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Chair Fletcher's Regional Film Office Policy to Create Jobs, Support Film, and Arts



Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, has introduced a policy to establish a regional film office to support the local economy by creating new local job opportunities and supporting the San Diego film and arts, with additional benefits for our tourism and hospitality industries. Today, Chair Fletcher made the announcement at the Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero in San Diego.

“San Diego is the best location for filmmakers to work because of our fair climate, beautiful and diverse landscapes, and our talented workforce,” said Chair Fletcher. “A regional film office can serve as a one-stop-shop for the film industry. By cutting the red tape of coordinating permits with multiple jurisdictions, creating a centralized marketing message, and having a dedicated staff to champion San Diego as a destination for filmmakers and production studios, we can lift up our local economy. It’s time we have a San Diego Regional Film Office.” 

During the 35 years of existence of the San Diego Film Commission, which went dormant in 2013, there was an estimated $63.7 million in estimated production company spending in our region each year. There were two years (2005 and 2007) where an estimated $100 million was generated for our region. According to reporting from the Voice of San Diego, production crews could spend between $250,000 and $300,000 per day to support operations.

Since the film commission closed, the City of San Diego has operated a film office, and many other jurisdictions have helped facilitate filming.

“Attracting and supporting television and film production in San Diego is a great way to create high-quality local jobs, boost our economy, and enhance our place on the world stage,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria commented.  “The City of San Diego’s Film Office has for several years been working with production companies to facilitate filming here, and Chair Fletcher’s proposal to create a regional film office builds upon our efforts on a broader scale and bring more dollars to San Diego County.”

Chair Fletcher’s policy directs the Chief Administrative Officer to negotiate the creation of a Regional Film Office with the City of San Diego, the Port of San Diego, and other interested parties. The Port of San Diego is supportive of the idea to create the San Diego Regional Film Office because their entity manages many parcels of land that would be great locations for filmmakers, and already issues permit for filming on the port tidelands. 

“The Port of San Diego supports the creation of the San Diego Regional Film Office as our many on-the-water and waterfront locations on and along San Diego Bay are already quite popular with filmmakers,” said Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Michael Zucchet. “Everything from the new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park – used recently by Apple as the venue for the launch of the iPhone 13 – to the aircraft carrier USS Midway, Seaport Village, the Embarcadero, the iconic Imperial Beach Pier, the South Bay, the industrial sites from Barrio Logan to National City, and more. Having a regional film office elevates our ability to market the region for TV and film production and creates the efficiency of a one-stop shop for permitting, producing economic benefits for many.” 

In addition to the revenue generated for local hotels, restaurants, and other entities, the San Diego Regional Film Office would also help create jobs locally for the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and other unions that represent people who work in the industry. 

The Chief Administrative Officer has until May of 2022 to create the agreement, but Chair Fletcher’s policy includes recommendations for the Regional Film Office, including:

  • An independent, self-sustaining entity, 

  • A driver in the marketing and promotion of the San Diego region, 

  • A provider of technical services to filmmakers, 

  • An economic engine for the region, 

  • Supportive of local talent, and  

  • A linkage with Baja California.  


What Others Are Saying about the Policy 

Other members of the community who participated in the press conference included: Betsy Brennan, President & CEO, Downtown Partnership; Brigette Browning, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council; and Ethan van Thillo, Executive Director, Media Arts Center San Diego.

"The San Diego-Baja California region has been struggling for many years without a central film commission, and we've fallen behind compared to other areas in the country who have taken advantage of the economic benefits of feature and episodic film production. The need for a film office to house resources for film producers wanting to film here, and educators promoting careers in cinema is crucial. I applaud the County of San Diego for taking the first steps in bringing new opportunities to local filmmakers, actors, producers, technicians and crew from all backgrounds and neighborhoods in our County," stated  Ethan van Thillo, Founder/Executive Director, San Diego Latino Film Festival

“A regional film office would bring in desperately needed jobs, said Brigette Browning, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council. “We are talking about good union jobs – the kind that support families, build strong communities, and has the potential to mitigate the long-term economic repercussions of this pandemic that will no doubt affect a whole generation of people.”

The San Diego Regional Film Office policy aligns with Chair Nathan Fletcher’s Framework for the Future of San Diego County. The Framework prioritizes communities and populations in San Diego that have been historically left behind. Through this Framework, Chair Fletcher is fighting for racial justice, health equity, economic opportunity, environmental protection, government transparency, and fundamental changes to county operations.