New Jersey officials heading to California to pitch movie making in Garden State

Sullivan, Coviello, Brophy, Parchment, Bryan to make two-day tour of top movie studios

Tim Sullivan rattled them off: the Lionsgate project in Newark … the Netflix project in Fort Monmouth … 1888 Studios in Bayonne … possibilities in West Orange and Carteret. Simply put, the opportunities for the film and television industry in New Jersey are everywhere.

That’s what Sullivan, the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, told the audience at the Newark Summit, a real estate gathering at Ironside Newark, on Monday.

More importantly, it’s what Sullivan and a group of top industry officials in the state will tell the heads of numerous studios during a two-day trip to California on Tuesday and Wednesday, when he will make the case for making movies in New Jersey.

The team includes Kathleen Coviello (executive vice president for technology, life sciences and entrepreneurship at the EDA), Eric Brophy (deputy chief of staff for economic growth to the governor), Elizabeth Parchment and Dan Bryan (of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission). The film commission recently came under the guidance of the EDA.

Tim Sullivan at the Newark Summit. (Tom Bergeron/ROI-NJ)

There’s a lot to sell, Sullivan said.

“We’re at the dawn of a real renaissance for the New Jersey film industry,” Sullivan said.

In addition to the location, there are numerous tax incentive programs — Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed an enhancement of the state’s tax credit program — and a lot of history.

Most recently, in 2022, the industry created 8,500 jobs and generated more than $700 million in business.

“Film and TV is booming in New Jersey,” Sullivan said.

Then there’s this: The film industry actually started in New Jersey when Thomas Edison invented the motion picture camera in West Orange in 1892.

Sullivan joked that the state has long ceded its top spot in the industry, but he said he’s eager to make the case to studio executives to move New Jersey into the No. 2 spot.

“It’s a great place to film on the back of the strikes being resolved,” he said. “There’s an opportunity for a leadership position in a key industry like film and television.”