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Jewish World Review
Feb. 10, 2012/ 15 Shevat, 5772
Filming in D.C. creates hassle for Hollywood
The dirty little secret about the numerous films and TV shows set in Washington, D.C., is that few of them are shot there, even though the capital city would love to have them, residents are star-struck enough to love having them around and the city needs the dollars they generate.
While the city government welcomes the film industry, the federal government -- especially the U.S. Capitol -- largely does not.
Thus, it is a kind of parlor game with capital residents identifying the numerous mistakes and inconsistencies in films supposedly about Washington because they have been shot elsewhere.
The show "24" had the habit -- irritating to locals -- of referring to area highways California style. For example, it's not "the 3-55," it's Rockville Pike, a name no film crew would forget if it had ever been stuck in traffic there on a Saturday afternoon.
Citing the all-purpose default position of "security," authorities have created a Catch-22 of hoops for filmmakers to jump through. And then they deny permission.
"I can safely say this is the most difficult city to shoot in America," one industry veteran told The Washington Post.
A small area at the foot of Capitol Hill offers a dramatic shot of both an actor and the building. It is much in demand, which was why, according to the Post, the film community was "horrified to learn last month that Congress had lifted control over this easternmost patch of the Mall from the U.S. Park Service, which is known as a film-friendly agency, and given it to the Capitol Police, which is not."
The Capitol Police effectively ban all shooting in or near the Capitol. There is no good reason for this; they do it because they can, even though movies are indelibly associated with the U.S. all over the world.
This need not be. A check of the House calendar shows that lawmakers will be at the Capitol only 108 days this year, meaning it's going unused for more than eight months. And the Senate certainly isn't going to work any harder than the House.
Why not make a little money for taxpayers by renting out the building for filmmaking and in the process -- you ready for this, lawmakers? -- create a few jobs.
"Places, everybody, and action!"
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