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Central New York has the right mix of assets for its growing film industry

A green mural on a brick wall brands Syracuse as "the mighty Salt City."
Scott Willis
A green mural on a brick wall brands Syracuse as "the mighty Salt City."

The Syracuse International Film Festival attracted movie producers to shoot in Syracuse and Central New York, and festival director John Ginty said new burgeoning filmmakers are choosing to work in Syracuse more frequently.

The film industry has taken off in the city over the past seven to eight years. Ginty said the local area offers the right mix of everything needed to shoot and produce feature films.

“They’re staying here in Central New York and realizing that the landscape, the people, the stories, the things that you can do and tell," Ginty said.

Ginty admits another reason shooting films here is attractive is the New York State Film Tax Credit Program. He also applauded Syracuse for having an established database of film industry workers, which is beneficial to film productions in the area.

“It’s not just one person with a camera. It’s not just one person writing a script," Ginty said. "These films include dozens and dozens and hundreds of people to get them done. It’s not an artist sitting without his ear, in a room and painting. This is art on a grander scale. And no one person can do it alone. And it’s amazing that the community of Syracuse has come together so much over this past almost decade now, to create a film industry that is now flourishing.”

Ginty said American High, a movie production company in Liverpool, serves as a great training ground for Syracuse film students.

“I’ve heard many of these stories, who would have moved to L.A. but then they got jobs at American High instead," Ginty said. "Now, all of a sudden, we have filmmakers, who were just production assistants, who are now producers that are coming out of this.”

He said American High has produced at least 15 movies over the past five years.

Ginty acknowledged that it can become a little noisy in Liverpool during movie shoots, but he feels it’s well worth it.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.