As more pics shoot in Calif., coffers swell

With an 11% increase in California film production, the trickle-down effect is providing a bonanza for the state’s southern locales.

Feature films shot in California have surged 43% during the nation’s post-recession years of ’94 through ’97 — compared with a 36% increase nationally during the same period. Additionally, the state’s market share of total U.S. film starts increased from 74% in ’94 (445 starts) to 77% in ’97.

Features shot in California rose to a record 637 during ’97, an 11% increase over 574 film starts for ’96, reported California Film Commission director Patti Stolkin Archuletta during the commission’s quarterly meeting at the Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach.

“As cost continues to be a concern, more production companies are electing to stay closer to home,” Archuletta said, “and they are finding suitable venues right here.”

Indies go local

More independents are taking advantage of California locations. Samuel Goldwyn Co.’s “Lolita” was filmed in portions of Sonoma County; New Line Cinema’s “Blade” was filmed mostly in L.A., with several scenes shot in Death Valley; and, “Rush Hour,” lensed in several areas of the San Fernando Valley. New Regency’s “The Negotiator” filmed in L.A. and West Hollywood.

Examples of big-ticket film use of local resources include the underwater sequences in Warner Bros.’ “Sphere” which were filmed in a converted dry dock at Mare Island in Vallejo. Downtown L.A. provided the on-screen Dallas Federal Building where Mulder and Scully desperately searched for a bomb in “The X-Files,” while all the pic’s arctic scenes were created in a Southland soundstage.

A look at film revenue generated in L.A. and the surrounding areas proved it to be substantial. Pasadena’s share for ’96 totaled $495 million and ranked sixth in entertainment production expenditure with films such as “Jurassic Park II: The Lost World,” “Jerry McGuire” and “Liar, Liar” shooting scenes in the area, as well as “Scream 2″ in South Pasadena’s Rialto Theater.

No. 1 on the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s entertainment production expenditure list for ’96 was L.A. with a total (in billions) of $14.2, followed by Beverly Hills $3.2; Burbank $1.7; West Hollywood $1.6 and Santa Monica $1.3.

Pics add billions

Data from the Entertainment Industry Development Corp. (EIDC) reports production in L.A. County on 548 feature films for ’97, with pics such as “Jackie Brown,” “Armageddon,” “City of Angels” and “Dante’s Peak” contributing $25.5 billion to L.A. County coffers, compared with $27.5 billion in film revenue for the state.

“Los Angeles and the Southern California area continues to prosper from three years of solid growth in motion picture production. The EIDC/LA Film Office is committed to servicing the entertainment industry in anyway it can, to foster this important segment to the L.A. economy,” said Michael Bobenko, senior VP of EIDC operations.

Long Beach weighed in with a substantial $47, 438,869.30 for ’96.

“Ten years ago, our office received $30,000 in permit fees,” said JoAnn Burns, director, Long Beach Office of Special Events. “We’ve totaled over $160,000 this year, and that’s without a fee increase.”

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Members of all the major broadcasters have agreed to participate in a common multimedia training program funded by the State of California Employment Training Panel.

The participants — which include ABC, CBS, Fox Television, KCAL, KCET, KCOP, KTLA, NBC, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet and Sparks Scenic — represent an agreement between the ETP and the UAW-Labor Employment and Training Corp., and was developed in conjunction with the Scenic, Title, & Graphic Artist Union. Local 816.

With the technological advancement of graphic and scenic arts, artists are learning the importance of computer skill enhancement. Accordingly, UAW-LETC designed a training plan that will meet the needs of the broadcast media and the artists implemented by Weynand Training in Canoga Park, Calif. using software such as Quan-Tel and Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator.

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