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Film, TV production growing in Gotham

New York's state tax credit has attracted numerous projects

Amid worsening economic news, there’s a small ray of sunshine, especially for industryites in Gotham: Film and television production continues to grow in New York, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the New York City Comptroller’s office.

The MPAA trumpeted the data on Wednesday, pointing to a BLS estimate that the industry employs some 141,000 Empire State denizens. Core production jobs were up to 43,000 in 2010, from 36,000 in 2009 when the state’s film production tax credit was in flux.

That credit continues to provide for New Yorkers looking to shoot a pic or a TV series in the state. For years, the credit had been renewed annually, but in 2010 facility owners and lobbyists managed to convince legislators to give creatives some year-to-year breathing room and renew the credit with adequate funding for several years.

The move was tailor-made to attract TV series, and “Person of Interest,” “Pan Am,” NBC’s upcoming “Smash,” “Boardwalk Empire” and sundry other new and returning series have landed in New York.

The New York State Governor’s Office of Film reports that applications for new projects are already up 66% in 2011, with more applications likely to come in before year’s end. Some 71 films, 14 TV series and six pilots have applied to shoot in the state.

Multi-year security for the tax credit program (which is renewed through 2015) has created demand for more production facilities, as well — 24-year-old Gold Coast Studios topper Lyndsey Lostritto is in the process of outfitting unused aircraft hangars in Bethpage (on Long Island) to serve as massive soundstages.

Gold Coast’s first feature was Summit’s upcoming Sam Worthington starrer “Man on a Ledge,” due out in January. Lostritto created the studio’s infrastructure around the production. “The tax credit definitely helped,” she told Variety. “The movie business is booming in New York, and we’re in (its) zone; if you come out to the studio, you 100% get the tax credit. When ‘Man on a Ledge’ came to us, it was the perfect opportunity to just start up and run with it.”