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Industry Report: Focus: North America

L.A. launches e-permits for filming in the city


- Offering another incentive to the entertainment industry, Los Angeles launched a paperless permitting system designed to expedite the process of filming on city streets. Public Works Commissioner Andrea Alarcon, who worked with Film L.A. to develop the program, approved the first e-permit during a board meeting in which the program received final approval.

"Los Angeles is the creative capital of the world and we need to let the industry know we are welcoming them to the city," Alarcon said.

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The program is the latest in the city's efforts to reduce red tape for the film industry and try to halt runaway production.

Councilman Richard Alarcon, who is Commissioner Alarcon's father, said the city already has taken steps to create electric power nodes at several locations, as well as offering reduced prices to film at city locations and arranging for free parking for film crews.

He noted that New York has raised its fees to film in city buildings to $300 a day — a policy he said Los Angeles should avoid.

"We can make more in one day by having people working than we would ever make up with higher fees," Councilman Alarcon said.

Film L.A. President Paul Audley said the e-permit system sends an important message to the film and commercial industry.

"What this says is that we are listening," Audley said. "For the producer of a commercial, it tells them that we can issue a permit in a day or two rather than weeks. It can make all the difference on where they shoot their commercials."

Audley said film production in the city is up slightly, due primarily to the state tax credits that are in place.

However, he cautioned, that funding is due to run out and officials are unsure of what that impact will be.

"New York and Texas are offering incentives and it's something we have to be aware of," Audley said.



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