The California Film Commission hosted the Eighth Annual California Locations Breakfast on April 19 at the London in West Hollywood, Calif. Executive director for the CFC, Amy Lemisch was there to give an overview of this year’s Tax Credit Program and to introduce a special panel designed to discuss the ways in which the CFC can assist a production.
The panel featured the filmmakers of The Call, executive producers Guy Louthan, production designer Franco Carbone and location manager, Michael Burmeister. The panel was hosted by the host of KCRW’s The Business, Kim Masters and gave those involved a chance to explain the benefits and importance of filming in Los Angeles.
After applying to the CFC for the tax credits filming in L.A. would allot them, the makers of The Call found themselves on the waiting list. As they waited for their number to come up, Louthan and company had to find an inexpensive alternative, in case time ran out. Ottawa, Canada was to be that alternative. “We always wanted to do the film in L.A.,” Louthan said. “We never really gave up on that.”
Also, the cast and crew had personal reasons for wanting to keep the production local. Lead actress Halle Berry recently announced a pregnancy and Carbone recently swore off traveling for work – even if it meant not working. It soon became clear that the inconvenience of leaving L.A. may have been a deal breaker. “We knew we were going to get a much better movie there,” Louthan said. “We also knew we were going to keep everybody a lot happier.”
“From the story point of view, L.A. is critical,” Carbone said. “These freeways aren’t just sort of random freeways, they really have to do with the fact that these call center technicians had to handle a very difficult territory.”
Professional complications can also detract from filming outside of L.A. “Shooting out of state isn’t as easy as anyone thinks it is,” said Burmeister, who recently filmed two Twilight films in Baton Rouge, La. “I go to Baton Rouge and I’m hiring people who are horse trainers as location managers. You’re teaching people from scratch.”
After shooting the film in just 23 days for approximately $11 million, The Call came into being and had the good fortune of becoming part of the long, distinguished history of California films . Before the panel started, Lemisch informed those present that the CFC will begin accepting applications for the new fiscal year June 3. She also reminded everyone that, to apply for multiple projects, one must submit each application separately in an individual envelope. The approval process takes about 30 days, meaning approved applicants should receive credit allocation letters on or after July 1.