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Villaraigosa wants city buildings opened to TV, film production

November 4, 2009 |  4:55 pm
To stem the outflow of film and other entertainment production jobs from Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa met this morning with representatives from more than 20 city departments to find ways to make it easier for producers to shoot locally.

Villaraigosa has already ordered general managers to appoint film “liaisons" in every department to help production companies cut through the bureaucracy and coordinate production work. Today he also asked them to identify all city buildings, parking lots and other facilities producers could use for films, television, commercials and other projects, according to a spokesman for the mayor.

The agencies include the Los Angeles Zoo, Department of Water and Power, Port of Los Angeles, Department of Transportation and Department of General Services.

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.

A survey by FilmL.A. Inc., which coordinates permits for location filming, found that only 57% of all TV pilots were shot in the L.A. area this year, down from 81% in 2004.

The City Council is already considering offering tax refunds to production companies and tax credits to building owners who make their sites available for filming. The council also wants to increase the availability of power nodes downtown so filmmakers don’t have to rely on portable generators, saving money and reducing noise levels for downtown residents.

-- Phil Willon at L.A. City Hall