Entertainment News

  • 21 March 2014, 9:50

Home Of Hollywood Suffering 'Film Flight'

The UK has overtaken California as a destination of choice for top US film-makers.

'Film flight' has seen the state, home to Hollywood and the Oscars, slip to fourth in the list of places where big money American movies are made.

And officials in California are warning that its movie industry could be "desolate" in a decade unless urgent action is taken.

They blame tax breaks offered by 40 other US states and countries like the UK, Canada and Australia for luring away big productions.

For the third year running, only one of the nominees for best picture at the Oscars - this year the movie Her - was made in California.

Louisiana, now the leading destination for US movie-makers, was home to Oscar winners 12 Years A Slave and Dallas Buyers Club. Canada is second on the list of destinations with the UK in third.

The triumphs of British-made Gravity at the Academy Awards highlighted the success of productions made a long way from Hollywood.

One LA movie insider told Sky News: "Producers cannot get any studio space in England at the moment. Everything is booked solid."

Fifteen years ago, 64% of the top 25 live action movies were made in California. Last year it was just 8%.

Politicians are now considering a tax break to compete and Paul Audley, president of Film LA, which processes film permits for the city, says the need is urgent.

"In 10 years, if the state hasn't acted this year, you'll see a desolate Hollywood. We have to compete immediately because we are losing that base underneath.

"California depends a lot on film tourism. The longer we go without having major features produced in California, the more difficult it will become to attract tourists here.

"There is tarnish on the Hollywood sign now."

The entertainment industry directly employs 160,000 people in California, paying wages of more than $17bn (10bn), but jobs are now being cut.

Southland Lumber, which supplied timber to the Hollywood studios for more than 70 years, has now closed due to the lack of orders.

Amy Lemisch, president of the California Film Commission, told Sky News: "This is a pivotal time for our industry. We've really got to step up to retain this industry before there are even greater losses."

Film-makers have always been attracted to LA's predictable weather and the diversity of landscapes on offer, from desert, to snowy mountains and beach settings. The city doubled for Tehran in last year's best picture Argo.

But some politicians are wary of tax breaks for one industry when in some states they are making back just 15 cents in income on every dollar of tax relief.

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