L.A. Mayor: Big Budget Tentpoles Will Return With Tax Credit Boost

L.A. Mayor: Big Budget Tentpoles Will Return With Tax Credit Boost

from: Ted Johnson, Variety.com

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti predicts that production of three-to-five big budget tentpole pictures — which have all but disappeared to other states and countries offering generous tax breaks — will return each year with the California’s expanded incentive program.

Speaking on the SiriusXM show “PopPolitics” this week, Garcetti also said that the expansion of California’s program also would mean about a dozen TV shows returning to the state that “otherwise would not be here.” Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation that more than triples the size of California’s tax credit program to $330 million.

“We estimate that to be $1.6 billion worth of filming each year, and when you look at the impact that will have, you are talking about more than 10,000 jobs returning to the state but also the Los Angeles area most likely just in this coming year,” he said in an interview with host Ted Johnson, Variety’s senior editor.

The next “Star Wars” movie is filming in London, and Garcetti said it “broke my heart when you think of the first ‘Star Wars,’ the scenes that were filmed in Death Valley and all the key pieces that were here in Los Angeles. But for me I think we will see huge success in the first year” of the expanded incentive program. he said that he expects “the first round [of funding] to be offered some time in early 2015 and that means productions can start later in the year.”

Garcetti, who grew up in Encino, said that one of his favorite movies about L.A. is “Valley Girl.” “Around that time I was living in the Valley and hanging out in Sherman Oaks Galleria.” He also cited “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Boyz N the Hood,’ and “Colors.” “‘Crash’ in its own kind of poetic way talked about that collision of cultures that happens here in Los Angeles.”

Often cited is the fact that the big budget pic “Battle: Los Angeles” was shot in Louisiana. “In fairness, Los Angeles always presented itself as a lot of other places so maybe it was a taste of our own medicine,” he said. “But we knew that the best crews, the best productions are here in Los Angeles. When ["Battle: Los Angeles"] happened, it was just the evidence of how lazy we had become in California and that we assumed that our subshine and our good cast and crews would keep people here, which this is a business here [that is following] the money to places that were giving incentives.”

Another guest on this week’s program was Adam McKay, the co-creator of the website Funny or Die, which has produced some of the most watched viral comedy videos of all time. The site also has delved into political and topical subjects, most famously the “Between Two Ferns” segment in which Zach Galifianakis interviewed President Obama about the Affordable Care Act. When it debuted in March, it was credited with helping to boost enrollment in the first year of healthcare reform. Funny or Die’s president of production Mike Farah spearheaded the shoot at the White House.

“A lot of times when you do videos like that in conjunction with people who have so much to lose like the White House, it can get really, really stiff, and so it really blew me away that it was as funny as it was,” McKay said. What they’ve learned is that what works in political issue comedy is that “it’s got to be something that is clearly right or wrong.”

McKay said he really saw the impact of Funny or Die’s political videos in 2008, a year after they launched, when John McCain’s campaign started airing its “Celebrity” ad that compared Barack Obama to Paris Hilton. “I was in my car and I heard about it on the radio and I immediately called CAA and said, ‘Would Paris Hilton do a video?’ Within an hour we had put together a whole video. We had a director fly to Paris Hilton, shot it and the video was up in a day and a half and got 10 millions hits in the blink of an eye. Then we heard that the McCain campaign responded to our video. That was the first piee where we thought, ‘Wow, this is really interesting.’ And we were once again able to cut to the chase and just call it out as the ridiculous piece of agitprop that it was.”

He said that Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders ran for president, it would be “fun to do something with them especially because they don’t have big corporate money behind them. We’ll see. After that video with Obama I wouldn’t be surprised in the next presidential election if we heard from Hillary Clinton or whoever is running for the Republicans.”

But McKay said he was lukewarm on a potential Clinton presidential bid.

“I don’t think anyone is all that excited about Hillary,” he said. “I think that her excitement factor is going to rise and fall based on how horrible the Republican candidate is. If you see a Marco Rubio or a paul Ryan get into that saddle, we’re going to get a lot more excited about Hillary Clinton.”

He cited her vote for the war in Iraq and that even though she has apologized, “she is extremely hawkish and very pro-big corporate with a lot of her economic policies.” McKay said that he would not vote for in a primary if Sanders, Warren, Sherrod Brown or “any other viable semi progressive candidates runs.”

“However, she’s got tons of celebrity power and sadly, that’s how a lot of these elections are decided,” he said. “At the same time, I think she’s a good person. …If it came down to making critical decisions about invading countries or radical policy changes involving minimum wage and regulation, I think she generally will do a good job. Right now i would say it is kind of lukewarm, but once [Republicans] pick their candidate, I think everything changes.”

Film Works LA      Like Film This! on Facebook