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June 28, 2013

Update from Ontario Representative in LA – June 28, 2013

TORONTO ONTARIO film office - A partnership of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, City of Toronto and FilmOntario.
WEEKLY UPDATE June 28, 2013
from Kelly Graham-Scherer, Los Angeles Representative - torontoontariofilm@gmail.com

Happy Friday everyone,

Thanks to all those who came out and enjoyed another successful Ontario Night mixer on Wednesday night. We had a great time at El Cid and I have since heard from two guests that they expect connections made that night will lead to business relationships. I spent part of yesterday and will spent the next few days helping man the Toronto/ Ontario booth at the downtown Los Angeles Convention Center where the Association of Film Commissioners International is holing its annual Locations Trade Show. Dozens and dozens of film commissioners from all over the world are there showcasing their jurisdictions' infrastructure and incentives, hoping to entice filmmakers and executives.

Los Angeles-based film and television stakeholders have new reason for optimism as new mayor-elect Eric Garcetti declared that finding ways to stem the city's exodus of production would be his number one statewide priority (after school funding). As detailed in the L.A. Times below, Garcetti met with a few dozen industry insiders this week and said he plans to emulate the municipal policies that have helped New York City more than triple the production spend it has generated over the last decade. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-fi-ct-garcetti-hollywood-20130625,0,301111.story

The urgency behind Garcetti's declaration was highlighted this week as permitting agency Film LA released a new study showing that Los Angeles is still struggling to keep television production in town. As reported in the L.A. Times below, despite the fact that a near-record number of pilots were produced here this season, the region's overall share of pilot production was just 52%, down from 60% last season and well below the 82% during the 2006-2007 cycle. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-tv-pilot-study-20130625,0,6520352.story

Another study released this week by the L.A. Economic Development Corp. provided mixed signals with regards to the local entertainment economy: as reported in the Times below the motion picture and sound recording category -- which includes those working at major studios, post-production houses and on film crews - produced 112,100 wage and salary jobs in May, down from 116,500 jobs a year earlier, however average employment for the first five months is 3.3% higher than the same period a year ago and location shoots for film, television and commercial production is up nearly 14% this year. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-entertainment-jobs-20130626,0,5062237.story

Industry stakeholders in Louisiana were watching carefully this week when a local man pled guilty in a federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the state's film and television tax credit program. As detailed below in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the case involves the falsifying of $4 million in production expenses, a scheme which cost tax-payers $1.2 million http://www.nola.com/crime/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2013/06/man_pleads_guilty_to_tax_credi.html

An article out of Las Vegas this week provided a clear illustration of why and how various jurisdictions expect that screen-based tax incentives will benefit their communities. The Las Vegas Sun below examines how the state's recent $20 million commitment to film and television incentives represents a choice between "paying for schools, public safety, roads and other services now, or giving some money away in hopes that the businesses receiving tax breaks will bring even more money to the state in future years." http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/jun/23/lawmaking-nevada-style-gambling-tax-breaks-reap-fu/#axzz2XSgdQSly

Finally, if you are wondering why yet another of my reports has been largely devoted to news of various film and television tax incentives, this last story should clarify: because Hollywood is constantly watching what's happening with incentives, we need to as well. The Hollywood Reporter this week provided a compilation of recent changes around the world. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/a-guide-latest-production-incentives-576596

You'll find the full text for the linked articles below my signature. Please feel free to distribute this e-mail widely and to get in touch with me with comments or links for inclusion.

As many of you know, I am headed up to Ontario next Friday. I will be working and then relaxing with family until I return to LA and the job on July 22nd. This report will be next sent July 26th.

Warmest regards,

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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