By Charly SHELTON
Vampires. Exploding fire hydrants. Movie stars.
Just another week in the Crescenta Valley.
Montrose and the surrounding community seems to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity as a location for shooting scenes for movies, television shows and commercials. Last week, HBO’s “True Blood” filmed in Montrose where spectators could see a vampire crash through the front window of a salon. This week, the crew of NBC’s “Awake” took over part of Honolulu Avenue to film a car crash and fire hydrant exploding. In the coming weeks, expect more filming in other locations across Crescenta Valley and Glendale as this is a very popular place for film crews.
A representative from the filming coordination office of Glendale (who oversees Crescenta Valley) commented on the appeal of the city and all the other areas in its jurisdiction.
“I think that [film crews] like Glendale. It has a great draw. Glendale has a little bit of everything. It offers different looks, it offers different types of buildings, locations. It isn’t just palm trees – you can get pine trees, you can get different looks. You can be in Anytown, Anywhere, U.S.A.”
This year, though just the beginning of February, has seen several shoots in the Glendale and Crescenta Valley areas, including for “True Blood,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Criminal Minds,” as well as some commercials and student films.
As of Feb. 1, the overall number of productions is matching the rate of 2011, meaning there are as many shoots in the area this January as there were last January. In total, 2011 saw 234 productions film in the Glendale jurisdiction. The previous year saw even more, at 291 total productions. With location filming down across Los Angeles as a whole, Glendale has sustained its numbers fairly well.
“We are small, but mighty,” said the representative.
Some of last year’s titles included “The Muppets,” “Seriously Funny Kids,” “CSI,” “Glee,” “Carnal Innocence,” “Grace,” “Celebrity Rehab,” “Chuck,” “The Mentalist,” “God Bless America,” “The Ballerino,” “Sons of Anarchy” (which shoots in the area fairly often), “Desperate Housewives,” “Mobbed with Howie Mandel” and “Parks and Recreation.”
“Moneyball,” “The Artist,” “The Ugly Truth,” “Horrible Bosses,” “Bad Teacher,” “The Details” and “The Lovelace” were all features shot in the area in 2010 and 2011, showing just how long it takes to get a feature picture from set to screen, as many of these movies were released in the last few months.
In Montrose specifically, Steve Pierce is the driving force behind the filming initiative, not only working with film crews that are sent here, but also trying to bring more attention to the area.
“My role is to work with the film companies and with the merchants and make it all work,” said Pierce. “And I think [what I need to do] right now is just to be open to what [the film crews] want to do and make sure the merchants are taken care of at the same time so that everybody is on the same page and everyone is happy.”
Pierce began working as the Montrose Shopping Park Filming Liaison last week with “True Blood.” He was also on set for the filming of “Awake,” and will be working with any future film crews that the Glendale office sends up here.
“I’m actually wanting to work with the city of Glendale a little bit more [in the near future] to see what we can do to bring film crews into our community,” said Pierce. “I think the one thing that we have to remember is that this is a community of residents, and its also a commercial community and merchants are there to make money, not just to be friends with film companies. So we have to make sure that there is that fine mix of filming in our community but also recognize the fact that the merchants need to run a business – that’s what it’s all about.”
And that is where Pierce steps in – to make sure all the crew members and shops are treated fairly.
“I’m going to try to encourage businesses to see this as an advantage for them,” said Pierce, “and to do things during a film shoot that might attract people to come to their store and to look in and see what they have to offer here.”