Highlighted by a keynote address from Danny Glover, supporters of a sweetened incentive program for movies and TV shot in California attracted more than 500 attendees to an enthusiastic Saturday morning rally in San Francisco.
The two-hour event at the Fairmont Hotel was organized to demonstrate that Assembly Bill 1839 has strong backing outside the industry’s Hollywood core. Glover, who has a residence in San Francisco, said he had not worked in the San Francisco area since he shot a pilot based on a Walter Mosley story in 2003.
Glover has been in British Columbia working on Paramount’s live-action/animated hybrid “Monster Trucks.” He said that the loss of shoots in California to states with more lucrative programs such as Georgia and Louisiana diminishes the artistic content of movies and TV.
“I don’t want to be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and pretend I’m some place else,” he added.
The rally is the third such event held by supporters of AB 1839 since its introduction in February, which coincided with a Burbank rally that drew over 1,000 and a March event that attracted more than 600 at a prop house in Sunland. It comes three weeks after the Assembly passed the bill on a 76-0 vote — though its authors have still not hammered out the annual figure for funding, currently set at $100 million through June, 2016.
The legislation, which would extend the program for five years and expand the eligibility of what’s covered, will go to the Senate’s Revenue and Taxation committee on June 25. If it clears the Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown must still approve the deal.
Teamsters International VP Rome Alloise told that he and president James Hoffa met with Brown for dinner on Wednesday to urge support for AB 1839 — with Brown playing devil’s advocate, prompting the union officials to urge the governor to consider the strong economic impact, job retention and multiplier effects often cited by backers. He also warned that the Teamsters could use another tactic.
“We’ll block traffic in the Capitol with our big rigs if that’s what it takes,” Alloise said.
Assembly member Raul Bocanegra, one of the co-authors of the legislation, and several sponsors spoke at the event and said that the $100 million in annual tax credits is far short of what’s needed to enable California to compete for productions. The state of New York’s program provides $420 million in incentives annually.
San Francisco Film Commission exec director Susannah Greason-Robbins noted that the city has seen extensive examples in recent years of films that are set in San Francisco yet have only shot a few days there as producers were lured by incentives in other locations such as “Dawn of Planet of the Apes,” Rise of Planet of the Apes,” “Godzilla” and Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes.”
Greason-Robbins read the crowd a statement of support from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee: “San Francisco supports AB 1839 because we know that a thriving film an TV industry creates jobs and economic opportunity.”