City of San Diego listed among best places to live and work as a moviemaker

Top Gun sequel filming shows camera car with Coronado PD escort | Photo courtesy of BShimabukuro

Industry magazine highlights city’s streamlined permitting process, COVID-19 safety protocol and binational location

SAN DIEGO – The City of San Diego has once again landed in the Hollywood spotlight after being named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 25 Best Places to Live and Work in 2021.

San Diego is the only California city to make the list at No. 17, moving up one spot from last year. Los Angeles is considered a Hall of Fame location and is not eligible for this yearly honor.

WTF Filming at Tuna Harbor Park | Photo courtesy of BShimabukuro

MovieMaker Magazine declared San Diego worthy of recognition based on data collected through surveys, research on tax incentives and recent film productions. Magazine staff visited many locations on the list, taking into consideration how the cities responded to health and safety requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s incredibly rewarding that the City of San Diego continues to be recognized for investing in the film industry, particularly after this challenging past year,” said Brandy Shimabukuro, Filming Program Manager for the City of San Diego’s Special Events & Filming Department. “While there is still much work to be done, we know our convenient, binational location offers the environment and lifestyle to attract filmmakers and cultivate a thriving film-friendly community.”

In June 2020, the Special Events & Filming Department resumed accepting permit applications after a temporary pause. Upon reopening, all approved productions in the City were required to follow guidelines under the County of San Diego’s Safe Reopening Plan which requires facial coverings, physical distancing measures and sanitation stations for all cast and crew.

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, San Diego was able to successfully attract film and television projects to the region including episodes of “Mayans M.C.” and advertising campaigns for Reebok, Uber and American Airlines.

Established in 2016, the San Diego Film Office offers a comprehensive suite of services including a filming production guide, location gallery and interactive map. California’s film industry represents more than 890,000 film and entertainment employees.

MovieMaker Magazine is based in Hollywood and was founded in 1993. To view the full Top 25 list, visit

(City of San Diego Communications Dep’t Release)

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