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Valenti backs fed park lensing plan

Shouldn't charge based on film's budget

WASHINGTON — Federal parks should charge producers for lensing actually conducted in the park, not a standard fee that is a flat percentage of the movie’s budget, MPAA prexy Jack Valenti testified Thursday.

Valenti’s testimony is aimed at derailing a proposal that would charge filmmakers a flat fee of 1/2 of 1% of the film’s total budget. The proposal does not take into account the length or size of the shoot.

Instead, Valenti suggested that the fee should be based on the number of days of lensing conducted in a park along with the size of the crew present for the shoot. “This approach is simple, clear and predictable,” said Valenti, adding, “Every producer knows immediately what the costs will be.” Valenti made the proposal during testimony in front of the Senate subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation and Recreation.

Currently, parks are not allowed to charge fees for filmmaking, although they can recoup costs such as overtime for park rangers and use of campgrounds. The MPAA supports a change in the law because many park supervisors are not interested in attracting filming which they often see as a distraction to regular duties. Valenti also proposed that individual parks be allowed to keep revenue from filmmaking as an incentive to make the area more attractive to producers.