SAN ANTONIO -- MovieMaker magazine announced it has selected San Antonio as one of its top 20 big cities to “Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2019” on Wednesday.

  • Named for film incentive, turnkey
  • San Antonio Film Commision entering third year of 5-year stragetic plan
  • Gained film permits for Bravo, Food Network, ESPN, HGTV, NBC and Travel Channel show

The publication cited the city’s strategic efforts to develop its film scene, 7.5 percent film incentive, turnkey Film Commission, and vibrant locations as some of the many reasons moviemakers should keep San Antonio in mind.

It was these reasons, along with the customer service provided by the Film Commission, that led director Nathan Von Minden to choose San Antonio over other cities for the filming of “The Challenger Disaster,” a movie focused on the engineers working behind the scenes on the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger.

The film, which will be released in select theaters and on Amazon and iTunes on January 25, features the City of San Antonio’s City Council Chambers and Brooks. It stars former Louisiana State University football coach Les Miles, and includes a cameo by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

"It was a joy to work with the City of San Antonio and its Film Commission,” Von Minden said. “They made the burden of filmmaking lighter by helping find and secure locations, reaching out to local talent and being kind to us when things got a little hectic, as they do, during production. It felt like we were on the same team. I love filming in San Antonio because of them."   

The MovieMaker magazine recognition comes as the San Antonio Film Commission enters year three of its five-year strategic plan to ensure San Antonio is one of the top film-friendly cities in the nation.

The San Antonio Film Commission, a division of the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture, oversees the implementation of the strategic plan. Contributing to San Antonio’s film-friendly status, the Film Commission accomplished much in 2018. Some of these successes include:

  • Qualified seasons two and three of DIY Network’s “Pool Kings” to receive San Antonio’s local film incentive, with the project estimated to hire 15 locals over 100 production days.
  • Issued film permits for more than 450 City-owned locations and assisted with productions including episodes for Bravo, Food Network, ESPN, HGTV, NBC and Travel Channel shows; commercials for Ford, Mercedes, H-E-B, Spurs, AAA, Coca-Cola, Foot Locker and Nike; and the “The Challenger Disaster” and “Texas Cotton” feature films.    
  • Supported and organized 24 film screenings in honor of San Antonio’s Tricentennial year.
  • Organized a film contest for local filmmakers, in partnership with the City’s World Heritage Office, awarding cash prizes to filmmakers in three categories.
  • Awarded four San Antonio-based directors with $5,000 Local Filmmaker Grants.
  • Supported three local film festivals with the Film Commission’s Film Festival Funding Program.

On the immediate horizon, the film commission will market San Antonio to film professionals attending Sundance and SXSW, launch its 2019 #FilmSA contest in partnership with the World Heritage Office, modernize its film permit process, and offer a Safety and Inclusion on Set workshop.