Mayor focuses on picking pic commish

Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan is giving Hollywood a high priority in City Hall these days, with a renewed focus on streamlining the filming process within L.A.

Sources say the mayor has put together a panel of his representatives, along with reps from the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, which has begun interviewing people to take the film commissioner/industry liaison job. The job has been vacant since Beth Kennedy was asked to resign June 29 by outgoing Mayor Tom Bradley’s administration.

That panel is doing the initial interviews, while the final interviews will likely be jointly conducted by producer Dawn Steel (who served on Riordan’s transition team) and Deputy Mayor Alfred Robles Villalobos. An appointment is expected within 30 days.

The appointment will probably not be someone from within thefilm industry, although it may be someone who has worked with the industry, sources said.

One of the top priorities for that post will be to further streamline the filming process, especially as it relates to jurisdictional differences from one city to another.

The mandate will be to find someone who can work within the confines of the city bureaucracy, as opposed to someone who is intimately familiar with the industry.

“It’s easy to learn film production, but it’s not easy to learn City Hall,” said one source.

Riordan is intent on setting a new mandate about Hollywood within City Hall offices, especially when it comes to city employees’ attitudes toward the entertainment industry.

“The mayor is going to say to the city employees that this is a jobs issue,” a source said. “That was not being said before. There was a communications problem before.”

And the film commissioner’s job will likely change, since right now it is a “complicated mess,” according to City Hall sources.

The job, as now described, has to report to the Dept. of Public Works, which will likely change. The person will instead work closely with Villalobos, who’s in charge of economic development for the city. If that turns out to be the case , it will mean that Riordan will be intimately involved.

In these initial meetings between industry execs and Riordan’s representatives, one of the main complaints that has been voiced by the entertainment side has been how difficult it is to film in Los Angeles.

“It’s expensive, but more importantly it’s very, very difficult from an expedited point of view,” one source said. “That has got to change.”

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