In what local film industry leaders are hoping is a sign of good times to come, the current edition of “The Hollywood Reporter” -- dubbed “Made in San Diego” -- promises "272 Reasons to Film in San Diego" on its cover.
Folks at the San Diego Film Commission said the good press couldn’t come at a better time.
"The economy has taken its toll on everyone, so we're included in that," said Cathy Anderson, CEO of the San Diego Film Commission, “although you'll find historically that people still like to go to the movies and people still watch television.”
The industry is now also reveling in the good news that it’s getting a big boost from the state's new budget. The stimulus plan in the budget allocates $100 million for five years with the goal of keeping filmmaking in California. Until now, California was one of eight states with no incentives for filmmakers.
Local film experts said that has cost the region millions.
The film business hasn't been this slow in 14 years, according to the San Diego Film Commission. The economic impact is down from about $96 million in San Diego County in 2007 to just $42 million last year.
"We do get independent films, and that's the new trend," Anderson said. "But the feature films, there's less of them being made, fewer high-budget projects."
One place San Diego’s not hurting? Reality television.
"Reality's never going to go away -- a lot of people think it will, but it's a very cheap show to put together, and I don't mean in a bad way, I mean as far as dollars cost for production minutes, the cost is very low," said Rob Dunson, director of television for the San Diego Film Commission. "An abundance of reality [TV] is shot in San Diego. I think we have unique characters ... we're close to Los Angeles."
For the first time, the commission decided to participate in the Locations Expo trade show in March to try to attract new business. It’s also sending postcards to East Coast production companies touting San Diego’s year-round sunshine.