Filming in Santa Clarita reached an all-time high for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, city officials announced Wednesday.
Dramatic increases in film permits and film days generated an estimated $33.5 million in local economic impact — a 31 percent increase from the previous year — and marked the best year ever for the Santa Clarita Film Office, city officials said.
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The city is currently home to some of television’s “most-watched” programming, including “NCIS,” “Switched at Birth,” “The Bridge,” “Jennifer Falls,” “Chasing Life,” “Franklin and Bash,” “Justified,” “Utopia” and “Wipeout.”
“The city is thrilled with the continued growth for the film industry,” said Russell Sypowicz, a film office administrator. “I believe this is our third consecutive year of record growth, and we’re thrilled because we have over 6,000 residents that are employed in the industry.”
Other shows that regularly film in Santa Clarita include “CSI,” “Criminal Minds,” “Modern Family,” “The Mentalist” and “Sons of Anarchy,” and feature films like “Earth to Echo,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Dumb and Dumber To,” “Fast and Furious 7” and “Saving Mr. Banks” also filmed scenes in Santa Clarita.
The Santa Clarita Film office recorded a total of 1,370 film days and processed 531 film permits for location filming for the fiscal year, which represents a 44 percent increase in permits and a 28 percent increase in film days in comparison to the previous year, officials said.
Approximately half of the location filming days were attributed to television production alone.
“Santa Clarita has always been a film-friendly community,” said Mayor Laurene Weste. “Over the years, we have focused our efforts on making the film permitting process as easy as possible, while balancing the needs of production with those of the residential and business communities. We were the first city in Los Angeles County to offer a Film Incentive Program and remain committed to doing everything we can to ensure our position as a top choice for filming in California.”
The Film Incentive Program, as well as the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program, were implemented in 2009 as a way to retain and increase feature and television production inside the city.
Thousands of film-friendly locations, low permitting fees, expedited permitting processes and location within the entertainment industry’s “Thirty Mile Zone” are other factors that make Santa Clarita an ideal place to film, officials said.
“We have a number of things going for us,” Sypowicz said. “We have a lot of different popular locations, whether it’s movie ranches or just film-friendly locations around town. We have a pretty good infrastructure with dozens of sound stages… and we have the lowest fees in Los Angeles.”
The city’s ability to double as “almost any place in the world” is another benefit for production, officials said.
In addition to the record-breaking year, June 2014 was the best June on record for the film office, with a 71 percent increase in local economic impact from last year, as well as 81 percent more film days and 34 percent more permits than any other previous June.
“We work hard to be the best at what we do and could not be more pleased with the film office’s successes this past year,” Weste said.
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