New effort to turn around film industry

Several members of the city’s Film Commission are looking to draw up a long-term vision for the future of the film industry in San Francisco, which was once bright, then all but died with the occasional bit of good news.
But with a new executive director of film starting Sept. 8, Film Commissioners are sounding hopeful they can make a difference.
To that end, a long-term strategic plan committee was created Thursday chaired by Film Commissioner Debbie Brubaker, described as a “a seasoned producer in the world of “indie” feature films who works primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area independent movie arena,” and vice chaired by Film Commissioner Peter Bratt, a director whose most recent film is La Mission. Bratt, who came up with the idea for a committee, said work must start on figuring out what “specific things that we can do in the long term.”
“If you go to New Mexico not only has the city but the state has gotten behind building sound stages, parking lots, offices, transportation systems that bring film crews there,” Bratt said. “To my mind there really needs to be a long term vision that needs to be built [for San Francisco.]”
One challenge, he said, was to change the perception that making it less expensive to film in San Francisco was some kind of corporate giveaway.
“People in The City don’t understand that this is a job multiplier,” Bratt said during Thursday’s Film Commission meeting. “A city that has been very successful in demonstrating that has been New York. New Yorkers, they know that filming brings business, creates jobs and tourism.”
One reason why Albuquerque and New Orleans are successful in attracting films is because the states the cities are in help provide enormous incentives to reduce film production costs. San Francisco, Bratt said, must look to do it as a city without the help of the state. He said it was a welcome challenge “to create something that could possibly become a model for other cities.”

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