The City of San Diego’s Special Events & Filming Department enhances the vitality and economic prosperity of San Diego through the support of special events and the expansion of filming in the region.
Community festivals add to the spirit of neighborhoods and provide an opportunity for residents, local artisans, performers, merchants and safety personnel to interact with one another.
Athletic and cultural events in key business districts provide marketing opportunities and bring new patrons to businesses. National and international events showcase San Diego and create millions of dollars of economic impact that instill civic pride and serve as long-term economic development tools.
One of the nation’s premier holiday festivals and San Diego’s largest free community event, December Nights, is managed annually by the City. More than 300,000 people participate in the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season that celebrates the beauty, splendor and magic of Balboa Park.
Economic Development Initiatives
The Special Events & Filming Department is actively involved in bringing major events and film productions to San Diego. The City works closely with industry partners such as the San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Tourism Marketing District, San Diego Convention Center Corporation, California Film Commission, and local film industry leaders to increase the economic impact and media exposure of the San Diego region.
Major Event and Film Support Services
Once a major special event or film production is secured, support services are provided to key entities (event organizer, location scout, producer, host committee, etc.) to ensure the success of the project. The scope of services may range from the initiation of economic development to media and community outreach programs to the establishment of protocols to ensure regulatory and public safety oversight.
Examples of major national and international events and filming that have been, or will soon occur, include the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, Farmer’s Insurance Open, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Comic-Con International, the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowl Games, U.S. Open Championship of Golf, Super Bowl XXXII, FOX Entertainment’s scripted pilot, “Pitch,” Netflix original series, “Ingobernable” and numerous independent films, shorts, commercials and print campaigns.
Major events and productions contribute to San Diego’s economy through the Transit Occupancy Tax, sales tax and other direct and indirect spending. San Diego also receives long-term branding and economic development benefits from the media exposure generated by these events and film productions.
Special Event Permitting
The Special Events Program spearheads the permit process for special events that take place on public property within the City of San Diego. During the process, event organizers interface with representatives from more than 40 city, county, state and federal agencies involved in the planning and permitting review process and regulatory oversight and on-site management of special events.
To aid in the process, the Special Events Management Team serves as a conduit between event applicants and the public. The goal of the team is to provide a unified customer service experience, increase public safety and reduce liability to the City of San Diego. For more information, visit our Special Events page
Film Production Registration and Coordination
In 2016, with the support of Mayor and City Council, the Special Events & Filming Department identified an immediate opportunity to provide resources to the film industry as a whole, while supporting the region’s skilled professionals and support services.
By developing and implementing a comprehensive suite of online film program services, the City is able to provide more resources, incentives and tools to attract filming productions to the region. Establishing a more robust film program and website offerings places San Diego at the forefront of augmenting film office capabilities with online technologies.
The City of San Diego is well qualified to meet the unique needs associated with on- location filming. For more information, visit our Filming page.
Promoting San Diego as a Filming Destination
San Diego has a lot to offer the film industry. From year-round sun to crashing waves, to mountaintops and desert trails…San Diego has it all. An advertising campaign appearing in trade publications and participation in industry tradeshows informs decision makers in the local, national, and international film communities that San Diego is competitive as a film-friendly destination. The campaign targets filmmakers, producers, directors, locations managers and studio executives worldwide, encouraging them to Set Their Scene in San Diego.