Ahead of the signing this week of a much-enlarged California production tax-incentive package, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told a conference of U.S. and Chinese film and TV executives that “Hollywood is open for business and we will roll out the red carpet” for projects that bolster the city’s entertainment industry. It was mostly a feel-good speech before about 400 attendees at the U.S. China Film & Television Industry Expo, but a Garcetti spokesperson said afterward that it also was designed to reach out to Chinese production executives ahead of his November trip on trade and business to four cities there.
The 10-day trip to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen will feature representatives from the city’s port and airport authorities, both major conduits for trade into Los Angeles. But Garcetti wanted to signal his interest in meeting during the trip with Chinese entertainment executives to discuss bringing business or joint projects to L.A.
Garcetti invoked a line from his first film czar, the late Tom Sherak, about the importance of preserving entertainment jobs in Los Angeles, and said that Gov. Jerry Brown is set this week to sign a bill that more than triples the California tax-incentive program for film and television production to $330 million a year. Passage of the bill was a major priority for Garcetti in his first year in office and is seen by entertainment industry leaders as an important response to the runaway production problems dogging the business in the region for years now.
“We need to make sure Hollywood stays at the center of our community,” Garcetti said. “These are good, green, middle-class jobs. And it’s important that we build that middle class in both countries.”
And just as it’s important to bring jobs to Hollywood from Chinese-related projects, Garcetti said, “We want to see a day when China culture is more embraced here.” Korean pop music and related culture already is hot in Los Angeles and beyond, the mayor said, and the same could happen with Chinese music and films, especially given the large Chinese population already in the L.A. basin.