The Town of Huntington will on Thursday unveil its new Office of Film & Television, which is designed to raise the town’s profile as a cultural center as well as bring in new revenue.
Joe Schramm, who was appointed the part-time director of the office, runs a marketing agency that specializes in digital video and pay television, sports, not-for-profits, and multicultural audience segments.
He exudes enthusiasm about his newest project.
“It’s really fun to see the pride of place that results from productions being in town,” Schramm, a Northport resident, said. “People really seem excited when there’s a production in town. There are hassles sometimes but people are overwhelmingly enthusiastic.”
“What an honor it is to have this position,” Schramm said. “I am so impressed by Team Huntington, how people at Town Hall collaborate and work together to accommodate the productions.”
Several locations around Huntington have been parts of film productions in the past. The Long Island Diner had a role in a Netflix series, Jigsaw, last year; Oheka Castle has frequently provided the backdrop for films, Lloyd Harbor’s waterfront and the Vanderbilt have been used.
Town Supervisor Ed Smyth said, “The office is the brainchild of Joe Schramm. He approached us last year about doing it and sat with Town Board members and pitched it. It was a very compelling sales pitch. We gave him a stipend to bring him on (about $35,000) and he was confident he would pay for himself. And he has delivered on that.”
The filming of an episode of American Horror Story in Huntington Village last week is an example of the kinds of projects the new office could bring to town, Schramm said, who remains tightlipped about whether Kim Kardashian, who stars in the series this season, was or was not in Huntington.
“From a fiscal standpoint, it’s a positive impact,” Smyth said. There’s also secondary impact, with film crews using local catering services, restaurants renting spaces, he said. “It’s an overall beneficial impact on the town to have this from a fiscal standpoint but also from a cultural standpoint. We pride ourselves on being a cultural epicenter of Long Island. In addition to all the live performances at the Paramount and the Engeman Theater and other venues, that we bring to town, we want production to start here.”
Huntington benefts, Schramm said by its location within certain “production zones” and proximity to New York City. At a certain distance from the city, film companies have to pay more for crew travel, housing and other costs, but about half of Huntington is within a lower-cost zone.
The town will celebrate the opening of the office, which will be located at Town Hall, with an invitation-only offsite launch at Rozewood Farm in Cold Spring Harbor.