De Blasio for Increased Film Production in Outer Boroughs

By Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether
August 9, 2013 Updated: August 9, 2013

NEW YORK—Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio may be advertising himself as the “anti-Bloomberg” in this year’s election, but there is one industry he tips the cap to the current mayor on: the TV and film industry.

“I am someone who has no trouble critiquing mayor Bloomberg and I don’t have trouble giving him praise when he deserves is,” said de Blasio outside of Broadway Stages in Brooklyn on Thursday morning. “What has happened in the Bloomberg years in terms of the film and TV industry has been, in many cases, very good.”

If elected mayor, de Blasio would like to continue growing the industry, which has seen substantial increase in job creation and revenue during Bloomberg’s tenure. Roughly 30,000 jobs have been created in the sector since 2004, with TV production growing by 82 percent, according to a May 2012 Boston Consulting Group study issued by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB).

De Blasio said he would like to see the industry expand its film production to the outer boroughs. Manhattan is currently issued the most public filming permits, with Brooklyn and Queens next, according to MOFTB.

De Blasio said he would like to strengthen relationships with communities and the film industry to drive business outside of Manhattan.

I would like to see us focus on arranging in advance a series of locations consistently available for film and TV shoots that are essentially pre-approved, and the issues with the community worked out in advance,” de Blasio said.

New Yorkers don’t have much choice if a film or television show wants to shoot on location, but the MOFTB currently works with Community Boards and Council Members to ensure a smooth production with minimal disruptions.

Brooklyn and Queens may have the highest concentration of film and television studios, yet the iconic streets of Manhattan are still chosen as the place to shoot.

The city has been able to bank on movies and TV shows using the easily recognizable storefronts, buildings, and landscapes synonymous with Manhattan. De Blasio hopes to lure location scouts to less prominent neighborhoods of the city, something he joked should not be to difficult.

When asked how he would get films to shoot outside of well-known places in Manhattan, he joked, “As a Brooklynite, I am going to challenge the premise.”

He said the outer boroughs have plenty to offer, such as Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the site of the World’s Fair in Queens, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Staten Island Ferry.

“It is one part recognizing the extraordinary iconic sites we do have and one part recognizing that a lot of what the film and TV companies want is something atmospheric, something that really speaks to the character of New York,” de Blasio said. “That exists in every neighborhood.”

He added, “I think it is about helping the industry to recognize there is more than they may know.”

Following the announcement de Blasio took a tour of Broadway Stages as a guest of Gina Argento Ciafone, the studio’s CEO. The media was allowed on the set of Unforgettable, a CBS drama.

Ciafone has donated $15,400 to de Blasio’s campaign since 2010, according to campaign finance records. A total of $10,450 was refunded to Ciafone to keep her contributions at the $4,950 limit set by CFB rules. Angela Argento and Anthony Argento, also with Broadway Stages, have each contributed the $4,950 maximum, according to CFB records.

Kristen Meriwether
Kristen Meriwether