NY Mayor’s Office of Film Sees Multi-Billion $$$ Industry Slowly Recover from Pandemic

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Steven Spielberg with West Side Story cast (WSS Twitter)

By: Denis Cyr

Filmmaking in New York City is a multi-billion-dollar industry that employs more than 100,000, runners up to Hollywood.

Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (MOFTB) is the city agency that coordinates this powerful industry.

The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (MOFTB) is the oldest film commission in the United States. It is New York City’s agency responsible for coordinating municipal support for film and television production, including approving film shoots and liaising with government agencies and promoting the industry. It also provides shooting guidelines, insurance information, and other useful information for local film and media production. Built upon mayoral initiatives dating back to Mayor John V. Lindsay in 1966, the Mayor’s Office today supports an industry that generates over $5 billion annually and employs over 100,000 New Yorker, according to their declaration mission.

On a typical day before the pandemic hit, as many as 100 movies, TV shows, and commercials were in production at the same time across New York City, ABC news reported.

Since late July the industry has slowly picked up again, however NYC also has the largest theater scene in America, and the entire industry is shut down.

The NY Post highlighted what filmmakers have to go thru when coordinating with the MOFTB.

Through the state’s Freedom of Information Law, The Post obtained a month of emails from June 2019 between the office and locations scouts for both major Hollywood players like 20th Century Fox

One of the big productions filmed in NYC was the remake of the classic musical West Side Story, which also had a successful Broadway revival onstage before the pandemic ended Broadway until at least next June

NY Post chronicled: Raymond Carroll, production coordinator with MOME was , declined permission to release 20 different pigeons over five takes for a Coach ad on June 3 — even though the crew had employed an “animal wrangler.”

On June 4, Alec Bates with “West Side Story” told Carroll that “one gun” would be a “big part of the story” where 14 actors “play around a deserted pier” and all other weapons would be fake and made out of rubber.

The industry is continuing to struggle: The mayor’s media office — which used to see just under 1,000 permits a month for the $60 billion industry — had just 230 in September.

“We’ve seen about 50 percent of our productions return,” MOME Commissioner Anne del Castillo said at a recent remote forum with Queens community members.