Category Archives: Locations

Southern Oregon on the Silver Screen: A Brief History

By Edwin Battistella Guest Columnist

The Bella Union Restaurant and Saloon in Jacksonville, featured in The  Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (directed by Philip Kaufman, 1972). Photo courtesy of Edwin Battistella

The Bella Union Restaurant and Saloon in Jacksonville, featured in The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (directed by Philip Kaufman, 1972). Photo courtesy of Edwin Battistella

Film-friendly Southern Oregon has recently been the location for dozens of feature and short films and boasts its own Ashland Independent Film Festival. Diverse filming locations, strong infrastructure and a wealth of local talent make the region attractive to filmmakers, and it’s an attraction with a long history.

Among the earliest films shot in Southern Oregon was Grace’s Visit to the Rogue Valley, a 1914 promotional film for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Starring former Broadway actress Grace Andrews, the film included footage of Crater Lake, Medford, Ashland, and the Siskiyou Pass.

Over the years, rugged Southern Oregon outdoor locations have played a role in Hollywood films. Park Avenue Logger, featuring Ward Bond, was filmed in Grants Pass in 1937. The film’s premise: a millionaire thinks his son is too bookish, so he sends him west to learn logging at one of his lumber camps. His son then uncovers how his father is being cheated by the local boss.

A screen shot of the opening of Grace's Visit to the Rogue River Valley. Photo courtesy of  Edwin Battistella

A screen shot of the opening of Grace’s Visit to the Rogue River Valley. Photo courtesy of Edwin Battistella

Historic Jacksonville was the setting and site for Last of the Wild Horses, directed by Robert Lippert, most known for producing films such as The Last Man on Earth (1964).  Jacksonville was again featured in the 1972 film The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, about a failed bank robbery by Jesse James and Cole Younger. During the filming, the design crew covered streets in dirt, installed wooden sidewalks and hitching posts, and even added a new building in the town. Jacksonville had such a terrible time with the cleanup that the city avoided much outdoor filming until just a few years ago. Perhaps that’s why Bruce Campbell built the fictional town of Gold Lick for his 2007 film My Name Is Bruce (about a B-movie actor mistaken for his character and called upon to battle zombies) on his own property in Jacksonville.

Baseball, not zombies, was the lure of the 2009 film Calvin Marshall, with scenes also shot at the athletic facilities of Southern Oregon University, North Mountain Park in Ashland, and at Harry & David Field in Medford. And in Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves (2013), Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning are environmental extremists plotting to blow up a hydroelectric dam. The Galesville Dam near Roseburg was used and scenes were also filmed in Medford, Ashland, and at the Lake of the Woods near Klamath Falls.

Plaque in Jacksonville commemorating The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. Photo courtesy of Edwin Battistella

Plaque in Jacksonville commemorating The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. Photo courtesy of Edwin Battistella

The wild Rogue River has been the scene of several films, including part of 1975’s Rooster Cogburn (after which John Wayne became owner of a historic ranch in Selma, Oregon). And the 1995 film Dead Man, with Johnny Depp as an accountant named William Blake, included a Makah village constructed along the Rogue in Grants Pass.

The rivers, landscape and period homes are part of what attracts filmmakers to Southern Oregon. Local support from officials, businesses and groups like Southern Oregon Film and Media are all part of the picture, as well. And sometimes, the attraction is the people. When Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild was filming in Ashland, the call for extras called for “hippies, deadheads, punk rockers, grunge, people with tattoos/piercings, dreadlocks, etc.” It was a bit of counter-culture typecasting, but there were plenty of applicants.

Edwin Battistella teaches linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University, and is on the editorial board of the Oregon Encyclopedia of History and Culture. His most recent book is Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Location, Location: Seeing Seattle Through the Filmmaker’s Lens

On April 9, 2015, The Seattle Architecture Foundation (SAF) will host a talk to illuminate the role of film and architecture in building the cultural story of our city. This panel discussion is the third, in a six-part series titled Cultural Landscapes: Shaping the Story of Seattle.

Film provides an immersive experience that transports us to new places and perspectives. In following Seattle’s history on film, we can see both a documentation of how our built environment has changed, but also the ways in which narratives of Seattle have evolved, from early Hollywood features to local productions happening today. When looking behind-the-scenes, our experience of a film can be unnamedseen as a product of countless dedicated individuals along every stage of the process—from location scouts, advocates of our majestic theaters, and champions within creating spaces, and stories, that allow us to feel connected to a different time, location or person.

The audience will have an opportunity to engage in discussion with the varied group of panelists who will share stories, film clips and visual images to illustrate how Seattle’s buildings and landscapes are portrayed in films and how our theaters contribute to a thriving local film scene.  Panelists include: Dave Drummond, location scout; Randy Hodgins, author of Seattle on Film; Vicky Lee, Seattle Theatre Group; and architect Owen Richards. The informative discussion will be moderated by Warren Etheredge, the Warren Project.

The event will be held at SIFF Cinema Uptown (522 Queen Anne Avenue North).  Doors open at 6, event is from 6:30 – 8pm.  Advance tickets are $15 General | $10 Members | $5 Students. Walk up tickets are $20, if available. Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling 206-667-9184.

Exploring Washington’s Vast Landscape

By Kaleigh Ward Interim Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

Until you’re away from the usual haunts and surrounded by the new and unusual, it’s easy to forget that environment is intimately tied to emotion and experience. Your surroundings can trigger danger, nostalgia or romance. The flash of a location on screen can be a powerful touchstone that breathes life back into a forgotten experience. The ability to control these elements is huge in production. Luckily for us here in Washington, there’s no shortage of surreal locations and idyllic scenery. We’ve combed through our Location Database and picked some of the most unique, film-friendly locations Washington State has to offer.



Fort Worden

Photo by Christina Pivarnik

Photo by Christina Pivarnik

Port Townsend, WA
Details: Fort Worden was originally a United States military base designed to protect Puget Sound. It’s now a Washington State park that’s home to 100 historic 19th Century structures, according to the Fort Worden website. The multi-use park stretches across 434 acres of land with access to 2 miles of saltwater shoreline and with views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and the San Juan Islands. Houses for rent on Officer’s Row include original fireplaces, ornate tin ceilings, Tiffany lamps, and Victorian-style furniture.
Filmed Here: Enough (2002), An Officer and A Gentleman (1982)

Satsop Business Park

Photo by Arno Jenkins

Photo by Arno Jenkins

Satsop, WA
Details: Satsop Business Park was originally constructed as a nuclear power plant, but was never actually finished. It now functions as an industrial center, a technology campus, a workforce-training center, and more. This community-owned site offers a single filming location that includes two unused nuclear towers, a five-story, 270,000-square-foot cavernous reactor building, evergreen forests surrounding the plant, a campus-like business park and office space for production crew activities.
Filmed Here: Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Titan Missile Base

Photo by Ehren I. Hotchkiss

Photo by Ehren I. Hotchkiss

Moses Lake, WA
Details: The Titan Missile Base, which was built to withstand a nuclear attack, is the largest U.S. underground missile base ever built. With thousands of feet of connecting tunnels and three 160-foot-tall missile silos, Titan makes a great location for sci-fi and action scenes, and it’s ideal for anything involving super-high walls, like indoor rock climbing. The base features an open-dome building with a 50-foot ceiling and an opening that stretches 125 feet in diameter. It makes a great location for post-apocalyptic scenery, as it spans nearly 60 acres above ground and is surrounded by barbed wire and chain-link security fencing. (Information courtesy Bari Hotchkiss)
Filmed Here: Deep Burial (2014 Washington Filmworks incentive project, not yet released)



Photo courtesy Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce

Photo courtesy Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce

Leavenworth, WA
Details: Leavenworth is a quaint Bavarian town tucked away in the Cascade Mountain Range. According to the Leavenworth Chamber’s website, in the early 1960s, town leaders decided to change Leavenworth’s reputation from a logging and sawmill town to a tourist attraction with a German-Bavarian face. It’s 1,100 feet above sea level and is surrounded by wilderness, mountain ranges, rivers and lakes. This location features year-round festivals and events and has a live outdoor theatre and nationally ranked outdoor recreational opportunities.
Filmed Here: Switchmas (2012), Mad Love (1995), On Deadly Ground (1994), Love Leads the Way: A True Story (1984)


Photo courtesy Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce

Photo courtesy Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce

Walla Walla, WA
Details: Walla Walla features 145 wineries and was recently named as one of the “Top 10 Wine Destinations in the World” by USA Today. These rolling hills provide surreal filming locations for dramatic and romantic effect. It’s also a great double for Napa Valley. A unique aspect of the Walla Walla wine scene is the fact that you have direct access to the winemakers, which provides a valuable resource for learning about the area and the thought process behind the wine itself, according to David Woolson, president & CEO of the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce. Says Woolson, “Things really get cooking at the vineyards from September through October when crush (harvest) begins. There is a small window to get the grapes off the vine at their optimal ripeness, flavor profile and sugar content.”
Filmed Here: Toys (1992)

Restored Western Town

Photo by Methow Valley Photography

Photo by Methow Valley Photography

Winthrop, WA
Details: According to its Chamber of Commerce website, Winthrop has been home to a restored Western town since 1972, when local merchants pitched in to finance lumber baron Kathryn Wagner’s idea to start a reconstruction and restoration project for visitors passing through. The town’s structures all meet the standards of the era spanning from 1850–1890. Adding to the throwback charm of the town is the Winthrop Vintage Wheels Show (upcoming this September), which occurs annually. While this event may discredit the filming of an old Western period piece, it does provide an eclectic and unusual backdrop for other projects. There’s also an annual Winthrop Balloon Festival (next in March 2015), which fills the sky with dozens of hot air balloons set against the snow-capped mountains of the North Cascades.
Filmed Here: Various still shoots, American Pickers, Ice Road Truckers, REI commercial

To see more of what Washington has to offer, subscribe to the Washington Filmworks Location of the Month Newsletter or visit our online location database. You can also submit your home, lot, or business to our location database if you are interested in hosting a film project. Please see the Locations section of our website for more details.

Tri-Cities: Discovering a ‘Hidden Location’


Photos By Alissa Desler

As crews from L.A. and around Washington have seen this summer during production of Z Nation, the diverse geography and landscapes in Eastern Washington are a film professional’s dream. And the Tri-Cities region of Eastern Washington, loosely defined by the areas surrounding Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, is equally rich in its wide variety of looks and settings. Expanding the area to Walla Walla to the east and Yakima to the west opens up even more shooting locations.

From flatlands and farmlands to rolling hills and mountains, the region boasts three major—and scenic—river valleys. Along the banks of the Columbia River, trails and pathways wind for 67 miles.ahiddenloc_2

When it comes to location management for film productions, the region’s expert is Alissa Desler of A Hidden Location. Her Kennewick homebase puts her in the heart of the Tri-Cities region, and gives her unparalleled access to everything the area has to offer. As part of the Tri-Cities community, Desler has established relationships that help her find the right location for productions from feature films to commercials.

As farmland owners, her family is very connected to the agricultural community.ahiddenloc_1

“We have access to farms of all types,” she says. “For instance, the region is home to more than 160 different wineries.” Desler also knows the local government processes for film permits, saying, “The region is very film-friendly.”

After scouting and shooting for car commercials, Desler knows the roads of the Tri-Cities region well. “In addition to three state highways and two Interstates, we have many winding back roads that are newly paved,” she says.

For interiors, the region is also diverse. Says Desler, “We have access to many different homes, including mansions and modern, high-tech houses.”

The Tri-Cities region is actually a little closer to Portland than Seattle. So for Washington and Oregon production teams alike, it is a strong contender for filming locations.

Port Townsend: Peninsula City Lures Filmmakers Near and Far

Port Townsend 2

A Person Known to Me films on the streets of Port Townsend.

Picturesque Port Townsend, Washington, located on the peninsula between the Cascades and the Olympics, has been home to many productions over the last several years. Indeed, everything from Hollywood features (Snow Falling on Cedars, The Ring) to commercials (Washington State Lottery) to indie films (A Person Known to Me, You Can’t Win) have utilized Port Townsend as a backdrop for their productions.

Christina Pivarnik, marketing director for the City of Port Townsend and the city’s film liaison, says this is because of the wide diversity of filming locations that the town has to offer.

“We have authentic Victorian architecture with restored and unrestored exteriors and interiors, including a variety of buildings and homes built between the mid-1850s through early 1900s,” she says. “Point Hudson, home of September’s Wooden Boat Festival, has buildings erected by the Coast Guard in the 1920s, as well as a marina, RV park and expansive views of the Cascade Mountains. The area also contains nearby salt marshes, uninhabited lakefronts and wild scenic rivers.”

Port Townsend 1

A Person Known to Me

Pivarnik also mentions the vast filming locations within Fort Worden State Park, a military fort built in 1902, where An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed.

“(Fort Worden) offers numerous sets, from Victorian officer’s quarters to three-story barracks, dark tunnels, gun emplacements, an abandoned labyrinth of concrete bunkers and classic, red-roofed lighthouse with volcanic Mt. Baker in the background,” she adds.

Several memorable scenes from the 1982 film were shot here, including Richard Gere’s famous line, “I got nowhere else to go!”, which was filmed on the southwest corner of the upper level of Battery Kinzie. Other Fort Worden locations included the interior of the USO building (used for the reception scene near the beginning of the film), Building 204 (used as the dormitory and its porch was used for the film’s closing ‘silver dollar’ scene), and the blimp hangar (used for the famous fight scene between Gere and Louis Gossett Jr.).

Port Townsend 3

A Person Known to Me

In addition to a vast array of unique filming locations, Pivarnik says the town is extremely film-friendly and accommodating of film production.

“The City makes the film permitting process easy, helpful and supportive,” she says. “I’m happy to work with location scouts to find just the right venue for their shoot. We are also home to the Port Townsend Film Institute, which hosts our annual film festival every September. Janette Force, executive director, provides connections for crew to assist productions. Key City Public Theatre offers casting talent. And Port Townsend has exceptional caterers, offering great options for craft services, often using locally produced/grown food.”

For more information about filming in Port Townsend, visit