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    Behind the Scenes Filming - Spy Intervention
    "Spy Intervention" is latest EDC Warren County film production success
    When "Spy Intervention," a locally-filmed, spy-themed romantic comedy, hits the big screen, be sure to watch for the scene with Adirondack Thunder hockey jerseys.
    Product placement of jerseys for the hockey team based at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls was just one facet of the economic impact of filming the movie in Warren County from Oct. 23 to Nov. 17.
    "The cast and crew occupied a combined total of 1,100 hotel room nights, and the production company spent about $25,000 on catering and meals," Andrew Meader, who is organizing the Adirondack Film Commission, said in a presentation Nov. 21 to the EDC Warren County board of directors.
    The independent film company hired 40 local residents for background actors or crew, and paid more than $25,000 in location fees for scenes filmed at about 25 places, such as Cool Insuring Arena, the Lake George Forum, Lake George Lanes and Games bowling alley, the former McPhillip's Insurance office building on Washington Street in Glens Falls, and at a private residence.
    "We looked at 100 houses. The one they used was the first one we showed them," Meader said.
    The movie plot revolves around a top-secret spy who abandons the career when he meets a woman and suddenly gets married.
    A year later, his spy friends conduct an intervention, in an attempt to convince him to return to spying.
    In addition to direct economic impact, Glens Falls and Warren County received exposure as cast members from the movie shared photographs and favorable comments about the area on social networking sites.
    "Four celebrity actors in the movie -- Drew Vanacker, Poppy Delevigne, Blake Anderson and Brittany Furlan -- have a combined 4.7 million Instagram followers," Meader said.
    Hosting the filming of "Spy Intervention," produced by Sprokefeller Pictures, is the latest success in an EDC Warren County initiative to promote the area for movie and television production.
    "Now that EDC Warren County has recruited multiple local film shootings, the next goal is to network with SUNY Adirondack to develop a trained film crew workforce, so that more wages go to local workers, instead of crew members from outside the area," said Meader, a former entertainment promoter and theme park executive who is working with EDC Warren County to establish the local film commission.
    "It will be an official entity within a couple of weeks," said Meader, who represents Warren County on the state's Capital Region Economic Development Council and chairs the council's Creative Economy Committee.
    "An eventual goal is to identify an entrepreneur that would establish a film and television post-production facility in Warren County, so that even more of the production process could be done locally," said Edward Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County. "That's really our goal at the end of the day. It's an expensive proposition, but we're going to take baby steps along the way," he said.
    Breaking into the film industry has been a long-time local economic development vision. Some thought it a pie-in-the-sky notion in 2007 when then Glens Falls Mayor Roy Akins outlined a plan to work with Empire State Development Corporation to promote Glens Falls as a location for film shooting, capitalizing on the city's historic architecture.
    To document the potential, Greater Glens Falls Local Development Corp. in 2007 provided a $5,000 grant to filmmaker Collin Bannon, a Queensbury native, to film the romantic comedy "Love Conquers Paul" in Glens Falls.
    Several local businesses, including Feigenbaum Cleaners, also contributed, and were featured in the production.
    Separate from the city's efforts, scenes were filmed at Charles Pack Demonstration Forest in Warrensburg in 2007 for the Discovery Chanel documentary drama series "First Nations," about the Iroquois.
    The film industry goal resurfaced in 2015 when the producers of "Radium Girls," a movie in planning at the time, attended a conference at Wiawaka Women's Center in Lake George, and were impressed with the historic architecture.
    Bartholomew and John Wheatley, vice president of EDC Warren County, worked with the producers to scout for locations and make arrangements, and worked with state Senator Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, to pass legislation to include Warren and Washington counties in counties eligible for an enhanced state film production tax credit.
    The legislation, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in November 2016, made film and television producers eligible for tax credits 40 percent of wages for production and 45 percent for post-production work done in the counties. Without the enhanced status, the credits would be 30 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
    "Radium Girls," a historical drama set in the 1920s about social justice and factory working conditions for women, was primarily filmed in Glens Falls and Lake George in fall 2016.
    "The movie is expected to debut soon at an independent film festival, and then be shown locally," Bartholomew said.
    EDC Warren County also helped arrange filming locally of a few short scenes for other movie and television productions.
    The recent Glens Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative plan identifies establishing the Adirondack Film Commission as a priority goal.
    EDC Warren County is arranging a small "seed money" grant to get the commission started, Bartholomew said.
    Once started, the film commission will be self-sustaining through revenue from the film industry and, possibly, Warren County occupancy tax funding due to the lodging impact.
    "Film shootings can be scheduled to fill local hotel rooms at traditionally slow times of the year," Meader said.
    Maury Thompson is a former newspaper reporter who retired from The Post-Star after 21 years covering the region. He keeps his finger on the pulse of economic development by writing for EDC Warren County.
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