The COVID-19 Restart Issue
Getting Ready to Roll Camera and Call Action!   
California-based production has resumed gradually and cautiously over the past few months with the most agile projects, such as commercials, low-budget indies, game shows and soap operas, among the first to get cameras rolling. Due to COVID-19, projects face extraordinary challenges -- from adjusting to new safety protocols to factoring in the impact of such measures on schedules and budgets.  
The Safety Committee Task Force document, often referred to as the "White Paper",was released on June 12th. Developed by the guilds/unions, studios and other industry stakeholders, it is considered the blueprint for baseline COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. 

That document was followed closely in the guidelines introduced by individual county health departments across California. Due to Los Angeles County's uniquely high volume of production, its official COVID-19 safety protocols are more comprehensive than those in some other jurisdictions.  

In June, the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters jointly released a document titled "The Safe Way Forward". This past Monday (September 21st), it was superseded by the COVID-19 "Return to Work Agreement," which will serve as the final set of safety protocols through April 30, 2021. All the parties involved in the agreement will meet regularly to review any proposed modifications.  
The agreement is the result of unprecedented cooperation and coordination between the guilds, unions and management. It will enable California's production industry to get back to work safely, which is great news for workers, vendors, producers and the state's economy.

A comprehensive list of COVID-19-related production resources can be accessed via the CFC homepage.

Related CFC News Stories:   
Big-Budget Features, Low-Budget Indies, Relocating TV Series and Lots of Out-of-Zone Production Mark the Start of California's Tax Credit "Program 3.0"  
CA flag
California's new, third-generation Film & TV Tax Credit Program 3.0 launched on July 1st (concurrent with the state's new fiscal year) to replace Program 2.0, which was launched in 2015. 

The projects selected for Program 3.0's first two allocation rounds bode well for the resumption of production in the Golden State. They include nine feature films and two relocating TV series with a wide range of budgets and diverse storylines, as well as lots of production planned for outside the Los Angeles 30-Mile Studio Zone.

New provisions for Program 3.0 include a pilot skills training program to help individuals from underserved communities gain access to career opportunities. Program 3.0 also requires tax credit projects to have a written policy for addressing unlawful harassment, and enhanced reporting of employment diversity data.

More information about California's new Film & Television Tax Credit Program 3.0 is available on the CFC's website.

Related News Stories:

Relocating TV
September 28-30, 2020 

Recurring TV
October 5-7, 2020 

Feature Films 
January 25-27, 2021

CFC Deputy Director Eve Honthaner Wraps 7-Year Tenure   
Moving on... Eve Honthaner is wrapping up her tenure as the CFC's Deputy Director to focus on new opportunities.
After an action-packed seven and-a-half years as the California Film Commission's Deputy Director, Eve Honthaner is moving on to pursue new opportunities.

Eve has worked with local jurisdictions across California to promote and implement film-friendly policies. She has also worked closely with state partners (CHP, CalFire, Caltrans, State Parks, etc.) and community partners (e.g., NewFilmmakers Los Angeles), the FLICS (Film Liaisons in California Statewide) and all of California's 58 regional film offices.  She has co-produced events including the Film in California Conference and helped create the annual Location California magazine, all while representing the CFC at countless industry functions.  

Among her many other projects, Eve was instrumental in facilitating transport of a 200 foot-long, 21-ton airline fuselage via L.A. freeways for the movie Sully, and facilitated the use of courthouses and other often difficult-to-procure public locations. She has also worked closely with the FAA to bring the production industry up-to-speed on drone-related filming guidelines. In the process, she has helped create a model for information sharing that has been adopted by film offices across the country.

Here is how a few colleagues and other industry professionals describe their experiences working with Eve over the years:
"Eve has always been there when I needed her, responding to every challenging location issue with positive, caring determination to find a solution. Production teams have been very lucky to have her in their corner... and selfishly me too!! We will all miss her at the CFC, but will always have her as a friend."
Ed Duffy 
Vice President, Teamsters Local 399
"I've never met a harder working, more committed leader who thrives on giving back to emerging professionals. Eve, you've been an absolute breath of fresh air to so many, including myself and the NewFilmmakers LA community. Thank you for all that you represent and for being the wonderful person that you are!"
Larry Laboe
Executive Director, NFMLA
"Eve's deep understanding of production coupled with her ability to work within the State system to solve production problems was a huge asset for the CFC and our industry, I am sorely going to miss her willingness to jump into any situation and advocate on behalf of our needs."
Michael Walbrecht
Vice President of Public Affairs, Warner Bros. Entertainment
"Eve is... magic. She is an amazing collaborator, compassionate as much as she is strong, helpful and caring, and she is more than just someone I work with. She has become a friend. I am honored to have worked with her."
Cassandra Hesseltine
Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission / FLICS Past-President  
"Nobody has done more than Eve to bring stakeholders together and resolve issues involving the use of drones for film and TV production. Her tireless work established the California Film Commission as the gold standard for other film commissions. Working with Eve has been one of the high points in my FAA career." 
John A. Blanco
Aviation Safety Manager, FAA Flight Standards


Wendy Greuel served previously on the CFC board from February 2001 through October 2015, and we are thrilled to have her back. She returns while also lending her expertise to numerous organizations ranging from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and LAUSD Task Force, to the Women and Girls Initiative Governing Council and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project -- to name just a few.

Earlier in her career, Wendy was elected to serve on the Los Angeles City Council (2002 - 2009) and was elected Los Angeles City Controller (2009 - 2013). She also worked as an executive at DreamWorks SKG. Wendy began her career in public service working for Mayor Tom Bradley on a range of policy issues. She helped establish the city's first childcare center and helped create LA's BEST, a nationally recognized after-school program. She then served in the Clinton Administration as Deputy Director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and later as the Southern California Regional Director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

Robert Gleason is President and CEO of San Diego-based Evans Hotels, where he  served previously as CFO and General Counsel. He joined the company at age 17 as a reservations agent and gradually worked his way up while earning an undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton University and a law degree (summa cum laude) from the University of San Diego. He is a licensed California attorney and real estate broker as well as a Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive.

Outside of work, Robert has held numerous leadership roles with organizations that promote the arts, education, economic development, electoral politics and civil rights. He was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the California Travel and Tourism Commission. He also serves as Director and past Chair of the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Chair of the World Trade Center San Diego and Chair of the Francis Parker School. He sits on numerous boards and is the founding supervising attorney for the legal clinic at the San Diego LGBT Community Center.  

Mohammad ("Mo") Taghizadeh recently joined the California Film Commission as Information Technology Specialist responsible for computer programming and web development. Mo previously worked for home furnishings manufacturer and retailer Ashley Furniture Industries. He earned a degree in Software Engineering from IAU University in Iran.
Hollywood Cinema Arts Studios in North LA County

Production oasis: HCA Studios in North LA County offers lots of space and privacy within the Secondary Studio Zone.

Former Cold Storage Facility is Ready to Heat Up Production 

Searching for a cool and comfortable stage facility to get your production rolling in the Antelope Valley?

HCA Studios is located conveniently in Littlerock just off the Pearblossom Highway (Route 138). It's within the Secondary Studio Zone, about 10 miles southeast of Palmdale.

Built originally to protect fresh produce from the desert heat, the 77,000 square foot facility now includes three sound stages with 45 acres of usable land. Productions can build expansive sets and even shoot demolition scenes without bothering neighbors. They can also make use of an adjacent golf course and landing strip. While the sparsely populated desert location ensures minimal outside noise, there are plenty of nearby amenities including hotels (with film crew discounts), big retailer shopping, restaurants, and heavy equipment rental yards.

For more information, contact General Manager Russell Baingo at (213) 305-3820 / Photos and permit information are available at

HCA Studios' primary facility includes 77,000 square feet of stages with ceilings up to 32 feet.

So, Let's Take a Fond Look Back at Last Year's Celebration and Winners

No thoughts of a quarantine back in 2019... Highlights of last year's COLA ceremony included presentation of the Golden Slate Award by John Stamos to Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.

This year would have marked the 26th annual California On Location Awards (COLAs), but like so many events, the 2020 awards have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

The good news is that plans are already underway for the awards program to return in 2021. The COLAs honor location pros for excellence working on-location across the Golden State. They also recognize City, County, State and Federal public employees who help facilitate production.

As we approach the time of year when the COLAs are usually held, let's take a fond look back at last year's 25th awards ceremony at the Universal City Hilton.

Rick Schuler won for Location Manager of the Year in the studio feature category for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," a California Film & TV Tax Credit project.  CFC Executive Director Colleen Bell presented the Public Employee awards, with California State Parks' Fleccia Wilson winning the COLA for State Public Employee of the Year (see full list of last year's COLA winners HERE).  

One of the many highlights of the evening was the presentation of the California Golden Slate Award by John Stamos to Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.  Introduced in 2016, the Golden Slate Award recognizes industry professionals who champion filming in California by demonstrating a determination to make the most of our world-class crews, talent and infrastructure, and who have built a body of work that unequivocally validates those efforts.  

CFC In the Community 
As part of its effort to promote in-state production, the California Film Commission lends its time, resources and support to a wide range of industry/civic events and organizations. CFC team members are active in the community bringing stakeholders up-to-speed on issues ranging from tax credits to expanding career opportunities. 

CFC Executive Director Colleen Bell with Film Mare Island General Manager Mark Walter at the former-shipyard-turned-film-studio in Vallejo, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco.  
Recent CFC appearances and community outreach* efforts include:  
  • Warner Brothers' groundbreaking for the Second Century Project state-of-the-art campus expansion  
  • Golden State Film Festival panel titled "Low-Budget Filmmaking Done Right"
  • California State University Entertainment Alliance panel titled "Diversifying Hollywood: From Strategy to Action"
  • AME (Arts, Media, Entertainment) Institute roundtable discussion titled "Utilizing Social Media & Other Techniques for Career Building & Exploration During the COVID-19 Pandemic; Effect of the Pandemic on Filming"
  • NewFilmmakers Los Angeles panel titled "Filming Around the State of California"
  • Visit California Business Conference and India PGA Memorandum of Understanding Signing (New Delhi, India)
  • Variety's "Sustainability in Hollywood" panel discussion
  • Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah)
  • Los Angeles Citywide Film Task Force Meeting
*NOTE: We haven't published our email newsletter for awhile, so the event photos included here were taken before COVID-19 and social distancing.

(top, from left) Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, California First Partner Jennifer Newsom and CFC Executive Director Colleen Bell meet to discuss tourism and film production.
(bottom left) Ms. Bell speaks in New Dehli as part of a Visit California delegation to India.
(bottom right) Ms. Bell at NBCUniversal with GO-Biz Chief Lenny Mendonca and Senior Advisor Chris Salinas.

Have you seen the impressive 2020 edition of Location California magazine? The page-turner version is available on the CFC website. If you'd like a physical copy mailed to you, send your request to

Location California 2020 highlights films, TV series, digital media and commercials made in the Golden State. It also features many of our leading facilities and equipment suppliers, as well as interviews with top producers, directors, location managers and talent. And, of course, the photographs are stunning. Finally, there's an updated directory of regional film offices from across the state.
"We are thrilled to be part of the new tax credit Program 3.0 and to be able to base 'Losing Clementine' production in California. We searched other locations, but thanks to the tax credit we can film here at home, where the story is set."

Renee Tab
Producer of the Independent Feature  
Losing Clementine
CFC In the News 
Visit our online news digest for recent news stories featuring the California Film Commission and/or the state's Film & TV Tax Credit Program.
No Permit Fees on State-Owned Property!
The California Film Commission offers FREE permits for filming on state property. Charges are assessed to recover out-of-pocket costs such as review and monitor fees, as well as parking. There are many state-owned locations to choose from, so keep us in mind when you're looking for a low-cost location option.

Visit CFC's website for more info.
 Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter! 
The California Film Commission has a nifty Facebook page, Instagram feed and Twitter stream for you to get the latest info and links plus spectacular photos of California locations - from the iconic to the downright obscure.
Please give us a like/follow and stay connected!
 About the California Film Commission
The California Film Commission (CFC) enhances California's status as the leader in motion picture, television and commercial production.
A one-stop office for filmmakers, the Commission supports productions of all sizes and budgets. In addition to managing the state's Film & Television Tax Credit Program, services include an extensive digital location library, free online permitting, low cost use of state properties as shooting locations, and production assistance.
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(c) 2020 California Film Commission