Riverside County votes to waive fees for film production


Over the years, many movies have had scenes filmed in Riverside County. "Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here" was shot in the Banning Pass. "Buddy Buddy" showed downtown Riverside. A scene from "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" was shot in Cabazon.

But Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone says lately not as many movie companies want to film in California because of sky-high fees.

"Motion picture companies are just that: they're companies to make a profit, and they've found it's cheaper to go to other countries and other states to do business," said Stone.

Tuesday the Board of Supervisors approved waiving all fees for film companies. The vote was unanimous. It will come back for a final vote within the next month, and some say it could have a very positive snowball effect on the local economy.

"When these movie companies come into your jurisdictions, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for just being there for a few days, so if you're doing a full-length feature, you're looking at a million-dollar, $10-million infusion into your economy," said Stone.

But some say the movie companies have plenty of money. Why should residents have to foot the bill for road closures or police overtime, among other things? Still, others think it would be a good thing.

If it's approved, this ordinance would only count in unincorporated parts of Riverside County. That means the Mission Inn, where a number of movies have been filmed, would not count. But the supervisors are hoping that every city in Riverside County will jump on board and approve ordinances of their own so that it would apply countywide.

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