New York City is a familiar backdrop for many primetime television shows and feature films–but filming within the city itself is often costly and logistically problematic. However, a collaboration with Great Point Studios and Lionsgate Studios is making Yonkers a sought-after location for both indoor and outdoor production.
Great Point Studios‘ 1,000,000 square foot facility is located on Wells Avenue near the Hudson River in Yonkers. Lionsgate Studios, the production company behind such series as “Mad Men” and “Orange is the New Black,” is the anchor tenant.
At a recent panel discussion at the facility, Great Point Studios CEO Robert Halmi and Lionsgate Television Chairman Kevin Beggs were enthusiastic about the space and the long-term potential of media production in Yonkers.
Despite the impacts of production delays and project cancellation during the pandemic, as well as on overall reduction in media streaming, Beggs noted that “the overall trend is toward more [production].“
Although New York has seen other production companies and facilities emerge recently, such as Steiner Studios’ 50-acre facility in Brooklyn, Halmi explained that “There is a shortage of big, purpose-built stages, particularly in the Northeast.” With the increased popularity of cinematic series, such as “Game of Thrones,” the need for large-scale indoor sound stages has surged.
Great Point Studios’ complex was opened in 2022 by Halmi and former media investment banker Fehmi Zeko. As anchor tenant, Lionsgate Studios occupies seven of the facility’s eleven sounds stages–two of which are 20,000 square feet. The size and scale of the studio space promises to attract major productions and crews to Yonkers, particularly for stories set in New York City.
“[With Mad Men], we had to kind of get our heads around trying to shoot a show that was set in New York in L.A., which makes zero sense at all,” Beggs said. “Every time we were trying to cheat the Unocal building in downtown L.A. for any number of iconic New York sites, I was killing myself because we could have just gone to any street corner in New York and gotten it. In a new world, you would only do that in New York.“
With its diversity of unique filming locations and proximity to New York City, Yonkers has long been a favorite of production companies and directors-making the Hollywood on the Hudson.
Notable productions with filming locations in Yonkers include TV series “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Blacklist,” and “Law and Order: SVU,” as well as feature films including “Catch Me If You Can,” “The Irishman,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”