What reactions have you gotten to the documentary so far?
After I did Real Time with Bill Maher, I got inundated with emails from all across the country saying, "This is exactly what is happening in my town." Which is funny because I was talking about the big cities becoming gated communities. I heard from people in Florida and North Carolina. What I depicted in San Francisco 2.0 isn't just happening in the big cities, though, it's happening in little communicate all across America. People write 10 pages saying, "You should come make a movie in my community." I was struck by the emails.
At its core, this is a film about people getting left behind -- that strikes a nerve with many, for sure.
I live in the same world because I do films, and this is my tenth HBO documentary, and they mandated I go digital, which I've never done. I have to learn how to use cards and digitize and upload. I have to adapt or die. And that's what the film is about. I guess we all kind of want to be frozen in time in the place where we're comfortable and happy -- which is home. That's where you feel at peace.
How did you come to this project?
I live in New York, but I go home to California all the time, and I saw what was happening in my hometown of San Francisco. Because it's this city that has this reputation for being the counter-culture capital of America, I thought it was an interesting story to tell. San Francisco is the microcosm for what's happening all over the world. How is Airbnb changing the makeup of America and the world? How is Uber changing transportation in America and the world? All of these things are coming out of San Francisco -- it's the birthplace of all this art and culture in the past, and all this commerce now, so it's an interesting story. It's an interesting moment in time to be talking about San Francisco. If America were a scale, all the weight is shifting to the west coast.
An interesting point that comes up in the documentary is the dearth of older people and children in San Francisco. Did you find that to be true?