Loss of major movie in WNY may boost case for more film tax credits in NY

Mar 9, 2013

Western New York has missed out on being the setting for a major motion picture, but Republican state Senator Patrick Gallivan hopes the loss of the movie “Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner, will help push along a bill that would offer tax credits for films to be shot in New York state.

This week producers of the movie, written about the Buffalo Bills, announced it will now be shot in Cleveland.  The script will be rewritten around the Cleveland Browns.

Gallivan says Cleveland offered director Ivan Reitman a 35 percent tax deduction incentive. The incentive is five percent higher than in New York state. Gallivan is currently proposing a 45 percent deduction for upstate New York.

“Ultimately that would level the playing field, give everybody across the state an opportunity to compete for it, and I think not just bring films to western New York, but bring jobs to western New York,” he says.

Right now, filming in New York City is cheaper, because crews and studio facilities are already in place to handle major productions. Gallivan says the higher deduction would offset the increased costs that accompany shooting upstate.

Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark says it’s difficult for the city to compete when filmmakers will be saving about $3.5 million by shooting in Cleveland.

“I’m hopeful that one of these days we’ll get one of those films again that sort of inspire people and rally people around and get to show our city off to the world again,” says Clark.

Clark says the movie could have had a $10-12 million impact on the local economy. He hopes lawmakers will now see the case for the increased tax incentives.

The Innovation Trail is a collaboration between six upstate New York public media outlets. The initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), helps the public gain a better understanding of the connection between technological breakthroughs and the revitalization of the upstate New York economy. For more from the Innovation Trail, visit their website www.innovationtrail.org.