For his legislative work in support of the New York State film industry as well as the state‘s commercial production industry, the High Falls Film Festival is pleased to bestow its first “FrameWork Award” on New York State Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle. Assemblyman Morelle will be honored at the High Falls Film Festival at a special reception being held on Wednesday, November 8th, 5pm at the Rochester Club Ballroom located at 120 East Avenue.
“Joe Morelle has been a long-standing friend of the High Falls Film Festival and we are pleased to honor him for all the work he has done in this state in support of the filmmaking industry,” said High Falls Film Festival Board Chairman, John Richardson.
“The Festival is a vital cultural asset in Western New York and the support of the Joe Morelle and the New York State Assembly is incredibly important to its continued success,” added Richardson.
Assemblyman Morelle began championing the film, television and commercial production industries in New York State long before he became Chairman of the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development in 2001. He recognized very early on that this industry, representing approximately $5 billion a year in revenue and over 100,000 jobs to New York State, was in jeopardy and that “runaway production” was draining entertainment and commercial business away from New York State to other states and even other countries.
To rebuild what was becoming a declining market in New York State, Morelle began creating and introducing legislative bills targeted at refueling efforts to help make New York State one of the biggest destinations for film and television production. Specifically, Morelle sponsored and helped pass:
· An Investment Tax Credit to encourage the construction of new studios and sound stages across the state;
· A bill reforming antiquated state regulations governing the use of child actors to protect the financial and personal well being of children working in front of the camera;
· The important COBRA bill protecting health insurance benefits for actors and production crew working in the entertainment industries; and
· The Empire State Film Production Tax Credit that has arguably become the most successful program of its kind in New York State history.
Since its inception in 2004, the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit has single-handedly upped feature film production by 200% while television series production is up 180%. In total, there are 146 new projects in the program as of October 1, 2006 totaling a direct expenditure of over $2.5 billion in New York State plus the addition of over 26,377 full-time equivalent jobs.
This year, Morelle has spearheaded the successful effort to give New York State one of the first programs in the nation targeted specifically to bringing the commercial production industry back to New York, with credits of up to 25% on qualified production costs and a program component specifically designed to encourage production Upstate New York both fueling jobs and supporting businesses in cities like Rochester and Buffalo.
The High Falls Film Festival FrameWork Award reception is sponsored by: Boylan, Brown, Vigdor & Wilson, LLP; the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission; and the Rochester/Finger Lakes Film Office.