No one was more surprised than the California Film Commission last week when it found out the state Senate had created a new committee specifically designed to keep entertainment jobs in state — much the same task that the commission performs. And some members of the commission fear that they are now being upstaged.
“I have been a volunteer on this commission for six years and, quite frankly, I’m offended by this,” said CFC commissioner Leo Chaloukian. “It’s obviously politically motivated, but why was it kept so quiet?”
Torres would chair
The announcement came midweek that Sen. Art Torres (D-Alhambra) would chair the new subcommittee, which will hold hearings and meet with industry execs to design a battle plan.
“I just don’t want to see us duplicating our efforts,” said Patti Stolkin Archuletta, CFC director.
A spokesman from Torres’ office said the committee will look at all aspects of entertainment-related jobs, including publishing, toy manufacturing, amusement parks, spectator sports and the home computer field in addition to jobs related to the film, TV and cable industries.
“This committee’s purpose is so much larger than just the Hollywood entertainment focus,” Torres’ spokesman said.
Importance of CFC
Meanwhile, Julie Meier Wright, secretary of the California Trade & Commerce Agency, whisked off a letter to Torres within hours of the committee announcement reiterating the importance of the CFC and its work.
“In 1993 alone, the CFC staff, under the leadership of director Patti Stolkin Archuletta, handled 29,505 requests for information and guidance from production personnel and assisted 7,507 entertainment projects,” Wright wrote.
“The CFC staff, as well as its network of 43 film liaisons throughout the state, has become known in the industry for its proactive efforts to help keep production and the entertainment jobs, as well as jobs in literally thousands of small businesses that serve the industry, in California.”
CFC officials plan to meet with Torres in the next several weeks.
In other related CFC news, Archuletta noted that for the first time, the commission has begun to compile an economic impact report that surveys funds the industry brings into the state on a county-by-county basis.
‘Work in progress’
“It’s still a work in progress and we’ve used no multiplier effect,” Archuletta said during Friday’s CFC board meeting. “So we believe the numbers are very conservative.”
Initial numbers give an indication which counties and cities see the most filming activity.
They tend to be Mammoth, Mono, Inyo (which combined saw more than $ 1.5 million in filming dollars during 1993), Oakland ($ 8.5 million for fiscal 1992- 93), Palm Springs ($ 1 million for 1993), San Bernardino/Riverside ($ 2.7 million), San Diego ($ 25.9 million), San Francisco ($ 40 million), San Jose ($ 11 million), San Luis Obispo ($ 29 million for first quarter 1993) and Sonoma ($ 3.3 million from August-October 1993).
“We’ve never tracked this kind of information before, but we want to drive the point home that each and every county should be tracking these numbers,” Archuletta said.
“This is the kind of information that helps convince city fathers that they need filming in their area,” he said.
When they balk at filming initiatives, “These are dollars you can put in their face.”