Filmmaking industry goes pro in Boston

By Justin A. Rice
Boston Metro
May 23, 2010

With five movies shooting simultaneously in Boston last year — including “The Zookeeper” with Kevin James — colliding schedules and endless meetings turned the city into a zoo.

But as film season returns this year, city officials are more prepared to handle the onslaught. Officials studied best practices of permitting from New York and Los Angeles after streamlining the process by gathering representatives from various departments for weekly meetings.

“We decided ‘Hey, let’s sit down together and … make decisions on the spot’,” said Julie Burns, director of the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events.

“I was making five different appointments in a course of a week,” Location scout Hyunsoo Moon, said, before the city entered the moviemaking big leagues. But the recent changes have everyone excited to start.

“We’re … looking forward to the warm weather,” Burns said.

The honeymoon is over for some residents and merchants tired of overnight flood lights, road closures and lost parking.

“People have sort of reached the end of their willingness to be accepting so we try to respect that,” said Julie Burns, director of the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events.

Moviemakers only have to apply for permits a couple days in advance but Burns said it’s better to start six to 12 months before shooting.

“As long as there’s dialog early we can fix almost anything,” she said.

But while many folks across the city are fed up, some say the inconveniences that come with movie shoots are often offset with thousands of dollars of donations to neighborhood groups.

“Without films we wouldn’t be able to provide half the services we provide to the neighbors … It’s amazing to watch the people … sit on their stoops and stargaze,” said Jerry Frank, Union Park Neighborhood Association

List of some major films to shoot (or slated to start shooting) in Boston:
2010: “What’s Your Number?”; “Sunny Side Up”; “Moneyball”; “The Fallen”
2009: “Furry Vengeance”; “Grown Ups”; “Knight and Day”; “The Company Men”; “The Fighter”; “The Social Network”; The Town”; “The Zookeeper”; “Valediction”
2008: “Bride Wars”; “Edge of Darkness”; “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”; “Paul Blart: Mall Cop”; “Shutter Island”; “Surrogates”; “The Proposal”
2007: “Pink Panther 2”; “My Best Friend’s Girl”; “The Box”

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