Campaign launched to bring films back to LA

LOS ANGELES The Warner Brothers film "Inception" is one big budget movie that stayed in Los Angeles while many others went out of state. Because so many are leaving, crane operator Cary Caraway wonders if he should leave too.

"I have considered moving to New Mexico because that is where a lot of work is going to. Louisiana is another big spot," said Caraway.

Los Angeles city leaders joined film-related labor unions and small businesses on Monday to announce a campaign to make Los Angeles more film-friendly.

The campaign is called FilmworksLA. Outdoor signage and a website are tools being used to battle other states, which are outpacing /*California*/ with hefty tax breaks. The state's biggest rival is offering an incentive package worth three times more than California's.

"The state of New York is offering $450 million in incentives. The state of California is 100. We have to compete on a level playing field," said Paul Audley of FilmL.A.

FilmL.A., which coordinates the permitting process in Los Angeles, said tax credits may seem extravagant in this economy, but look at the payoff. They said that after Sacramento approved a $200 million package to prime the pump, local production came back after a devastating drop.

"We saw an immediate return of more than 16 percent increase in feature filming in the first year of about $200 million in tax credits, which are estimated to have produced $2 billion in expenditures--a great bargain," said Audley.

Yet now, tax credits are down once more and so is production. While local leaders mount a campaign to lobby the legislature, they hope this campaign will set the stage for acquiring more financial support and keep families like the Caraways in /*Los Angeles*/.

"Just to uproot everybody, just to feed them. It's not something that I want to do," said Caraway.

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