The Orange County Arts Council has long been interested in economic development. It was through the Orange County Arts Council that Executive Director Dawn Ansbro found herself frequently involved in conversations about the economic impact of the arts in Orange County and how art in any form has the capacity to revitalize and invigorate a community.
Realizing that film is such a significant art form and how filming can make a strong economic impact in an area, the idea to start a local film office was formed. Ansbro started turning to the film professionals in the area and to the NYS Governor’s Office for Film and Television for guidance on how to best market Orange County. She researched filmmakers’ needs and explored ways that a film office could best serve the industry. Ansbro and her partner, Jennifer D’Andrea, started the film office knowing that they had some infrastructure work to do in the county before they could open their doors to the film industry. Luckily, the Orange County Industrial Development Agency shared Ansbro’s vision and helped fund the efforts to open a film office. Once funding was in place, Ansbro began talking to municipal leaders about the objectives of the new office, the benefits that the film industry can bring to a community, and what could be expected from a film office.
After only one year in existence, the fruits of the labors of the Orange County Film Office are already beginning to show. Many municipalities have had great success with filming in their communities, and the leaders in those towns have been a huge help in bringing it all together.