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Los Angeles City Council Moves To Curb Runaway Film Production

Posted Saturday, June 1 – 1:10 am
“(CNS) – The Los Angeles City Council took steps Friday to stem the tide of runaway production, approving motions aimed at making filming in the city of Los Angeles a little easier on production crews.

While city leaders are limited in their ability to make filming in Los Angeles more financially enticing to production companies, they said they want to find ways to be more accommodating, including approving a system to solicit regular feedback on city policies affecting the film industry.

The council also requested a report on how the city can issue film permits faster, keep better track of on-location shoots and protect film crews from property owners or others who try to demand money from production companies.

City departments were also asked to look into scaling back filming restrictions on holidays. Department of Water and Power officials have said the best way they can help is by installing electric vehicle charging stations that film productions can use to power up base-camp trailers.

The recommendations were submitted to the council by the Ad Hoc Committee on Film and TV Production Jobs.

City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the committee, said the steps taken today will “start the ball rolling toward making it easier for our entertainment business partners to work in Los Angeles and create jobs.”

State lawmakers are also looking to make California’s film tax incentives more competitive.

AB 1839, also known as the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, won unanimous approval in the Assembly on Wednesday and is headed to the state Senate.

The bill would expand the pool of film-incentive money from $100 million to $400 million and allow more types of film productions to apply for the tax breaks.

The bill would also extend until 2022 a tax-incentive program authored by Krekorian in 2009.

Krekorian called on his council colleagues and the public to lobby state senators, saying “the unanimous vote in the state Assembly sends a very strong message that this state needs to move forward with (these) production tax incentives.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti recently joined the mayors of Sacramento, Long Beach, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, Bakersfield, Santa Ana, Oakland and San Jose in signing a letter urging an expansion of the state’s film incentives program.

The council’s efforts coincided with an announcement by the Culver City- based visual effects house Sony Pictures Imageworks that it would be relocating most of its operations to Vancouver. The company cited Canada’s more generous film tax breaks as a reason for the move.

Krekorian told Video News West the Legislature needs to “work harder” to retain visual effects companies, since the sector takes up “an increasingly significant portion of almost every film budget” and is becoming a “critically important part of the industry here in the city of Los Angeles.”

He said tax incentives have been shown to work in California.

“We’ve seen how many jobs it’s saved, how many productions have stayed here that otherwise would have gone elsewhere,” he said.

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