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The Film House moves forward with plans for first and second movies

Ellen Abbott
President Ryan Johnson says the Film House is working on two projects, with two more coming.

A film production company that’s moved to central New York is scouting locations across the region for movies it plans on filming by the end of the year.

The Film House, which will be the first tenant in the new Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries in Dewitt, plans on starting to film the sci-fi picture “The Opium Wars” in September. The company's president Ryan Johnson says right now they’re scouting for places like exterior farms, a run-down bar, and a big hangar with a "Mad Max" feel. At the same time, Johnson says they’re also working on their next movie.

“We have another project called 'Sweetwater' that would go right after it," Johnson said. "It’s a period basketball one. So it’s in interiors of older basketball arenas."

These two are the first of four projects the Film House plans on producing in the Syracuse area before the end of the year.

Johnson expects the filming to bring hundreds of jobs to central New York, too. This is all an outgrowth of the nanotech hub, which will offer nanotechnology driven post-production facilities, as well as New York state’s new tax credits for film productions. Johnson says it may take a while, but film producers in California are taking notice of the new film-friendly tax situation in New York state.

"Movies are big behemoth things and so it’s like turning a train on a dime," Johnson said. "And a lot of those are in the process are making that turn.”

He says the model for taking the movie-making business away from California is taking root.
"Louisiana really pioneered a lot of it and this is the new frontier, so to speak," Johnson explained. "And so it’s something that’s interesting and exciting, and everyone loves New York.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.