Production companies and filmmakers will have to go through Film L.A., Inc., if they want to obtain a film permit to shoot in Santa Monica.
Council members unanimously approved the agenda item Tuesday night as part of its Consent Calendar.
The streamlined film permitting process will allow for greater services to be provided to filmmakers and community members.
Film L.A. will oversee film permit coordination, notification, and monitoring services.
Prior to the council vote, filmmakers had to obtain film permits from the Public Works Department in order to conduct commercial filming activities on public property within Santa Monica.
Only the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium or the Annenberg Community Beach House had their own respective permitting processes independent of City Hall.
In the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year, the Public Works Department “issued 750 permits for commercial filming activities on public property, public right-of-way, and in City facilities such as the Airport, beach, parks, the pier, and on streets and sidewalks.”
City Hall issued 280 permits for still photography and 470 were for films in the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year.
According to City Hall, about $1 million was collected in film permit fees for the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year, “including fees for the cost of public safety personnel assigned to film projects.”
With Film L.A. taking over the film permitting process, City Hall still anticipates earning the same amount of revenue from fees.
Film L.A. would oversee five specific services: permit coordination; neighborhood notification; location monitoring; fee collection; and, marketing.
The centralized film permitting process would allow, according to City staff, “filmmakers to apply once, across jurisdictional lines, for up to 10 locations per permit.” Final approval of all permits would still be issued by City Hall.
Film L.A.’s application fee for still photography is $60, while film and motion pictures must pay $625 for up to 10 locations. Student permits range from $25 to $90, according to City staff.
The fee for neighborhood notification would be $155 for a 250-foot radius of the film location. Location monitoring costs range from $30 per hour to $60 per hour. All permit fees must be collected from the filmmaker and submitted to City Hall within 30 days of the application.