The companies are uniting to offer productions discounted rates on an integrated suite of services, including many of the foundational parts of any shoot like lighting and grips. Exact financial terms vary based on the scale and needs of each production.
In order to formalize the ongoing incentives, Cinelease and Herc have made an undisclosed equity investment in LA North, which was formed in 2018. The 460,000-square-foot studio complex has been expanding its footprint in Santa Clarita, the suburban enclave with 211,000 residents at the outer reaches of the 30-mile zone encircling Hollywood.
The Santa Clarita Valley has been known as a film backdrop since the days when William S. Hart shot silent Westerns there. In recent years, the streaming boom and lower costs compared with elsewhere in Southern California have enticed a rising number of shoots to LA County’s northwest edge. FilmLA, which tracks production in the city and county of LA, said on-location filming in the fourth quarter of 2021 set an all-time quarterly record of 10,780 shoot days. That was up more than 7% over pre-Covid levels.
Being within the TMZ enables LA North to be certified by state and local permitting authorities and public safety officials and stay on the verified list for top productions. The site’s sound stages and production services have been used by a range of clients, among them Warner Bros, Apple, Paramount, Amazon, Netflix, Disney and Universal. The roster of film and streaming titles shot at least in part at LA North includes King Richard, The Little Things, Yes Day, Space Jam 2, Kimi, Snake Eyes, The Fabelmans and Emancipation.
This partnership took shape during last year’s shooting of Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical The Fablemans, which is set for release in November. “We did a test run last year and we found it to be an amazing solution and beneficial for all parties involved,” LA North Studios co-founder Anthony Syracuse said.
The program will mean several additional stages in Santa Clarita will be able to integrate Cinelease’s lighting and grip services and Herc Entertainment’s matte black heavy equipment. LA North has been able to add square footage by taking over former industrial spaces and the company intends to continue looking for more growth opportunities.
The extensive equipment inventory maintained by Cinelease and Herc “allows us maximum flexibility in the value and quality of services we offer to our clients and enable us to work toward strengthening the local filmmaking community,” LA North Studios co-founder John Prabhu said.
Chris Rogers, VP of Marketing for Cinelease, said the new pact reflects the companies’ “common bond together” combining customer service with an outlook on future business solutions.
Herc Entertainment VP Mark Lamberton said his company and Cinelease together employ more than 200 people and provide full-time jobs to at least 100 Local 399 Teamsters. “Keeping our industry thriving is about more than just making movies, it’s about the people,” he said.