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'Modest recovery' reported in LA's on-location film production

The Hollywood sign is shown on Dec. 4, 2012, with its brand-new paint job.
The Hollywood sign is shown on Dec. 4, 2012, with its brand-new paint job.
Grant Slater/KPCC

On-location film shoots in Los Angeles increased 9.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013 over the same period last year, according to FilmLA. The city's official film office calls the increase a sign of 'modest recovery' but says television production shoots lagged.

From  July through September,  there were 11,792 production days - the measurement of filming activity - compared  to 10,773 production days in the same period in 2012.  

On-location feature film production increased 19.5 percent for the quarter.  FilmLA says the category is still recovering - thousands of production days shy of its record in 1996.

FilmLA reports that California's Film and Television Tax Credit program generated 107 production days with projects like  Best Man, Jersey Boys, Kitchen Sink, OT Beach and Ride.

But television production  days fell 3.6 percent, with double-digit drops in the on-location reality, sitcom and Web-Based production sectors.  

“Any increase in local production is cause for celebration, as long as we don’t lose sight of the big picture,”  FilmL.A. President Paul Audley said in a statement. “California has yet to match and overcome out of state competition for this business.”

Audley said it would take a 125 percent increase in film production to return Los Angeles to its glory days.  

"Until Sacramento acts to level the playing field, we won’t see the kind of growth and prosperity that California families are counting on,”  Audley said.

Two Los Angeles area state legislators had already gotten the message.  Assemblyman Mike Gatto and Senator Kevin de León  announced last week that they will introduce a comprehensive film and television production tax credit and other related policies in the 2014 legislative session.  Gatto and De León expect to introduce the bill in January 2014, when the legislature returns from interim recess.  

In August, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a "state of emergency" to describe the city's need to stop the flight of film and television production to other states and countries.