Screen production in Los Angeles surpasses pre-pandemic levels

Local filmmakers set a new first quarter (Q1) record of 9,832 shoot days earlier this year 

By Priyanca Rajput 25 Jul 2022

Screen production in Los Angeles surpasses pre-pandemic levels
Feature Films Report, Film LA

Film production activity in Los Angeles city and county has stabilised above pre-pandemic levels, according to latest figures from FilmLA.

After posting three consecutive record-breaking quarters, local filming in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022 was down by -5.8% over the same period in 2021. From April to June, FilmLA recorded a total of 9,220 shoot days (SD) compared to 9,791 in Q2 2021.

Local filmmakers achieved an all-time quarterly high of 10,780 SD in Q4 2021 and subsequently set a new Q1 record of 9,832 SD earlier this year. Despite a second quarter slip, local production still surpassed pre-pandemic levels; finishing 6.8% ahead of Q2 2019 (with 8,632 SD) and 2.7% ahead of Q2 2018 (with 8,978 SD).

FilmLA president, Paul Audley said: “We expected we would see production return to pre-pandemic levels sometime within the year, and now here we are. Resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with industry leaders taking steps to protect both worker and community safety, we have confidence in the film industry’s ability to sustain local production at or above its historic levels.”

The feature film category demonstrated a strong performance for Q2, generating 898 SD – a 9% increase over the same period last year, but -16.4% below the category’s five-year average. (FilmLA’s reported five-year average excludes 2020, which was due to the impact of Covid-19 on production that year).

Impressively, 9% of feature production activity was directly tied to the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, overseen by the California Film Commission. Some of the larger feature length productions shooting locally during the quarter included Warner Bros.' Barbie, Searchlight Pictures' Being Mortal, an untitled Jonah Hill project for Netflix, and a remake of White Men Can’t Jump for 20th Century Studios.

Television continues attract the majority of local productions. Although down by -15.8% in Q2 from the previous year, the category generated 4,136 SD for a return still 12.7% above its five-year average. 

[Update] On 26 July, FilmLA also announced a new partnership with the City of Glendale, placing the organisation as the centralised coordinator of film permits and related services in the City, effective 1 August 1, 2022.

In preparation for the new partnership, the City of Glendale recently revised its filming policies to more closely align with the California Film Commission’s Model Film Ordinance. 

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