Councilmembers Want to Bring Movie Production to D.C.

111408 Jack Evans DC Council
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Hit shows like "House of Cards" and "Scandal" are all about Washington, D.C., but it's rare that you'll ever see a production crew filming here.

It's not because of security concerns that shows and movies don't shoot in the city; it's bureaucracy and money.

Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans wants movies made here. He says the first step is to get Pennsylvania Avenue under local control.

Currently, the city controls the street, but the sidewalks are controlled by the U.S. National Parks Service, a federal agency.

"So, you have everybody in charge, which means what? Nobody's in charge," Evans says.

Evans and Councilmember Vincent Orange are pushing legislation to put the whole of Pennsylvania Avenue under local control. They want to open the street for redevelopment, with new shops and sidewalk cafés, which are currently not allowed.

Additionally, the two councilmembers want to offer studios tax incentives to film in D.C.

Movies and television shows have used cities like Baltimore, Richmond or Cleveland as stand-ins for Washington, often due to tax breaks.

Ron Dixon, who runs local producation company Studio 202, said D.C. is perfect for the film business, but studios will go where they can get the best deal.

"Currently, we're out of the game because we don't have available funds. Certainly not on the level that Maryland and Virginia has," he said.

Joseph Martin has scouted Washington scenes for movies for more than two decades. He says other jobs are created when productions come to town.

"When we do big shoots, if we're down by the Lincoln Memorial, we're setting up tents, we're feeding the crew there, the actors there," Martin said. "We need porta-johns, carpenters, electricians, there's a whole army of people."

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