Suffolk tour aims to lure filmmakers to county

Miss New York 2008 contestants pose in a

Miss New York 2008 contestants pose in a garden at Oheka Castle in Huntington. (July 14, 2008) (Credit: Newsday / Jim Peppler )

In a 45-minute visit to Oheka Castle Wednesday, independent Manhattan filmmaker Tim Bohn was hooked.

After Nancy Melius, marketing director at the former Otto Kahn mansion, showed him and other movie industry professionals a lavish suite featured in an episode of "Royal Pains," a USA Network comedy, and other highlights of the Cold Spring Hills site, Bohn remarked, "I'm inspired to film a TV show here. You can't get much prettier."

Such positive reaction was what the Suffolk County Film Commission and Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau was hoping for during the year they spent putting together a two-day tour of the county to spur more location shooting by film and television production companies. The tour began Wednesday and will wrap at the opening of the Hamptons International Film Festival Thursday night.

It's the first time in the state that a local tourism organization and film commission have teamed up to run a familiarization tour for filmmakers, said Isabelle González of the convention bureau. She organized the trip with film commission director Michelle Isabel-Stark and served as host aboard the bus that left midtown Manhattan early Wednesday. The bureau is paying for the junket, which is taking more than a dozen filmmakers, producers and location scouts to 10 potential shooting sites.

Steven Taub of Melville, a documentary producer and member of the film commission, explained that "for a lot of New York filmmakers, Suffolk County is just something you go through on the way to the Hamptons. They don't know all the great locations in between."

The film commission also wants people "to know we genuinely roll out the red carpet," he said.

Rob Feld, president of Gotham Arts, a Manhattan company, said he had just finished shooting a short feature, "Love, Lots Of It," which includes scenes at the old Grumman airfield in Calverton. "Other than that, I'm really not that familiar with Suffolk County," he said. "It doesn't hurt to go and see what else is out there."

Bohn, a screenwriter and partner in Cypress Films, said his company has worked in East Hampton. "My interest is to see some of the locations between here and the far East End," he said.

While Bohn has been out east, Alexandra Brodsky hasn't - but she knows western Suffolk. "I'm the opposite" of Bohn's experience, said Brodsky, an independent writer and director from Brooklyn who grew up in Huntington and shot a short film in Northport, but didn't know much about many of the locations out East. "I like the idea of maybe discovering a place that I haven't seen before."

After Oheka, the group moved on to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, where executive director Carol Ghiorsi Hart said " 'Crocodile Dundee' was filmed here many years ago." She told the filmmakers the facility was flexible on filming fees and other issues. Movie shoots at the museum, she said later, "would generate revenue and generate interest."

Brodsky was enthusiastic about one of the museum's features. "I'd love to shoot in the planetarium," she said. "It would be very cool."

At Studio 57, a production studio in Islandia, the filmmakers got a sales pitch from Suffolk's top official, County Executive Steve Levy. "Many of you already know of us as a great place to vacation," he said. "We want you to think of us as a great place to work as well."

 

A sampling of scenes shot in the county:

 

1926: Huntington Village stood in for Waukeagus, N.J., in a W.C. Fields vehicle, "So's Your Old Man."

1941: Oheka Castle in Huntington was the setting for the fictional estate Xanadu in the classic film "Citizen Kane."

1986: Southampton was the setting for Alan Alda's "Sweet Liberty".

1989: Newsday in Melville was the location for a fictional Los Angeles newspaper in "Fletch Lives," starring Chevy Chase.

1997: Northport Village doubled for the fictional Greenleaf, Ind., in the comedy "In & Out" starring Kevin Kline.

2001: Oheka Castle was the location for scenes in "The Others," starring Nicole Kidman. Tom Cruise was the executive producer.

2003: Southampton and East Hampton were locations for outdoor scenes in "Something's Gotta Give," starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.

2008: Oheka Castle and Fire Island were locations for "What Happens in Vegas," starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher.

 

 

TWO-DAY TOUR OF SUFFOLK

 

County will take filmmakers, producers and location scouts to the following sites:

 

Oheka Castle,

Cold Spring Hills

 

Suffolk County Vanderbilt

 

Museum, Centerport

 

Northport Village

 

Studio 57, Islandia

 

Atlantis Marine World,

Riverhead

 

The Watermill Center,

Water Mill

 

Wolffer Estates vineyard, Sagaponack

 

Sag Harbor

 

East Hampton Studios,

Wainscott

 

East Hampton

ndependent Manhattan filmmaker Tim Bohn was hooked.

After Nancy Melius, marketing director at the eye-popping former Otto Kahn mansion, showed him and other movie industry professionals a lavish suite featured in an episode of "Royal Pains," a USA Network comedy, and other highlights of the Cold Spring Hills site, Bohn remarked "I'm inspired to film a TV show here. You can't get much prettier."

Such positive reaction was what the Suffolk County Film Commission and Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau was hoping for during the year they spent putting together a two-day tour of the county to spur more location shooting by film and television production companies.

It's the first time in the state that a local tourism organization and film commission have teamed up to run a "fam tour" - short for familiarization tour - for filmmakers, said Isabelle González of the convention bureau. She organized the trip with film commission director Michelle Isabel-Stark and served as host aboard the bus that left Midtown Manhattan early yesterdayWednesday. The bureau is paying for the junket, which is taking more than a dozen filmmakers, producers and location scouts to 10 potential shooting sites.

Steven Taub of Melville, a documentary producer and member of the film commission, explained that "for a lot of New York filmmakers, Suffolk County is just something you go through on the way to the Hamptons. They don't know all the great locations in between."

The film commission also wants people "to know we genuinely roll out the red carpet," he said.

Rob Feld, president of Gotham Arts, an indie Manhattan company, said he had just finished shooting a short feature, "Love, Lots Of It," starring Campbell Scott, which includes scenes at the old Grumman airfield in Calverton. "Other than that, I'm really not that familiar with Suffolk County," he said. "It doesn't hurt to go and see what else is out there."

Bohn, a screenwriter and partner in Cypress Films, said his company has worked in East Hampton. "My interest is to see some of the locations between here and the far East End," he said.

"I'm the opposite," said Alexandra Brodsky, an independent writer and director from Brooklyn who grew up in Huntington and shot a short film in Northport but didn't know much about many of the locations out east. "I like the idea of maybe discovering a place that I haven't seen before," she said.

After Oheka, the group moved on to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport, where Executive Director Carol Ghiorsi Hart pointed out that "'Crocodile Dundee' was filmed here many years ago." She told the filmmakers the facility was flexible on filming fees and other issues. Movie shoots at the museum, she said later, "would generate revenue and generate interest."

Brodsky was enthusiastic about one of the museum's features. "I'd love to shoot in the planetarium," she said. "It would be very cool."

At Studio 57, a production studio in Islandia, the filmmakers got a sales pitch from Suffolk's top official, County Executive Steve Levy. "Many of you already know of us as a great place to vacation," he said. "We want you to think of us as a great place to work as well."

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