LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today participated in a roundtable discussion at Variety headquarters with film production and location managers to highlight the cost-saving opportunities and film-friendly policies the City has implemented to keep production in Los Angeles. Villaraigosa was joined at the roundtable by Amy Lemisch, Executive Director of the California Film Commission and Paul Audley, President of FilmL.A. This is one of several roundtables Mayor Villaraigosa will hold this week with industry leaders to discuss ways to create jobs and rebuild our economy.
“We are committed to creating jobs in Los Angeles. Our City is one of 75 across the country facing double-digit unemployment. We cannot wait for Washington D.C. to act. We must invest in our key industries and creating jobs here in LA with effective incentives. That is why I am meeting with leaders across the City this week, to hear directly from them about how we can help,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.
The Mayor also heard from attendees about how these efforts are meeting the needs of the filming community and additional ways the City can improve the environment for film production. The discussion was hosted by Variety Magazine and LA 411.
“Variety continues to be the center of debate on important issues facing the entertainment community and for that reason we were happy to host Mayor Villaraigosa at the Variety offices and help facilitate a dynamic conversation on production in Los Angeles,” said Brian Gott, Publisher, Variety.
Making it a priority to improve the filming environment in LA, the City has made most municipal facilities, including the Mayor’s City Hall office, available for filming without charge and has implemented a free parking program, which provides parking after business hours and during weekends in available City lots, without charge.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has also installed power utility nodes as part of a pilot project in Downtown Los Angeles. Film productions can use the nodes in lieu of generators at the Los Angeles Zoo, the Department of Water and Power John Ferraro Building and City Hall.
The City has also expanded the Multimedia Zones created in 2005 to include Downtown Los Angeles in addition to the Hollywood and North Hollywood Redevelopment Areas. Multimedia zones cap the business tax for eligible entertainment and media businesses as well as production companies located within the zone. The City also offers a variety of business tax exemptions including a Creative Artist Exemption, Small Business Tax, and New Business Tax Exemption that exempts new businesses from gross receipts tax for the first three years of operation.
“Entertainment production is the backbone and birthplace of our City’s success—it represents a first-class economic anchor defined by creativity and innovation. I am committed to keeping Los Angeles film-friendly and creating more jobs within this industry,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “We have already moved forward on initiatives like reduced turnaround time on the City permitting process and the installation of utility power nodes, but we remain focused on ensuring this economic engine and job creator thrives in Los Angeles.”
With the support of the Mayor’s Office, FilmL.A. launched Film Works LA, a public education campaign about the importance of the film industry to L.A. FilmL.A. also created the “LOCOSCOUT” website, which was developed with the support of location managers and scouts. LOCOSCOUT is a comprehensive site providing location photos and information about free and fee-based filming facilities in and around the City.
To help facilitate film production, the Mayor’s Office created film liaisons in each City department and council office that are responsible for responding to requests for assistance with film related issues. The City also passed a Special Events Ordinance, which makes it illegal to disrupt a properly permitted film shoot.
FilmL.A. is a private, 501(c)4 not-for-profit organization established for the public benefit. They coordinate and process permits for on-location motion picture, television and commercial production under contract to an ever-increasing roster of public-sector clients in the Los Angeles region. All permits are issued by the authority of and in accordance with the policies of each client jurisdiction.
Variety is the leading publication for business entertainment news, recognized and respected throughout the world of show business. The Variety Group – Daily Variety, Daily Variety Gotham, Variety, Variety.com, LA 411, Variety 411 – are owned by Reed Business Information. RBI is a member of the Reed Elsevier Group plc (NYSE: RUK and ENL).