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By Jennifer Brylinski,
Sullivan County IDA
In October of 2015, the County of Sullivan Industrial Development Agency (IDA) received an application for assistance from RJ Baker for his Beaverkill Studio project located at 36 Main Street in Parksville. The project entails the purchase of two parcels of land and reconstruction of a former hardware store and restaurant into a film studio and catering facility, and is actively in its construction phase.
When completed, The Beaverkill Studio will be a film and video production studio for use by commercial film production or advertising companies, and independent artists alike. The Studio will provide the soundstage and equipment needed for professional quality work from start to finish, including overnight accommodations to house the crew and creative team, and catering facilities to providing optimal work conditions. Additionally, the equipment will be available for rent for shooting outside the studio at locations across the scenic Sullivan County region.
The facility will also offer onsite conference and rehearsal space, a cyclorama sound stage, two editing suites, and a portable green screen set-up for shooting and editing on location. The ability to shoot and edit a project simultaneously will eliminate continuity problems and allow for a seamless workflow in a rural setting removed from urban distractions and the constraints of 9 to 5 workdays.
RJ Baker, owner of the Studio, has extensive experience working at studios and in film production space. Mr. Baker has been involved with independent galleries and as an independent film and video artist. He has also been a stage manager, a freelance film editor, and a post-production editor.
The Beaverkill Studio occupies a late 19th century wood-frame building with 8,000 square feet of usable space on two floors. Two additional lofts for overflow sleeping and storage overlook the double- height screening room and lounge on the second floor. The building retains many authentic architectural details that evoke the history of its era, from original clapboard siding and Victorian- era storefronts on the exterior, to exposed rafters – but it needs lots of tender loving care and a vision to move it forward into its new use. An adjacent building will house the catering facility. The rears of the buildings face the abandoned railroad tracks, and this right-of-way is now a part of an emerging regional Rails-to-Trails network, which will be an amenity for Parksville’s revival.
It is expected that the Beaverkill Studio will jumpstart the filmmaking industry that has been slowly emerging in the Catskills, as evidenced by the growing number of film festivals, the increasingly common shoots, both film and still throughout the area, and the New York Loves Film tax credit for productions made in upstate locations. It is also anticipated that the facility will become an anchor for the revival of Parksville. Beaverkill Studio will be a boom for the local economy. The project has the endorsement of a local hamlet renewal group and did receive zoning approvals.
Through a mix of loans (the project received a $50,000 loan through the County Planning Department), investments, grants, and tax incentives through the IDA, these turn-of-the-century buildings in Parksville will be converted into Beaverkill Studio, a premier film and video production facility. It will be a unique business: a boutique film studio operating in a beautiful rural setting, where clients will work on all stages of production whiles staying in comfortable home-style accommodations. The IDA unanimously approved assistance for the project on December 14, 2015. Both in the Catskills and in New York City, there is great excitement for Beaverkill Studio. For further information about the IDA’s assistance to this project, please contact Jennifer CS Brylinski at the IDA office at 845-295-2603.