Film Permit Applications Increase To Highest Pandemic Levels

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The number of applications for filming permits in the Los Angeles area increased by 45% in March compared to February and reached its highest levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released today.

It is the second month-over-month increase after filming permits declined due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in December and January.

“The current pace of business resumption is encouraging,'' FilmLA President Paul Audley said. “Continuing industry adherence to Appendix J protocols, which has made film sets among the safest possible workplaces during the pandemic, remains important even as local vaccine uptake increases.''

According to FilmLA, the nonprofit agency that coordinates film permitting in the Los Angeles area, there were 1,125 film permit applications in March, up from 777 in February. Since the resumption of on-location filming in June 2020, FilmLA has received 6,585 permit applications for 4,421 different projects.

Applications during the pandemic previously peaked in October, with 880 applications, after health officials gave permission for production to move forward. The number of applications dropped to 813 in November, 613 in December and 543 in January.

There were just over 7,000 shoot days last quarter, which ran from January through March, which was a 3.3% decrease from the same period in 2020, FilmLA reported. However, shoot days increased by 50% in the television category, with 3,766 shoot days. Reality TV had the greatest gain within that category, with 96.4% growth compared to the first quarter in 2020. TV dramas increased by 64.1%.

Shows filmed during the quarter included HBO Max's “Generation,'' Fox's “9-1-1: Lone Star,'' FX's “Mayans MC,'' CBS' “NCIS: LA,'' and “Colin in Black & White,'' and Showtime's “Shameless.'' Nearly a quarter of the television drama shoot days were for projects qualified for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program.

While television shooting days increased, feature film production decreased by 13.5% during the quarter. The films that did shoot included “Ambulance,'' a Michael Bay thriller with Jake Gyllenhaal; an untitled David O. Russell project with Robert DeNiro and Christian Bale; and “The Gray Man,'' a Columbia Pictures action thriller with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. About 5% of the shoot days logged were for film features from tax incentive projects.

Commercial production also declined last quarter by 17.2% with a total of 993 shoot days. Projects that did shoot locally were for products including Remy Martin, Little Caesar's and Nike.

Photo: Getty Images

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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