Albany, NY (July 30, 2014)
Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that “Sweetwater,” a film detailing the story of the first-ever African-American NBA athlete and player for the New York Knicks, will be filmed and produced in Upstate New York later this year. This marks the second major motion picture stemming from the partnership between the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries and The Film House, a production company and the anchor tenant of the Hub.
“Central New York is pleased to welcome the second major movie being brought to the region through the new nano film hub, creating more jobs and generating additional investments in the Upstate economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “The story of Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton is a New York story, and we are proud to have it filmed and produced right here in the Empire State.”
In a co-production with Sunset Pictures & Astrablu Media, “Sweetwater” stars Wood Harris (HBO’s The Wire), James Caan, Nathan Lane, Brian Dennehy, Patrick Warburton and Ludacris (Chris Bridges). The picture will be directed by Martin Guigui (Beneath The Darkness, The Bronx Bull) and produced by Josi Konski, Dahlia Waingort and The Film House’s Ryan R. Johnson.
Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Chief Executive Officer and Officer in Charge, SUNY CNSE/SUNYIT, said, “This is another example of how Governor Cuomo’s visionary partnership of academia and the film production industry continues to draw Hollywood and economic activity to Upstate New York. The talent attached to this exciting project speaks to the depth of the story, but with Upstate serving as the backdrop, New York State is the real star of the show. It is an honor for CNSE’s new facility to help bring this world-class storytelling to audiences across the country.”
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, “Onondaga County has a proud tradition of civil rights and basketball being home to Syracuse University and the 1955 NBA Champion Syracuse Nationals, “Sweetwater” is the perfect film to be produced in Upstate New York and at our Onondaga County Nano hub. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Dr. Alain Kaloyeros for making job creation in our community a top priority by locating this Nano facility in Onondaga County. Movies and projects like these would not be possible without their confidence and support.”
The $10 million production, which could be eligible for the state’s film tax credit program, is anticipated to create 150 full and part time jobs, along with hundreds of extras. Locations in the City of Albany, Albany County and Central New York will be utilized for filming. Post production will be done at the new Hub in DeWitt, NY.
Ryan R. Johnson, CEO of The Film House, said, “Upstate New York has become a hot bed of film activity and Governor Cuomo’s commitment to Upstate with the announcement of “Startup NY” and the Upstate tax incentive was a major factor in the decision process. Sweetwater is a powerful New York story with global relevance that fits right into our production model”.
Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton became the first African American contracted to play in the NBA when he signed with the New York Knicks in the fall of 1950. Before that he played for the New York Renaissance, an all-black team and then the Harlem Globetrotters. A pioneer of the game, Sweetwater is being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2014.
On July 18, 2014, the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries broke ground in Onondaga County, and will specialize in providing advanced visual production research and education to support Upstate New York’s rapidly growing film and television industry. The project will create at least 350 new high tech jobs and 150 construction jobs. The Governor and The Film House also kicked off filming of the the first movie to be produced at the Hub: “The Opium War,” which will be filmed and produced in Central New York.