Following a record year in 2019, which saw seven productions filmed in the area with a total of $30 million in spend, $20 million of which was left in the community, the year 2020 was looking bright for the local film industry. For the second year in a row a film shot in the area was selected to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. The Night House (which shot in Syracuse, Skaneateles and at The Greater Syracuse Soundstage) premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival earning high reviews as the “first chilling horror surprise” of the year. The film was the first major acquisition of the festival, being purchased by Searchlight for $12 million.
2020 Filming & Safety
The first film of 2020 began shooting in late February but was abruptly postponed in March due to COVID. During this pause the Visit Syracuse Film Office worked to secure two additional Qualified Production Facilities within the region, The Oncenter and the Redhouse Arts Center. The Redhouse and Oncenter provide additional space to allow for filming in the safest, healthiest, cleanest way possible. Providing this type of environment, with new practices and guidelines in place, is paramount for the best interest of the community, crews and casts, ad will continue to be built in to the messaging of the marketing team, into 2021 and beyond.
The Visit Syracuse Film Office continued to highlight safety as the year progressed, partnering with Arel Supply and Intellipure to assist with Covid-19 related needs on sets. These companies, along with our partners and vendors ensure the safest, and cleanest sets & facilities possible. Onondaga County also offered to assist with providing testing kits to productions. Thanks to the efforts of our partners alongside film production companies, the Syracuse region was one of the first areas in the nation to safely re-open filming for productions. This aggressive mindset allowed for a total of $14 million in film production spend brought into the Syracuse area, during a year in which much of the film industry nationwide was at a standstill. In total for 2020, there were three full length films, two reshoots and multiple commercial projects produced within the region. In addition several productions filmed in the area during 2018 and 2019 were released on various platforms including Hulu and VOD.