Saguaros Become Backdrop for Native Legend
Hallmark Entertainment shot at Colossal Cave Mountain Park in August, creating surrealistic images of creatures from a Native American legend, backlit against nighttime shots of saguaro forests. It was just a small part of their upcoming epic multi-nation, multi-state mini-series Dreamkeeper, which tells the story of a troubled young boy who learns to appreciate the Native heritage within himself. This enormous production was directed by Steve Barron (Merlin, Coneheads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). We were honored to host Robert Halmi, President of Hallmark Entertainment, when he came with Steve and entourage for the initial scout. This project was so mammoth, it won’t debut until sometime in late 2003 due to the many months of post-production required to complete it. We’re happy to report that all the saguaros used in the shoot looked spectacular and, like the local crew that was hired, worked long hours and remained professional and dependable for the duration.
The Wild West Lives Again at Old Tucson Studios
Old Tucson Studios was busy wrangling with production throughout July and August. A new western feature film entitled The Reckoning, starring Gary Busey and Lorenzo Llamas was the first feature to shoot at the famous studio since the fire. 18 locals were hired and hundreds of extras enjoyed a great time dressed in their own western garb for the numerous western street scenes. Filming was open for public viewing which brought the park’s attendance to record highs. Witness the big smile on Producer Lari Fowler’s face in the photo at left. She and the Director Dustin Rikert couldn’t say enough great things to Shelli Hall, Tucson Film Commissioner (far left) and Linda Peterson-Warren, Arizona Film Commissioner (center) about the hardworking and talented Tucson crewbase and the western hospitality of Old Tucson Studios.
Local Boy Makes Good On the WB
In case you haven’t heard, the Warner Brothers Network has a new comedy entitled Greetings from Tucson, created by Sabino Canyon High School grad Peter Murrieta. Based on Pete’s own stories of growing up in Tucson in a multi-cultural family, the show focuses on the comedic struggles of 15-year-old boy as he grapples with the frustrations of a loving but crazy family life. While the majority of filming is done on a soundstage in Los Angeles (per usual for sitcoms), residents of the Old Pueblo will spot a number of specific Tucson locales that are used in various episodes, including a few of our great-looking desert roads, shopping malls and distinctive Spanish-style homes. Among the cast is Bobby Chavez, who was born and raised in Tucson. Local crew have been hired to scout and shoot a multitude of locations, and even a few picture cars were rented for use on various Tucson roads (courtesy of Carl Matter and his company Classic Auto Rental. And, we’re happy to report, the show is enough of a hit that it’s just been picked up for next season as well. Be sure to check it out on the WB, Channel 58 every Friday at 8:30pm.
The ad at left was placed in Variety on September 20th by both The Tucson Film Office and The Arizona Film Commission to commemorate the premiere of the TV series and to say thank you to Mr. Murrieta for putting Tucson in the national spotlight.