There are many ways to look at all these movies that are currently filming in SF: you could be starstruck by all the celebrities, indignant over how they’re taking over the city, or just plain neutral about the whole thing. I mean, filmmakers have to work too; just like the rest of the population.

The recent Chinatown shoot of HBO’s “Hemingway and Gellhorn,” however, has some area merchants saying that the actors and crew seem not to reciprocate that sentiment. Sing Tao Daily, via New America Media/The Bay Citizen reports some Chinatown businesses are finding the filmmakers just as discourteous as the famous author was rumored to be.

People from 30 businesses reportedly unloaded grief on the SF Film Commission, saying that film crews blocked Ross Alley from Jackson to Washington St. for a solid 15 hours, only allowing crew members and residents to enter the area. Trucks and generators further limited accessibility which resulted in a full day’s business gone. As Sing Tao reports, Chinatown merchants faced loss of business, noise and air pollution, garbage problems, and poor treatment by crew members.

The merchants say they typically receive between $300 to $500 from film crews for loss of business they incur when filming’s taking place, which only makes sense, if a location is closed off to the public. They haven’t, they say, been offered anything by HBO.

A SF film commission representative said that San Francisco does not presently require film companies to compensate businesses, but said she would pass the business owners’ concerns to HBO. And apparently, it worked: after extending an apology, HBO regional manager Patrick Ranahan will meet with the merchants next Wednesday at 4 PM to discuss compensation.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • DT

    Greedy merchants.

  • Toni

    Drivingt along Grant Ave, the film trucks was parked along the entire street, which was fine but then one of their vans stopped in the middle of the street (why didn’t they pull over at the corner) and then took their sweet time getting out.

    Rude, especially when they are holding up traffic.

    I don’t think the merchants are greedy (according to DT) but if, and they were, filming in front of your business, no one can enter or exit unless it is during non-filming time and I know they won’t want anyone near there anyway as not to disturb their props. I’ve worked as an extra before and know that this can take an entire day to accomplish so I can understand the merchants being angry about the loss of revenue.

    I hope the film company will compensate them and better than what an extra makes in a day.