As Los Angeles On-Location Filming Rebounds, FilmLA Is “Optimistic” That Local Film Economy “Will Soon Be Back On Track”

Applications to film on-location in Los Angeles surged 43.1% in February over January, according to FilmLA, the city and county film permit office.

A late-month surge in production made last month the third-busiest FilmLA has recorded since June, when production tentatively resumed after the Covid-19 shutdown, though the agency said “activity remains around 40% below normal for this time of year.”

“As new Covid-19 case counts diminish and more projects restart production, we are optimistic that the local film economy will soon be back on track,” said FilmLA president Paul Audley. “On-location filming, for months conducted safely in observance of strict health protocols, will surely rise again with the reopening of businesses and expanding vaccine availability.”

Some of the series shot locally that started or resumed filming recently include: Grey’s Anatomy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, This is Us, American Crime Impeachment Story, Shameless, Dear White People, All American, Generation, 9-1-1: Lone Star, SEAL Team and You.

Several feature films, mostly independents, also shot here recently, including the Michael Bay-directed Ambulance with Jake Gyllenhaal; C’Mon C’Mon, starring Joaquin Phoenix; and Sweet Girl with Jason Momoa and Marisa Tomei.

Reality TV series that shot throughout the region since the first of the year include American Gangster: Trap Queens, Botched, Legendary, Lucky Dog, MTV Cribs, Property Brothers: Forever Home, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Dogs.

In the 37 weeks since on-location filming resumed here, FilmLA says it’s processed some 5,533 film permit applications spanning 3,789 unique projects. Film permit applications declined from November through January, however, as the surge in Covid-19 cases led to a substantial drop in local production.

Since local health officials gave permission in June for production to move forward, filming applications peaked in October (880 applications), declining to 813 in November, to 613 in December, and then to just 543 in January. But in February, FilmLA received 777 film permit applications – up more than 43% from the prior month.

February’s rebound was due in no small part to SAG-AFTRA, the Producers Guild of America and the Joint Policy Committee – the bargaining group representing advertisers and ad agencies – agreeing that effective February 1, filming was clear to resume, after they’d recommended a production pause during the holiday spike in coronavirus cases locally and across the country

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