Film Permit Clampdown?

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Mayor's Office of Theater, Film, and Broadcasting is considering drafting tougher rules to get a permit to shoot film or take photos in New York City. Eileen Clancy, a founding member of the advocacy group Picture New York, explains why many film and photography professionals oppose the proposed changes.


Eileen Clancy

Comments [23]

Steven from Dumbo

Dear Brian,
Thank you for picking up this issue and doing a piece on your show. The guidelines for the permits are completely unreasonable as I see it.
Not only do they raise issue with 1st amendments rights, they are totally unreasonable & counter productive to the creative spirit of
encouraging young startup photographer's & filmmakers studying in and around NYC.
As a visual artist in Brooklyn I do carry insurance and shoot in NY on location frequently. I have been asked for a permit
when using a tripod and depending on location stopped by police when near a bridge or sensitive areas. These new restrictions will deal a
crushing blow to small freelance self employed people struggling to live & work in NYC. Having said that, I do believe some permits should be
required based on the size & commercial activity of a crew of 5 or more people shooting on public space. This should be carefully drafted so as
not to net everyone with a camera and one or two people they are filming or helping them. Tripods are another issue but should also be given some exceptions
to the rules. Definitely the current proposal is not acceptable and should be modified to primarily oversee the larger film productions and commercial shoots.

Thank you again,


Steven Harris Photography
68 Jay Street #1010
Brooklyn NY 11201

Aug. 03 2007 12:30 PM
Steve Lembark from Queens

Given that selective enforcement of laws is not an option, how well this law be managed on the street? There had better be an officer holding a stopwatch at every corner where tourists congregate; certianly anyone who takes a shot of their infant in the park had better keep moving.

Maybe we will need an office at JFK to sell incoming tourists the insurance they'll need for their daily permits while in town...

Aug. 03 2007 11:24 AM
a from NYC wonder artists are leaving this city in droves....

Aug. 03 2007 11:08 AM
O from Brooklyn/Manhattan (work)

I agree with Erin and Brian and I worry for my industry as I am an actress. This past spring Crain's Business Journal reported a steady increase in fil/tv production here in New York with a large spike last year alone. These new regulations just mean bad news for actors who do film/tv to supplement bad theatre wages. C'mon, Mr. Mayor, this is a strong more towards the haves and a blow for the have-nots.

Aug. 03 2007 11:05 AM
J-F Vergel from West Village,NYC

The Picture New York petition should be a reminder that, whether or not you live in NYC, people vote... whether it is at the ballots or with their tourist dollars. These rules are ludicrous.

Aug. 03 2007 10:58 AM
Aug from Spanish Harlem NYC

this just another step in the new america were, if you don't have a million dollars you can't even take a picture. America is gone for good fight as we might its over.the terrorist have won the war, they have us running for cover at the sound of a car back fire. our government has lached on to this "its for your saftey"to the point of being criminal. this is not the America a grew up in, I feel sorry for the future.

Aug. 03 2007 10:46 AM
Mick from Midtown

That guy from Brooklyn is just jealous about competition from the young filmmakers.

Aug. 03 2007 10:46 AM
eric fluger from jersey city

do you suppose anyone will ever be granted a permit to film, video tape or photograph police behavior and/or misbehavior in connection with major demonstrations or anything else for that matter?

Aug. 03 2007 10:43 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

DICK-Strollers are a menace? Are you going to call wheelchairs a menace too?
Why don't you just stay in NJ.

Aug. 03 2007 10:42 AM
Jason from NYC

New York is no longer a starving artist city like it once was!

It's a ridiculous law.

Aug. 03 2007 10:42 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

"GOOD" & "CREATIVE" people?
So basically people who are already established, have plenty of money & resources can make films and photography but those who are young and new and struggling cannot?

Aug. 03 2007 10:40 AM
Nick Lento from NJ

This is all about the cops not wanting to allow pictures/video at demonstrations.

The rules as written would prohibit this activity.

This is unconstitutional.

Aug. 03 2007 10:40 AM
Jason from NYC

I understand big production insurance issues. 5 people with a tripod is a minimal fashion photo shoot, including assistants, hair, makeup... etc. For wedding photographers more than 5 people could be the entire wedding party alone!

People don't need more rules and regulations. People need to be more attentive to their surroundings in order to not create chaos.

Aug. 03 2007 10:39 AM
maria from native new yorker

It's too bad for them but as a resident I have to say that the small filmmaker and photogs don't bother me but the big filmmakers are annoying. They tow cars out of the way, parking becomes impossible and sometimes you cant even sleep because of lights and noise in the hood when they are filming. Half the time when the movie comes out, you can't even tell its NY!

Aug. 03 2007 10:39 AM
Dick from Orange,NJ

I recently returned to the metro area after a ten year absence. Before I moved away you couldn't set a tripod on the sidewalk in NYC at all without a permit. Me and my photog friends all purchased monopods which were OK.
A permit to shoot moving pictures with stationary equipment was always required.

As far as the million $ insurance, you only need a waiver for the time you are shooting. Such a waiver is fairly inexpensive. I've gotten million $ coverage for a two week period for about $250.

Why is it a problem to get a permit if you're shooting a documentary or indy flick? And wouldn't you want to be covered if a NYU student drops a Bolex on your foot?

Yes, stollers should be registered. They are a menace!

Aug. 03 2007 10:39 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

Putting the public at risk for what?! Getting hit with a flying magazine?!?
The guy who just called in is a dictator.

Aug. 03 2007 10:38 AM
herb from westchester

Hollywood, Toronto, Miami, Chicago all locations that compete with NYC for the film business is laughing all the way to the bank.

Aug. 03 2007 10:38 AM
RLewis from bowery

As a producer of live theater, very downtown and very alternative, it sounds like the film folks have had it too easy. My shows are attended by few and use union actors on a volunteer basis, so I don't have big money, not even medium money, and I've had to purchase insurance for my shows for 2 decades now. I'm sure that my theater is at a much lower budget than 90% of all small, indie films, so if I have to buy insurance, why shouldn't they? thanks.

Aug. 03 2007 10:38 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

I am shocked and disgusted that the mayor would try to stymie the artists of NYC like this!

Aug. 03 2007 10:37 AM
melly from Queens

I'm not a professional photographer. I take pictures of the city, sometimes with a tripod. This. Is. Ridiculous.

Aug. 03 2007 10:36 AM
Martha Deed from North Tonawanda, NY

The mayor's offiice told us that the last day for public comment is today, Aug 3rd in response to our letter.

Aug. 03 2007 10:33 AM
Brian from Manhattan

This is one of the most ridiculous policy proposals to come out of Bloomberg's administration. Why did it even emerge? If it is another revenue-generation tool, the city could raise much more money by simply enforcing laws already on the books -- like ticketing idling cars, honking horns, etc.

Unless the mayor greatly increases the NYPD film unit numbers, or shifts the priority of current officers away from other enforcement efforts to focus on "renegade photogs," I don't know how they could possibly enforce such a law anyway.

This feels like a futher culmination of Manhattan becoming a gated community of elites.

Aug. 03 2007 10:31 AM
Millie Niss from North Tonawanda, NY

I am an independent new media artist whose work would be made impossible by the new rules. I make videos and web installations that include still photography, with New York City as a primary setting. My work has been widely exhibited in galleries and online, both internationally and in New York City shows, such as the 2006 Scope New York Art Fair.

If the new permit rules are enacted, I would be unable to work because I have no institutional affiliation or personal resources to acquire the necessary liability insurance, yet my work does not fit the proposal’s definition of allowable “amateur” photography because I use a tripod, I shoot for hours or days in a single location, and I often work with others.

Moreover, the permit requirement, by making artists specify in advance when and where they will do a shoot, would make spontaneous art impossible. Artists do not plan artworks on a strict production schedule, like film crews. Instead, they keep their eyes open wherever they go, and often come upon unexpected material.

Until this proposal was announced, I was an admirer of Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership. This proposal is such a severe restriction of civil liberties that it makes me suspicious of the entire city government. It is shocking that an administration that prides itself on developing New York City’s cultural capital would promulgate regulations that are so detrimental to local artists.

Aug. 03 2007 10:07 AM

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