First in a series. Los Angeles is gearing up for a significant increase in film and TV production once the new California production tax incentives kick in next year, but one group that isn’t so excited about the coming boom is the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, a private organization that represents downtown businesses and residents. In April, the City Council asked city officials to report on the possibility of expanding filming hours in downtown. The DLANC, however, came back with its own community impact statement, saying that it “vehemently opposes” the expansion of film hours downtown.
Faced with stiff opposition from powerful downtown business interests, proposals to expand filming hours have been put on the back burner – at least for now.
Most areas downtown allow filming from 6 AM to 11 PM, but in the Broadway corridor, filming is allowed from 6 AM until midnight. In the Old Bank District, however, filming is only permitted from 7 am until 10 pm, and filmmakers would like to see those hours expanded. The Old Bank District is particularly attractive to filmmakers because with its many old buildings it can easily pass for almost any city in the country.
The DLANC, however, maintains that the residents and businesses it represents already are overburdened by filmmaking and that they shouldn’t be asked to become more film friendly until production crews become more downtown-friendly.
“Filming is very disruptive to community members,” the DLANC said. “For example, production companies often prevent access to parking spaces, use invasive lighting, cause significant noise through the use of helicopters and block access to driveways or other entry points, thereby preventing reasonable access to residents’ homes.” The group also complained that film crews have turned living and working downtown into a “hostile environment,” citing cases of “intimidation by cast or crew, including the use of lewd or offensive language; threats to have parked vehicles towed from parking spaces where no production parking restrictions were placed; and use of invasive lighting without any prior notice.”