For a region that until recently hadn’t seen a major TV show movie primarily in the region, June 2021 was almost overwhelming.
Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux and a star-studded cast of “White House Plumbers” have called Poughkeepsie and the surrounding area their home. Amy Schumer brought “Life & Beth” to the surrounding rural areas. Mindy Kaling transformed Vassar College for “Sex Lives of College Girls”.
The first six months of 2022 haven’t quite matched the star power of a year ago. And yet, it was another record period for the industry’s local economic impact, according to the Hudson Valley Film Commission.
Through the end of June, the industry created $38.55 million in direct spending, according to the commission’s estimates. That’s barely more than the same period a year ago, over $37 million. In total, 2021 saw a record $58 million in direct film industry spending in the Hudson Valley.
While the first six months have had their fair share of high-profile projects led by well-known names, commission director Laurent Rejto has long championed the importance of independent and smaller productions in the region, creating a flow constant employment and local spending. The commission also played a role in broadcasting casting calls, providing residents with the opportunity to experience field work. He announced several casting calls late last week.
“For me, it’s not about Hollywood, it’s about involving the community and the Hudson Valley,” Rejto said in an email. “We had a great first half.
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“Poker Face,” an episodic mystery series starring Natasha Lyonne that will appear on the NBC Peacock streaming service, has been circling in and around South Dutchess for much of the first half of the year. Showtime’s “Three Women,” starring Shailene Woodley, Betty Gilpin and DeWanda Wise, also spent time at East Fishkill earlier in the year. And, Hallmark caught the eye filming a holiday movie in early 2022.
In the first six months, according to the film commission, productions created 561 crew jobs locally and 1,682 jobs for actors and extras. There were 111 locations used for filming over 217 days of production, created during 356 days of scouting. And 29,170 nights were spent in local hotels.
Total direct expenditure is not adjusted for inflation. It also doesn’t account for indirect income, such as local spending on stores or for things like food and drink that the cast and crew may have been responsible for.
In addition to “Poker Face,” there are several smaller productions underway locally, including “A Paracosm,” “Hondo,” “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” and “Family,” the film commission said, in addition to an independent production. based at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill which Rita Powers of Rita Powers Casting previously identified as “The Divines”.
HBO Max’s “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin,” which filmed primarily in Saugerties, is set to debut Thursday on the streaming service.
“It’s been an outstanding year so far,” Rejto said in a statement. “We’ve worked with Amazon Studios, HBO, Peacock, Showtime, and it’s also very reassuring that many independent feature productions have returned to the region, as well as commercials.”
East Dutchess-based ‘A Paracosm’ launched a lengthy casting call last week for a variety of roles, from basketball players and ‘burger patrons’ to concert goers and an ‘intolerant man lactose”, for specific days in August. More information is available on the film commission’s Facebook page.
“Poker Face” castings also continue, with the most recent looking for kids ages 9-17 to film Aug. 1-12; and for “blue-collar race car fans at Orange County Speedway” on August 1. Children must have a “valid work permit and trust account”, while racing fans are expected to take a COVID test in Newburgh on Friday. Email [email protected] with the subject lines “HVL, Kids Avail” or “HVL, Race Car Fan”, respectively, if you are interested.