News Column

Los Angeles looks to reclaim TV and movie location filming domination

July 8, 2013

YellowBrix

July 08--As The Oregonian has reported, the state legislature -- in a down-to-the-wire action fit for a suspense flick -- voted to add $4 million to the Oregon film and video incentive program designed to bolster location filming in the state. As the state film office says, "this translated to an increase in the annual allocation for the Oregon Production Investment Fund tax credit," and the allocation will go from $6 million a year to $10 million a year.

The incentive program has helped attract such series as "Grimm" to film in Oregon. But not everyone supports the expansion of tax credits for movie and TV production.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, there's been discussion about what that city should do to reclaim its position as the dominant location for movie and TV series filming.

The newly elected Mayor of L.A., Eric Garcetti, last week told The Hollywood Reporter that "runaway production" -- film crews choosing to work in non-California locations -- was an "emergency" situation. From THR report:

The new mayor cited statistics showing that while 85 percent of the nation's television episodes were filmed in Los Angeles just a few years ago, today that figure has fallen to the low 40's. "This is an emergency situation," he said.

And today, there's a post at The Wrap, a Website devoted to show business coverage, of Garcetti's interview with The Wrap's Sharon Waxman. As Waxman notes, Garcetii received support from members of the Hollywood community. "Do you feel a debt to those supporters?" she asked him.

Garcetti's response: "Not a debt. I'm humbled and grateful to all my friends who supported me." What he wants, he told Waxman, is to see L.A. "come back as the entertainment capital of the world." Asked what he could do to make that goal concrete, Garcetti said, "The biggest piece is the competitive tax incentive environment. We can do a lot to make filming easier here. To have communities embrace film, to market Los Angeles better, to humanize City Hall to the industry. That's a minority of the solution. The majority part is increasing those tax incentives."

Garcetti said he thinks there should be no cap on tax credits. Waxman asked, "if the data is so compelling, why hasn't Sacramento done it yet?"

The new Mayor's response:

That's the question. I had a great discussion with the governor this week as mayor-elect. Some people don't believe it's as important as I do. I will use the power and prestige of the office to be a frequent lobbyer. I'm not going to go away on this issue.

-- Kristi Turnquist

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(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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