California ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to feature film production and the jobs and spending these films bring, a report released Thursday by FilmL.A. concluded.
Over the past 15 years, the state’s share as a filming location of the top 25 live-action films significantly dropped to 8 percent last year from 64 percent, illustrating the effect of runaway production. Including animated films, California’s market share of the top 25 films was 24 percent.
The study was the result of FilmL.A., the non-profit agency that coordinates on-location film, television and commercial production permits in the city and county of Los Angeles and other jurisdictions, doing independent research. The study covered feature film production from last year, where the films were made, how much was spent to produce them and how many jobs they sustained during production.
Considering the filmmaking talent found in California, the state should be exporting films for global audiences, not jobs to global competitors, said FilmL.A. President Paul Audley.
Out of the 108 feature films looked at for the study, only 15 were made in California. Louisiana had the most with 18 film projects, followed by Canada also with 15 and the United Kingdom with 12.
California, too, fell short in the jobs the top feature films created, with only about 5,000. Louisiana, by contrast, had more than 13,000 jobs.
Big contributors to feature films leaving the state or country are tax incentive programs that cut down on the filming costs, the study said. Financial information was obtained for 38 films released last year that received tax credits either in the U.S. or other countries. Five were made in California.
“There is a misperception that runaway production happens because California is too expensive and locations like Georgia or British Columbia are simply ‘cheaper,’” the study said. “California is actually less expensive to film than most of its competitors on a level playing field free of government incentives.”
Audley used the release of the study to encourage state lawmakers to expand the film and television tax credit program introduced in 2009 and funded through the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
“We hope they give the strongest possible signal to the film industry that they want to keep film jobs in California,” Audley said in a prepared statement.
Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) introduced a bill last month to continue the program another five years, make any feature film eligible regardless of budget size, open it up to television pilots and new hour series regardless if they air on broadcast or cable or stream via the Internet.