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(7/4/17)

May 26, 2017

LA County Supervisors seek a "film friendly environment"

A little over month ago, FilmLA reported a dip in feature-film production: there were 416 fewer on-location shoot days this year than for the same period last year. That's a drop of 36%. While the total drop for on-location shooting days was just 2.2% (9,496 this year compared to 9,703 last year), the decrease is noteworthy because features tend to have large crews.

It would appear that this FilmLA report caught the attention of our County Supervisors. Not long after the report appeared, our Supervisors passed a resolution for the County CEO to investigate ways to "enhance collaboration and support of the film industry." They want the County to take a "proactive role in retaining and growing [the] industry."

Here's a list of the actions the Supervisors put on the CEO's to-do list with a smattering of AF commentary:
  • "...Examine the CEO Film Liaison’s responsibilities and report back to the Board in 60 days with recommendations to strengthen its role in facilitating filming and relationships with film production entities;"
    AF commentary: Board members say have heard from film companies representatives that many County facilities (e.g. beaches) are great for filming, but working through the County bureaucracy is too complicated. The film companies need 1-stop shopping.

    There is a small mystery here. Who is the CEO's Film Liaison? They can't be googled and you won't find this person on the CEO's website. We've send out a query and will update this posting if we get a reply.
  • "...review film and license fees charged by the County and Non-Profit Foundations operating on County-owned property and report back to the Board in 60 days with recommended reductions, in order that Los Angeles County can be competitive with other local jurisdictions;
    AF commentary: FilmLA provides an outline of the cost for some LA County locations. To see the fees for locations like beaches click here.
  • "...coordinate with the Departments of Regional Planning, Parks, Public Works, Fire and the Sheriff’s Department, and any other appropriate County code enforcement department to review and, within 60 days, provide recommended amendments to the County Code, as necessary, to ensure that County departments have the necessary enforcement authority to address violations of the film permitting process by property owners and production companies.
    AF commentary: Is it the Supervisors intention to look at enforcement of filming permits in general? Possibly. Consider this from the preamble to the motion
    "...[Since] the County wants to encourage a film friendly environment, we must also be assured that private property owners and production companies adhere to the permitting and licensing processes established by the County; and that the County has the enforcement tools needed to ensure compliance and lessen potential filming related impacts on our local communities. To that end, the County Code sections related to film permitting and enforcement should be reviewed and, if necessary, amended to allow appropriate enforcement and compliance with the County Code."
    The current County code says little about the enforcement of filming permit conditions. There are methods of enforcement described in the FilmLA contract and the 'Terms and Conditions' associated with each permit; however, enforcement is very coarse grained. There is only one enforcement option: permit cancellation.

    For links to the relevant ordinances or the FilmLA contract and what they say about enforcement, check out our Legalities and Analysis tab.
If you happened to attended the Filming Town Hall or read the minutes, you will recall that permti enforcement was a main area of concern. Perhaps our Supervisor Barger got wind of the meeting. Perhaps there's this is an effort to address some of the those concerns. Or perhaps it's just coincidence.

What ever the case, something important may be about to happen.




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