The local movie and TV production community is in a buoyant mood about increased filming opportunities in Los Angeles now that the new California Film & TV Tax Credit Program is passed and open for applications.

“Our phones are ringing nonstop and there’s a palpable sense of excitement and optimism,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission.

David Lancaster, who produced acclaimed recent movies including “Nightcrawler,” “Whiplash” and “Drive,” hailed the new development – which more than triples the available credits from $100 million to $330 million annually – as a huge boost to both jobs and lifestyles.

“It means that for the first time in years, the talented crews here will be able to go home to their families at the end of the day and sleep in their own beds rather than always traveling out of state and sometimes out of the country to find work,” he said. “For the film community here, it will see less trekking out to the likes of Louisiana to shoot and more filming in Los Angeles. I was tired of seeing New Orleans on screen so much lately anyway.”

Lancaster and Clint Eastwood are tied for making the most movies in this region with the help of tax credits – at four apiece – but Lancaster is looking forward to making lots more under the expanded program, which includes a range of projects that were previously ineligible, including big-budget blockbusters.

Where There’s a Will

Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am might have won seven Grammys for his music, but now he’s been honored for his business skills.

The L.A. musician was named entrepreneur of the year by British trade promotion outfit U.K. Trade & Investment at the Business Innovation Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for his company i. am+, which develops wearable products combining fashion and technology.

“There are leaders and there are followers and leaders follow their dreams,” will.i.am said at the event late last month. “I fund my own dreams but they take a lot of money and a lot of hard work by an extraordinarily talented team at i.am+ to become reality.”

The event was part of BritWeek, an annual series of events celebrating U.K. talents in Los Angeles. This year, those talents included funnyman John Cleese’s daughter Camilla Cleese, who proved comedy runs in the family at one event by performing a stand-up show drawing on her four-times married father’s history with younger women.

She joked, “We have a new child in the family – yes, my dad’s got married again.”

At the BritWeek New Filmmakers Festival, fashion designer Julia Clancey premiered her first movie as a producer, the stylish “Across Time I Cry,” featuring chart-topping opera singer Summer Watson.

Hire Me

One of the architecture world’s rising stars has sent a come-and-get-me message to the L.A. business community.

Thomas Heatherwick, in town to attend an exhibition of his work at Westwood’s Hammer Museum and a special tribute at West Hollywood’s Christopher Guy design showroom, said Los Angeles has been a huge influence on his work. And while he’s not looking for his own TV show, he’d love to be hired to create a project here.

“A proposed NFL stadium or anything innovative in this cradle of creativity would be great,” said the Englishman, who was recently hired to design Google Inc.’s massive new headquarters in Mountain View.

Short Takes

Much loved movie “Back to the Future” is being adapted into a major stage musical, but Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc Brown in the film trilogy, is not expecting a call to reprise the role. “I think they want someone who is more of a singer and a dancer and, well, younger,” said the 76-year-old at the West Hollywood launch for new episodes of his Netflix/BYUtv series “Granite Flats,” which, set in 1964, also sees him going back in time. … The imminent departure from our TV screens of David Letterman holds special significance for L.A. comedian Steve Mazan. When Mazan was diagnosed with cancer, his first response was to improve his comedy chops enough to be booked as a guest on his idol’s show. The story of how he achieved that dream is told in a documentary, newly available on Hulu, “Dying to Do Letterman.” … Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and other Hollywood stars joined J.P. Morgan Private Bank’s West Coast chief Olivier de Givenchy at Paramount Studios to view the Paris Photo Fair Los Angeles. The exhibition featured work from 79 galleries around the world and included two pieces by the show’s Young California Photographer of the Year winner, CJ Heyliger, whose work will later be displayed at the private bank’s Century City office. … One of the city’s most recognizable television personalities, Steve Edwards, will celebrate his 20th anniversary as host of Fox’s “Good Day LA” this week.

Staff reporter Sandro Monetti can be reached at smonetti@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext 226.

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