PATERSON, NJ - Throughout his campaign for the city’s top elected office Andre Sayegh vowed to “put Paterson back on the map.” And while further explanation of that lofty goal fit many scenarios, including as a destination for millennial living, a mecca for foodies, or a tourist stop for those wishing to see where the nation’s Industrial Revolution was born, there seems to be clear evidence that it has already manifested itself as the new favorite destination of filmmakers.
“There is a vibe in Paterson,” when it comes to filmmaking, David Schoner, Associate Director of the NJ Motion Picture and TV Commission told TAPinto Paterson. The “dynamic” architecture is a big draw, he added, but as important Schoner said is the cooperation film industry decision makers are enjoying “starting in the Mayor’s office and extending all the way to the guys in the DPW.”
The filmmakers, he said, don’t mind “doing the right thing” when it comes to fulfilling the requirements put before them in return for shutting down streets, taking up parking, or interrupting the flow of daily business, they just want to know they won’t get stuck in an unworkable bureaucracy.
“If they feel they are not welcome they’ll avoid Paterson.”
Looking out the window of his 12th floor office that looks over a large swath of the 8.7 square mile city, Orlando Cruz, Manager of Downtown Paterson Special Improvement District, offered his belief that by rolling our the red carpet for arriving film crews local businesses, and therefore the city as a whole, are benefitting.
“It is indisputable that the financial impact has been positive,” Cruz said, citing the fees film crews have paid to business owners to mitigate any disruption caused, as well as the knock on effect of crews spending their money in local eateries before and during production. “If our goal is to bring new money into Paterson we are succeeding,” he added, suggesting that the number from just two and half days of film work for Amazon Studios’ The Hunt rose to approximately $40,000.
Asked whether or not street closures or reduced parking were causing harm Cruz responded quickly that “any temporary inconvenience is being more than compensated.”
“The future of Paterson’s Downtown is one of vibrancy, and through these film shoots, as well as our own local efforts to improve the shopping experience for anyone that wants to spend their dollars here, we’re making headway.”
When asked, city officials were quick to point out that there is a stringent permitting process related to filming in the city, including a $100 permit application fee and a charge of either $750 or $1500 depending on how many hours the crew is filming. Costs associated with public safety, clean up, or other work performed by Paterson employees is also the responsibility of the production company.
Reluctant to “let the cat of the bag,” though also not refuting reports that Steven Spielberg is among them, Sayegh suggested that in the coming months Paterson will be welcoming several of Hollywood’s top names. “If things keep going as they are we may soon be creating our own Walk of Stars,” he mused.
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