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L.A. pic permit flap irks exex

Thanks in part to dozens of letters from industry execs to Los Angeles City Council members, odds are against future 11th-hour permit revocations.

Earlier this month, City Council members unanimously voted to shut down production in a South Central neighborhood just hours before lensing was scheduled to begin for P.M. Entertainment’s TV pic “L.A. Heat: Burning Sanctuary.” Outrage followed via letters from several execs, including TriStar production administration prez Gary Martin, who objected to the precedent the emergency measure had set.

In the motion, Councilwoman Rita Walters stated that considering the recent history surrounding “L.A. Heat’s” Florence and Normandie avenues location, many residents would “be subject to unnecessary fear.” Walters was criticized for overreaching because the measure revoked the entire permit, rather than forbidding simulated gunfire. Lensing was scheduled a week after the five-year anniversary of the L.A. riots. P.M. producers later shifted production to Sunland.

“It was a valuable experience that gave people a way to reopen the dialogue,” said Kathleen Milnes, vice president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. She encourages council members to “take a step back and let the process work,” referring to services of the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., Los Angeles’ film location liaison.

“It’s difficult for (production execs) to understand local issues in the community,” said Delpha Flad, a spokesperson for Councilwoman Walters. “We need to better communicate about the problems.”

EIDC, which has been praised for helping cut the red tape in the permit process, doesn’t expect a repeat of P.M. Entertainment’s experience.

“I don’t think this will be the norm,” said Stephanie Hershey Liner, EIDC’s exec VP. “It just happened so quickly and people didn’t have time to react.”

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FOLLOWING THE LEAD of other states, Arkansas’ General Assembly has passed a Motion Picture Incentive Bill, which will give 100% sales tax refunds to production companies. To qualify, production costs must total a minimum of $500,000 on any one project during a six-month period, or for multiple projects, production must total $1 million in a one-year period.

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THE MONTEREY COUNTY Film Commission will be holding a screenwriting day on June 7. The winners of the second annual Screenwriting Contest will be announced, and morning and evening seminars will be offered. At the afternoon session, Pamela Wallace, Oscar-winning writer of “Witness,” will be a panelist.

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