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California Official Dodges Governor’s Stance On Film & TV Tax Credit

california-tax-credits3__120901092343__120929195413__131031165021__131112185634__140109040050__140219155328Even as new legislation to expand and evolve California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program weaves through the state Assembly, Governor Jerry Brown’s administration today refused to unequivocally come out in support of the effort. “I realize the tax credit is a concern,” said Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to the concerned industry heavy crowd at the state Film Commission’s annual locations breakfast. “There are difficult political considerations,” added the appointed official indicating Brown’s lack of open support of the Kish_0425 -400X300widely co-sponsored and industry supported bill that was introduced on February 19. Rajan spoke Thursday before an audience at the W Hotel in Hollywood that included LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren, Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemish, Disney/ABC’s Director of Production Finance Valerie Spiller, and reps from Film L.A.

Related: New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

While naming no dollar amount yet, the anti-runaway production AB 1839 from Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) aims to increase the figure available, remove ineligibility caps on pics with budgets of more than $75 million and TV pilots as well as put the program on a more stable footing. The bill unanimously passed its first test last month when the Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, And Internet Media committee voted in favor of it. Now, AB … Read More »

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L.A. Mayor Praises “Dear Friend” Tom Sherak In State Of The City Speech

garcetti april 10 speechThe city’s first Film Czar was praised by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today in his inaugural State of the City address. “With the help of my dear friend the late Tom Sherak and Ken Ziffren, who’s continued the fight, we reignited the movement to expand film tax credits in Sacramento,” said the SAG-AFTRA card carrying politician this evening. A couple of months after Garcetti took office, the former AMPAS president and studio exec was named head of LA’s Film Office late last September in an effort to expand and evolve production in the city after years of decline due to runaway production. After

sherak__130926172434Sherak passed away on January 28, heavyweight entertainment lawyer Ziffren was appointed LA’s second Film Czar on February 10. “In just nine months, we are changing the landscape—one summer job, one red button, one film production and one balanced budget at a time.”

L.A. Move For Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Unlikely As Pols Continue To Pitch CBS
New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

One production that looks pretty likely not to be coming to LA is CBS’ Late Show when Stephen Colbert takes over from David Letterman next year. Despite personal pitches earlier this week from Garcetti and Ziffren, the late night show seems certain to stay in the Big Apple. Still, Garcetti also made a point in his speech at the California Science … Read More »

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Harvey Weinstein Tells LA Film Czar California Is Still Competitive

Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.

panelProducer Harvey Weinstein told LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren today that he needs to do whatever it takes to increase California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program in order to keep production in the state. The remarks were made during Weinstein’s keynote address at today’s 38th annual UCLA Entertainment Symposium.

Related: LA Film Czar: Governor Not Yet “Committed” To Expanding Film & TV Tax Credit

Weinstein argued that California does not have to offer the same discounts as, say, New Orleans as long as the state can provide enough of an incentive when weighed against the added travel and production costs called for by out-of-state production.  He said producers can elevate the quality of production by tapping the superior Hollywood talent pool and prefer to avoid transportation hassles that “can turn scheduling into a nightmare.”

On February 19, legislation was introduced to expand the $100 million credit program, with nearly 60 co-sponsors from across the state. However, Gov. Jerry Brown has been weary about adding new expenditures to the state’s stable budget. “Please, whatever you can do with the governor…” Weinstein pleaded to Ziffren, who offered no immediate response. Ziffren, who was named the city’s Film Czar on February 10, mentioned in a conference call February 27 that he wants to see production in the state return to the lofty levels seen during the mid-1990s. Industry sources have said the the California program should aim for a target credit level of $400 million.

Related: Mike Fleming’s Q&A With Harvey Weinstein

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday March 2, 2014 @ 3:15pm PST

Dylan McDermottDylan McDermott To Star In CBS’ Kevin Williamson Drama Pilot
By Nellie AndreevaHostages‘ Dylan McDermott is set as the male lead in another CBS/Warner Bros TV drama project, the untitled Kevin Williamson pilot. Read More »

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LA Film Czar: Governor Not Yet “Committed” To Expanding Film & TV Tax Credit

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 10:04am PST

Ken Ziffren1“I believe the Governor and his staff are very interested in the progress of this legislation — I don’t think they’ve committed one way or another nor would I expect them to them to at this point in the progress, ” new LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren said today about the proposed expansion to California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. With nearly 60 co-sponsors from across the state, the new legislation introduced last week looks certain to pass the Assembly but it still has to also get the approval of the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been openly weary of adding new expenditures to the state’s now stable budget.

Related: California Pols Unveiling Bill Today To Expand Film & TV Tax Credit Program

california-tax-credits3__120901092343__120929195413__131031165021__131112185634__140109040050__140219155328While Ziffren stressed during a conference call this morning that he wanted to see production in California return to its heights of the mid-1990s, he would not commit to a dollar figure he thought the new legislation should seek; the pending legislation has left the funding level blank as political wrangling takes place in Sacramento. However, industry sources have cited $400 million as the target amount for which the program should aim. “Our office is not committed to any number but to make sure all the legislators understand the need for improvement and modernization of legislation,” Ziffren said. “The number will follow depending on a number of factors like the economy, the size of the surplus, and other constituents in California.” Today was Ziffren’s first significant public statements since, as I exclusively revealed February 8, the heavyweight entertainment lawyer was tapped by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to replace Tom Sherak as the first head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office after Sherak died January 28.

Related: It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 4:55pm PST

Catch up on the top film stories you missed this week on Deadline:

86th Oscars®, Nominees Luncheon, Group Photo86th Academy Awards Nominees Photo
By The Deadline Team – Here’s the group shot from the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton today (with closer looks and caption info after the jump). This is the largest number of nominees yet.

BAFTA Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Wins Best Film But ‘Gravity’ Carries Most Weight With Six Total Nods; Chiwetel Ejiofor & Cate Blanchett Take Actor Wins; ‘American Hustle’ Scores 3 Including For Jennifer Lawrence
By Nancy Tartaglione and Joe Utichi – Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave rallied from a slow start to win the Best Film award tonight at the 62nd BAFTA Film Awards in London. The slave drama from Fox Searchlight had 10 nominations but won just two awards, after Chiwetel Ejiofor took the Leading Actor prize for playing Solomon Northup.

It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar
By Dominic Patten – LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today made official what I exclusively revealed Saturday to Deadline readers: Hollywood heavyweight attorney Ken Ziffren will be the head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office.

Lego MovieBox Office: ‘Lego’ Blocks ’80s Remakes, ‘About Last Night’ No. 2, ‘RoboCop’ And ‘Endless Love,’ ‘Men’ Round Out Top Five In Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend
By Anita Busch – Big falls in estimates across the board today except for The Lego Movie and, interestingly enough RoboCop which saw a nice bump up on Saturday. Those two films are the ones that have been estimated up, with Lego now expected in between $60M to $62M. Read More »

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UPDATE: It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 1:13pm PST

UPDATE, 1:13 PM: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today made official what I exclusively revealed Saturday to Deadline readers: Hollywood heavyweight attorney Ken Ziffren will be the head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office. The card-carrying SAG-AFTRA member Garcetti said that Ziffren will be “a powerful leader in our fight against other states that are taking our jobs, and he will be aggressive about streamlining government so red tape doesn’t contribute to driving production away.” Ziffren takes over from former AMPAS president and studio exec Tom Sherak. who died January 28. See today’s full release below the original story.

Related: R.I.P. Tom Sherak

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, SATURDAY PM: Los Angeles is about to get its second Film Czar. Mayor Eric Garcetti has decided on Ken Ziffren for the job he created last fall and the powerhouse entertainment attorney has accepted the gig, I’ve learned.  Ziffren will step into the position vacated by the death of the city’s first Film Czar Tom Sherak. The former AMPAS president and studio exec passed away from cancer on January 28. A formal announcement of Ziffren’s appointment to head the Entertainment Industry and Production office is expected to come from the Mayor’s office early next week, sources tell me.
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