Garcetti Taps Entertainment Lawyer As New Film ‘Czar’

LOS ANGELES ( — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday the appointment of a prominent entertainment attorney to lead the fight against runaway production in the Southland.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports Garcetti has introduced Ken Ziffren as his chief advisor on motion picture and television production responsible for increasing local production and cutting red tape at City Hall.

Ziffren will replace former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak as L.A.’s so-called “film czar”. Sherak died in January following a long battle with prostate cancer.

Much like his predecessor, Ziffren – who was a key player in resolving a Writer’s Guild strike and has represented the NFL in negotiating network television contracts – said the effort has always been about protecting an estimated 500,000 direct and indirect jobs linked to the industry.

“This is about jobs for carpenters, electricians, makeup artists, good jobs that leave enough over at the end of the month to save for retirement, save for the kids’ college, and to spend in our neighborhoods,” Ziffren said.

According to the mayor’s office, only one of the 45 big budget feature films released in 2012 and 2013 was shot exclusively in California, representing a loss of thousands of jobs to other states.

RELATED: More Production Companies Leave LA For Out-Of-State Incentives

From 2005 to 2013, California’s share of the one-hour TV series market declined from 64 percent to 28 percent, Garcetti said in a statement.

California’s film incentive program, which Ziffren will focus on, is one of the state’s most efficient and proven economic development tools, generating 51,000 jobs and providing $4.5 billion in direct spending since its inception in 2009, according to Garcetti’s office.

One of the nation’s foremost entertainment lawyers, Ziffren is a founding partner of Ziffren Brittenham and earned his law degree from UCLA, where he was editor-in-chief of the UCLA Law Review, according to a statement.

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  • Governor Signs $330M Tax Credit For Calif. Film, TV Industry « CBS Los Angeles

    […] The legislation, AB 1839, which was authored by Los Angeles Democratic Reps. Mike Gatto and Raul J. Bocanegra, also had local support from Mayor Eric Garcetti, who helped lead a statewide coalition of policymakers and business leaders to push for entertainment legislation and created the city’s first-ever Mayor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Production. […]

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