Other than the occasional nude march and rally, most San Franciscans have settled into Supervisor Scott Wiener's three-year-old ban on exposed flesh without too much grumbling, but now a location scout who's worked with some of the biggest Bay Area-set productions is suggesting that SF's puritanical ways might quash film and TV-makers' desire to shoot in our city.
Matthew Riutta's worked as a Bay Area location manager for all the biggies: Fruitvale Station, Moneyball, Zodiac, and many more (you can see his IMDB page here). Right now he's working on the second season of Sense8, the partially SF-set Netflix series from the Wachowskis.
In addition to shoots at Alamo Square's Westerfeld House and the Castro Theatre, this season of the science-fiction drama apparently will have scenes set in Glen Park's Billy Goat Hill Park. It's the latter location where the production (and Riutta) ran into trouble, according to the Chron.
Reportedly set in the park's iconic tree swing, which Curbed SF once described as "a chance for the brave to watch the land drop from beneath their feet," the scene in question "was supposed to be...romantic" the Chron reports. But "someone accidentally got naked," and now Riutta has been hit with a $1,000 fine and "must now pay a $10,000 security deposit for any future park filming permits."
Riutta, who in a 2013 interview with the Chron explained that his job requires that he both "get the film done, but also respect the locations and the residential community where you film," was not pleased by the sanctions imposed against him by San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department. As you might imagine!
Addressing the Board of Supervisors through a letter from his attorney, Riutta accused Rec and Parks with a "lack of transparency and process in relation to fees and policies." He's asking that the fine and his new deposit requirements be removed.
Of course, Rec and Parks isn't responsible for enforcing SF's nudity laws, which as of February 2013 made it illegal for anyone over the age of five to expose their genitals or perineum on public streets, sidewalks, street medians, parklets, plazas, or while riding public transit. Instead, it's up to the San Francisco Police Department to cite violators, with tickets that begin at $100 and rise for each additional offense over the course of a year.
That's hardly the $1000 demanded by Rec and Parks, so what gives? It's hard to say: Given that we don't have a date for the alleged offense, an SFPD spokesperson couldn't investigate any possible reports for me, and my call to Rec and Park had not been returned at publication time.
It's also unclear if Rec and Parks even oversees the swing on which the nudity reportedly occurred, as Curbed SF urges caution for swingers as they "are not sure the swings are sanctioned (or inspected) by any city entity."
In that letter to the Board of Supes, Riutta's attorney says "The Parks Department appear to perceive filming as a nuisance to be limited, which has a dangerous chilling effect for future film, television and commercial productions." Perhaps it's time for local gay porn concern NakedSword to get to work on a sequel to their 2013 opus mocking our nudity ban, The Cover Up. May I suggest they entitle it Billy Goat Buff?