Nyack, Nov 10 — Nyack’s merchants, who lobbied the Village Board in 2008 to impose ‘€œdraconian’€ fees on movie production companies wanting to film in Nyack, are asking the trustees to change course after losing out on a recent opportunity with a national cable network.
Nyack requires a $25,000 permit fee and a $25,000 security deposit for film crews to work in the village. Additionally, there’s a $500 per hour fee for filming or taping on private property. Filming in the business district is limited to Mondays from 7a-10p under the existing regulations.
Former Mayor John Shields says the law was designed to restrict movie companies and discourage them from disrupting the village. ‘€œThe current film law in Nyack, considered onerous by many, was meant to be,’€ he says. ‘€œIn the past, film companies have demonstrated rude, obtrusive behavior, both to property owners and to businesses.’€ Shields says that because film crews usually have catering trucks, local restaurants didn’t see an increase in business on shooting days. ‘€œThe village received little compensation and lots of annoyance,’€ Shields says.
Nyack’s Village Clerk Mary White says the 2008 shooting of ‘€œThe Greatest,’€ starring Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon, was the last straw. ‘€œMovie production is a beast that is hard to control,’€ says White. Despite a prior agreement with the village that no street access was required to film at a beauty shop on South Broadway at Main Street, crews and equipment blocked the sidewalk and clogged traffic on Broadway. ‘€œThey had equipment on the whole block,’€ says White. New York City bound buses were snarled at the intersection of Broadway and Main by the production and residents and merchants complained about the disruption. Additionally, White says the production company failed to compensate the village for lost parking spots and merchants for lost revenue as promised.
Last month, a local restaurant owner asked the village board to waive restrictions for a potential Food Network shoot. However, that’s not possible without 30 days notice and a public hearing on the request. “The Village Board has been talking to other municipalities who have had success in hosting film productions,” says Trustee Jen White.”It’s something we should explore as it’s a way to both promote the village and raise revenue. That said, we need to find a way to better manage this work than in the past,” she says.
‘€œYou’ll never be able to control the whole thing unless you have a village official or a police officer watching over the shoot like a hawk,’€ says Mary White. ‘€œIt’s the nature of the beast. They take control.’€
Reality Bites owner Patti Aagaard says the law should be re-examined because shop owners who create promotional videos are in violation of the current ordinance. ‘€œMerchants that produce their own commercials are not excluded and should have to pay $25,000 security deposit and the $25,000 exterior shot fee, too,’€ she says. Aagaard wants the Village Board to change the law so that business owners and groups like the Rockland Bureau of Tourism, I Love NY can shoot without getting prior permission from the Village of Nyack.
The Nyack Village Board will discuss the current filming ordinance at its next meeting on Thursday November 18.