San Francisco is struggling to attract film productions, despite the city’s incentive program.
Hilly San Francisco can be a difficult and expensive city to film in, and the Examiner reports that many producers will set their show or movie in San Francisco, but film it in a cheaper city, using only a few exterior shots of city landmarks to set the stage. The number of feature films, commercials, documentaries and television series shot in San Francisco has declined over the past three years.
An Examiner article reports that “Under the current program, productions with budgets less than $3 million can get up to a $600,000 rebate if they have 55 percent of their principal photography shot in San Francisco… Since 2006, San Francisco has shelled out $851,270 in rebates for four productions, including the feature films ‘Milk,’ and ‘Trauma.'”
Officials estimate those four productions alone pumped $125 million into the local economy. Cities like Detroit and Santa Fe, and states like Michigan have recognized the potential for economic benefits and offer even more generous tax breaks to productions.