By MARIE FIERO
Film execs and members of the public took opposite sides before a joint hearing of two City Council committees on Thursday in a debate over a measure to add a 14-day notification requirement for production company applications when special parking requests are needed.
The current rule says production companies have to send a notification only 48 hours in advance.
“It has to be longer than 48 hours,” said Mark Gjonaj, chairman of the Small Business Committee. “We are not getting the outreach from production companies.”
The new rule in part stems from community protests about the disruption that film shoots cause in residential neighborhoods.
“An invasion of our neighborhood. That’s what it feels like,” testified Manhattanite John Evans, complaining that there is not enough outreach from production companies when they arrive to begin filming.
Councilman Kalman Yeger, who represents Bensonhurst, Borough Park, and Midwood, supported the 14-day requirement, saying that it would give him enough time to stop film crews from coming to his neighborhood. He argued that certain places he represents should be “exempt from filming” because film crews are “destroying neighborhoods.”
Board members of Made In NYC, the mayor’s office on media and entertainment, testified before the committees against the new rule.
“In commercials, the 14-day thing would kill us,” said witnesHank Pearlman, who runs a media company. He explained that commercials face very quick turnaround times.
Hillary Smith, who is part of the production team for the TV show “Blindspot,” explained that the crew often works on a 7 to 9 day turnaround so a 14-day rule would never work for TV shows like hers who want to film in New York City.
Councilman Mark Levine, who represents upper Manhattan said that 14 days would be too long. “It will push people (filmmakers) away from New York,” he said.
After the meeting, Made In NYC tweeted: “We
the Committee on Small Business, and
Members for voicing their concerns on NYC filming productions and their impact on New Yorkers, at today’s oversight hearing, and look forward to working them on these processes.”
Photo by Marie Fiero