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Take two! Residents still want reports on film shoots in their streets • Brooklyn Paper

Take two! Residents still want reports on film shoots in their streets

Coming of rage: Rolf Carle is steamed that sings “Girls” crews put up to notify Greenpointers of an April film shoot are still hanging from lampposts.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The original was a flop, but they’re hoping the sequel will be a box-office smash!

A controversial Council bill that forces filmmakers to inform Brooklynites of the shoots that regularly close their streets — which has been languishing for years due to industry opposition — is getting reboot, and audiences are already giving it rave reviews.

“There are so many movies being filmed, we should get a report at the very least,” said Williamsburg resident and longtime activist Jan Peterson.

Councilman Steve Levin’s (D–Greenpoint) original bill, first pitched in 2013, forces the city to provide communities with monthly online reports detailing all filming in their neighborhood — and who is behind it — as well as an annual analysis on the public costs and benefits of the productions.

Currently, residents rely on a trickle-down system to find out about filming in their neighborhoods — the city alerts Council members, who clue in community boards, who relay the information via e-mail to anyone who has asked for updates.

Most people aren’t signed up for the messages, though, and find out about filming only when a “no parking” notice appears outside their door, or they return home one day to find their street has been turned into a 19th-century dirt road.

Living on a film set is a hassle, residents say — dealing with extra trash, noise, and idling trucks — and they think they deserve a heads-up.

“The problem really lies in the day to day,” said Greenpointer and self-proclaimed anti-film industry activist Rolf Carle. “I just want to be able to know when filming is going on, and where.”

But Hollywood and the Mayor’s Office of Film and Television — which claims to reap $9 billion a year from the industry — threw rotten tomatoes at Levin’s original plan, claiming the studies would be a huge hassle that would send the industry packing for more film-friendly towns, and that publicizing the whereabouts of big stars would put them at risk, and the legislation bombed harder than “Cowboys and Aliens.”

Now the councilman is rewriting the script to scrap the annual report, instead just asking the city and industry to notify locals about what will be filming in their streets each month and how it will affect them.

“The focus is going to be more on the reporting, and less on the economic impact,” said the councilman’s spokesman Edward Paulino. “That’s really what we’ve been hearing from residents — frustration when streets are closed up and parking spots are not there anymore.”

Levin says he still hasn’t penned the edits, however, and doesn’t have a release date yet.

The city filming agency refused to comment on the bill, but said it strives to strike a balance between community needs and production requests.

Reach reporter Madeline Anthony by e-mail at manthony@cnglocal.com or by pnone at (718) 260–8321.

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