A group of film producers and location managers Wednesday will get an up-close look at potential filming locations including parks, a rifle range and a carousel that are part of a tour led by Nassau County.
In an effort to lure major studios to shoot more movies and TV shows in Nassau, County Executive Edward Mangano Tuesday kicked off the two-day tour, starting with the ceremonial chamber of the executive and legislative building in Mineola.
Standing with local actor Joseph Gannascoli, who portrayed Vito Spatafore on "The Sopranos," Mangano said that filming in the county generated $90 million in economic activity last year. He cited 650 days of production in Nassau in 2010, boasting that the total was higher than all the outer boroughs of New York City combined.
Nassau's moviemaking tradition includes directors Alfred Hitchcock, who filmed parts of "North by Northwest" there, and Francis Ford Coppola, who shot the toll-booth gunfight from "The Godfather" not far from the County Executive Building.
Recently, "Salt" with Angelina Jolie and "Mildred Pierce" with Kate Winslet used locations in Nassau. The film commission said TV shows such as "Boardwalk Empire," "The Good Wife," "Royal Pains" and "Gossip Girl," shoot at locations in Nassau on a regular basis.
Sponsored by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, the tour Wednesday will include two of the county's newest state-approved soundstages -- Gold Coast Studios and Grumman Studios, both in Bethpage. Also scheduled are visits to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, the Nassau County Rifle and Pistol Range in Uniondale and Nunley's Carousel in Garden City.
At one of the first stops Tuesday, the 18 visitors on the tour wandered through the serene St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, snapping pictures and admiring the rich historic details of the Tudor-Elizabethan mansion. The medieval-looking castle run by the Jesuits features a chapel with stained-glass windows, ornate hand-carved woodwork and a scullery with a dumbwaiter.
"We're lucky in New York that we have great counties and boroughs around us," said Birgit Cassis Staudt, a freelance location manager and scout based in Brooklyn. "It's nice to get to know Nassau more."
The county film commission called Nassau "an accessible 'back lot' to New York City."
Made in Nassau
Miracle on 34th Street
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
North by Northwest
Old Westbury Gardens
Desperately Seeking Susan
Oyster Bay, Lawrence
The Brothers McMullen
Meet the Parents
Oyster Bay, Lawrence
The Bounty Hunter