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Milk This Buffalo

Two super locales in the State of New York vie for the attention of filmmakers with versatile backdrops and the Niagara Falls thrown in

Incredible architecture, the world-famous Niagara Falls and striking amalgamation of urban and historic settings are only some of the reasons you should visit Buffalo and Niagara Falls (city), which draws millions of tourists from all over the world. Located in the State of New York, these cities have been in vogue ever since their settlement, back in 1800s.

Buffalo is the second-most populous city after New York City in the state, while Niagara Falls is sparsely populated. The cityscape of Buffalo is bejewelled with larger-than-life facades, parks and neighbourhoods – of which some reflect the modernity of the city, while others have a demure look. Buffalo is also a hub of architecture, boasting a variety of styles. As many as 80 sites are mentioned in the National Register of Historic Places. The city is home to one of the best park systems and world’s first few skyscrapers. Two art deco designed buildings, the Buffalo City Hall and Buffalo Central Terminal, are spectacular.

On the other hand, Niagara Falls (city) comprises the voluminous Niagara Falls, which has boosted the economy of the city enormously. The areas surrounding the Niagara Falls have various points of interest that are exquisite. From Maid of the Mist (boat tour) to the cave at Niagara Falls, known as the Cave of the Winds and the lighting display at the falls every night – the town has a diverse skyline with lots to offer holidaymakers and filmmakers alike.

To attract international production houses to these cities, the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission provides tax credit worth 10 per cent apart from services like location scouting, permit processing and logistical assistance. A number of Hollywood films have moulded the locales of this region according to their genres and scripts, thus displaying the versatility of the place.


The programme provides a fully-refundable tax credit equal to 10 per cent of qualified expenditures to qualifying films. It is administered by the New York State Governor’s Office (NYSGO) for Motion Picture and Television Development.

Who is eligible to apply?

A taxpayer who is a qualified film production company or a sole proprietor of a qualified film production company that begins principal photography on a qualified film no more than 180 days after submitting an initial application to the NYSGO.

What are the programme’s eligibility requirements?

To be eligible to participate in the programme, an applicant must be a qualified film production company or sole proprietor thereof which shoots on a stage at a qualified production facility on sets constructed in New York State specifically for the qualified film.

What is the benefit?

The programme provides tax credit equal to 10 per cent of qualified production costs incurred by producing qualified films. Qualified production costs are expenditures that generally include most below-the-line items including costs of technical and crew production, expenditures for facilities, props, makeup, wardrobe, set construction, background talent and generally exclude costs of stories and scripts, and wages for writers, directors, producers and performers. Qualified films are feature length films.

How is the benefit calculated?

Qualified film production facilities are facilities in the State of New York in which television shows and films are intended to be regularly produced. In order to be eligible to participate in the programme, some portion of a production must be shot on sets on a stage at a Qualified Film Production Facility. Also, if the qualified NY expenditures relating to the qualified production facility total $ 3 million or more, then all qualified expenditures relating to pre-production, location and post production in New York State qualify for the credit.

If 75 per cent or more of the total production facility expenditures occur at a qualified New York facility and the production spends at least $ 3 million during production of the qualified film at that qualified facility, then the production will qualify for a full benefit, which is a 10 per cent tax credit for all qualified production expenditures.

If 75 per cent or more of the total production facility expenditures occur at a qualified facility but the production spends less than $ 3 million at the qualified facility and shoots at least 75 per cent of its location days in New York, then the production will qualify the full benefit.

How does a production apply for the credit?

A qualified film production company will need to file an application with the NYSGO. If the amount of allocated credits applied for in a particular year exceeds the aggregate amount allowed for that year, then the excess amount will be treated as having been applied for in the subsequent year.

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