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Chronicle Article "S.F. slowly disappearing from silver screen"


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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 01:35 AM

It's a good read, and our good friend Debbie is of course quoted throughout much of it. I remain optimistic about SF's filmmaking future.

http://www.sfgate.co...amp;type=movies
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#2 George Ebersole

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 02:11 AM

An interesting article.

Back in 1987 I joined the internship program at San Francisco Studios where I learned set operations, "gripology", stage management, and a host of other skills, but the one thing that really struck me about the indy film community back then was that it was so darn scattered.

It was expensive to shoot in SF in the mid 80s, and things weren't helped with the recession and two writer's strikes circa 1991.

I went from working on feature films, commercials and industrials to shooting weddings in the span of a year. Cine Rent West shut down, as did Colossal Studios, San Francisco Studios, Gassers pro-film rental house and a number of other rental houses and stage facilities that I used to work for, and it doesn't look like things have rebounded too much.

And that's a real shame, because San Francisco has most of the actual artistic talent that eventually gets farmed out to LA. I tried several times to get projects off the ground in the early to mid 90s with no luck, largely because of the expense of shooting up here.

Ironically enough a weaker dollar will probably bring more international projects to the Bay Area en large, and that's not just my opinion. A producer I know who did some stuff for PBS Mystery thinks that the local film economy may pick up with a stronger Euro and Asian economy.

The article mentions the incentives given by other states, and how SF suffers because of it. No truer statement has been made about the local film economy. I think some TV series shot in the 90s were shot out of state in the midwest region simply because it was cheaper (Bab 5?). Not to get too off track, but, historically, it's actually part of the reason why film makers left NY during the silent era and moved to Hollywood; free cheap land and labor (among other things).

San Francisco has tons to offer for an indy film community, as does Berkeley, Oakland (if you have a flak jacket), Marin, parts of San Jose, Hayward, and areas of the peninsula. But the support facilities that were here back in the 80s and 90s have shriveled some--though not entirely.

Having said all that, I'm also optimistic about a burgeoning film making market in SF, and not just because of a weaker dollar either. There's a lot of talent that's wanting to be exploited here, and I think it will happen. Historically the Bay Area has been the home of the tech-media/computer industry, the real core of the base that fuels and consumes tech-oriented and sci-fi media (games, movies, comics and so forth), along with the still very vibrant and strong art-community in both San Francisco and the East Bay.

As an example; if I could get my hands on a prosumer camera I'd be trying to wrangle some actors and a tiny crew to shoot my project. But, right now I'm having to save for equipment which is pushing my shooting schedule way way back.

Other thoughts?
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