This month Los Angeles activists were forced to think a lot about film permits. First the extraordinary Ktown For All broke what turned into an international story about the City shutting down a COVID test site at Union Station to accommodate a film shoot.
Then less than two weeks later Streetwatch LA member Ian Carr broke the story that an entirely different film company had somehow arranged for a large encampment in front of City Hall East to be swept away in advance of their shoot. Twitter user @publicownedbus also provided valuable info, and then ace Knock LA reporter Cerise Castle also wrote about this incident.
On December 1, then, I started using the California Public Records Act to investigate. It turns out that FilmLA is a private corporation but their contract makes them subject to the CPRA, so I fired off a request and a couple of days later, after an inordinate amount of pushback from an inordinate number of City offices, I received the Union Station permit and wrote a post about it.
In the process of this investigation I ended up learning a lot of interesting things about film permits, how to get copies of them, and what can be learned from them, which I thought I’d share with you today!
Continue reading Practical Instructions On How To Obtain Everything You Need From Film Permits On The Day Of Shooting — Even Though FilmLA Chief Bossdude Paul Audley Doesn’t Put Them On The Website Until Two Days After — But There’s A Workaround! — For Instance — That Infamous December 1 Union Station Shoot That Shut Down The COVID Test Site? — The Permit Didn’t Hit The Website Until December 3 But This Method Would Have Let Us Learn — Just For Instance — The Name And Cell Phone Number Of The Location Manager Immediately On December 1 →
At 4:51 PM on November 30, 2020 the incomparable activist crew known as KTown for All tweeted out an announcement stating that the City was shutting down the Union Station COVID test site on December 1, 2020 because of a film shoot:
In the middle of a horrible and terrifying COVID spike, LA just cancelled all of its Dec 1 appointments at Union Station (one of the only transit-accessible facilities) with less than 24hrs notice because of A FILM SHOOT!! @MayorOfLA @metrolosangeles @lapublichealth WTF???!!???
As you can imagine, Twitter was incensed, and rightly so. Deadline covered the story almost immediately. The Los Angeles Times published a story at 11:05 PM. It took the Mayor of Los Angeles 66 minutes after the Times published to announce, by Tweet at eleven minutes after midnight, that the test site would remain open. KTown for All knows its way around the media, and soon both the New York Times and the Washington Post had covered the story, the Times attributing the story to Ktown for All and including a quote from organizer Devon Manney.
It’s not yet clear what happened, but the official story has coalesced, and it’s that the company running the test site decided unilaterally to close it down for the film shoot. Whether this claim is true or not is not yet known. However, I did manage to obtain a copy of the actual permit itself. This despite the fact that FilmLA has not yet posted it on its website along with the others from December 1, 2020. There are also images of the permit at the end of this post.
Continue reading Here Is Your Copy Of The Absolutely Most Famous Film Permit Of 2020 — They Shut Down Union Station COVID Testing On December 1, 2020 For This Production — And When The Heroic KTown For All Found Out — They Leapt Into Action Like Superheros Will Do — And The New York Times Covered It — And The City Cancelled The Filming — And Reopened The Test Site — And It Was Too Freaking Late →