The MiNAPRESS Column

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The San Diego Film Scene

Posted in events, film, news, san diego by MiNA on October 2, 2014
Willem Dafoe and Michael Pena on location shooting "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done." Photo by J Rios.

Willem Dafoe and Michael Pena on location shooting “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.” Photo by J Rios.

For every writer, editor, media outlet, and business entity with an online presence, one’s biggest fear is getting buried by the tsunami of content that’s already on the web. What could be worse? How ’bout when your content disappears completely after an online source met its demise? The circumstance is inevitable, therefore if salvaging one’s past work is a priority, ensure you have copies to post elsewhere later-on, such as one’s blog; hence the reason for posting this 2009 write-up on the San Diego Film Commission for AmericanChronicle.com. Enjoy…..

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San Diego has an impressive filmography that dates back to the silent film era. Cecil B. DeMille filmed the Virginian in 1914 which soon triggered an ongoing following by other major filmmakers. To attract even more film production traffic to the area, the city of San Diego created a simplified permit acquisition process. As film-making steadily increased, the San Diego Film Commission (SDFC) became the designated resource for all local film related efforts.

The SDFC serves as a liason between the film industry and city ordinances so that producers can devote more of their time to their film projects. The commission provides a step by step overview of the permit acquisition process with sample documents of Production Agreements, Certificates of Insurance, and Talent and Property Release Forms. An invaluable Film & Video Resource Guide is also produced every year and includes lists of film location sites, talent and pre/post production specialists, and production equipment providers.

San Diego has an array of modern and historic architectural structures that are ideal backdrops for film, plus a variety of diverse terrain that can easily pass as other parts of the world such as Spain, Mexico, the Mediterranean, Hawaii, among other places. Notable films produced in San Diego include “Citizen Cane,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Top Gun,” “the Hunt For Red October,” “Bugsy,” “Apollo 13,” “Almost Famous,” “Traffic,” “Pearl Harbor,” and “Babel.”

Other major draws to filming in San Diego; there is no cost for filming on California state properties and film permits are free. The California Film Commission also recently instated a tax credit incentive that will go into effect on July 1, 2009. SDFC Commissioner/CEO Cathy Anderson is thrilled about recent developments in the business. She shares, “Not only did we get a new state film incentive, but we have a special San Diego edition of the Hollywood Reporter (HP) to remind the film industry that San Diego is ready to take on more business.”

To celebrate the new state incentive and the release of the HP’s February 2009 special issue, “Made in San Diego,” the publication and the SDFC invited members of the media and the political and film-making community for an informal gathering at the posh new San Diego Hard Rock Hotel. Among guests were film producer, Tim Ryan, founder of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Lee Ann Kim, San Diego Mayor, Jerry Sanders, Councilman Kevin Faulconer, and County Supervisor Ron Roberts who proudly shared that he made his first film debut in the 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car.”

San Diego has been a film production destination for over a century and growth is sure to continue. The pace to which that growth occurs comes down to creating widespread awareness about what San Diego has to offer — a multitude of time and money saving benefits.

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