The chief issuer of film permits in Los Angeles said Monday that his agency will spurn an annual movie locations trade show in Los Angeles this week, chastising it as a "glorified junket for film commissioners" out to steal production work from Southern California.
But officials with the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., an agency formed by the city and county of Los Angeles to issue permits and promote film production in the area, also acknowledged that the announcement by President Cody Cluff about the Locations 2000 Global Expo is not a new policy. The agency shunned the expo last year, and the previous year limited its participation to assisting the California Film Commission with its booth.
Locations Expo, which starts Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is expected to draw about 4,500 people, each year allows film commissions worldwide to sell themselves as potential movie locations to Hollywood executives.
In an unusually harsh broadside against the trade show, Cluff issued a statement in which he said he would prefer using his staff "to facilitate a shoot in downtown Los Angeles rather than handing out brochures and ballpoint pens at the Convention Center."
Ward Emling, director of the Mississippi Film Office and president of the Assn. of Film Commissioners International, which puts on the trade show, disputed Cluff's characterization of the event.
"If I were planning a junket to Los Angeles, I'd pick a month where I'm at least guaranteed a little better weather. We come here now because decisions are being made about projects," he said.
Emling added that business gets done at the expo. "This is where the decision-makers are, and it is an opportunity for our members to market their jurisdictions to those people."
In an interview, Cluff said that he is most concerned that the expo helps foreign countries that are increasingly luring U.S. productions. Hollywood's unions over the last year have been protesting "runaway productions" to foreign countries and are lobbying for state tax breaks if film shoots stay in California.