by Dylan Taft
on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 1:30pm.
New York City residents may yawn or scowl when they see yet another film crew setting up in their neighborhood—closing streets and sidewalks, crowding curbs with huge service trailers, and generally disrupting the natives’ busy routines. But up here in Ulster County, we look at things a little differently. And we’ve recently been able to show that difference to a record number of visiting crews. The welcome mats were out all over.
This summer especially was filled with film crew sightings. It appeared as though around every corner was a camper idling on the curb, or a crowd of young people milling around in funky retro clothes filming a 60’s scene. And though the abrupt descent into a small community of a 100-plus-person film crew can be nearly overwhelming to a village like Woodstock or Rosendale, the financial boost these large-scale feature films give to our area is huge—at a time when huge financial boosts are hard to come by. The amount of local spending that goes on even around the production of so-called “low budget” feature films can be staggering. It takes big bucks to house and feed such a mass of people, often for weeks at a time, and these bucks mostly go directly into the local service industries.
Plus, Ulster’s new star-power is two-pronged. In addition to the visiting crews, local production studios are beginning to appear, creating a stable, county-based industry to complement the transient business. With those local studios and their proximity to New York City, the future looks good for Ulster County to see year-round sustained growth from the entertainment industry.
Vinci Farm, out of sleepy Kerhonkson, has already shown the way by building a facility fully equipped to meet the beginning-to-end production needs of a feature film. The effect of this innovative studio successfully doing business in Kerhonkson will ripple out into the local communities as Vinci Farms, and the large movie studios that rent their space, reinvest in nearby localities. Vinci Farm has pledged to using local vendors and companies whenever they can, and has been a good environmental neighbor in the bargain, employing eco-friendly and sustainable building practices. Too, modern movie-making involves much more than just production itself. There are industries-within-industries that grow up to surround production facilities—caterers, prop houses, costumers, and more.
Many of us are convinced that Vinci Farm is nothing less than a bellwether, a bellwether that signals a new growth industry for Ulster County: Filmmaking.