New Jersey’s film community may get a stronger identity thanks to some guidance from Tanya Ryno and Bice Grobstein.
Ryno, a line producer for Robert Smigel’s “TV Funhouse” segments on “Saturday Night Live,” and Grobstein, a general partner in her family’s business, MB&L Partnership, which deals in chemicals and commercial real estate, have teamed to develop and promote metropolitan film production with the creation of the New Jersey Production Guide.
The pair’s development plans also include renovation of a Paterson riverside warehouse site as Silk City Studios. (Paterson, once a major hub of the silk industry, used to be known as Silk City.) The duo will provide principle backing for their projects.
The facility, comprising 30,000 square feet and owned by MB&L Partnership, will be expanded to include an MOS stage, two soundstages and a print stage, making it the largest studio facility in the 25-mile “studio zone.”
Film and TV production continues to grow in New Jersey, because studios find the state’s enterprise zones – which charge only 3% instead of the usual 6% sales tax – and New York City-like street locations a highly acceptable alternative. New Jersey also has proposed legislation for a bill to eliminate the sales tax on all items that have to do with production of TV and film, said Joseph Friedman, executive director of the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission.
Ryno and Grobstein emphasize that their intention is not to rival the New York studios, but to increase East Coast production. “We hope to establish New Jersey as more than a New York suburb,” Ryno says. Friedman on the other hand, relishes the connection and “would like to be known as the sixth Borough to benefit from New York’s spillover.”
The guide, due out in April, will be available to subscribers and leaders within the film, television, musicvideo and talent and casting industries. It will contain up-to-date information about climate and weather conditions, categories of facilities such as legal and financial services, transportation, equipment, special effects, construction, post-production and marketing services.
Ryno and Grobstein also plan to establish an indie film fund with some of the guide’s profits.
This is not the first production guide for Ryno. Before moving to Manhattan in 1994, she created and produced a similar product while living in Miami Beach.
Friedman, while wishing the pair well, questions the viability of another production guide. The New Jersey Film Commission has put out a production guide for 20 years listing people, places and organiza-tions that can perform functions for the movie industry. And, “It’s free,” he said.