New L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Vows to End Runaway Production, Hire ‘Film Czar’

Eric Garcetti

Likens local production to 'Les Miserables' at swear-in ceremony

Los Angeles’ newly inaugurated mayor, Eric Garcetti, pledged to be a “salesman-in-chief” for the city, including “ending runaway film and TV production for good.”

After being sworn in at a ceremony on the steps of City Hall on Sunday evening, Garcetti announced a series of goals for his term, much of them focusing on the city’s business climate. The flight of production from the Los Angeles area — from major feature films to NBC’s “Tonight Show” — was part of his focus during the campaign for mayor.

“I’ll lobby hard in Sacramento, and at the county level … and I’ll set an example in L.A., by working to eliminate the tangle of fees and rules that make filming here more like ‘Les Miserables,’ instead of ‘Fast and Furious’ like it ought to be,” Garcetti said, before quipping about the showbiz references in his prepared speech, “We were going to go with ‘Happy Feet,’ but, you know.”

Garcetti also said that he would hire a “film czar” at City Hall to streamline the process. A challenge will be convincing Sacramento lawmakers that expanded tax credits would be worth it, or as he said, that giving “meaningful tax credits isn’t just a boondoggle.” Part of it will also be conveying a sense of urgency, as “other cities and states are tripping over themselves to get” California’s production, he noted.

“We need to market L.A. aggressively and creatively, to the whole world, as the gateway to the Pacific Rim, and the gateway to new ideas and innovations,” he said.

Also sworn in was Mike Feuer as city attorney and Ron Galperin as city controller, along with several new council members, including Mike Bonin, whose district includes L.A.’s Westside, and Mitch O’Farrell, whose district includes the Hollywood area.

Appearing at the event were two of Garcetti’s supporters during the campaign: Moby, who sang “We Are All Made of Stars,” and Jimmy Kimmel, who quipped to the crowd, many fanning themselves off in the sun, “I’d just like to point out that the heat today is the responsibility of the previous administration.”

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  1. Michael Jaffe says:

    I would remind you that it is a long held American tradition for government to lure business to specific locations through tax breaks of one kind or another: just look at all the 500 milliion dollar stadiums cities built to keep or lure sports teams, There is an unlimited supply of of such largess by cities and states trying to create a business friendly environment. The question is not whether the film industry is asking to be treated in a unique way – it clearly is not – but whether LA and California reap benefits in excess of the cost. If it costs them 250 million to bring home 1 billion in business, the math would show that everyone made money, including the government through taxes on the billion dollar spend over the course of the year. And this is not a democratic issue; all politicians of every stripe engage in empire building to a greater or lessor degree. The key is to accurately measure the results. MJ

  2. Tony Todd says:

    Jeez, this is what makes Film Industry politics so aggravating. The entire left-wing film industry funds and support democratic candidates at the national, state and local level that jack up taxes, fees, and the cost of doing business in order to fund social programs, welfare, environmental codes, obamacare, etc. Now that the chickens have come home to roost and the Film Industry can no longer cope with the cost of business here, they want to be the only ones exempt – meaning “tax credits” – from the mess they have created!! If this were any other business demanding they should be exempt from taxes – like Wal-Mart, The Oil Industry, etc. – you’d be shrieking your heads off at the greed of the 1%. Either jump on the Republican bandwagon and recognize that high taxes damage ALL industries and chases them away, or stop being hypocritical and do business bearing the weight of the high cost of business that you and your democrat politicians have created in state with a smile and stop demanding tax credits. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.


  4. Craig baron says:

    This could be a welcome change being that in just my local (44) alone of around 5,000 members very few are working and there are only about 30 T.V. & maybe about 3 movies being filmed here so do the math ….STOP THE RUNAWAY FILMING IN L.A. CALIFORNIA that would be great for everyone

  5. Russell Calabrese says:

    What about the Animation Industry. We were one of the first to hurt from overseas outsourcing long before the live action films and TV. We’ve lost work to Korea, China and now India. What is anyone going to do about that?

  6. A film czar is a bureaucratic post, titular with no real authority, in no way capable of staunching the flow of so-called “run-away” productions; only eating up more of those limited taxpayer dollars.

    Moreover, for anyone who has ever glimpsed or gleaned a film budget, the enormity of (un-needed/unnecessary) personnel, contingencies and allowances do add up to small fortune.

    A production company needs film encentives, not political encomiums. The mayor assigning a functionary as his faithful doppleganger, an apparatchik of grand plans will not meet the requirements of a thousand details to hone production cost and keep the children from running away from home.

  7. Bill says:

    Please – tax incentives simply aren’t going to offset California’s other high tax rates and of course union wages.

  8. Sharon Jimenez founder President started the grassroots leadership in January of 2010 after hearing from so many guests on my TV talk show LA Business Today and after working with actors, writers, and producers during the 2008 presidential campaign who were struggling as they were seeing their jobs leave California. Today is a happy day for all of us who have working to stop the job outsourcing that is an outrage!

  9. John Campbell says:

    I’m available for the “Film Czar” job, it really should go to someone on the Crew Level.
    Oh darn it, I have a gig starting in Michigan tomorrow.
    Well let me know if your serious Mr Mayor, because I would like to Bring Hollywood HOME!!!!

  10. Pete Moss says:

    New L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Vows to End His Chances of Re-election, shows he is ignorant of the mechanics of his states biggest export.

  11. Michael Jaffe says:

    Mr. Garcetti,
    1) You can’t solve the “runaway” problem without finding a way to discriminate between productions which would stay in LA anyway versus productions which have actually been lured home by incentives of some sort. Othe wise you run the risk of a massive giveaway. LA is not like any other film center since most production houses live here and produce tons of stuff here. How do you determine what productions stayed here because of the incentives? 2) the current incentives are not large enough to overcome budget discrepancies between LA and other places, both foreign and domestic. 3) Nor has the legislature allocated enough money to accomodate all the applicants.
    4) There are other issues as well, but these are he critical ones. MJ

  12. Greg Williams says:

    Tom…… You need to get it right. Iron Man 3 shot entirely in North Carolina. Captain America just shot 9 weeks of it’s 16 in Cleveland. You need to get a clue.

  13. MPC says:

    It’s simply too expensive to shoot in L.A., and that current tax incentive program is a lottery pool where films with budgets up to $75 million are eligible.

    Unless California can make film/TV production retention as attractive as New York and Georgia have been, productions are going to shoot elsewhere in other states and outside the U.S. to get more bang for the buck.

  14. Tom Ligon says:

    What Mr. Mayor has to learn is what “runaway production” is NOT. It is NOT production that goes to other states. It is production that goes abroad to other countries. Get it right, Mr. Mayor.

    • Tesoro says:

      Production is going to other states, AND other countries. The point is it’s NOT staying here. It’s a disgrace that HBO’s Mildred Pierce was shot in NY for LA, even though it’s an LA story. Now NY is giving tax incentives for post-production! Soon we’re going to lose that too! I hope he and the state of CA does something meaningful with impact, and that it’s not just empty promises.

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