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L.A. City Council lists top 10 places where bureaucracy makes it hard to film

November 18, 2009 | 12:26 pm
The Los Angeles City Council, in an attempt to stem runaway production and make television and motion picture filming less of a hassle in the city, ordered up a list of the 10 most popular locations where bureaucratic regulations and other factors make it hard to film, with hopes of eventually fixing the situation.

The worst of the worst are, in no particular order: the
  • Los Angeles Zoo.
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce headquarters.
  • AT&T Building downtown.
  • Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.
  • Japanese American National Museum.
  • Terminal Annex Post Office near Union Station downtown.
The city’s financial analysts compiled the list with the help of film industry location managers through their union, the Motion Picture and Theatrical Trade Teamsters Local 399.

The location mangers said those sites are difficult to film for a variety of reasons, including rental costs, difficulty securing permits, government regulations restricting public access and even things such as restrictions on providing food for crew members.

“Los Angeles is the film capital of the world, but there are too many places in which we tell filming to go away,’’ said Council President Eric Garcetti.

According to the California Film Commission, the state’s share of U.S. feature film production fell to 31% in 2008 from 66% in 2003. Most of that drop-off was in the Los Angeles area, where feature filming in 2008 was nearly half what it was at its peak in 1996.

Both the council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are looking for ways to make it easier to film in the city, in part to stop production companies from heading to locations in Canada or other states.
Villaraigosa has already ordered general managers to appoint film “liaisons" in every department to help production companies cut through the bureaucracy and coordinate work, and to identify city buildings, parking lots and other facilities that producers could use for films, television shows, commercials and other projects.

The council is already considering offering tax refunds to production companies and tax credits to building owners who make their sites available for filming.

-- Phil Willon at L.A. City Hall

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