Ken Ziffren to be named new film czar for Los Angeles
Following the death last month of Tom Sherak, lawyer Ken Ziffren has been named as the man set to become Los Angeles' new film czar, a position created last year by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
A major part of his remit will be to try to staunch the flow of major film and TV productions currently streaming out of Los Angeles and Southern California to set up in other states and countries whose tax incentives are more attractive.
Ziffren is a veteran of entertainment law; he is a founding partner of Ziffren Brittenham, one of the U.S.’ leading specialist legal firms. His experience has been wide-ranging: he mediated during the Writers Guild of America strike during the late 1980s, and represented Starz when the digital channel established a premium pay TV service twenty years ago.
Ziffren teaches two regular seminars at UCLA School of Law, Network Television and Motion Picture Distribution, and has had high profile figures such as Oprah Winfrey among his clients.
With the establishment of the Mayor’s Entertainment Industry and Production Office last year, it would seem Mayor Garcetti is determined to halt the flow of productions heading elsewhere.
He is striving to raise the state tax credits by at least twice as much from the current $100m per year, as well as opening out the incentives scheme to include big-budget films, commercials and premium network TV shows.
Garcetti is also lobbying at ground level, trying to waive the fees for producers to film in civic buildings and allowing TV pilots to shoot without city permits.