San Francisco launches California first film
and television rebate program
District 2 Supervisor Michella Alioto-Pier, a tad past due for
arrival of third child,
still on duty to lead San Francisco film industry renewal.
By Aldrich M. Tan
April 5, 2006
San Francisco becomes the first city in California to establish
a film and television incentive program that aims to encourage
more production companies to shoot in San Francisco and create
jobs for local industry workers.
"This incentive sends a message to Hollywood that San Francisco
is ready for its close-up," said Dan Kemp, location manager
for Teamster Local 85, which represents local actors and production
The incentive package provides a rebate for city fees and expenses
for productions that shoot 65 percent or more of their principal
photography in San Francisco, Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier explained.
Low budget and independent films of less than $3 million must
shoot 55 percent of their principal photography in San Francisco
to qualify for the rebate, added Alioto-Pier. The productions
would apply for the rebate after completing principal photography.
The ordinance passed on first reading at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors
meeting by a 9 to 2 vote after the supervisors dropped the program's
overall funds from $3 mil. to $1.8 million over a three year period,
Productions would apply for the rebate after the completing their
principal photography, so that the benefits flow to productions
that create jobs for local film industry workers, Alioto-Pier
"This program will bring back the jobs that have moved away
to Los Angeles," said Rob Black, a director of special projects
for contract and union organizing for the Screen Actors Guild;
Eighty-five individuals representing members of Teamster Local
85, Teamster Local 16 and the Screen Actors Guild attended today's
meeting to voice their support for the ordinance, Kemp said.
"The people who work in this industry have made a sacrifice
to live in San Francisco," Supervisor Bevan Duffy said. "They
live here because they appreciate the diversity of this city and
want to raise their families here."
The ordinance promises employment for Reggie Jackson, 42. Jackson
is a local production driver. He drives passenger vans and transports
actors and extras to their sets. Other such drivers transport
film props, electrical equipment, set decorations and people.
"Drivers really need to know how to navigate around the
city in order to accomplish their tasks," he said.
Jackson said he makes between $25 to 28 per hour as a driver
but the salary is not consistent. He supplements his salary by
working as a forklifter for the Moscone Center.
"We may not see a film production come here for another
six to seven months," he said. "San Francisco is an
expensive place to live in and I need a steady paid job to help
me take care of my wife and kids."
The amount of motion pictures filmed in San Francisco dropped
off in the last five years as more major productions sought cheaper
locations in Canada, New Mexico and New York, location manager
"I believe that the only reason why filmmakers come to Vancouver
because of the tax incentives," Jackson said. "San Francisco
is such a beautiful city and filmmakers would film here if they
could afford it."
The local industry rebounded last year with the local productions
of major motion pictures "Rent" and upcoming "The
Pursuit of Happyness" starring Will Smith.
"The reason why that film was produced in San Francisco
was because Smith personally said he wanted to film it here,"
The union's next step is to work with producers and directors
in Hollywood to bring more major productions to San Francisco.
Teamster Local 85 hires 100 to 150 locals when motion pictures
come to film in the city, Kemp said.
The approval of city ordinance may be a good sign for AB 777,
a statewide film incentive that was introduced last February by
State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, Black said.