Administration Aims to Make Jersey City the Premier Film Location in the State With New Film Ordinance
In an effort to make Jersey City the premier destination for filmmakers in New Jersey and attract the millions of dollars spent by the film and television industries, Mayor Fulop introduced the city’s first Municipal Film Ordinance to the City Council this week.
Until now, the film permitting process was a cumbersome and confusing process that required contact with five city departments, as well as costly and excessive police and fire presence at film sites. The only place the current process is even documented is in the permit application forms themselves, which were written about five years ago.
At one time, the city was a mecca for film production, but this year only 86 films have been shot in Jersey City, a statistic Fulop is hoping to change.
“I know we have the resources to make more films than any other municipality in New Jersey,” stated Mayor Fulop. “Whether it is our extraordinary diversity, waterfront views, or gem locations like the majestic Loew’s Theatre and Liberty State Park, Jersey City should be first in the state when it comes to film production.”
The Mayor says that this ordinance, and the changes that come with it will bolster the existing creative community in Jersey City, as well as draw buzz from the outside.
Not only does Fulop envision Jersey City as the premier destination for filmmakers, but the administration also wants to encourage the film industry to establish roots here. By reducing permitting fees for local production companies, the city will attract the more permanent components of the film industry, such as sound stages and post-production studios.
“Given the steep tax incentives across the river in Manhattan, we need to be aggressive in incentivizing not just film shoots, but all aspects of filmmaking in Jersey City,” stated Mayor Fulop. “This industry will generate tax dollars and create new, local jobs.”
Additionally, the city will be improving its relationship with the film industry and will also perform targeted outreach to filmmakers. Part of that outreach will include a website for filmmakers, which the city is developing and estimates will be live in early November. Following best practices from systems used by New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Raleigh and others, the website will include:
- A location library, featuring attractive, “turn-key” locations for shoots
- A simple, streamlined, all online permitting process, which will make film permitting more like buying something online than the arduous process currently used.
- A resident complaints tool, allowing residents to notify the city if film crews are being overly disruptive. This will rout directly to the RRC as well as the film liaison, who will solve the problem in real time.
The ordinance will be up for it’s second reading on October 23.
About the Jersey City Film Ordinance
• The new film ordinance creates one point of contact for film permitting and formalizes the process of notifying residents and business owners about film production to minimize the impact on the local community.
• The fee for commercial film production in Jersey City will be set at $250 for productions with less than 30 crewmembers and $500 for a production with 30 or more crewmembers. Permits are for four-day shoots, with longer productions requiring renewals.
• The permit fee is waived for any filmmaker with three or fewer crewmembers who is filming with one camera and a tripod. Additionally, a permit is never required for non-commercial shoots, such as news productions or student films.
• The new ordinance also reduces the permit fee for Jersey City-based production companies and filmmakers by $250.
• The administration will revisit and make easier and less burdensome the off-duty police requirements.
JCI file photo