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HBO filming miniseries at Lumberyard

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    A view of Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts on the Catskill Creek from the Uncle Sam Bridge.
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    The Washington Post News ServiceWinona Ryder in a scene from "Stranger Things" on Netflix.
September 30, 2019 04:12 pm

CATSKILL — The film production facility at the Lumberyard Center for Film and the Performing Arts ramped up its reputation over the last two weeks by providing the set for an upcoming HBO miniseries.

Beginning Sept. 16, the Catskill studio was home to 20 to 40 actors and crew members filming “The Plot Against America.” The six-part miniseries is adapted from Philip Roth’s novel and stars Winona Ryder, John Turturro and Zoe Kazan.

Shooting at Lumberyard is expected to wrap up Wednesday.

“The Plot Against America” is set in New Jersey and chronicles a working-class Jewish family as Charles Lindbergh, a xenophobic populist, rises to power and turns the nation towards fascism, according to hbo.com.

“Working with an established outfit like HBO is an extremely exciting milestone for Lumberyard as we look to attract more productions and expand our economic impact here Catskill,” Executive and Artistic Director Adrienne Willis said in a statement.

“The Hudson Valley can replicate a diverse range of scenery — from main streets to quaint lakesides and everything in between — all while imparting the benefits of New York’s competitive Film Tax Credit Program,” Willis said. “We hope that our role as a qualified production facility can continue to raise Greene County’s stock as a go-to destination for film and TV productions.”

Companies that film in Greene County can receive tax credits through the Empire State Development’s New York State Film Tax Credit Program. Lumberyard is the only qualified production facility in Greene County. Program credits worth $420 million annually can be allocated and used to encourage companies to film in New York state help to create and maintain film industry jobs, according to the Empire State Development website.

“The film and TV industry hires thousands of local workers and invests in communities throughout New York state each year, and this production will help advance the industry and economy in the Capital Region,” said Gigi Semone, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development.

Since 2011, 2,202 applications have been filed with the state Film Tax Program, $27.4 billion has been spent on film production in the state and 1.6 million new hires have been created by the industry.

The production team for “The Plot Against America” will be visiting other local areas including New Baltimore and Athens in Greene County and sites in Ulster and Dutchess counties.

“It’s been a great experience working with Lumberyard,” said Joe Guest, line producer for “The Plot Against America.”

“Our work in upstate New York is complex,” Guest said. With a challenging schedule to be able to base our operations at a quality production facility like Lumberyard has been tremendous and has made our work easier. We’ve used the facility to support a diversity of production demands, including our set dressing, costumes, scenic and construction departments.”

Crew members have been staying in Lumberyard’s second-story housing facilities.

The facility was previously rented in May by REMcycle Productions for the horror film “A Deadly Legend.”

Film is a new frontier for Greene County to explore.

“In the short time since Lumberyard opened, we’ve already seen a lot of new interest in filming in Greene County,” said Greene County Tourism Director Heather Bagshaw. “Now that we have a qualified production facility in Lumberyard — the first countywide — we expect to see Greene County’s stock continue to rise as a premier destination for television and movie producers.”

The Greene County Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Department applied for funding last year from Empire State Development to launch a marketing campaign called Film in Greene, in collaboration with Lumberyard.

The county’s website, greatnortherncatskills.com/film, allows production companies to file an application to film in Greene County and helps connect them with local casting agents, lodging, makeup artists, photographers, videographers and rental equipment.

Proceeds from rentals such as HBO and REMcycle allow Lumberyard to give back to the community through programs such as Lumberyard Young Performers, which provides free dance education for students living in low-income communities in and around Catskill; Fresh Start, an intervention program for incarcerated teens; and Junior Crew, which provides local high school students summer jobs and workforce development training from resume building to learning how to network.

Lumberyard is a non-profit center that provides residencies for performing artists to test and perfect their work. The performances that Lumberyard hosts provides Hudson Valley audiences with an opportunity to see these works before they premiere in New York City. Lumberyard is also a venue for weddings and large events.