L.A. to consider joint city-county permit board

THE LOS ANGELES City Council has approved a plan to look into creating a public/private partnership that would jointly administer city and county film permits and location shooting.

“If such a body were created, it would allow us to develop an organization that would be specifically tailored toward the film industry, as opposed to being an office that is caught up in government bureaucracy,” said Cody Cluff, assistant deputy mayor for the office of entertainment industry affairs.

In fact, the partnership would be fashioned along the lines of Economic Development Corp., a private non-profit entity contracted to administer the county film office. The partnership would be run by a board of directors, made up of City Council members, county officials and members of the film industry.

While it would continue the city’s and county’s move toward streamlining the permit process, it would also make additional staff available for the 24-hour location trouble-shooting service.

The broad reaches on this plan would make this one office responsible for filming not only within city boundaries, but also in areas under the jurisdiction of departments that oversee the area’s harbors, parks and airports.

City officials must produce a workable plan that would be acceptable to the county and the city. An initial plan will be submitted to the city’s Government Efficiency Committee within 90 days.

THE NEW POLITICALLY correct slogan for most cities, counties and states these days is “film friendly.” The latest county to jump on this bandwagon is Orange County, which on Wednesday launched a permanent countywide film office.

The county also committed $ 50,000-$ 75,000 to fund a full-time film permit coordinator.

“I think the people in Orange County got tired of watching San Diego reap the benefit of $ 20 million from film activity,” said Patti Archuletta, director of the California Film Commission. “So now Orange County is going to start aggressively implementing a sales mission to Hollywood.”

The reasons Hollywood has opted for San Diego are simple. For one thing, San Diego was the first city in the state to have a film commission, started when Pete Wilson was mayor.

“Needless to say, that commission is now very sophisticated and they have brought a lot of business to that city,” Archuletta said.

The lion’s share of Orange County, meanwhile, is located outside of the unions’ 30-mile zone, which also put the brakes on some location shoots. Once outside of the 30-mile zone, production companies have to pay per diem to union members.

A recent six-day shoot of “Demolition Man”– where producers spent $ 200,000 on local hotels, caterers, etc. — managed to whet the Orange appetite.

“Once I looked at the dollars that such counties as San Diego, San Bernardino and San Francisco were getting from filming, up in the millions, and Orange County only in the couple hundred thousand, I knew we had to do something,” said Orange County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez. “So we’ve been going down this path for some time, streamlining our permit process and adjusting our fees.”

The new film office will be structured as a public/private partnership between the county and the Orange County Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

THE MASSACHUSETTS Film Office has instituted a “Fast Lane Pass” at Logan Intl. Airport in Boston, which provides a faster alternate route for production companies doing their daily delivery drop-offs and pick-ups.

This pass goes hand-in-hand with the recently initiated “Blue Pass,” a special permit that gives feature film productions immediate curbside access at the airport.

JEFF PEEL, executive producer of Metro-Dade Television Cable Channel 34 in Miami-Dade, has been named interim coordinator of the Miami-Dade Office of Film, Television & Print. He replaces Deeny Kaplan.

Meanwhile, the film office was relocated to the county’s communications department. Recruitment for a permanent coordinator will start in late spring.

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