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Stuck with bill, Munsey Park changes village filming policy

Tina Fey and Jason Bateman (in shorts) shoot

Tina Fey and Jason Bateman (in shorts) shoot a scene for their movie, "This Is Where I Leave You" in Munsey Park on May 22, 2013. Credit: Tara Conry

Munsey Park trustees have voted to alter the village's filming ordinance, after a recent Hollywood film shoot left the village with thousands of dollars in legal bills.

The bills stemmed from attorney fees around the filming in May and June of "This is Where I Leave You," the forthcoming Tina Fey-Jason Bateman vehicle.

The village was charged $12,600 in legal fees specifically due to the film, Mayor Frank DeMento said. The village normally budgets about $5,000 a month for legal fees.

The village's previous film ordinance allowed the village to charge filmmakers for using village resources, including village personnel, but DeMento said the attorney's fees were not included in that because the village attorney is not technically a village employee.

After negotiating with the village attorney, who reduced the total June bill by $4,218.75, the rest of the filming legal fees will be offset by a $25,000 donation the filmmakers made to the village for village beautification, DeMento said.

"We still come out ahead by the movie being filmed in the village -- just not as much as we thought it would be," DeMento said.

The change, approved by trustees on Wednesday, allows the village to charge filmmakers for village attorney fees related to filming.

The new law also requires filmmakers to deposit $15,000 with the village to be used for village expenses related to filming, and it strikes a clause in the previous ordinance that allowed the $500 filming permit fee to be waived for charitable, educational, public service or other nonprofit purposes.

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