Lights, Camera, Discount! For Filming in the City

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    The Transamerica building towers over Chinese storefronts in San Francisco's Chinatown.

    On the surface, the latest plug San Francisco's mayor and the film commission are using to get movie producers to choose their skyline as a backdrop seems sophomoric, at best.

    They kicked off a discount program Tuesday called "Scene in San Francisco." 

    Mayor Newsom described the new program as a win-win because it benefits both local businesses and the production companies at the same time.

    "Practical, innovative ideas like this will help put San Francisco back on the map as a premier destination for filmmaking and production," Newsom said in a statement.

    The reason we're not jumping up and down is because the discount, so far anyway, only works at three spots and one of them is the Wax Museum.  The other two are the Fairmont Hotel and the Italian restaurant Fior D’Italia.

    The city says it's still looking for more vendors and they are going to have to find them in order to this to work.

    This is part of a larger, more successful initiative in the city called "Scene in San Francisco."  That makes qualifying productions including feature films, television series episodes and pilots eligible for a refund of all payroll tax and City fees up to $600,000 per production.

    For the record, the San Francisco Film Office reports an increase in the number of productions this year by 76 permits.  It also had 178 more shooting days than 2009.

    "We’ve had a busy Fall, with a South Indian 'Tollywood' film 181, which shot here for 10 days, as well as a Japanese TV series pilot Amalfi, which filmed for 9 days.  In addition, we’ve had a Chinese reality television show Rose Wedding, which filmed at many iconic locations in San Francisco, and an ABC pilot The Nine Lives of Chloe King.  We also had large Kia, Sprite and Cadillac commercials, the reality show The Bad Girls Club, and the TV series The Hunter-Gatherer, to name a few.  And we have a busy New Year ahead, with Philip Kaufman’s Hemmingway & Gellhorn which will be shooting from February through May, a portion of the new Steven Soderbergh film Contagion, which will begin filming in February, another television pilot coming to town in January, and a Chinese cooking show which will begin filming in mid-February," Susannah Greason Robbins, Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission said.