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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Mar 22, 2014

JenniferFischerLately, I’ve seen many reminders regarding the exodus of filming from Los Angeles with headlines booming about how Los Angeles or California is no longer the film capital of the world.

On a personal level, I’ve seen this first-hand, with more and more Santa Clarita friends who work in the industry “commuting” across the country (and sometimes out of the country) to work on television shows or films, often spending months at a time elsewhere, with their families still here.

I can’t imagine the toll this would take on a family, and I can’t imagine that those families are happy about this change – although they might still be grateful for the work.

I’ve met CalArts students who graduate here in Valencia and then move to India or Taiwan because that is where the work is for them as animators.

Because I didn’t grow up in Southern California, I had never really considered the extended effect of this shift. But the other night, when I attended a Cal State L.A. event celebrating the opening of its new Television, Film and Media Center, a woman I met shared what she has seen as someone whose family has been in “the business” for generations.

For her, it meant shifting from production to academia so she could stay in the city she loves. For her brother, it has meant constant work away from home and difficulty maintaining relationships. For her city, she has seen what production leaving L.A. means for other businesses – dry cleaners, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. She reminded me that less filming in L.A. and California means less income for those working on films and television shows to spend in California supporting local businesses.

It made me proud that our latest film, “Smuggled,” was filmed here in California; in fact, it was shot entirely in the Santa Clarita Valley. It made me realize how important the city of Santa Clarita’s film incentives are – and how the great Film Office we have helps loads of businesses in the area, not just those working in film and television. It helped me share the excitement of the opening of a new state-of-the-art media center at Cal State L.A. to train media professionals and help keep more film and television work in the area.

It made me appreciate independent filmmakers and smaller productions that shoot on location to ensure authenticity and, in so doing, support local communities and businesses. One such film was “Fruitvale Station,” which was shot primarily in locations in the San Francisco Bay Area where the real events the film depicts occurred.

I’m pleased to share that “Fruitvale Station” will be showing at the College of the Canyons in Hasley 101 on Friday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m. The screening is free and open to the public.

Additional films showing that same day include “Kings of Summer” at 4:30 p.m. and “Fill the Void” at 6:30 p.m.

In “Kings of Summer,” Joe Toy, chafing under his widowed father’s control, invites a friend and an offbeat new kid to help him build his own house in the nearby woods. Free from parents and responsibility, what will happen next?

“Fill the Void” tells the story of 18-year-old Shira, who is thrilled that the marriage arranged for her within her Orthodox Jewish community is with a boy she likes. But when her sister dies in childbirth, Shira’s hopes for her future are thrown into turmoil by her grieving mother.

“Fruitvale Station,” a dramatic rendering of a real-life tragedy, recounts the final hours of Oscar Grant, who was shot by San Francisco transit police on New Year’s Day, 2009. In portraying the energy Oscar brought to life, the film mourns the tragic loss of a unique soul.

I love making independent films and supporting other independent filmmakers. I appreciate that COC offers regular opportunities to watch indie films for free. I hope to contribute even more to a thriving local filmmaking and art community in the Santa Clarita Valley.

If you’re a local artist, share a link to your work or a note about your work in the comments so that others can support what you do.




Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.





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  1. Local and state government need to lax the tax and permit requirements for filming industry. We can still bring them back. Instead of heavy tax and permit fees, we should encourage the industry to film here in California, more jobs equals more spending equals even more revenue for city and state.

  2. Democrats saw rich film companies rich actors and directors and thought they should pay their fair share. This caused 90% of the features to leave California and go to other states and other countries. Now that that have moved and become established in these other states and other countries they are never coming back. These Democrats are trying to drop taxes a liitle which will bring little or no filming back to California. As long as there is a Democrat super majority in the state legislature filming is done here.

  3. Lowering taxes on filming is akin to the dems complaining about tax breaks for the rich. How about lowering taxes on everyone and stop spending money you don’t have!?

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