Griffith Park still closed for biz


Although it has been almost a month since fires swept through Griffith Park, officials still are not permitting shoots as crews continue to clean up the damage. In fact, the park is closed for shooting indefinitely.

"Our crews are out cleaning as we speak," one park supervisor said.

Cedar Grove, a miniforest that has been used for everything from "The Last Boy Scout" to "Van Helsing," suffered about 30% damage but eventually will be usable. The Griffith Park Clubhouse, where Clint Eastwood shot a flashback scene for "Letters From Iwo Jima," also was spared. The historic merry-go-round -- where "The Prestige" shot and was the scene for James Dean's first acting gig by way of a 1950 Pepsi commercial -- was unaffected, but the areas around it have been closed. The old zoo picnic grounds also remains closed.

The closures, officials said, are for safety reasons. After fires, for example, you could have trees hollowed out by a blaze which might not seem damaged but could topple over. You also could have rocks that remain superheated long after a fire has been vanquished.

The park, with its varied natural landscapes, size and proximity to the studios, is a magnet for production. According to FilmL.A., the park saw 217 production days for features in 2006 and 318 for television production. The organization said the park's closures displaces two productions per day.

"It will be usable," said Michael Watkins of the park's film office. "Just at this present time, due to the safety factor, we're not allowing any filming."

Catalina Island, which was hit by fires two days after Griffith Park, hasn't really been affected filmwise for two reasons: First, not much filming is done there, and second, what filming does occur, 95% takes place in Avalon, the island's biggest town, which was not damaged, according to Linda McCloud, film liaison for the Catalina Island Film Commission.

"Basically, if there were any film crews here, and if they wanted to film in the interior (of the island), they would see charred areas," McCloud said.

In April, the town hosted shoots for KNBC Los Angeles' local show "Your L.A." as well as a Long John Silver commercial. Last year, a "Dr. Phil" episode was shot there as well as "Falling in Love With the Girl Next Door," a Hallmark Channel telefilm starring Patty Duke and Shelly Long.

Guild likes where it's at, re-elects pair

Orin Kennedy has been re-elected chairman of the board and Kayla Thames-Berge is returning as president of the Locations Managers Guild of America, the national nonprofit association of location professionals working in film, television, commercials and print advertising.

Kennedy, a longtime locations manager who worked on such Steven Bochco and David E. Kelly series as "L.A. Law" and "Ally McBeal," has been chairman since 2004.

He said he plans to continue spearheading initiatives that gain location managers industry recognition, with emphasis on one thrust in particular.

"My big agenda for location managers, and scouts in general, is my petition for request of membership to the television academy, which has been ongoing for three years," Kennedy said. "We have submitted all the requested applications and letters of support from industry peers, like production designers and producers and directors, and I'm hoping that we'll see a realization shortly."

Also elected are Dave Berthiaume as first vp and Lori Balton as second vp. Carole Segal is treasurer and Beth Tate is secretary.

The other board members are Marylin Bitner, Bill Bowling, Bruce Chudacoff, Robin Citrin, Bob Craft, Mike Fantasia, Karen Gilbert, Ilt Jones, Richard McMillan, Stevie Nelson, J.P. O'Connor, Peter Orth, Veronique Vowell and Kristan Wagner.

The elections were held May at the Westin Pasadena.