City Hall to Charge for Film Permits
Since New York City established a film office back in 1966, obtaining permits for filming purposes has been free of charge. But all that is changing, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg. In a move to help alleviate budget woes, City Hall will now charge a onetime $300 fee per production, irrespective of the number of shoot days involved.
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Most in the film industry don’t seem to care, as the fee is so nominal in the grand scheme. However, it’s low-budget independent films which are not mentioned. Freebies such as street closures and free parking are allegedly not affected.
Rising costs come as the Bloomberg administration has spent years trying to undo New York’s reputation of being a difficult and costly location for film and television shoots. The industry is a $5 billion-a-year business in New York, employing more than 100,000 people.
Several years ago, officials noticed they were losing film projects to other cities that gave tax credits to productions; projects regularly faked classic New York scenes on nondescript urban streets in cities like Toronto, avoiding New York.
Shooting days, which is how the city measures the health of the industry, went up to a high of 34,718 in 2006, compared with 19,309 in 2003. They have slipped slightly in recent years, to 27,251 in 2008.