Film permits on the rise in city

Glendale and Burbank have benefited from a boost in film production in the region, as "CSI," "Desperate Housewives" and a host of television commercials have shot on location in the area in the past two months.

Last week Film L.A., a nonprofit that tracks film activity in the Los Angeles region, said on-location production in December jumped 37% compared with December 2009.

Industry leaders and economists say a more robust advertising market and state tax incentives have spurred filming, even as other states, as well as parts of Canada, have competed successfully for film production over the years, offering lucrative tax incentives and building up industrial expertise to handle filming.

Burbank saw a 33% increase in filming in December, with 32 permits issued compared with 24 in the same period last year, said Norma Brolsma, who handles film permits for the Burbank Police Department. November also saw a slight increase, with 39 shoots compared with 36 in November 2009.

"Right now commercials and TV series are big," Brolsma said. "The features are down. They will come in around springtime."

Brolsma said December shoots included "The Office," "CSI," "Desperate Housewives" and "Men of a Certain Age." Carmax, which has a facility in Burbank, and Burbank-based children's education and entertainment production firm the Hub were among those filming commercials, along with Taco Bell, Baskin-Robbins and U.S. Bank.

Brolsma said one popular location is Keystone Street, a residential street that runs past John Burroughs High School and is only a few blocks from the headquarters of the Walt Disney Co., home of ABC.

"ABC loves Keystone, because it is right off the lot," Brolsma said.

In Glendale, filming permits more than doubled, from nine in December of 2009 to 20 for the same period in 2010, according to statistics from film permit coordinator Judy Herwig. November 2010 saw 22 permits, compared with 15 during the same period in 2009.

In recent months, cameras rolling in Glendale filmed for "Glee," "Bones," "Criminal Minds" and "CSI," as well as Nickelodeon and PBS specials. Companies that filmed commercials in Glendale included Google, Macy's, Hallmark, Hyundai, Captain Morgan's rum and Quaker Oats.

Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian said filming takes place all over Glendale, as it has residential neighborhoods reminiscent of Midwestern cities, as well as commercial and scenic areas.

"If there is any street where we've had a lot of activity, it is probably Brand Bouelvard," Kassakhian said. "Our downtown is a popular area."

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