Although San Francisco isn’t usually the first city to pop-up when it comes to major movie players, it has played an incredibly powerful role in the start and progress of cinema.
Fog City Mavericks is definitely a must-see documentary on Bay Area cinema and celebrities. The film starts with a brief introduction of the start of cinema by a Eadweard Muybridge based on a challenge by Leland Stanford (founder of Stanford University). Leland and a friend wanted to know if at any point in time, a racehorse had all four legs up in the air. From this challenge, Muybridge created what can be considered the first film.
Through a series of interviews centered around George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, we learn about various directors, actors and creators of independent cinematic films that have reached high levels of success and have helped shape the movie industry. While the majority of the documentary focuses on Coppola and Lucas, we do learn about Sofia Coppola’s contribution to cinema, Chris Columbus, Clint Eastwood, John Lassister (best known for Pixar) Steve Jobs’ involvement with Pixar, and Saul Zaentz.
The documentary includes clips of iconic American films such as: American Graffiti, the Star Wars film series, the Indiana Jones film series, The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Lost in Translation, Flags of Our Fathers and many others.
The documentary also includes interviews with those who have worked with the Bay Area mavericks: Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas, Anthony Minghella, Milos Forman and Robin Williams. I am sad to say that there was no mention of Alfred Hitchcock in this documentary. Many of his films are based in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, Vertigo, being perhaps one of the more famous of the films.
Who knew that Francis Ford Coppola owned the Centinnal Building for his American Zeotrope Production company? I didn’t. I didn’t know that Chris Columbus, although raised in Ohio, came to San Francisco to start his career. The film offers a unique look at the history of San Francisco and its bohemian culture and acceptance for the off-beat, anti-mainstream, and the fostering of individual creativity.
I would also recommend watching The Pixar Story to learn about Pixar productions headquartered in Emeryville, CA.