Staten Island Ready for its Close-Up as Boro Prez Pushes for Film Shoots
ST. GEORGE — Take it from Lena Dunham — Staten Island is ready for its close-up.
The southernmost borough — which served as a backdrop for several episodes of HBO's "Girls," including Season 2's Episode 16, "Boys" — is hoping to attract many more film shoots under a new program introduced by Borough President James Oddo.
Made on SI, announced Monday, seeks to boost Staten Island's film and television industry by making the area more appealing for producers to use the borough as their set.
"We are open for business here on Staten Island and we want you here," Oddo said Monday. "We have the locations you need, and you just have to give us a chance."
Oddo touted famous films that have used Staten Island as a backdrop — including "The Godfather," "School of Rock" and "War of the Worlds." He added that with the announcement of a film studio set to open at a former landfill, he wants to continue increasing the number of films shot here.
"All of you Staten Islanders know how big and diverse we are, and we have the right location for pretty much any type of scene," Oddo said.
Made on SI aims to promote the entire borough to location scouts by working with the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. Its new website will make it easy for scouts to find locations, maintain filming requests, provide a calendar of other shoots when possible, and connect companies with organizations that are "film friendly."
To help make the process smoother, Oddo launched a section of his website dedicated to promoting the island's neighborhoods, using local businesses for the shoots, and information on how scouts can get started in the borough.
"Our mission is one of educating folks about what we have to offer," Oddo said.
Location scout Nick Carr, author of the popular blog Scouting NY, said that he often suggests directors use Staten Island as a film set. He said crews can mimic almost any location in the country without having to leave the city.
"This borough has more diverse locations in a smaller area than anywhere else in the city," Carr said. "There's a saying when you're scouting for locations: If you can't find it anywhere else, you can find it in Staten Island."