A television show films in the Arts District near Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.
A television show films in the Arts District near Downtown Los Angeles. Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive order Wednesday instructing city department heads to make filming in Los Angeles easier and appointed Public Works Commissioner Kevin James as the city’s chief film liaison.

James will lead a task force made up of city employees and work closely with Garcetti’s film czar, entertainment lawyer Ken Ziffren. James, whose annual salary is about $140,000, will not be paid extra for the new role.

The task force will meet quarterly and include film liaisons appointed by each city department to streamline the issuance of permits, cut down on miscommunication or mix-ups, and keep city fees low for the entertainment industry.

The city fees being charged will be re-examined to ensure they are simple to understand and kept as low as possible for the entertainment industry, while still covering the city’s basic expenses in offering its services.

The liaisons will also put together a list of city-owned sites — some free-of-charge — that production companies can use as on-location sets.

Garcetti also announced that he plans to increase funding in the upcoming city budget to bolster services that affect filming and television productions. The funds would go toward hiring more clerical workers; offering extra hours at Recreation and Parks facilities and in the Fire Department; more efficient posting of signs by the Transportation Department; and upgrading permitting systems to link FilmL.A. — the county’s official film permitting agency — to city departments.

Garcetti said he hopes the executive order will help film and television productions take advantage of the annual $330 million in tax credits offered by the state’s new film incentive program — signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year in a bid to stem runaway production.

“I have no greater priority as mayor than to protect and expand L.A.’s economy and middle class — to make sure the American dream is alive and well here in our city of angels,” Garcetti said.

“With the new film tax credit in place, we now must make sure L.A. is as film-friendly as possible by cutting red tape, coordinating city departments and investing in city services that promote entertainment job production,” he said.

Garcetti also recently announced he is putting together a team of entertainment professionals — under a new program called Greenlight Hollywood — to actively seek out film and TV productions to shoot in Los Angeles.

City News Service

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