Los Angeles

LAUSD to Ask Film Crews About Nudity, Drug Use, Weapons

Film crews that are not transparent about scenes they shoot on campus may be fined

This article is part of ongoing coverage of this story. You can see all of the investigative series here.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has unveiled a new tool it will use to screen film crews, weeks after an NBC4 investigation uncovered disruptions to student learned at LA public schools.

Film crews requesting permits to film at schools will be required to complete a checklist detailing 13 different types of content that may determine whether a shoot is approved, including "nudity/partial nudity," "drug use" and "pyrotechnics."

The checklist, made available on FilmLA's "Forms for Filmmakers" Web page, also asks filmmakers for detail on the plot of the entire project, rather than just the scene being filmed at LAUSD, and a "clear description" of the specific activity to be conducted.

Filmmakers will be supervised by a district monitor, LAUSD's Mark Hovatter told NBC4 Oct. 27. If filmmakers do not stick to the materials that are approved on these forms, they may be assessed a fine.

The three-page form also requires the "intended audience" of the production, where it is "anticipated to be published/aired/screened" and the "anticipated MPAA or other Rating."

"That's probably the biggest change moving forward: making sure we look more closely at the activities that are filming to make sure they are appropriate," Hovatter said Oct. 27 in the first interview LAUSD granted NBC4 on the topic in months.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines declined to be interviewed about NBC4's findings three times — including before the first investigative report aired.

Hovatter said the superintendent believed it was important to address the issues, which is why the district announced a shutdown of all filming activity after hearing of the pornographic scene filmed at Alexander Hamilton High School — an oversight that led to three high school students being invited to the porn premiere at a local theater.

Now the district is pledging stricter oversight.

"If it can't be done without disrupting the class," Hovatter told investigative reporter Jenna Susko. "We should not engage in those activities."

Before NBC4's investigation, film crews did not have to provide much detail about what they would be filming. Some productions didn't even provide a title.

Teachers complained to school administrators about a variety of issues, including disruptions in the classroom, missing supplies, damaged equipment, lack of parking and even an explosion on campus for a CBS television series.

The new approval process would stop many problems before they occur, according to Hovatter.

The district said the new process means some productions may have to wait longer to get approval.

Contact Us