The 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 …
Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.
Producer 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.
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.
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“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.
While 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.
Catch up on the top film stories you missed this week on Deadline:
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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.
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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.
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.