L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Appoints Chief Film Liaison

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

The mayor also signed an executive order to simplify permitting and production processes.

As part of his ongoing campaign to keep and attract more film and TV production, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday signed an executive order to simplify the city's film-permitting process, and appointed Kevin James as chief film liaison.

James, an attorney and former mayoral candidate who now heads the Board of Public Works, will be tasked with facilitating ways to cut red tape for productions while working closely with Garcetti's advisor on entertainment industry issues, Ken Ziffren.

Garcetti signed the directive and spoke at an event to thank those who helped with passage of the new state of California law that expands the annual program of tax credits from $100 million to $330 million a year, or a total of $1.6 billion over five years.

"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."

"The recent passage of AB 1839 was a tremendous victory for Los Angeles and the entertainment industry," said James, who added that his mission will be to "deliver on Mayor Garcetti's priority of ensuring that Los Angeles effectively capitalizes on this terrific opportunity for continuing job growth in our city."

Garcetti also announced that after a year of analysis in conjunction with members of the entertainment industry, council members and especially council budget committee chair Paul Krekorian, he will include funding in the 2016-2016 budget to increate money for city services important to filming. Those include clerical, monitoring and after hours operations at the Recreation, Parks and Fire Departments.

Each department will now be asked to appoint a film liaison to work with the industry to make their department film friendly. There will be quarterly Film Task Force Meetings to ensure the streamlining and efforts to make L.A. film friendly are part of an ongoing process.

Under the new plan, the city's Economic and Workforce Development Department will provide a computerized list of city-owned properties that the industry may use free of charge. Each city department will also be responsible for making sure all fees are simple to use, understand and administer; and that the fees are set at the lowest possible amount.

Rajiv Dalal, who has been L.A.'s deputy film czar, said at the event that he is leaving his post after a year and a half on the job.

The latest announcements follow Garcetti's Greenlight Hollywood campaign, announced during Oscar week, which targets studio greenlight committees (those who approve movie and TV projects) as wall as talent agencies, to promote L.A. as a premiere destination for entertainment production. That campaign began this month and will continue in April, leading up to the rollout of the expanded state tax incentive program.

Greenlight Hollywood, according to the announcement, "will recruit and deploy a corps of entertainment professionals to identity film and TV productions in the planning stages that would be most beneficial to L.A.'s economy if produced here. These Greenlight Hollywood representatives would then contact the productions — through studio greenlight committees — and make the case for filming in L.A., including new financial incentives and cuts in red tape."

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