Independent Film in San Francisco

I know a lot of people doing a lot of art in San Francisco. I happen to be one of them, shooting my first feature-length work, Dying in your Sleep. A lot of the people here are remnants of what was the dot-com period and some are new to the area, attending one of the many, many campuses in the area that specializes in are classes. Of course, there is a sad fact in that, I used to know a lot more people that used to be here.
A lot of people ran for higher, or more to the fact, more southern ground when things started to fall apart around here and are now down in Los Angeles. I still keep in touch with a lot of those people and some of them have had success, some of them haven’t, and others have yet moved into other areas to make an income.
It’s kind of a sad thing to see really. San Francisco is a fertile area to have a counter-culture film movement. The Chronicle would make you think that it’s still alive and well with how many ridiculous articles they do on Francis Coppola and George Lucas who are, in truth the only big film people left aroudn up here and they’re hardly indie people. Lucas makes his money working with Hollywood types and Coppola has lately been churning out mediocre films with MGM (Jeepers Creepers, Jeepers Creepers II, Pumpkin…)
I don’t know what it would take to really kick indie film in the ass and get it really happening around here, so that people who wanted to make different films than what Hollywood offer could work here and still be able to eat. It probably would have taken a different mayor than Willie Brown who seemed to see little interest in helping the film community grow and instead ultimately doomed the area by giving dot-coms and other companies the reach around needed to get them in here, remodel SOMA and then vanish. Hopefully Newsome will provide more incentive to smaller productions to film here. We do have a local SAG office and they’re a helpful group, trying to get productions off the ground as much as possible. But, in reality, Newsome is taking on some bigger issues first like gay marraige and I very much respect that.
I guess it all boils down to the fact that for indie films to make it here, there needs to be a grass roots effort. The city and others with money need to plan the seeds so that we get more than guys like me, running around with a small camcorder shooting a film for $3500.