Company Town

77 min. Deborah Kaufman & Alan Snitow, dist. by Bullfrog Films, www.bullfrogfilms.com. 2017. DVD ISBN 9781941545812. $350 (Rental: $95). Public performance; SDH subtitles. BUS
Company Town looks at the changes in San Francisco brought on by the tech field, focusing on the election for supervisor between a candidate who wants to preserve the culture of existing neighborhoods versus his opponent, who favors cooperation with the industry. While the film presents both sides to some extent, there is far more emphasis on how the influx of well-paid tech workers has forced out existing residents and is altering the very substance of the city. Aside from neighborhood gentrification, the filmmakers home in on how the home-sharing concept represented by Airbnb has exacerbated the housing shortage by facilitating the transformation of affordable housing into lucrative short-term rentals. Uber is criticized for both costing cab drivers income and exploiting its own drivers desperate to earn enough money to stay in the area. Scenes of speakers walking through neighborhoods, debates between the candidates, and the countdown to Election Day keep the flow vibrant.
VERDICT Anyone connected to the Bay Area will find value here, but what it says about how the tech revolution negatively affects the less affluent makes it informative for viewers everywhere.

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