Hillsborough is ready for its closeup.
The Somerset County Board of Commissioners named Hillsborough along with Franklin, South Bound Brook and Watchung as first members of New Jersey’s Film Ready Communities program, a new certification from the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, according to a press release through Somerset County.
The program takes advantage of the state’s exploding video production industry and the economic benefits that come with local filmmaking. In conjunction with the Somerset County Film Commission, these four towns completed a comprehensive process to demonstrate they have locations, expertise, and resources to support video shoots in their community, according to the press release.
“Somerset County is pleased to provide New Jersey’s inaugural class of Film Ready Communities, demonstrating the fantastic opportunities offered by our diverse filming locations, local businesses, and proximity to major cities and transportation hubs,” Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson said. “I want to thank each of our municipalities who worked so hard to become Film Ready, and the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission for choosing Somerset County to kick off this project.”
The Somerset County Film Commission launched its promotional video highlighting the County’s resources for film productions in late 2022.
The Somerset County Commissioners launched the Film Commission in 2001 to take advantage of the state’s generous tax credit program for video productions, which can provide up to 35% tax credit for qualified expenses, plus additional diversity bonuses of up to 4%. In January Gov. Phil Murphy announced that statewide filmmaking exceeded $650 million dollars in 2022, besting the previous record of $500 million set for 2021.
The Somerset County Film Commission’s partnership with its Film Ready Communities is part of a larger effort to educate production companies about the unique benefits of Somerset County for filming of all types. The Commission website at https://filmsomersetnj.org/ includes stunning shooting locations throughout the County, a history of films in the county starting with Madame Butterfly in 1915, and information regarding the skilled workforce and other resources to staff and support film crews.
Some sites film ready for Hillsborough include Ann Van Middlesworth Park, Petrocks Liquors, Sourland Mountain Preserve, BelleMara Distillery, Flounder Brewing, Hillsborough Township Municipal Building, Mill Lane, Neshanic Mill, Otto’s Farm Trails, Petrocks Bar & Grill, South Branch Reformed Church, Woodfield East Park and Woods Tavern.
Also included is a two-floor hall Colonial home built in 1984.
Additionally, there is a new Film Commission video touting Somerset County as a filming location that can be viewed on its website or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/WH6ZMVo7qC8.
“Somerset County has everything a production could want to put together a high-quality project, including experienced crews, diverse locations, talented actors, and an unparalleled hospitality industry,” said Daryl Eisenberg, chair of the Somerset County Film Commission and owner and managing partner of Eisenberg/Beans Casting. “Our Film Commission and Film Ready Communities are ready to support projects from commercials to videos to feature films and look forward to working with productions to help make their vision a reality.”
Somerset County’s diverse communities are ideally suited to be the backdrop for almost any type of production, story, or idea. The county features quaint downtowns and urban centers, untouched forests and manicured parks, distinguished historic estates and apartment complexes, rolling farmland and winding rivers, professional baseball stadiums and high school football fields, and scenic back roads and major interstate highways, according to the press release.
Additionally, Somerset County is within easy driving distance of more than a half-dozen international airports and is exactly half-way between New York City and Philadelphia.
“It’s no accident New Jersey’s first Film Ready Communities are in Somerset County, the heart of Central Jersey,” Robinson said. “Somerset County is working hard to build its already vibrant film industry and is ready to make your project a success.”