Two Portsmouth residents who worked on the Oscar-nominated film “Sound of Metal” say that New Hampshire has the potential to take advantage of the booming film industry just south of its border.
Filmed primarily in Massachusetts with some driving scenes captured in New Hampshire, the movie received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, on March 15.
Chris Stinson, originally from Concord, worked as a line producer for the film. His partner, Amy Greene, was a production manager.
“It’s rare in your career as a producer that you get to wake up early and hear the nominations,” Greene said. “It’s the coolest thing in the year when you get to listen with your fingers crossed.”
Stinson and Greene run Live Free Or Die Films, an independent feature film production company with offices in Portsmouth, Boston and Los Angeles.
“Massachusetts is one of the busiest places in the country for movies right now,” Stinson said. “I’m from New Hampshire. I’m proud of New Hampshire. I want to put New Hampshire films on the map.”
Stinson fell in love with making movies at a young age in the Concord area when his father bought him a VHS camcorder in 1992. He said his mission is to encourage more filmmakers in the Granite State and to get more work to come this way.
Stinson and Greene also worked on the film “Knives Out.” It was filmed in Massachusetts and nominated for an Oscar last year for Best Original Screenplay.
Nicole Galovski, founding partner and head of production at Culture House in New York City, lives in Portsmouth and said it is a shame that New Hampshire isn’t financially benefitting from the movie-making action in Massachusetts.
“To be next to the state that’s one of the busiest in production and to not get any of that seems like a total waste,” Galovski said. “Film and TV crews spend so much money; we should really try to get that money for our residents.”
Instead, she said, elected officials in Concord are considering a budget that would eliminate the New Hampshire Film and Television Office’s $123,000 annual budget.
Stinson, Greene, Galovski and Tyler York, a senior producer at Big Brick Productions in Manchester and Boston, are working together to raise awareness about the issue.
Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement on Friday: "While the workload of the Bureau of Film and Digital Media has declined for the past several years, the governor’s budget proposal ensures that the Division of Travel and Tourism Development will retain sufficient resources to meet the needs of New Hampshire’s film industry."
York, who grew up in Bedford and went to Manchester High School West, decided to study sports medicine because he didn’t see a future in the film industry in New Hampshire. York ultimately decided to pursue a career in video and his company has carved out a niche in the commercial and documentary-style storytelling market.
Clients include Red Bull, Chobani, Timberland, Converse and New Balance. The company has worked with ESPN and Fox Sports.
York said it is disconcerting that New Hampshire officials are not promoting the state for opportunities in film and television.
“Massachusetts has obviously done a great job promoting themselves as a place that’s open for business when it comes to video production,” York said. “New Hampshire has a scenery and a history that is worth exploring.”