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Hollywood Came to DC Late Last Year; Filming in Dupont Not Well Received

Accompanying images can be viewed starting on page 1 of the February 2019 issue pdf

By Larry Ray*

On December 19, 2019, Paramount Overseas Production Studios, with the blessing of the city’s Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME), closed down streets around Dupont Circle for filming scenes of its forthcoming movie based on a Tom Clancey novel starring Michael B. Jordan and to be titled Without Remorse.

According to OCTFME’s website, provides an extensive array of support services tolocal and out-of-state film, television, video, entertainment, interactive, multimedia, and digital media content creators, including: mproduction permitting; location scouting; production support; production and infrastructure incentives . . .” and more.

Further, the agency, as part of its efforts to attract more location filming activity to the city, touts DC as “a film-friendly city with the resources to support any size production.”

Is Hollywood filming in DC a bane or boon to the communities?

Former Dupont Circle resident and TV commercial producer Martine White (who now lives in Marina Del Ray, California) offers this: “Filming builds movie tourism, but you also have the benefits of business mid-week and off-season. And they normally leave things cleaner than they found them. They buy food from local vendors and they often hire local extras and a few crew people, police, fireman, and security.”

Dupont Circle resident and real estate broker Martin Toews of The Martin & Jeff Group summarizes it like this: “Yes Hollywood filming in DC adds to the city’ prestige and is exciting to see how the film production transform our neighborhoods into exciting film sets. DC offers a great historic background for many movies. For those of us who live here it can be a hassle with road closures, etc., but the benefits to the city with more revenues is a big upside for the city.”

Long-time Dupont Circle resident Derwin stated that the Paramount filming on December 19th progressed well. “We were all warned.”

But others we have heard from have expressed a different evaluation, such as what one unimpressed resident posted on a neighborhood listserv:

“I live on 17th and R and received no notification at all of this filming. My car was towed.

“Locations Manager Matthew Noonan claims he went “door-to-door” notifying residents, but apparently overlooked my building which was one block away and located on a closed street where all the trailers were.

“How does going door-to-door even make sense in this neighborhood, rather than mailing notices?

“A crew member for Paramount Pictures was incredibly rude and unprofessional to me when I asked about my towed car. He said, ‘I don’t care about you or your problems.’ I have a video of this guy, but Mr. Noonan won’t tell me his name or confirm who his employer is. I’m in touch directly with the studio about this.

“I have complained to OCTFME and my Ward 2 Liaison about the lack of community notification.

“Mr. Noonan and OCTFME says ANC was informed, but I don’t understand how that was supposed to trickle down to residents. I have just asked ANC 2B Commissioner Lucky Barbieri this question.”

This resident’s observations about lack of proper advance notice was echoed by others. For example, it appears that these placards, contrary to DDOT regulations, were not even posted on the affected streets until .late in the day of the 15th when, as anyone moving out (and nearby neighbors) well know, these must be posted at least 48 hours prior to the day of parking restrictions. Of course, residents who were away that night had no opportunity to act.

In the 1700 block of Corcoran Street, for example, there were so many cars still parked that when the tow trucks showed up around 2 a.m., making huge noise along with crews shouting back and forth waking sleeping residents for the next hour or so, it was not unexpected that there was resentment, especially snce there seemed to be no responsible manager on hand.

Julie of Mt. Pleasant posted on “Interesting. It’s a pity that cities have to compete against each other to ‘win’ these film productions. The studios should pay some sort of fee for taking over city streets, but of course the city (and state) governments give concessions instead! (And I say that as someone working on a television pilot which would definitely do some filming in D.C.! I can dream.)”

* Senior writer Larry Ray,  a member of the George Washington University Law School’s senior adjunct faculty teaching mediation and negotiation, has served on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions for both Dupont Circle and Columbia Heights. He also has served as president of the North Columbia Heights Citizens Association. Presently, he serves as the liaison for DC Next Door-Columbia Heights.

Copyright © 2020 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Larry Ray. Copyright © 2019 InTowner Publishing Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited, except as provided by 17 U.S.C. §107 (“fair use”).