City panel hopes to combat runaway film production in Los Angeles

City panel hopes to combat runaway film production in Los Angeles

from: John Schreiber, My News LA

A city panel on Tuesday will consider a proposed extension of a fee waiver for film productions shot on city property, together with a package of other measures aimed at combating runaway production and making it easier for crews to shoot in Los Angeles.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Film and TV Production Jobs will hear reports from various city departments on recommendations to improve the experience of filming in Los Angeles. Representatives of the region’s official film permit processing office, FilmL.A., and the mayor’s Office on Film and TV Production will also be in attendance.

The measures are being explored in anticipation of an expanded state film tax incentives program set to go into effect in 2015.

Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year signed legislation to make $330 million a year in tax credits available to film projects through a competitive application process. The move raised the pot offered by California above the previous $100 million and brings it closer to the $420 million a year offered by New York.

Los Angeles-based shoots, particularly in television, have seen an up- tick in recent months. Television production activity in the area grew 31.1 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, though feature film production fell 4 percent, according to FilmL.A. figures released last week.

“We’re making great strides in keeping TV production local, but there is clearly more work to be done,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the committee.

“With the new film and TV production incentive set to take effect next year, we’ve got to do everything we can to encourage more local filming in our city,” he said.

Among the measures being proposed is a five-year extension — to June 30, 2019 — on a waiver of use fees charged for filming at city-owned or controlled property, such as Los Angeles City Hall, libraries, airports and police department facilities.

The waiver, which was enacted in 2006 and extended once, expired at the end of June.

The city estimates it lost about $1.75 million in fee revenue from shoots on city property over the last five years.

But in a report to be presented the panel, city officials said the $350,000-a-year loss is warranted due to the “continued importance of the film industry to the city’s economy and the offsetting revenue the city receives in business and sales tax from film production and companies that support film production.”

The proposed waiver extension would not apply to Convention Center, El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, Recreation and Parks, Los Angeles Zoo and Public Works Warner Grand Theater facilities.

FilmL.A. would also be instructed to keep records on the amount of fees waived, the types of film productions that receive waivers and the specific city properties booked.

Libraries appeared to have lost out on the most potential fees, with $954,000 waived in the past five years, according to city figures.

Los Angeles City Hall, which is handled by the General Services Department, has served as the set for television shows such as “Scandal,” “West Wing” and “Newsroom,” as well as the movies “Chinatown, “Gangster Squad” and “Mission Impossible 3.”

City staff will also report to the committee on annually analyzing feedback from the film industry, improving coordination with the police and fire departments and freeing up parking at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power building for use by the film industry.

The Chief Legislative Analyst will also recommend that city staff look at ways of increasing city staff to work in the Recreation and Parks film office and to post street closure signs, a task that is handled by the Transportation Departments.

The panel will also consider a motion calling for the creation of a list of city-owned filming locations, or properties that can be used by the film crews for parking or other purposes.

— City News Service

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