Living in one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets

November 8, 2012

The Conejo Valley’s long-standing history in the Hollywood film industry is not something that is commonly known by the average CLU student.

On Monday, Nov. 12, California Lutheran University will host the Conejo Valley Film Festival in the Preus-Brandt Forum to show a variety of famous and classic films shot in the Conejo Valley, some even on Thousand Oaks Blvd.  Five classic movies will be shown during the festival, with historical content also provided.

The Conejo Valley consists of Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Agoura Hills, Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley, and has been the backdrop to significant films for more than 80 years.

Agoura Hills is one of the most historical areas of the Conejo Valley, dating back to the 1920s.  Paramount Studios owned a ranch in the area, which was used to film scenes of Westerns.  Television shows and films such as “Poltergeist,” “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman,” “The OC” and “M.A.S.H.” were all filmed in the area.

The TV show “24” was filmed in Hidden Valley during seasons five and six.  “Seabiscuit” also featured scenes shot within Hidden Valley.  Because Hidden Valley is closest to the Los Angeles area, it is the most common filming area of the Conejo Valley for movies and television.

Scenes from the movie “Spartacus” were filmed in the hills directly behind CLU.

Many CLU students may not be aware of how involved the Conejo Valley is with the Hollywood film and television industry, especially students not from the area.

“I heard about the film festival and was automatically interested in going,” said freshman and Hawaiian native Bryant Fukushima.  “I am fascinated to see all the movies filmed in the area. It would be a good way to see how one area can be portrayed in so many different ways in each film.  I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Billy Martin, the event organizer, moved to the Conejo Valley from New York to write screenplays and to learn the history of filmmaking.

He has used his interests to organize an event that educates the Conejo Valley community and others.

“The idea of the festival was to showcase the historical connection to film-making where the Conejo Valley has been depicted as Sherwood Forest, Ancient Rome and the Scottish Moors,” said Martin.

Tim Hengst, CLU multimedia professor, was also involved in putting together the Conejo Valley Film Festival with Martin.

“I have a great memory of growing up and visiting this area for movies,” said Hengst.  “I think it would be really exciting for students to get an appreciation for the history of this area and how it is related to the movie industry.”

Hengst attended CLU when it was California Lutheran College, graduating in 1972. He was able to see a lot of action in the movie industry first hand.

“They used to have gun fights and shoot outs [while filming],” said Hengst.  “I think it’s a rich history that students aren’t aware of.”

The Conejo Valley Film Festival will showcase exciting new angles of the films shown.

The festival will also give viewers a chance to appreciate them more in depth due to the intriguing history behind them.

Single-show admission is  $10, or $7.50 for seniors and $5 for children.

All-day passes can be purchased for $20 each, or $25 per family.

The festival is free to CLU students, staff and faculty with a CLU ID.

 

Lizzie Lopez
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 7, 2012

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