Many of you may not be aware of all the filming that takes place in Berkeley. Our city has played host to some very memorable movies. We’ve also been the backdrop to many commercials, photo shoots, documentaries and television shows.
There are many attributes the City of Berkeley and University have to offer the film industry. Location professionals scout and admire our architectural buildings and residences, varied landscapes and views from Tilden Regional Park to the Berkeley Marina, tree-lined shopping districts and neighborhoods.
Research shows the “first” documented movie to film in Berkeley was back in 1919. The film was called “The Fear Woman”, a Samuel Goldwyn Picture, directed by J.A. Barry. Now, we’re pretty sure this wasn’t a block-buster per se, but if you’ve seen it or heard of it, please let us know.
Hollywood started showing an increased interest in Berkeley in the late 60’s. In 1967, Embassy Pictures came to Berkeley to shoot several scenes for the Academy Award winning movie “The Graduate”, directed by Mike Nichols, starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman. Even George Lucas came to Berkeley in 1970 and filmed up at the Lawrence Hall of Science for his first movie, THX-1138.
Several movies were filmed in the 80’s and then the “action” started. In 1993, “Made in America” with Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg came. 1994 was “Junior” with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwartznegger. Another Academy Award winner was the documentary “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien” 1996.
Other notable movies shot in Berkeley? Well, there was “Patch Adams”(1998) starring Robin Williams; “The Insider” (1999) starring Al Pacino and Russell Crow; “Boys and Girls” (2000) starring Freddie Prinze, Jr.; “HULK” (2003), “Bee Season” (2005) starring Richard Gere and Juliet Binoche, and Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner".
Berkeley does have some great locations, but we also have an impressive crew base, as well as support companies including post production sound, aerial photography, film editing facilities, photo labs, recording studios, animation and visual effects and sound design.
The Berkeley Film Office was formed in 1994 to act as a liaison between the community and film industry. In 1999, the Film Office became a “one-stop-shop” for permit coordination and logistics and works diligently to provide a “film friendly” environment for all.