Buffalo film production expands with new facilities and studios planned

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2 On Your Side got a front-row glimpse of an expanding movie studio here in Buffalo, and two more that are in the works in Queen City.

BUFFALO, NY — There could be an emerging big-screen tribute to Buffalo and Western New York for the region’s growing role in bringing movie magic to audiences around the world.

We got a front-row glimpse of an expanding film studio here in Buffalo, and two more that are in the works in the Queen City.

Some of the props or set decorations as they are known in the business – the film production business – are still housed at the Buffalo Filmworks workshop in a former factory complex near Babcock Street in Buffalo.

They tell us that interior sets for a “Quiet Place 2” were built here, and that there were other recent films at work. George Pittas is the owner and one of the partners of Buffalo Filmworks, which was launched in 2018 at this former factory in South Buffalo that once produced railroad cars.

Pittas says, “We just did what we called ‘Cabrini’ last summer. I think everyone saw them around town doing their shoot. Paramount Pictures came here a couple of times. They came here with ‘Paranormal Activity, Next of Kin’. ‘ which was just done last year too.”

And now, work on a newly converted soundstage that’s 39 feet tall and three football fields long. The massive interior walls are sprayed with a flat-backed material, which is actually sound deadening.

And they have successful plans for the future, as Buffalo Filmworks partner Jennifer O’Neill explains.

“It will allow us to have more space for larger productions,” O’Neill said, “you know, on the scale of a Marvel production or something. Hopefully we can bring them in with a stage of this size.”

And they may not be alone.

Although it’s still just a snowy field off South Park near Tesla’s South Buffalo factory, Buffalo Studios, run by Los Angeles-based producer and Grand Island native Matt Fleckenstein , recently obtained a state grant. They have secured what he says are new investors to build a large, projected $75 million movie studio near the Buffalo River on this site.

Fleckenstein says the pandemic has delayed their timeline for the project, which was first unveiled in October 2020.

Next, on Niagara Street, Rich Products and Great Point Capital Media are still jointly planning their $50 million Great Point Studios complex. A spokesperson said the cleanup of the brownfields was complete and they were ready to begin as soon as weather permitted, then open by the end of the year or early 2023.

All of this is aided by the state’s sometimes controversial Film Production Tax Credit and the growing regional reputation and film production workforce here in Buffalo.

Buffalo Filmworks’ O’Neill welcomes potential competition.

She told 2 On Your Side: “Right now the studios are, you know, in Los Angeles and New York, are booked until 2025. I spoke with a couple of producers yesterday. They can’t find anything. “There’s no space anywhere, so I think the more development that’s going on here, the better. It’s just going to create more jobs.”

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