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Queens gets new film production backlot

JILL LOTENBERG

JILL LOTENBERG Credit: JILL LOTENBERG

Look out Hollywood! Now Queens has its own backlot.

City politicians, along with Sen. Charles Schumer and representatives from Kaufman Astoria Studios yesterday unveiled a block-long outdoor film studio behind the the landmarked movie production hub in Queens.

The outdoor black-box film stage is the first of its kind in New York City, and will allow production companies to film outside in a controlled environment.

“The addition of New York City’s first-ever outdoor sound stage puts Astoria on the map when it comes to producing blockbuster movies in the United States,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area. “By expanding Kaufman Astoria Studios we are continuing the resurgence of the arts that has spurred a renaissance here in Astoria.”

The 34,800-square-foot lot, located next to the studio’s sound stages, will allow movie productions to construct temporary outdoor sets and create special effects.

It is the newest of more than $100 million in additions to the historic five-acre Kaufman Astoria campus, which first opened its doors in 1920 and at one point was the home for Paramount Pictures, following the construction of a new gated entrance to the studio on 35th Street.

“We recognize that producers come to New York to shoot New York,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president of Kaufman Astoria, after the unveiling. But the backlot will provide “a controlled enviroment where no one’s yelling out for an autograph, no one’s shouting ‘I love you Brad Pitt.’”

He said it will also take some of the stress off city streets, which are often closed or crowded due to filming.

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