Onondaga County invests millions to help filmmakers recover from the pandemic

Local News

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Central New York is already on the map for filmmakers, but Onondaga County is investing millions of dollars to ensure production crews keep doing business here.

In an announcement Wednesday at the Redhouse Arts Center in downtown Syracuse, County Executive Ryan McMahon announced a new project to help the arts and entertainment industry bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program, PRIMED (Production Incentives for Movies and Entertainment Development,) is going to offer rebates to different film, television and commercial advertising productions for local spending.

The county is investing $5 million dollars of its American Rescue Plan funds into the program. The county’s goal is to generate an additional $15-$20 million from this initiative.

“We want to differentiate ourselves from our competition and we want to do it in a way where we enhance local spending and that’s what this does,” County Executive McMahon said.

The program isn’t only going to give a boost to the local economy, but it’s going to create more job opportunities for Central New Yorkers, especially for young aspiring filmmakers.

What’s so wonderful about this is the opportunity for our artists and creatives to work and provide a lot of job hours. They have suffered quite significantly through the pandemic.

Stephen Butler, Executive Director of CNY Arts

Production crews that are interested in applying for the program must meet the following criteria…

  • Applicants must perform 70% of principal production within Onondaga County
  • Production crews must be in the pre-production process while applying
  • Films must have minimum budget of $1.5 million
  • Television must have minimum budget of $1 million
  • Commercials must have minimum budget of $400,000

Rebates are based upon the money spent in Onondaga County by a production company. Each crew can receive up to 25% of its qualifying expenses and up to 5% in bonus incentives.

Those additional bonus incentives enhancements include:

  • Production crews that hire from underrepresented communities
  • Hiring students enrolled in local college or university
  • Storylines applicable to real societal issues or promote a minority perspective in a constructive way

It helps the workforce that’s really been idle over the last 16 months. It helps the venues in this space. Then certainly it’s going to affect other sectors that are directly affiliated with the arts and cultural organizations.

Ryan McMahon, Onondaga County Executive

Each production is capped at either $300,000 dollars or two projects per year.

The application on the CNY Arts website is expected to go live by the end of the week. If you’re interested, you can also call CNY Arts directly at (315) 435-2155.

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