Kerner Studios, the studio that produced the special effects for George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy, hosted this year's party and panel discussion on the state of Northern California's film industry.
As newcomers to the area, I was ignorant to the fact that film makers, technicians, and artists are struggling to work on film projects in Northern California. The bulk of the panel discussion emphasized that the local industry is in trouble. With generous government subsidies, much of the animation and special effects work that was traditionally the Bay Area's strength is moving to Vancouver, New Zealand and Michigan. While Hollywood is still a major player, many Bay Area filmmakers are forced to commute to Los Angeles for work.
The Bay Area has a strong history of technical filmmaking. From Muybridge's horse to George Lucas and Pixar, artists in this area have often led the field. The takeaway from the evening was that we can lead again by leveraging the technological expertise of Silicon Valley. We can and should pressure our local governments to offer the competitive subsidies and tax breaks that are driving work away from Northern California.