State approves filming policy for village of Massena

Patrick J. Burnett plays Billy Badass in the movie, “The Ballad of Billy Badass,” which was filmed locally. The state has approved a new law governing filming within the village of Massena. Photo courtesy of Elijah Winfrey

MASSENA — Regulations governing filming in the village of Massena are now officially in place following state approval.

Village trustees had approved the policy earlier this year following a public hearing.

The policy, which is geared toward commercial filmmakers who have crews of three or more people, was a written collaboration between village officials and Film Massena, a group of citizens who are trying to bring filmmaking and filmmaking opportunities to the area.

Film Massena Coordinator Elijah Winfrey worked with Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire and Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Hardy on the new policy.

“I appreciate everyone who was a part of the guideline creation process. These guidelines will protect both the filmmaker and the village of Massena for years to come,” said Mr. Winfrey, who began formulating the policy in January 2020. “The thing I’m most proud of is the film permit prices. In other municipalities, independent filmmakers are priced out of being able to obtain a permit because all filmmakers pay the same one-size-fits-all price. In Massena, the price you pay for a film permit is based on the budget of your film.”

For instance, the permit for a film with a budget of up to $10,000 would be $100 for one to three days, $200 for four to six days, or $350 for seven or more days.

There are exceptions to the permit requirement. It’s not required for filming intended for the exclusive non-commercial use of the owner; if three or fewer individuals constitute the entire cast and crew; or filming by the news media.

Individuals making a charitable film or student film must obtain a film permit, but are exempt from paying the fee.

Permit applications are reviewed by the village clerk, and applications for projects with a budget of $10,000 or more will also be reviewed by the village Board of Trustees.

Permits contain start and ending dates, as well as specific hours during which filming may occur.

However, the village clerk or village administrator may administratively extend the expiration date by up to 10 days without further action by trustees.

The policy can be viewed at ecode360.com/37412788.

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