Pandemic-Era Film Permitting In L.A. Is On The Rise
Paul Audley, president of FilmLA
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Since the resumption of on-location filming last June, FilmLA--partner film office for the City and County of Los Angeles--reports receiving 6,585 film permit applications, spanning 4,421 unique projects. After the COVID-19 holiday surge and voluntarily industry production pause in December and January, application activity surged 45 percent from February (with 777 applications) to March (with 1,125 applications).

“The current pace of business resumption is encouraging,” noted Paul Audley, president of FilmLA. “Continuing industry adherence to Appendix J protocols, which has made film sets among the safest possible workplaces during the pandemic, remains important even as local vaccine uptake increases.”

Examining Shoot Days (SD) during last quarter, FilmLA recorded a total of 7,011 SD from January through March, 2021, down slightly by 3.3 percent from the same period the prior year. The largest year-over-year gains occurred in the television category, which experienced a 50.1 percent increase for a total of 3,766 Shoot Days.

Among all television sub-categories, reality TV series experienced the greatest rate of growth at 96.4 percent compared to Q1 2020 (to 1,514 SD in 2021). TV dramas also increased significantly, growing 64.1 percent (to 1,459 SD). A total of 24.7 percent of television drama Shoot Days came from projects that qualified for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, along with 5.0 percent of SD for TV comedies.

Some of the television series filming locally during the quarter included Generation (HBO Max), 9-1-1: Lone Star (Fox), Mayans MC (FX), NCIS: LA (CBS), Colin in Black & White (Netflix) and Shameless (Showtime).

Feature film production declined 13.5 percent in the first quarter versus Q1 2020 (to 575 SD). Films that shot locally last quarter include the Michael Bay thriller, Ambulance, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, an Untitled David O. Russell Project with Robert De Niro and Christian Bale, and the Columbia Pictures action thriller entitled The Gray Man, with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. Overall, 4.9 percent of first quarter Shoot Days logged for features came from tax incentive projects.

Commercial production generated a total of 993 SD last quarter, for a decline of -18.2 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Spots for products like Remy Martin, Little Caesar’s and Nike were shot locally during the quarter. Also included were commercials for Nissan, Ford and Nationwide Insurance.

FilmLA’s COVID-19 Resource Center lists the areas served by FilmLA and their current filming availability. This page also includes links to resources from film industry organizations and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, including mandatory health orders that apply to filming on location.


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