San Francisco Film Commission Highlights the Economic Impact of Film Productions in the City

Film SF releases its annual report showcasing the significant economic impact that film productions have on San Francisco’s economy.
May 25, 2023

Film SF today released its annual report showcasing the significant economic impact that film productions have on San Francisco’s economy, as the city recovers economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Film SF is part of the Office of Economic & Workforce Development (OEWD) and is responsible for issuing permits, coordinating resources, and facilitating the production of film, television, corporate, commercial, and supporting local film and media organizations in the city.

According to the report for the fiscal year 2021-2022, film productions in San Francisco generated over $24M in direct economic output, almost a 50% increase over the previous year. This growth can be attributed to the city's iconic landmarks, diverse locations, and commitment to fostering a thriving film community. The report also highlights the employment opportunities created by the film industry. For the current fiscal year, Film SF already has close to 500 shoot days and 250 productions taking place in the city. The industry's multiplier effect extends to other sectors such as hospitality, transportation, retail, and tourism.

“We are encouraged by the positive data that clearly shows an upward trend of film productions in the city,” said Film SF Executive Director Manijeh Fata. “We are inventing new ways to market San Francisco and grow our brand that amplifies our vision. Our downtown has been a favorite for commercial productions, so we will continue to promote our economic core for production activity. From bringing more production to vacant office spaces, activating venues for film events and screenings, to supporting the development of new film and media businesses to make San Francisco its home, we are partnering with the industry and various city departments to support the city’s economic recovery.”

Named by MovieWeb in 2022 as one of the most popular places to film, San Francisco hosted more than 300 productions, including web, corporate, still photography, documentaries, commercials, and music videos, in addition to TV series and film productions. Most recent high-profile productions include Warner Brother’s The Matrix Resurrections, Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Showtime’s Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, Amazon’s I'm A Virgo, AppleTV’s Surface, and Food Network’s Chef Dynasty: House of Fang; which leveraged the “Scene in SF” rebate program. Since the program’s launch in 2006, production companies have paid more than $24M in wages to local SF crew and background actors and spent an estimated $66M on hotels, catering, security, and other local goods and services.

“Capturing an authentic and magical San Francisco of the 70’s and 80’s on a tight budget and schedule seemed daunting, if not impossible. But working with an amazingly knowledgeable local crew and utilizing SF resources, we pulled off the impossible, “said Producer Megan Carlson of Fairyland, which premiered earlier this year at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. “Through diligent scouting and guidance from the Film SF team we shot in locations throughout the city: Golden Gate Park, The Mission, The Haight, The Castro, and North Beach…We moved throughout the city safely and efficiently and local residents and business owners could not have been more supportive. We had an amazing experience throughout production.”

San Francisco’s Downtown has historically been a favorite for film and commercial productions – bringing economic activity to the city during shooting as well as promoting widespread interest from film viewers across the world. Bringing more filming into Downtown is one of the strategies to attract and retain a diverse range of industries and employers under the Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future.

  • Film SF is developing new ways to market San Francisco and grow its brand. By activating local venues for film events and screenings, Film SF will invite more producers and others in the industry to San Francisco and generate increased interest.
  • It will make it easier for filmmakers to choose San Francisco by connecting scouts to available real estate and shooting locations along with offering enhanced support in facilitating production activity.
  • Film SF is also developing a strategy to help new film and media businesses make San Francisco their home to grow a locally-based film sector as part of the future for Downtown.

To further support the growth of film production in the city, Film SF is in active conversation with several partners to design and establish a permanent, state-of-the-art soundstage to bring even more film productions to the city.