(Buffalo, N.Y.) – Last month it was announced that a new film about Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice, would begin production in Buffalo this spring.
The list of movies shot in the Buffalo Niagara region includes a number of classic films, such as “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “The Natural,” but more recent films like “The American Side,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Sharknado 2” have also been filmed in the area.
“What we’ve seen is an enormous growth within the past decade or so of film activity,” said Tim Clark, from the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. Clark appeared on the Buffalo Review (5/2) to discuss the film industry in Buffalo.
Clark said there are a number of tax incentives available to filmmakers that make western New York an attractive location.
“We’ve got the best of both worlds because we have the (tax) incentive, so it’s very attractive for the accountants in the productions to look at Buffalo and say ‘hey we should go up and shoot that way, because it will save us money,’” Clark said. “The truth of the matter is the difference, from say Atlanta or something, is there is much more to shoot here.”
According to Clark, Buffalo offers many architectural goldmines that are “frozen in time” and cannot be found anywhere else, including unique old buildings and underground tunnels. He said Buffalo also offers opportunities to film on major roads, the subway and at the airport, which might not be available in other locations such as New York City.
“Buffalo and western New York is just full of great production value. You have great old buildings here, so many architectural assets, that really lends itself well to the camera,” said Clark.
The area has also attracted a number of independent film projects and a number of small film festivals. “So we have the big movies, but we also do a lot of smaller movies too. The indie scene is very hot here, very vivid,” said Clark.
“The festivals that we see around town, they tend to bring filmmakers to town that may not have experienced this community ever before,” said Clark. “We had a film festival last fall that brought out a bunch of filmmakers from Mexico and those folks came up here and saw the city and how easy it was to maneuver around and we’ve been talking to them about doing some medium budget horror movie stuff.”
Clark said he believes the region will continue to attract more films.
“The energy in this community and the new Buffalo and the new western New York is spreading like wildfire. This news is out there and I think this filmmaking is a huge part of it,” Clark said. “It’s a huge bonus for these filmmakers who come here and see that we have the shots here, we have the architecture here, we have all those great things, but we also have a community that embraces filmmakers and filmmaking.”
* Joseph Kasko contributed to this report.