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Los Angeles gets location filming boost

Los Angeles saw an overall location filming increase of just over 10% in the first quarter of this year, according to figures from FilmL.A.

In a strong three months for the California city, feature production rose by nearly 25%, while TV location filming – encompassing all genres – went up by almost 20% overall. Television drama shoots specifically increased by 3% on the previous year.

“We predicted we’d see a boost in feature production in the first quarter thanks to the state tax credit, and we’re glad to see that happening,” noted Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A.

“In addition, as the non-incentivised counts show, Los Angeles remains a popular choice among film, television and commercial producers.”

California has boosted its filming incentive by more than tripling its annual fund to $330m. However, the vast majority of productions that shot in Los Angeles over the past three months were not in fact supported by the improved tax credit. 

The state’s filming incentive support currently prioritises TV productions. First-quarter television shoots that qualified for the tax credit included Westworld (pictured), a drama series adaptation of the cult 1973 sci-fi, and Animal Kingdom, an urban crime saga based on an Australian feature from 2010. 

California’s biggest success came with TV comedy, which saw a location filming surge of nearly 85%. Many US sitcoms are filmed in Los Angeles studios, making it practical to film occasional exterior scenes on location nearby. 

The city’s feature filming increase is a positive short-term development. Nonetheless, most big-budget movies still choose to shoot in North American hubs like New Orleans, Atlanta, New York, Toronto or Vancouver, all of which offer stronger filming incentives for features.        

For more on filming in California see our production guide.

Image: John P Johnson/HBO