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Laurie Ender: City welcomes film companies to the SCV

Live from city hall

Posted: June 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

In an effort to bring more studio and location filming to our community, the city of Santa Clarita launched its own Film Incentive Program on July 1, 2009.  Key to the program was a new refunding of permit fees and transient occupancy tax for qualifying TV/film productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley.  The launch of the film incentive program makes Santa Clarita the first City in the 30-Mile Studio Zone to offer such a program, reinforcing the city’s commitment to retaining and fostering film and television production in our community.

More than 20 productions, including CBS’s “NCIS” and HBO’s “Big Love” have taken advantage of the city’s incentives.
ABC Family’s “Make It or Break It”  also received a refund and their decision to base additional shows in Santa Clarita was made in part because of the city’s Film Incentive Program. Productions approved for the State of California Film and Television Tax Credit Program are automatically approved for the city’s program.  More than 20 percent of the productions that have received the state incentive have filmed in the Santa Clarita Valley.  These productions include FX’s “Justified” which is also based in Santa Clarita, as well as the feature film hit “Bridesmaids” and newly released feature “Bad Teacher”, starring Cameron Diaz.

 Santa Clarita offers everything productions find in Los Angeles, but with the added benefits of a film-friendly community, less traffic, competitive location and rental fees and a very supportive film office based out of City Hall. On average, more than three productions film every single weekday in Santa Clarita, whether it be a commercial, television show, independent project, or feature film.  Some of these productions go unseen, filming on elaborate sets within sound stages.
  Other productions are more visible, filming on area streets, at neighborhood businesses, parks or at a private residence.
 
Filming has become an ever-important part of Santa Clarita’s economy.  In the last few years, the entertainment industry generated an average of $19 million each year in economic benefits to the local economy through spending at businesses.

It is estimated that approximately 6,000 Santa Clarita Valley residents work in the entertainment industry.  At a time when many city governments are looking at program and personnel cuts due to diminished budgets, the city of Santa Clarita is working hard to ensure production keeps rolling in the area, supporting the local economy and residents who work in the industry which in turn creates sustainable revenue for the city to offer services. 

To ensure that Santa Clarita remains a thriving industry hub, the city of Santa Clarita developed its film office in 2002 and is responsible for a variety of functions including: issuance of all permits for filming within city limits; assistance with location inquiries; overseeing all filming taking place on city-owned property; being a liaison between the City’s residences and businesses with the filming community; marketing Santa Clarita’s services and locations to the entertainment industry; and working with legislators to develop pro-active, film-specific benefits to help keep filming in California.

While California continues to lure back film and television production through tax incentives, the city is focusing on keeping the entertainment industry hard at work in Santa Clarita.  While you’re at the movie theater this summer or watching television this fall, keep an eye out for lots of familiar Santa Clarita locations!

Laurie Ender is a Santa Clarita City Councilmember and can be reached at lender@santa-clarita.com.

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