Like so many other industries, the film business has slumped right along with the recession. That’s what Inyo County’s Film Commissioner Chris Langley told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
Langley said it’s more difficult getting film crews up to the Eastern Sierra, and, he said, there are more cancellations than normal. Langley said that the bottom line is that 33 productions actually had permits, and he said it’s usually twice that number. From the money side of film productions, last year saw a value of $3,625,000. Langley said usually the value is more than twice that amount.
Langley has talked to other film commissions who, he said, are experiencing the same drop in business. Five film jobs did crop up. Langley said a Lamborghini commercial and a Ford Mustang commercial were recently completed. He said both were prototypes or new models and there was a lot of security around the productions.
Another possibility for filming is a reality show called “Utopia.” Langley said the crew needs five or six acres on which chosen individuals are supposed to create a utopian situation in three months.
A science fiction producer is back looking for locations to film a movie about universal catastrophes. “Earthquakes, tornadoes or both,” said Langley. Another producer wants to do a mountain climbing feature at Whitney Portal and Happy Boulders. Still another company has an interest in filming a western. Langley said they are serious film makers.
On the bureaucratic side of the movie business here, Langley told the Supervisors BLM has expressed interest in a common permitting process for films. Langley may pursue that possibility which would help him work with the bureaucracies on film permits.
On the legislative side of films, Langley pointed out that the Governor did not keep the State Film Incentive Program which has offered up to $100 million in tax breaks to those who want to invest in films. Langley said an alliance involved with film economy is lobbying to get the program back in. He said it doesn’t really impact Inyo County’s slice of the movie industry.