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San Diego City, County Film Effort Still In Planning Stages

The city and county effort to woo the film industry is slowly underway. But it's too slow for some advocates.

Aside from sandy beaches and warm weather, most people outside of Southern California would sum up San Diego in a few scenes, like the Kansas City Barbecue from "Top Gun" or the beaches at Coronado Island in "Some Like it Hot."

Or the real shots of Balboa Park that made it into the mostly Hollywood version of San Diego, in "Anchorman."

Local film production has been steadily drying up for more than a decade. It may have hit bottom in 2013, when San Diego disbanded its film commission. This summer, the city and county have been working on a reboot.

“What we’re talking about doing is setting up a film office that can help people who want to do filming here,” Supervisor Dave Roberts said. “Whether they are TV commercials, whether they are TV shows, whether they are movies. We want to have easy access for people to do that here.”

In June, the San Diego City Council set aside $100,000 to create a film office. Roberts said he’ll make a similar pitch to the county. In the meantime, the city and county have been gathering input from the industry and the public on what the new group should look like. Roberts said they hope to have a proposal after the first of the year.

“The person running the film commission is still going to have a, say six month to a year process to get everything working the way they need to get it working,” said Sandy Buehner with the San Diego Film Commission Foundation.

She said that’s too slow for a community with such a rich filming tradition.

Starting this year, California tripled its film credit to lure production back to the Golden State. Buehner said San Diego is already at a disadvantage in the early rounds.

Roberts said he and the San Diego mayor’s office want to make sure all sides agree with the group’s final makeup.

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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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