Often overshadowed by the blinding lights of Hollywood just a few hours south, San Francisco is a city with a long cinematic legacy. In fact, it was there that Eadweard Moybridge invented stop-motion photography (to photograph a horse’s gallop), and then the zoopraxiscope, the first ever motion picture projection device. A century later, San Francisco would be the home base for some of the most influential cinematic auteurs in American history: George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, among others. Today, the city has become a hot spot of innovation, with much of the tech world settled just south of the city proper. But it hasn’t lost its cinematic leanings, with more and more animation studios taking root in the city.
All of this and much more is featured in the hyper-prolific Gary Leva’s feature-length 2007 documentary “Fog City Mavericks,” which has found its way online in five easily digestible nuggets. Leva’s doc offers a fascinating look at both the city and a handful of artists who have called it home. The city, the film notes, has often acted as a sort of antithesis to Hollywood, producing work outside of the traditional mainstream that has over the years helped to shape the way cinema has progressed. The city offered a space where avant-garde filmmakers such as Bruce Conner were rubbing elbows with comparatively more traditional directors like Lucas, who would come to shatter the cinematic norm.
The doc features a dizzying number of familiar and unfamiliar faces chatting up a storm: Lucas, Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Brad Bird, Clint Eastwood, Michael Douglas, John Lasseter, Steven Spielberg and the late Steve Jobs, among many more.
Check out “Fog City Mavericks” in its entirety below. And let us know what you think of the doc in the comments.