Says filming disrupts neighborhoods
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York is starting to rival Hollywood as a place where movies and television shows are filmed. Hundreds of films and television shows are shot on city streets each year, according to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater, and Television. On its website, the office states that the entertainment industry contributes $7.1 billion to the city’s economy annually and employs 130,000 people.
But the city could be doing a better job of informing the public about the benefits and drawbacks of turning city streets into soundstages, Councilman Stephen Levin said.
Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights-Williamsburg-Greenpoint) said he plans to introduce a bill on Thursday that would require the Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting to release reports on a monthly and an annual basis to provide more transparency about filming in New York City.
The legislation would require monthly reports detailing the locations of all film shoot permits in New York City, broken down by borough, community board, council district, and street. The bill would also require a fully detailed annual report of the data compiled in the monthly reports, detailed employment figures related to the filming industry, and costs and benefits of filming in New York City. Under Levin’s bill, all of the reports would be made available online for the public to see.
“Especially in the neighborhoods in my district, like Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint, filming is taking place on a regular basis. While our communities are very supportive of the many benefits that filming brings to our city, these shoots can sometimes cause headaches for residents of the community where filming takes place regularly,” Levin said.
“By providing as much information as possible to the public about film shoots in New York City, we can create a more transparent city government and make filming a positive experience for even more New Yorkers,” Levin said.
The city currently does not make information about film shoots available online and does not provide detailed information about the costs and benefits of the filming industry, Levin said.
Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said she supports the bill. "Brooklyn Heights is a prime location for film shoots, and we have sought access to more information about filming activity in New York City. We therefore view this bill as a direct response to concerns voiced by our members regarding the impact of filming on the quality of life in Brooklyn Heights," she said.
Todd Eaton, co-chairman of the Open Space Alliance Community Committee, said Levin’s proposed legislation would benefit residents by giving them more information on how their streets are being used.
“As a resident of a neighborhood that hosts many film productions, it would be great to have insight into how our streets are being used,” said Eaton, who lives in Greenpoint. “This bill is a great step in helping citizens to understand how our neighborhoods and streets are being used by the film industry and what the resulting benefits are to our communities,” he said.