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Lionsgate and Great Point Execs Size Up Progress of New Studio Facility In Yonkers

Panelist included, from left, panel moderator Eric Kohn, Executive Editor and VP of Editorial Strategy at Deadline; Lionsgate Television Chairman Kevin Boggs; Great Point Studios CEO Robert Halmi and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano

On April 27th, Great Point Studios hosted The Film & TV Industry Power Luncheon at Lionsgate Studios Yonkers. The event was an intimate gathering of the most influential and inspiring executives in film, television & production. The luncheon featured an informative “state of the industry” panel with Chair of Lionsgate Television Group & Chief Creative Officer, Kevin Beggs and Robert Halmi, the Founder and visionary behind Great Point Studios. The panel was hosted and moderated by Eric Kohn, Executive Editor of Indiewire. The event also featured a special presentation by the City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, where he presented Lionsgate with a Key To The City.

The event took place at the Studio’s newest space called The Hub – a gorgeous industrial chic venue featuring a neon “Hollywood on Hudson” stage setting. The farmhouse themed luncheon featured a delicious multi-course cuisine by Jane Craft Food For Film, a photoshoot setup by Getty Images and a luxe gifting suite.

After lunch, guests were treated to a personal tour of the sprawling studio campus led by Robert Halmi himself, Great Point’s Peter von Gal and Christina O’Shea-Daly.

On site to cover the event were industry writers from Deadline and Variety. Excerpts of the Deadline coverage highlight the panel discussion. “The overall trend is toward more” production, Beggs said, despite Covid and a pullback in streaming at a number of companies. In New York City, despite the addition of newer players over the years like Steiner Studios on top of legacy ones like Silvercup and Kaufman-Astoria, there is still a premium on basic amenities like street parking and, in some cases, the size of stages. “There is a shortage of big, purpose-built stages, particularly in the Northeast,” Halmi said.

Two of the stages in Yonkers are 20,000 square feet. Halmi said they were the fifth and sixth stages of that size built in the Northeast U.S., designed to capitalize on “big dreams and big shows” hatched in the wake of GoT.

The sprawling Lionsgate studio complex along the Hudson River opened in 2022, part of a major push into soundstage facilities by Great Point. The media company focused on film and TV infrastructure, launched by producer and Hallmark Channel founder Robert Halmi and former media investment banker Fehmi Zekohas built other sites in Newark, Buffalo and Atlanta. Lionsgate became anchor tenant in Yonkers when the facility opened, occupying seven of its 11 soundstages.

Yonkers, the third-biggest city in New York State, has jumped on the opportunity to use Lionsgate Studios as a means of improving the city. The slogan “Hollywood on the Hudson,” spelled out in neon yellow lights behind Beggs and Halmi, is also printed on banners hanging around town.

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano noted that the same high-ceilinged brick building where the event was being held was once the headquarters of Otis Elevators and the transition is aimed at reconnecting Yonkers with its roots and introducing a major employer into the local economy.

Halmi said the pending New York state budget will bump up tax incentives and the step-up could take effect in the coming days. That would vault New York into a “more competitive” situation with Georgia and New Jersey, he said, another reason for the investment in Yonkers.

 

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