The digs tell the story: Industrial Light & Magic started in a humble space in the San Fernando Valley, moved to an industrial park in Marin County, but today sits in a $350 million headquarters in the middle of San Francisco’s Presidio, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
ILM has been in San Francisco for just about a decade, and it’s long been a linchpin of Bay Area filmmaking. It’s also been a significant employer. The company had 790 people when it moved to San Francisco and now employs 1,200 there.
“Industrial Light and Magic represents a unique blend of technological innovation and creative vision that has helped make California the world leader in the entertainment industry,” says Panorea Avdis, director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee emailed Variety to say, “They are a beloved company that is inspiring a new generation of digital artists through outreach, training, and job creation here in San Francisco, the innovation capital of the world.”
John Lasseter joined Pixar when it was still part of ILM, and he remembers the early days there. “There’s a level of perfectionism in the culture at ILM,” Lasseter says. “They’re willing to work as hard as they have to on every tiny detail and that will impact any place, any city where they work. Now they have a location that is worthy of their achievements, and I think it’s very important to support artists in that way.”