San Francisco's Dying Music Scene
The Bay Area music scene has experienced rapid change
since the influx of tech money in its local cities. What was
once an important trendsetting piece of the American
musical landscape has now slowly been relegated further
into an afterthought. Venues are shutting down, rent is
going up, and creators are leaving for cheaper lands in
Our film portrays a variety of perspectives from music
makers living in the Bay Area, from the heart of San
Francisco to regional capitals of the Silicon Valley, Palo Alto
and San Jose. Discussions on changing times evolves into a
look into how these factors shape their artistry and what
their hometowns mean to them.
Jeffrey WuDirectorThe Distance Between Us
Andrew HanAssistant Editor
Tim ShiibaDirector of Cinematography
Project Type:Documentary, Music Video, Short, Web / New Media
Genres:Drama, Documentary, Short, Music Video, Digital Media, Web Documentary, Gentrification, Urbanization
Runtime:15 minutes 4 seconds
Completion Date:January 15, 2019
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:United States
Music Shorts Film FestivalMissoula
May 14, 2019
BASH - Bay Area Shorts Film FestivalAlbany
December 8, 2019
Bay Area Premiere
Jeffrey Wu is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles and New York specializing in personal documentary and new media content creation.
His interest in the moving image began at an early age when at the age of thirteen he began to cut together clips of Japanese animated shows with 90s American hip-hop music. By blending the two montage style, he created what the internet at the time called anime music videos. The outlandish editing style through heavy use of juxtaposition and visual effects persists in his work today.
In high school, he picked up a camera and began working for the school's news broadcast. It was here where he learned how media could be a way to not only entertain, but to unify. By creating content and telling stories that everyone within that community shared in, he realized that media could be a driving force for community. This idea flourished in the new media space as he continued to work for Asian-American-Pacific-Islanders (AAPI) content creators like 88 RIsing, Generasian, The Fung Brothers, and A / P / A Institute.
Today, he splits his time at PHOENIX TELEVISION where he continually engages with his Chinese roots through travel documentaries and POPeye Media where he expands his curiosity of other cultures through the lens of music.
San Francisco and The Bay Area have been a mainstay of modern American culture for far longer than the 1960s would imply. Its history is thick with jazz aficionados in the Filmore, punk music from the East Bay and more recently the emergence of the Bay Area sound in hip-hop. While the history of the Summer of Love is well documented, we wanted to turn our gaze to the present and uncover what’s left of what was once a luscious soundscape and see what it has come to now.
From Sunny & The Black Pack and their full seven piece funk-jazz band to Underbelly’s minimalist solo performances, we made sure to cover not only a breadth of genres but areas as well. We went to small far-flung towns like Pleasant Hill, lush suburban neighborhoods like Palo Alto, dense urban centers like San Jose, and of course the mecca of it all - San Francisco.
What remained consistent was our desire to find working
musicians who found and paved their own paths while still
acknowledging the struggles that were present to do so.
Whether it’s the difficulty of juggling full-time work and music, or a general displacement of creative talent to the furthest reaches of the city, or the shuttering of once historic venues, musicians continue to adapt and exist in this modern urban climate.
What we searched for were the earmarks of gentrification and displacement from the tech industry. What we found was a story of resiliency, perseverance, and the ingenuity of the human spirit. This is the modern struggle of income, class division, and gentrification as told through the lens of artists across the Bay Area.
As technology continues to march on and the density of cities continue to push artists out of their original dwellings, we think this is a powerful story and example of how some artists continue to thrive and exist in these circumstances.