A proposal to expand the film rebate program to include documentaries and reality television shows appears headed for approval next week, after the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee supported the rebate legislation Wednesday.
“To our reality film enthusiasts, I think you have a prospect by considering a reality TV show of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco,” Supervisor Ross Mirkarmi said jokingly. “I’m surprised nobody’s picked up on that yet — or at least maybe an HBO documentary of some kind.”
Under the program, productions can receive a rebate on city fees, including up to four police officers, which cost $1,200 a day, $1,000 for use of a Muni trademark, film permit fees of $300 per day and payroll taxes. A rebate could not exceed $600,000. The legislation would extend the rebate to include documentaries and reality shows, not just feature films or television series.
“The main thrust of this is that we want to bring more jobs to the city and more money to the local economy,” Film Commission Executive Director Susannah Robbins said.
The City adopted a film rebate program in 2006 to attract more film productions to San Francisco after the industry took a nosedive. It was later modified to make it easier for productions to use. It appears to be working to some degree. There was a 26 percent increase in film activity such as commercials, feature movies and television series last fiscal year compared with the year before. San Francisco had landed a television series for a season, and some big name feature films where shot in town, including Philip Kaufman’s “Hemingway & Gellhorn.”