As documentarians, we are constantly towing the line of trying of telling the truth while also being compassionate to our subjects. It has always been our goal to go into these bars and tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What happens when telling the truth means potentially embarrassing the dive bars, which have so lovingly opened their doors to us? In today’s world, documentary style episodic TV is filled with raunchy, dramatic cat fights. Someone is always crying and anyone who is slightly eccentric is made to look like Looney Tune.
The risk of a bar’s loving community being exposed to the world as some crazy freak show, have prompted a few bars to refuse to let us shoot there. The bars, which we have been fortunate enough to film in, have exposed us to diverse array of personality types. We’ve heard stories about divorce and how going to the bar and seeing the same people everyday is the only thing that kept them sane. We’ve met with people who are self-admittedly “haywire” and as such walk a fine line between brilliance and madness. We’ve heard stories of people sitting in nooks above the bar watching their best friend die (from alcohol poisoning) in their arms. Each story has been poignant and thoughtful. We are thankful and grateful for these people who felt comfortable enough to let us into their lives. With their vulnerability comes a great responsibility, on our end, to treat their stories with respect.
In the end, our goal is not to exploit or make fun of any of the people we have been fortunate enough to meet. We just want to tell a good story about the community of the bar and the people who view that particular dive bar as their living room. Dirty Old Bar is our tribute to San Francisco as a whole. It’s our ode to a beautiful, ever rapidly changing city, as seen through the people who have been here the longest.