The recent influx of film and television production into the New Jersey/New York area has created an acute shortage of studio space. The larger facilities in Manhattan and Queens are booked well into the future, leaving production companies to scramble for temporary quarters in which to build their interior sets. And New Jersey is answering the demand in a big way, according to Joseph Friedman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission.
The National Guard Armory in Jersey City has been rented by Sweetheart Productions until December. A large set is being created there for the latest, as-yet-untitled Woody Allen film starring Demi Moore, Robin Williams, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Judy Davis. Due to its considerable floor space and height, the Jersey City Armory has been used as a temporary studio for many projects, including Robert DeNiro's "A Bronx Tale," the Faye Dunaway thriller "Eyes Of Laura Mars" and the Laura Brannigan music video "Self-Control."
The former Maxwell House plant in Hoboken also offers abundant space for studio work, and was recently rented by MGM, producers of the Mario Van Peebles drama "Standing Knockdown." The complex was used last year for the shooting of a Pizza Hut commercial with Pete Sampras and John McEnroe.
The Teaneck National Guard Armory has also seen its share of filmmaking. Warner Bros. filmed scenes for the recently released comedy-drama "Bogus," featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Gerard Depardieu, on sets constructed there last year. Prior to that, the Armory was rented to Arena, Inc., for the shooting of the Samuel Goldwyn/BBC production "Stonewall." This acclaimed docudrama, about a watershed event in the Gay Rights movement, was released theatrically over the summer. Currently undergoing roof repair, the Teaneck Armory will be available to production companies once again by the end of the year.
Currently in the works are several proposals for permanent, full-scale studio facilities in the northeastern New Jersey area. "New Jersey is already one of the most popular areas for location production in the country," Friedman points out. "But we need to attract a full complement of studios and post-production facilities in order to accommodate a filmmaker's every need. And the Motion Picture and Television Commission is working diligently to do just picture and television industry here in the state is fast approaching."