LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti has launched the Digital Makers Initiative, a pilot program that will help ensure that the future of filmmaking remains and thrives in Los Angeles — by cutting two-thirds of film-permitting costs for small and digital-first productions.
Though digital filmmakers are increasingly driving film and television production in Los Angeles, they have historically been priced out of expensive permits that cater to big-budget projects. The Digital Makers Initiative, which cuts red tape for small, low-impact productions, is the first pilot program of its kind in the nation.
“Los Angeles has always been home to pioneers of the entertainment industry, and we should take down barriers to the kind of creative, future-minded innovation that small digital filmmakers represent,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The Digital Makers Initiative will help us make sure that L.A. — with all of our beautiful scenery, iconic landmarks, and unmatched production resources — remains accessible to them.”
FilmL.A. will issue the first Digital Makers Initiative permits this October to the pilot participants, which include Buzzfeed, Fullscreen, Tastemade, mitú, Funny Or Die, College Humor, and 72andSunny.
In the last year, location filming for digital-first media productions generated 2,113 production days in Los Angeles, up 46% over 2015. Overall, on-location production in this category has increased by more than 350% since tracking began in 2010, accounting for as many production days in L.A. as sitcoms, according to FilmLA.
The Digital Makers Initiative is designed for productions that have a low-impact on the communities in which they shoot. Pilot participants will pay a $250 fee and will be required to take part in a FilmL.A. training program. Cast and crew will be limited to up to 15 people on set for interior filming and up to six people for exterior filming.
Productions will have specific equipment requirements and filming of exceptional activity will be prohibited. There will be no special parking provisions or street closures for productions.
FilmL.A., the film permitting agency for the City and County of Los Angeles, as well as for 14 other cities in L.A. County, played a critical role in designing this pilot project.
“L.A. is home to so many talented makers, creators and artists who are innovating in the media and entertainment space,” said Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed. “We’re grateful to Mayor Garcetti for embracing the city’s thriving digital filmmaking community and honored to support this effort.”
“We applaud Mayor Garcetti for his commitment to keep digital production in Los Angeles. At mitú, we’re focused on supporting the next generation of storytellers who reflect the multicultural community. With Los Angeles being a hub for diversity, it’s the perfect place to bring those stories to life,” said Beatriz Acevedo, co-founder and president at mitú.
Mayor Garcetti is a strong champion for L.A.’s film and entertainment industry. Since taking office, he has focused on increasing film production in Los Angeles, and led the statewide coalition to triple the California Film and TV Tax Credit to $1.65 billion over five years. He also created the City’s first Entertainment Industry and Production Office, appointed a film czar, and ordered all City departments to designate a film liaison to cooperate with FilmL.A.