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Lights, Camera, No Action For Buffalo’s Film Industry — Support Bill S498!

The good news is, New York Senator Patrick Gallivan is pushing a law that would make Upstate New York the most attractive place in the nation to make movies. The bad news is, without the tax incentive, another film about Buffalo will film in Ohio. 

JR Galactic Extras Working on Set of “Touchback”

Before I was DJing on WBLK, I was a casting director in Michigan from 2008 until 2011 — three glorious years when Michigan offered the highest tax incentives (42 percent) to filmmakers, bringing big budget films like ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ and ‘Real Steel’ to film in the Great Lakes State.

For JR Galactic Casting and other production support services, such as catering businesses, transportation services, hotels and local film crews, business was BOOMING! We had a movie or TV showing filming every week!!

Oz The Great And Powerful Extras

But when Gov. Rick Snyder came in and killed the incentive program, the other blockbuster films that were set to come to Michigan, like ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Transformers’, quickly changed gears and went to Ohio, which offers 35 percent back on every dollar spent on productions that film in their state. For example, if a film budget is $1 million, the state of Ohio will give the production company $350,000 back in tax returns just for choosing to film there!

Now what does this have to do with Buffalo? Everything!

The movie ‘Draft Day’ was written about the Buffalo Bills, and Kevin Costner was set to play the Bills General Manager. The film scouts toured Ralph Wilson Stadium and were preparing to set up camp in Western New York. That is, until Ohio offered the production company that 35 percent tax rebate to film in the Cleveland Browns stadium instead. Costner will now be playing the Browns GM instead of the Buffalo Bills’.

Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark says it’s difficult for Buffalo to compete when filmmakers will be saving about $3.5 million by shooting in Cleveland.

“I’m hopeful that one of these days we’ll get one of those films that again that sort of inspire people and rally people around and get to show our city off to the world again”

Clark says the movie could have had a $10-12 million impact on the local economy, and perhaps lawmakers will now see the case for the increased tax incentives.


State Sen. Patrick Gallivan has proposed additional tax breaks to lure movies upstate. Proposal Bill S498 expands the Empire State Film Production Credit by creating different tiers of increasing credit. New York City would continue to receive a 30 percent credit, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley would receive a 35 percent credit, the Capital Region would receive a 40 percent credit, and the majority of upstate – including Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse – would receive a 45 percent credit.

Remember what I told you about Michigan’s rapid film industry growth with the 42 percent tax incentive for films? Forty-five percent would make Western New York the most attractive area in the country to make movies!

Support Bill S498 and let’s put the Hollywood Spotlight on the Queen City!!

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