for 2016), Person of Interest (CBS), and Red Oaks (Amazon, pilot available online). Feature films that have recently wrapped include The Wolf of Wall Street, Winter's Tale, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Ricki and The Flash. A full filmography can be found at http://www.visitwestchesterny.com/index.php/film/filmed-in-westchester.
"The number of productions filmed is proof that Westchester is ready, able and open for business," Astorino said.
For Westchester's municipalities, filming can provide a welcome revenue boost. "We've collected $60,000 in fees over the past two years, and $34,000 so far in 2015," said Bedford Town Clerk Lisbeth "Boo" Fumagalli. "When they are here, film crews patronize our downtown shops and restaurants as well."
The productions filming in Bedford over the past two years include Orange Is the New Black, and Girls, according to Fumagalli. The City of Rye reports that film has been a blessing for them as well, citing over $100,000 in permit revenue generated over the past two years. "Filming is good for our town," says Diane Moore, Deputy Clerk. "Merchants see benefits and the town collects revenue. It's also good exposure for Rye to the outside world."
The county's economic impact estimates are based on a formula used by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI).