Villaraigosa expected to attend

An advocacy group of show business professionals battling runaway production has scheduled a one-year anniversary event and expects to draw Assembly Speaker Anthony Villaraigosa and as many as 400 supporters.

The Film & Television Action Committee, which staged rallies last year in Burbank, Hollywood and Sacramento, will hold the “super meeting” at 7 p.m. Thursday at KTLA’s Stage 3, 5800 Sunset Blvd. Assemblymen Scott Wildman (D-Glendale/Burbank), who authored production tax credit legislation last year, and Wally Knox (D-West Los Angeles) will also speak.

“We are looking to build on what we achieved last year,” said Brenton Swift, FTAC treasurer and an out-of-work art director. “We made the world aware of ‘runaway productions.’ “

The group, formed to combat film and TV production fleeing California for locations with tax incentives and lower costs, drew an estimated 5,000 supporters to an August rally on Hollywood Boulevard. It also lobbied for Wildman’s legislation, still active in Senate Bill 756, and for an unsuccessful federal bill that would have created tax incentives for U.S. productions with budgets under $10 million.

Swift said U.S. producers’ tendency to flee to foreign sites has not cooled in the six months since release of a report, commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America, showing $2.8 billion in direct losses in 1998 due to runaway production from the U.S. “I worked mainly on movies of the week, and they’ve all gone to Canada,” he added.

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