Filmmakers aim to boost York's industry cred

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Harrison Smith (left), Matt Nease (center) and Doug Henderson (right) pose for a photo at the Everything's Fire studio in downtown York on June 25.

Two local filmmakers say their hope is to transform York County into a go-to destination for filming television shows and movies — an effort they say is already paying off.

"I think York is the perfect place to be making films right now," said Matt Nease, the co-founder of Everything's Fire. "We hope that continues in the future."

Nease and Doug Henderson founded Everything's Fire, an independent film studio located in downtown York City. Most recently, they have worked with director Harrison Smith to film "The Special," a horror film with themes of infidelity and addiction.

SOTA FX makeup artist, Cat Bernier-Sowell shows a set visitor some behind the scenes magic.

"The Special" is premiering at 7 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can either be purchased online or at the box office.

Local viewers will recognize a few familiar locations, including The Historic York Inn, Rockfish Public House and West Market Street — all three were utilized in the filming process for the movie.

Columbia also got a taste of the spotlight, as a few scenes were also shot in the Lancaster County borough.

In this behind-the-scenes photo, crew is setting up at The Rockfish Public House for a night of shooting the opening scene for "The Special."

Smith, who has a film on Netflix titled "Death House," considered several other locations for "The Special" — such as San Diego and Augusta, Georgia — before settling on York.

He also has filmed movies in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. 

"It's a lot of travel back and forth when you have a family," Smith, a native of the Poconos region, said.

Nease said York County is an ideal filming location because of its downtown locations and nearby countryside landscapes. 

Additionally, several incentives might attract filmmakers to the area, he said. 

In Pennsylvania, there is a 25% tax incentive for filmmakers who spend at least 60% of their production budget in the state thanks to a law adopted in 2007.

Sloan's Pharmacy in Mountville, Lancaster served as one of the locations for "The Special."

Lower crew costs, fewer crowds and Amish set-builders are a few other incentives filmmakers might find attractive about the county, according to the York Film Office.

Henderson said he hopes an increased interest in York County might boost the local economy and provide jobs to residents.

Everything's Fire only hires locally for film projects. For its latest film, "The Special," more than 20 local residents were hired as part of the film's crew. 

As Henderson and Nease's company grows, they're hoping the success of "The Special" will draw other filmmakers to York. 

The next step for their company is to continue building resources, relationships with potential investors and educating locals about the limitless possibilities York can offer to filmmakers.

"We're growing a whole new industry here," Nease said. 

— Reach Tina Locurto at or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.