Thrasher ‘photo shoot’ was not permitted

By Lynn Reizer Heftmann

San Diego Film Commission

Your article, “Skate Park Faces Obstacles” in the Feb. 18 edition was just brought to my attention by the Park & Recreation district manager who oversees Bird Rock Park. Although the caption places the location at Bird Rock Elementary School, the actual location where this scene was shot is the southeast corner of Bird Rock Park. This was not a permitted photo shoot nor was our office aware of it. When a permitted still photo project involves a skateboarding component there are restrictions put on the sort of activity that is allowable because of public perception and liability. If the creative focus of the shoot is skateboarding tricks then they must go to a skateboard park. There is a big difference between a professional still photo team and kids taking photos and trying to sell them to a magazine.

In the course of permitting any sort of film, video or still photo project, we always consider many things, including liability issues. With skateboarding, we are concerned with public perception, damage to public property and public safety. We are always mindful of how the public perceives the activity that is being filmed. In the case of this Thrasher “photo shoot,” the action would not have been permitted since riding the rails only leads to damaged public property.

The San Diego Film Commission is contracted by the city of San Diego to facilitate and permit filming on city property. We work very hard to strike the balance of the needs of the filmmaker and the needs of the community.