4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Dig a hole: the San Diego Film Commission

Their website is no more. The final post on their Facebook page says it all: "After nearly 40 years of serving the film industry in the region, the San Diego Film Commission will close its doors today. We thank you for your support through the years and wish you the best in your filmmaking endeavors."

The shutting down is part of the recent wave of staff cuts that hit the Tourism Authority,

There was a time when San Diego was considered Hollywood's backlot. Throughout the '20's, '30's, and '40's, dozens of pictures were shot here each year. Next time you're in Balboa Park say hello to Charlie Kane's Xanadu or head over to the Hotel Del and dig in the sand for a Shell Oil seashell similar to the one Tony Curtis flashed in Some Like it Hot. As far as I'm concerned, the only reason the La Jolla Children's Pool exists was so that Richard Rush could use it as a backdrop for The Stunt Man.

Check out this list compiled by Greg Williams for the San Diego Historical Society. 752 films produced between 1898 - 2003, all of which showcase America's Finest City. Thomas Edison, Allan Dwan, Ernst Lubitsch, Otto Preminger, Raoul Walsh, Fritz Lang, Douglas Sirk, Jerry Lewis, Clint Eastwood and many other directors all called "Action!" on our soil.

You're only as good as your last big picture. Quick: name the last high profile movie that was shot in San Diego. That's right, Anchorman released in 2004. Sideways (2004), which opens in San Diego, was actually shot in Santa Barbara. A pair of sequels -- Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) and Jurassic Park 2 (1997) -- and Titanic (1997) come to mind, and not a whole heck of a lot more.

No matter how you slice it, San Diego is not a movie town. Sure, we have more than our fair share of mainstream screens and respectable art cinemas, but when it comes to film production, for all Hollywood cares San Diego might just as well be Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

I never had any dealings with the three outgoing staffers at the Film Commission, but it was my pleasure to work with and interview former Film Commissioner, Cathy Anderson, on several occasions. She worked valiantly to sell our town to the Hollywood top brass, but they weren't buying. With the exception of an occasional movie or TV series (Veronica Mars, American Idol) the main job of the SDFC was to issue permits for commercials, industrial shorts, music videos, student films, etc.

What is it that San Diego's got that would make Hollywood think it's hot? There's less traffic congestion and a giant military base. What else? Palm trees? Perfect weather in which to film year-round? Beautiful people? Scenic locations? Los Angeles is all that and then some.

Why move production two hours down the road to photograph similar angles when the cast and crew can work near home and sleep in their own beds?

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Superbloom lays claim to best café location in the city

On a patio overlooking Mission Bay, even boring mochas taste good

Their website is no more. The final post on their Facebook page says it all: "After nearly 40 years of serving the film industry in the region, the San Diego Film Commission will close its doors today. We thank you for your support through the years and wish you the best in your filmmaking endeavors."

The shutting down is part of the recent wave of staff cuts that hit the Tourism Authority,

There was a time when San Diego was considered Hollywood's backlot. Throughout the '20's, '30's, and '40's, dozens of pictures were shot here each year. Next time you're in Balboa Park say hello to Charlie Kane's Xanadu or head over to the Hotel Del and dig in the sand for a Shell Oil seashell similar to the one Tony Curtis flashed in Some Like it Hot. As far as I'm concerned, the only reason the La Jolla Children's Pool exists was so that Richard Rush could use it as a backdrop for The Stunt Man.

Check out this list compiled by Greg Williams for the San Diego Historical Society. 752 films produced between 1898 - 2003, all of which showcase America's Finest City. Thomas Edison, Allan Dwan, Ernst Lubitsch, Otto Preminger, Raoul Walsh, Fritz Lang, Douglas Sirk, Jerry Lewis, Clint Eastwood and many other directors all called "Action!" on our soil.

You're only as good as your last big picture. Quick: name the last high profile movie that was shot in San Diego. That's right, Anchorman released in 2004. Sideways (2004), which opens in San Diego, was actually shot in Santa Barbara. A pair of sequels -- Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) and Jurassic Park 2 (1997) -- and Titanic (1997) come to mind, and not a whole heck of a lot more.

No matter how you slice it, San Diego is not a movie town. Sure, we have more than our fair share of mainstream screens and respectable art cinemas, but when it comes to film production, for all Hollywood cares San Diego might just as well be Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

I never had any dealings with the three outgoing staffers at the Film Commission, but it was my pleasure to work with and interview former Film Commissioner, Cathy Anderson, on several occasions. She worked valiantly to sell our town to the Hollywood top brass, but they weren't buying. With the exception of an occasional movie or TV series (Veronica Mars, American Idol) the main job of the SDFC was to issue permits for commercials, industrial shorts, music videos, student films, etc.

What is it that San Diego's got that would make Hollywood think it's hot? There's less traffic congestion and a giant military base. What else? Palm trees? Perfect weather in which to film year-round? Beautiful people? Scenic locations? Los Angeles is all that and then some.

Why move production two hours down the road to photograph similar angles when the cast and crew can work near home and sleep in their own beds?

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
3

Does this mean that folks no longer need permits to film here?

Aug. 1, 2013

Either interns will receive college credit for standing in line at county buildings or permits will be attainable this way.

Aug. 1, 2013

an interesting article that outlines the rise and fall of movie making in sd, and the rise and fall of the sd film commission... is there a connection?

the excuse that film crews don't come down here because they want to "sleep in their own beds" is not logical, since those crews were willing to travel down here for hundreds of movies in the past.

people aren't making movies in l.a. instead of sd, rather, they have taken their business to places like Vancouver(3rd largest production hub in north America), because it's cheaper to shoot and edit there... less bureaucracy, minimal union hassles, cheaper labor, tax incentives, etc.

same goes for other places in America, and indeed, the world... it would be interesting to compare the cost of film permits between these places.

Aug. 11, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close