Written by on Feb 12, 2014. Posted in On Location

Ken Ziffren is new ‘film czar’ for Los Angeles

Ken Ziffren has been appointed the new ‘film czar’ for Los Angeles, faced with the task of boosting location filming in the city. Ziffren is an experienced entertainment attorney and succeeds Tom Sherak, who tragically died of cancer in January after only a few months in the role.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti created the ‘film czar’ role in autumn 2013 to head his newly-created Entertainment Industry and Production Office. The move was designed to tackle the city’s long-term runaway production problem, which has seen TV dramas and big-budget movies largely shooting outside California in states that offer better filming incentives.

Production industry tax credits are intensely controversial in the US. This is partly due to the perception that they primarily benefit millionaire producers and movie stars, and Ziffren was careful to address this when he formally accepted the position.

“This is a critical moment for our industry and our economy,” Ziffren told a press conference: “If we don't fight back now, these jobs are going to be lost for good and that would be a devastating blow to our middle class.

“This is about jobs for carpenters, electricians, makeup artists - good jobs that leave enough over at the end of the month to save for retirement, save for the kids' college and to spend in our neighbourhoods.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti created the ‘film czar’ role in autumn 2013 to tackle the city’s long-term runaway production problem.

California currently offers USD100 million a year in filming tax credits that are allocated using a lottery system. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Garcetti said that he had lobbied Sacramento to double the size of the annual fund and expand incentive support to include big-budget productions.

Star Trek Into Darkness and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are among the only big-budget features to have filmed in California in the last few years.


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