Originally published May 2, 2013 at 12:37 p.m., updated May 6, 2013 at noon
The San Diego Film Consortium launched last year with what it called a Pitchfest and Mixer in October that attracted a couple hundred people. Its February event drew more than 700, and organizers hope tomorrow night’s event will draw even more.
The Film Consortium San Diego launched last year with what it called a Pitchfest and Mixer in October that attracted a couple hundred people. Its February event drew more than 700, and organizers hope tomorrow night’s event will draw even more.
Jodi Cilley founded the Film Consortium San Diego last year.
“I sort of came up with this idea because of a lot of different things. I’m a teacher here in San Diego, I teach at UC San Diego Extension as well as Platt College, and I’ve taught for years at the Media Arts Center San Diego. What I was seeing over and over again was that my students were getting their degrees, getting an incredible amount of debt but there were no jobs for them, and were ending up working at Rite Aid or Walmart. I said this doesn’t make sense. We are two hours away from L.A., how can there be no production work here? So I started looking into it and I saw this giant opportunity and no one really taking advantage of it. No one really trying to capitalize or build something in this giant empty space here in San Diego.”
The San Diego Film Commission used to fill that space but budget cuts have hurt the organization. On the Film Commission’s website, the last feature film listed as being shot in San Diego is the 2008 “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” and that was just second unit. The Consortium wants to bring filmmakers together in order to increase the quantity and quality of film production in San Diego. Since the first event last October, Cilley says “the interest has been like explosive. The last event we had, which was in February, had about 750 people, and just the energy, the word of mouth since then has been tremendous.”
Here's a video from their first event in October, 2012.
In response to the increased interest, the new Pitchfest and Mixer has expanded from a networking event to something more like a convention.
Cilley says, “We’ve got screenings, locally produced work, we have pitches from local film producers, screenwriters, and directors, as well as showing local reels from actors, directors, and then this time we’re adding post-production people like colorists, editors, special effects, motion graphics people as well as we’re bringing in about 20 score composers, local San Diego score composers. It’s almost like a choose your own adventure, you could go there to find someone to help you with a score, you could go there to just generally network, you could go there to learn about all the organizations that are happening in San Diego, we have about 15 tables from local vendors, such as George’s Camera, and Platt College and UC San Diego are represented.”
Mayor Bob Filner will be speaking at the event because as Cilley points out this is not merely an art movement, it’s a great business opportunity.
“We really feel that in order for San Diego to be a city that’s a great place to film, we do need some local incentives not only to keep productions here but also to attract productions from other regions and other areas such as L.A., and the only way to really do that is to work with local government and create an incentive program with a message or branding of ‘Come to San Diego, this is a great place to film’ or ‘Stay in San Diego and do your work here don’t go to L.A.’”
And the reason film production is important is that it impacts many facets of the economy ranging from catering and equipment rental to transportation and graphic design. Cilley has this suggestion if you are interested in attending but have not come to any of the group’s previous events.
“Just come and check out what’s happening. Most people who have come for their first time, they didn’t really know what it was because to be honest there really isn’t something that’s similar to it, it’s kind of a smorgasbord of a variety of types of events but just getting here and seeing the size of this community and seeing all the different aspects and pieces of community that we’ve managed to bring together into one room is pretty amazing. On top of that think about what are you trying to do in your career, where are you trying to go, and utilize these services to get there. This isn’t just to meet together and be excited about being around filmmakers this is really a call to action for you to come and get involved in what’s happening already in San Diego, and to develop yourself and develop your talent, develop your reel, your resume, your experience, so that we can create more and better work in San Diego and then be able to attract and retain work from other places.”
The Pitchfest and Mixer is Friday night from 5:00pm to 10:00pm at the Four Points by Sheraton on Aero Drive.
Here is a video from the Friday night event.
The Film Consortium, San Diego's Pitchfest and Mixer last Friday drew more than 500 people plus the mayor. One of the new features at the event was a convention style floor.
"The convention room floor is kind of spectacular," says Jodi Cilley, "Not only are we having a lot of different businesses and non-profits and film festivals and different educational institutions coming out, but we started doing what we call Artist for Hire, which is putting local photographers or make-up artists or different people in the community that are looking for work on display in front of people who could potentially hire them. The convention style floor is pretty great, I’m loving kind of all of us finding out about each other and learning, networking, and building a community here."
Frank Luna of the Media Arts Center San Diego agrees. He was running a table at the mini convention floor. "Media Arts in important and a place like this is important because it’s community and it’s about helping each other grow in whatever we want to do and learning from others who are better than you. I like to surround myself with those who are better than me so I can take my skills to another level and it’s really in the end about growth."
Otto Lai, founder of FX Dojo, also had a table. "The goal of this whole event is to boost independent filmmaker in San Diego, all right, you’re out there trying to make your own films, you can’t do it alone, you need a team, you need people, you need FX Dojo, to get the skills you need for post production, don’t try to do it on your own."
Robyn Sarvis was there representing the 48 Hour Film Project. "I think the Film Consortium is great because it gives filmmakers from all around the county an opportunity to come together and network and meet other filmmakers, learn about resources that are available to them and to us that we didn’t know about before so I think it’s great you get to see creative work of our fellow filmmakers and here at this event we are meeting brand new filmmakers that have never been a part of 48 Hour Film Project before. We’re thrilled to have so many new people."
Which works toward Duane Trammell's goal for 48 Hour Film Project: "The largest 48 Hour city is Paris, France with 113 teams. We are pushing to get 130 teams in San Diego and bring the title of biggest 48 Hour Film Project city back to Southern California."
"The idea is that we needed to bring together people from San Diego interested in making films," says Patric Stillman who served as the evening's Pitchfest host, "and start a dialogue about how can we keep jobs here in San Diego, especially, for emerging filmmakers who are graduating from college and having to move elsewhere. And my job here is to handle the pitchfest, and so I’ve got a whole series of filmmakers coming through pitching their ideas."
Ksmoothe was one of the filmmakers taking in the event: "I’m here to network, I’m new to San Diego, I’m a filmmaker, I’ve made a couple movies. I actually made a movie here, I’m here to network, there’s a lot of great people here, there’s a lot of good chance to network to meet actors, to meet producers and actually I’m meeting a lot of people here that I’ve actually done projects with."
"We’ve had a really cool time here tonight," Cilley noted at the end of the evening, "The mayor came out and talked to us about his excitement and his commitment to helping what we are doing here in San Diego, he wants us to build a list of what it would take, kind of like the plan of what it would take, to revitalize a film community and the film industry here in San Diego and he seemed like he was really excited and dedicated to helping us follow through on some of those things."
"It was really exciting to have Bob Filner, our mayor, show up at this networking event with all of these filmmakers," adds Stillman, "He clarified that he is really interested in seeing not only emerging filmmakers stay in San Diego but also to remove some of the limitations that have prevented people from getting permits to make films here and that applies not only to all the people that are working here today but also applies to businesses coming into town."
The Film Consortium hopes that bringing the city on board will result in more and better opportunities for San Diego filmmakers.
The San Diego Film Commission also has a FaceBook Page and Twitter account.