Without Film Commission, S.D. Is Just a ‘Little Cow Town’

Without Film Commission, S.D. Is Just a ‘Little Cow Town’

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Already, the ripple effect of the San Diego Film Commission’s shuttering is starting to show. Many of the reactions we’ve received believe the move was ill-advised.

• John Pilch:

It appears that the city of San Diego wants to return to being a little cow town on the border rather than the eighth largest city in the country. The elimination of the Film Commission and the revenue and publicity it brings to the city is indicative of the chaos that is City Hall. Truly a dumb, short-sighted move.

Jim Neri:

I would love to see the numbers that back up the $100 million claim since it is hard to believe we would let that public money go. My experiences watching film crews operate at Windansea Beach in La Jolla is that they arrive, take over the area, bring their own catered food, film their scene and go back to L.A. without spending a dime locally. San Diego is a convenient location for these shoots and we should charge for them. If we are, let’s see the numbers and where the money is going for the betterment of San Diego.

Carol Marino (in response to Neri):

Who do you think benefited financially from these shoots? Local film crew (lighting, grip, hair, makeup, stunt, set, coordinators, etc.), local caterers, hotels that were utilized to put up the outside production team, local police, fire, parking, permit fees, local production rental companies, local hardware, grocery and other stores were the sources of supplies and much more. This all generated money to stimulate the local San Diego economy! We lived there, worked there, shopped there and went out to eat and see movies there. In other words, our income was spent there supporting all of the local businesses. My husband and I are very proud to have been a part of the San Diego production family during Cathy Anderson’s very successful building up and overseeing all of San Diego’s production for her many years of dedication and hard work as film commissioner. Other cities across the country that need money to stimulate their economy are fighting to get the film companies to come to their city because of the incredible amount of money generated by production. I have complete trust that Cathy’s facts and figures are accurate.

 Sanford Hampton:

I think it is an absolute ridiculous, ludicrous, buffoon-ish, asinine, idiotic, lame, weak, spineless and extremely stupid move to close down the Film Commission. … How could anybody allow it to happen? Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad!

It will create purposeful chaos and confusion for a very long time. If it is going to be like this, I hereby declare myself the new San Diego film commissioner! Thank you everybody!

• Mitzi Kapture:

I am truly disappointed and confused about the decision to close the San Diego Film Commission. Why would close a business that makes $100 on a $1 investment? I worked as an actress in two different television series that Stephen Cannell created and produced with Stu Segall Productions. Not only did the Film Commission make this possible but our shows helped employ so many people and businesses in San Diego. Cathy Anderson was especially instrumental in making everything in our production happen with grace and with the highest standards. Closing down this source of income for San Diego affects the city on so many levels.

On a personal level, moving to San Diego to film “Silk Stalkings” for five years was an easy move from L.A. and I loved the city (we never shut down production because of bad weather). It changed my life as a performer and on a financial level. It is L.A.’s sister city.

• Ethel Yamamoto:

Companies and organizations all attempt to quantify revenue and the easiest way is to tie direct benefits of revenue. It is also true that ancillary revenues are generated and should be acknowledged and credited. It appears to me that the San Diego Film Commission was neither acknowledged nor given credit for the various revenues generated by its activities. This is an example of one job multiplying revenue sources/employment in numerous “supporting” categories.

Comments and excerpts have been edited for clarity and style. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us here

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Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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9 comments
rheftmann
rheftmann

The demise of the San Diego Film Commission (SDFC) has somehow become another failing of the current mayor, but it began many years ago, due to changes in its resources and its two complementary objectives for promoting film/video/still business: supporting local crews and suppliers, and marketing the City, County, and Port (its funding sources) locations to outside production. It never had actual licensing or taxing authority. In the last ten years, for many reasons having nothing to do with San Diego, production dropped off. The main source of funding, City-controlled Transient Occupancy Tax, was diverted to the Tourism Marketing District (basically the large hotels, now conflated with the UT and the San Diego Tourism Authority, SDTA, after the voters twice denied them the power to increase and capture TOT money, which they shared with museums, festivals, regional convention bureaus, etc.) whose interest is only "heads in beds," which was never a major income stream for hotels, and they knew it. SDFC was subsumed by the SDTA and withered away. The end of SDFC has suddenly become another arrow for the righteous mob to shoot at Bob Filner, driven by misinformation from VOSD in its new partnership with the UT.

Judith Swink
Judith Swink

Dagny - can you verify my belief that companies who film in San Diego also pay the City fees for use of City property (public property venues). I believe they also pay for the SD police officers who assist in keeping an area closed to the general public, not sure if they are on- or off-duty or a mix. Private property owners who allow filming in their homes or businesses are also paid healthy fees - the home of a neighbor in South Mission Beach was rented for filming "Silk Stalkings", I believe for multiple episodes. The revenue from spending money on local employees and resources comes back into the community in myriad ways - for example, money spent in restaurants goes to pay the restaurant's employees as well as for buying, in the community, the foodstuff sold to diners.

Judith Swink
Judith Swink subscriber

Dagny - can you verify my belief that companies who film in San Diego also pay the City fees for use of City property (public property venues). I believe they also pay for the SD police officers who assist in keeping an area closed to the general public, not sure if they are on- or off-duty or a mix. Private property owners who allow filming in their homes or businesses are also paid healthy fees - the home of a neighbor in South Mission Beach was rented for filming "Silk Stalkings", I believe for multiple episodes. The revenue from spending money on local employees and resources comes back into the community in myriad ways - for example, money spent in restaurants goes to pay the restaurant's employees as well as for buying, in the community, the foodstuff sold to diners.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Seems to me that the people touting the spending are those that benefited from it directly. Every special interest leeching off the taxpayer can show it's economic benefit, but this is really just tricky bookkeeping. If San Diego makes sense for filming then filming will happen here. If it doesn't make sense then bribing LA to come down here is always going to be a net loss for the guy who pays the money used for the bribe.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Seems to me that the people touting the spending are those that benefited from it directly. Every special interest leeching off the taxpayer can show it's economic benefit, but this is really just tricky bookkeeping. If San Diego makes sense for filming then filming will happen here. If it doesn't make sense then bribing LA to come down here is always going to be a net loss for the guy who pays the money used for the bribe.

Larry Westfall
Larry Westfall

With all the problems associated with overcrowding in San Diego why do we feel the need to publicize San Diego and cause more people to move here? What is the benefit to local residents when the swells come to town and shut down streets? If San Diego Hotels and Restaurants need more out of town patrons why don't they pony up advertising $'s? Why do film companies lobby Sacramento for tax breaks while stars make millions and demand that citizens pay more and more taxes? I doubt if the true costs to the City are really known and as for supposed revenues it sounds a lot like the arguments cited for the City building a stadium for a Super Bowl. Hopefully, the posh 15th floor space with the view of the bay will be put to better use.

Larry Westfall
Larry Westfall subscriber

With all the problems associated with overcrowding in San Diego why do we feel the need to publicize San Diego and cause more people to move here? What is the benefit to local residents when the swells come to town and shut down streets? If San Diego Hotels and Restaurants need more out of town patrons why don't they pony up advertising $'s? Why do film companies lobby Sacramento for tax breaks while stars make millions and demand that citizens pay more and more taxes? I doubt if the true costs to the City are really known and as for supposed revenues it sounds a lot like the arguments cited for the City building a stadium for a Super Bowl. Hopefully, the posh 15th floor space with the view of the bay will be put to better use.

Dagny Salas
Dagny Salas

Hi Judy, Here's what Kelly Bennett's story says: "Film crews often need special arrangements with police and fire departments for closing streets or conducting explosions, and those departments still have the same staff in place to deal with requests. The city’s policy is still to allow film crews to shoot in parks without paying regular park fees." http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/08/08/the-film-commissions-big-cliffhanger/ Hope that helps.The Film Commission's Big Cliffhangerhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/08/08/the-film-commissions-big-cliffhanger/The details were coming together for filmmaker Kevin Diamond's upcoming projects - a "Romeo and Juliet-like borderland drama" and "a young adult beach musical comedy" - which he intends to shoot on location beginning in a few weeks in spots like Old ...

Dagny Salas
Dagny Salas memberadministrator

Hi Judy, Here's what Kelly Bennett's story says: "Film crews often need special arrangements with police and fire departments for closing streets or conducting explosions, and those departments still have the same staff in place to deal with requests. The city’s policy is still to allow film crews to shoot in parks without paying regular park fees." http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/08/08/the-film-commissions-big-cliffhanger/ Hope that helps.The Film Commission's Big Cliffhangerhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/08/08/the-film-commissions-big-cliffhanger/The details were coming together for filmmaker Kevin Diamond's upcoming projects - a "Romeo and Juliet-like borderland drama" and "a young adult beach musical comedy" - which he intends to shoot on location beginning in a few weeks in spots like Old ...