The City of Santa Clarita saw some success in its bid to remain a popular destination for filming in Southern California. The City has reported that the economic benefit stemming from local filming was up 14 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. The total impact of location filming reportedly surpassed $22 million last year.
The City of Santa Clarita City Council approved the first city-supported Film Incentive Program in the 30-Mile Zone in April 2009 as part of the 21-Point Business Plan for Progress, and has since worked with seven productions for permit subsidization since the programs inception in July 2009.
Three locally-based productions recently benefited from the program, including the new Fox comedy “Sons of Tucson,” HBO’s “Big Love,” and “Faster,” a feature film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“Santa Clarita is pleased to benefit from the influx of new productions retained and attracted to California by the state’s incentive program,” said Mayor Laurene Weste. “Santa Clarita is the only City in the 30-Mile Zone supporting the state’s efforts with our own permit subsidy program, and we continue to evaluate our film practices to support the industry, and our local economy as a result, in any way we can.”
The City also reported a total of 867 film days in 2009, up from 827 film days in 2008. Continuing the trend in 2010, the City reported 29 film permits in January, which is the largest number of permits for a January month since the Film Office’s inception in 2002/2003.
The City’s first Film Incentive Program helped Santa Clarita capitalize on the momentum the film office cultivated since its inception in 2002. Earlier this year, “Sons of Tucson” received a full refund of paid permit fees through the Film Incentive Program’s first incentive option, providing comprehensive permit subsidization to qualifying, locally-based productions. The show, which debuts March 14, 2010 on Fox, based at Santa Clarita Studios and filmed 88 percent of principal photography in the Santa Clarita Valley, including businesses and neighborhoods. Twenty percent of the production’s cast and crew was comprised of Santa Clarita residents.
HBO’s “Big Love” received a partial refund of paid permit fees through the second incentive option, which focuses on recurring productions. The show has based in Santa Clarita at the Avenue Scott Stages since its inception and regularly films on location around town. The fourth season of “Big Love” is currently airing on HBO and the show has been picked up for a fifth season.
The feature film Faster received partial subsidization of permit fees through the City’s incentive program and is one of the films that qualified for California’s production incentives.
To date, eight productions that qualified for California’s incentives have filmed on location in Santa Clarita, including FX’s new television show “Justified,” which is based at Santa Clarita Studios, and Priest, a vampire feature that transformed Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studios into a post-apocalyptic Western town.
The City created the Santa Clarita Valley Film Office to attract and retain the entertainment industry in Santa Clarita, including both location filming and film-related businesses. Santa Clarita is currently home to several network and cable television shows, including HBO’s “Big Love,” CBS’s “NCIS, ABC Family’s “Make it or Break It” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” Fox’s “Sons of Tucson,” FX’s “Justified,” and ABC’s “Wipeout.”