Film and television productions in Westchester County last year generated more than $30 million in estimated revenue for municipalities and businesses in the county, a 67 percent increase from 2014, according to an economic impact survey by the county tourism and film office.
The industry in 2016 notched 532 on-location production days in Westchester, which also was up 67 percent from 2014, when the biennial survey was last conducted by Westchester County Office of Tourism & Film, a division of the county Office of Economic Development.
The survey gathers film activity data from municipalities across the county. County officials said economic impact estimates are based on a formula used by the Association of Film Commissioners International and include permit fees as well as revenue generated by retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, equipment rentals and other film industry vendors.
Permit revenue collected by the county and municipalities rose to $1,209,804 last year, a 130 percent increase from the $526,454 in permit fees paid in 2014 by film and television productions.
The county last year received $500,000 in permit fee payments for productions on county-owned property, while Westchester cities, towns and villages collected more than $700,000.
“Westchester’s film and TV industry is booming,” County Executive Robert P. Astorino said when announcing the survey results. “These numbers show the popularity of Westchester as a backdrop for movies, television shows and commercials, as well as the importance of the film and TV industry to our local economy.”
Natasha Caputo, director of Westchester County Office of Tourism and Film, said her office offers hands-on support for production companies and is able “to help location managers navigate the process of filming in Westchester.”
Part of the county’s appeal for film and TV producers, Caputo said, is its proximity to New York City and its accessibility by air, highway, rail and bus “for productions of all sizes.” Westchester also beckons with “a large talent pool of location scouts, production managers, crew and postproduction specialists,” she said.
Jill Iannetta, director of special projects for the city of White Plains, has seen the benefits of working with the film industry. “Location fees help when budgets are tight for local businesses, schools and residents,” she said. “What’s more, local residents seem to enjoy seeing productions. Filming in White Plains has been overwhelmingly positive for us.”
Among the big-budget films, independent films and television and cable show series that filmed in Westchester in 2016 were “The Girl on the Train” (DreamWorks Pictures/Universal); “The Affair” and “Homeland” (Showtime); “Divorce” (HBO); “The Americans” (FX); “Mr. Robot” (USA Network), “Elementary” and “Madam Secretary” (CBS); and “Blind Spot” and “The Blacklist” (NBC).