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Empire State Development: New animated series 'Dora and Friends' made in New York

by jmaloni


Tue, Aug 19th 2014 02:05 pm

New children's television series spent $1 million on post-production in-state, created 10 full-time jobs and hired 70 New Yorkers, generating over $5 million in non-post-production spending for local vendors

Empire State Development today highlighted the economic benefits resulting from the post-production animation of "Dora and Friends: Into the City" in New York. The new children's television series spent approximately $1 million in the state on post-production costs, hired 80 New Yorkers, and generated more than $5 million in non-post-production spending for local New York vendors.

The series is the Empire State's first fully animated television show since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo extended and enhanced the film and television tax credit in 2013 to facilitate post-production work for animation.

"New York state has the talent and resources for post-production and animation companies to grow and thrive," said ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "The enhanced post-production tax credit is attracting animated shows like 'Dora and Friends' to the state, which creates jobs and injects millions of dollars into local economies."

The first season of the show, which begins broadcasting today on Nickelodeon, will include 20 half-hour episodes. It is a spinoff series from "Dora the Explorer," which, according to Nickelodeon, is the most watched pre-school-age show of all time. The new series follows Dora and her friends' adventures in the fictional city of Playa Verde.

"The new post-production incentive for animation was a key factor in our decision to keep post-production in New York," said Teri Weiss, executive vice president of original programming at Nickelodeon Preschool Television. "We're thrilled to be able to take advantage of all the talent and facilities here in the city, and very proud that 'Dora and Friends' supports the New York post-production community."

In 2012, Cuomo championed and signed into law legislation that was designed to help New York compete for post-production business and jobs, a fast-growing segment of the motion picture and television industry. The law boosted the available post-production tax credit from 10 percent to 30 percent (for post-production work in the New York metropolitan commuter region), and from 10 percent to 35 percent (for post-production work done upstate.) Last year, when the film and TV tax credit program was enhanced and extended, programmatic changes included lowering the post-production threshold for visual effects and animation on qualified New York expenses from 75 percent to 20 percent or $3 million of the total animation budget (whichever is lower).

These enhancements have helped to significantly grow post-production in New York, particularly by attracting work from films shot outside the state, and have the post-production work done by New York companies. Since taking effect, 140 productions have applied for post-production work in New York - more than eight times the number of applications received during a two-year period under the previous tax credit - which will generate more than $130 million in direct spending; and 13 post-production companies have established new operations, including three upstate.

Yana Collins Lehman, co-chair of Post New York Alliance said, "VFX and Animation companies in New York have never been busier. Gov. Cuomo recognized early on that getting aggressive with the film and TV incentive was the surest way to attract to New York the kinds of projects that have, for years, been leaving the country. And it's working! Companies are expanding within, and relocating to New York. And great jobs in VFX and animation are coming here, almost faster than we can fill them."

Post-production includes all of the editing after filming is complete, and includes visual effects, color correction, sound editing and mixing. The industry also includes thousands of other jobs, from engineers and messengers to creative and support staff. The strengthened law was designed to expand state support by specifically focusing on attracting post-production work to communities in all corners of the state. At a time when other states are experiencing production flight, New York's strengthened credit supports a robust industry cluster, which has become a major source of direct and indirect employment and economic opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people.

Since the film tax credit program was established in 2004, it has leveraged an estimated $14 billion worth of direct spending and has been a huge job generator for New York. The industry has experienced explosive growth since 2011, with record-breaking years for productions and post-production in 2013, bringing billions of dollars in new spending and thousands of jobs into New York. The stability provided by multiyear funding has particularly encouraged the development of television series production work, as well as long-term investments in infrastructure, all of which creates thousands of jobs directly and indirectly related to the actual productions themselves.

During calendar year 2013, applications for 181 film productions were submitted and included 124 films, 31 television programs, 25 pilots and one relocated television show. The impact of these projects includes:

•Generating a direct spend of $2.09 billion in New York;

•Collecting a projected $466 million in credits; and

•Hiring an estimated 126,301 actors and crew for the 181 projects submitted.

For more information on filming in New York or the film production and post-production tax credit programs, visit www.nylovesfilm.com.

Empire State Development is New York's chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the state and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. For more information on regional councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

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