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L.A. considers creating film commission

January 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The city council will consider a plan Tuesday to create a film commission, to keep more production in Hollywood.How are you going to keep film and TV production in Los Angeles after they've experienced Louisiana, New York or Canada? That's a question the Los Angeles City Council is trying to answer. The latest attempt comes Tuesday with a vote to create a film commission to help market the city.

"We shouldn't look at the film industry as a pie of a certain size. It's going to grow and the question is, is it going to grow here or someplace else?" asks Richard Alarcon of the L.A. City Council.

Alarcon introduced many of the proposals already approved by the city council.

The TV production Ugly Betty moved to New York in 2008. Costs are less in other states and countries. In 2004, 81 percent of TV pilots were shot in L.A. A new filmL.A. survey found that number plummeted to 57 percent last year. Feature filming in L.A. in 2008 was nearly half what it was at its peak.

The city council approved the study of 19 recommendations to revitalize local production including looking at business tax credits for building owners that allow filming and a sales tax refund for purchases made for filming when 75 percent of the shoot is in Los Angeles.

"If you are doing a mid budget picture, you have 140 people working, 400 additional people supporting that indirectly, $4 million in tax revenues, and that's a conservative estimate," explained Jack Kyser of L.A. County Economic Development Corp.

Kyser is concerned that recently approved state tax credits for production could be eliminated.

"Oh, we're scared half to death that film incentives might go away, you have an enterprise zone program out there that is very important to us. With a $21 billion, deficit everything is up for grabs," said Kyser.

"In a wonderful year, it would be easy to say throw money at it. It would be easy to say we need to create jobs and fight for our film industry," said Alarcon.

Hollywood and surrounding areas have long been the tv and production capitals of the world. No more. And with the economy in such bad shape the question is how do you recover the business without giving away too much?