News Articles & Press Quotes

News Articles

David Brown’s “The Bridge So Far,” a funny and terrifying look at what’s been delaying the new Bay Bridge
June 22, 2006 San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Leah Garchik

Bay Bridge Contractor Has Reputation for Quality

One client says American Bridge also aggressively pursues higher pay through ‘change orders’ for work it considers extra

April 21, 2006 San Francisco Chronicle


Press Quotes

From the Marin Pacific Sun

Ever wonder why Los Angeles was able to repair its earthquake damage in one year while the Bay Area, home of the world’s most beautiful bridges and most dangerous fault lines, took more than a decade-and-a-half figuring out what to do with the new east span of the Bay Bridge? Brisbane filmmaker David L. Brown points accusatory fingers in the right places in explaining, with the help of professional comedians, who caused the absurd delays and the countless wasted billions. Check out “The Bridge So Far – A Suspense Story,” a sometimes laughable, sometimes brutally painful examination of political incompetence.”


From the San Francisco Chronicle

Brisbane resident David Brown produced and directed “The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story,” about the protracted struggle to build an eastern span for the Bay Bridge after it was damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in October 1989.

“I did 12 months of work in six months,” said Brown, 58. “The film stands in marked contrast to the bridge construction.”

Early on, he decided on a satiric approach.

“I was interested in the subject largely because it is a great saga with a great cast, many cinematic elements and a strong sense of urgency for public safety,” Brown said. “It involves elements of farce, tragedy and comedy, with many wild twists and turns.”


From the San Francisco Examiner

“The ocean is the mother of all life. It’s an extremely important part of our life, particularly in the coastal areas,” said Brisbane filmmaker David Brown, whose film about the Bay Bridge will screen Sunday. “The festival is well-suited to the Bay Area.”

Elisa Williams, spokeswoman for the festival, said perhaps the most talked-about film this year is Brown’s “The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story,” tracing the Bay Bridge’s construction fiasco over the last few years and made at the behest of Caltrans engineers.

The third annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center on Saturday and Sunday covers marine biology, saltwater sports and aquatic environmental issues by local and international filmmakers.


From the San Francisco Chronicle

I got a peek before the Film Arts Foundation’s showing on Wednesday at David Brown’s “The Bridge So Far,” a funny and terrifying look at what’s been delaying the new Bay Bridge. My favorite startling moment of this tale is when Mary King, head of the Bay Bridge Design Task Force, complains that when she went to Treasure Island to talk with redevelopment director Annemarie Conroy about plans for the bridge, Conroy gave her only a dry sandwich for lunch. It was bologna, she said, and as I reflect upon it today, maybe she was kidding. The possibility that she wasn’t tells you all you need to know about the spirit of cooperation in which this project has lurched forth.


From the San Francisco Examiner

What’s holding up Bay Bridge Changes?
March 10, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO – For a filmmaker whose documentaries frequently extol grass-roots democracy, the realization that too much civic involvement is possible came as a surprise to David L. Brown.
But after six months of research and filming for his latest project about the construction of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, it’s hard to deny, Brown said. A Brisbane resident, he figures it was too much input from too many voices, coupled with political meddling that is primarily to blame for the 16-year delay in reconstructing the country’s second busiest bridge. In “The Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story,” scheduled to air this Sunday, Brown humorously depicts the political backbiting, engineering miscues, and marathon public debates with cartoons (a la Michael Moore) along with commentary from the likes of satirist Will Durst.


From the Sacramento Bee

Policy wonks, political junkies and pocket protector-wearing engineers probably have long planned to curl up on the couch Saturday and watch a documentary about the ongoing construction of the new Bay Bridge.

But, really, why should the rest of us care to view “The Bridge So Far – A Suspense Story” (5 p.m. Saturday on Channel 10)? After all, doesn’t all that political squabbling, bureaucratic mumbo jumbo and engineer geek-speak just make your hair hurt? All we really care about is crossing the bridge on a Saturday night without getting stalled in traffic or tossed into the bay if the Big One hits, right?

Well, yes.

But there’s also this: The documentary is very funny. And as a bonus, you’ll find yourself learning something – almost against your will.

That producer-director David L. Brown was able to create a snarky and compelling documentary – leaning more toward Michael Moore filmmaking territory than Ken Burns – is surprising in itself. See, Brown’s project was sponsored by the Professional Engineers in California Government, an organization that represents Caltrans workers.

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