Organization set up to fight runaway production
In a bid to stanch the outflow of film and TV jobs from California, advocates have set up an organization to educate voters and help foster a political climate more conducive to enacting additional government incentives to retain production.Board members of the org, the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation, include campaign consultant and former TV political reporter Sharon Jimenez, who serves as exec director; political fundraiser Mona Sanchez, secretary; and L.A. Economic Development Corp.’s Jack Kyser. The nonprofit held its first meeting Thursday. Its goal is to build upon the five-year, $500 million tax credit program that was passed last year. It covers 20% of below-the-line expenses for productions of up to $75 million and can be raised to 25% for lower-budget indies. Jimenez considers that inadequate when compared with more aggressive plans of other states. Jimemez said Bring Hollywood Home will design a voter-education campaign to create more public awareness of “how much the industry contributes to California’s tax base and what’s at stake if we continue to lose the industry.” Fundraising will be conducted among entities with a stake in keeping production in California. Jimenez has already made presentations to studios, cable companies and networks, and met with state politicians, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who named an adviser, Clay Russell, to serve on the org’s advisory board. Jimenez says her biggest challenge, she said, is getting certain unions onboard because some of them are not L.A.-centric and “prosper from runaway production … we need to get outside of just the union leaders and to the rank-and-file.” “If California had kept 30% of the production jobs lost in the last 14 years, we would have no budget deficit,” claims a Bring Hollywood Home one-sheet. “If we don’t stop runaway production now we’ll be like Michigan,” said Sanchez, referring to that state’s loss of its economic engine, the auto industry. “Getting it back will be impossible.” Org’s advisory body includes L.A. city controller Wendy Greuel, L.A. City Council prexy Eric Garcetti, L.A. councilman Bill Rosendahl, Race for the Cure’s Sharon Schlesinger, eLatinoWeekly’s Polo Munoz, Schwarzenegger adviser Russell — plus thesps Julie Cobb, Stephen Seidel and Hector Elizondo, producer Mark Teitelbaum and director Yuri Shapochka. In addition to Jimenez, Sanchez and Keyser, the org’s board includes Justin Scot Comins, Gary Visconti, Frank de Lima, Marvin Galvan and Charity Azadian. A formal launch party is skedded for April 27 at the W hotel in Hollywood.