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Film shoots bring renewed opportunity for residents

January 20, 2011

European pop star Melissa N’Konde filming a music video in the Alabama Hills last week. The production shot at several different locations with a French director and primarily American crew. Film Commissioner Chris Langley said a caterer willing to deliver hot meals to the various locations, as well as a French-speaking resident with experience working in the film industry, would have been helpful. Photo courtesy Chris Langley

A French music video starring Melissa N’Konde, an Athropologie Catalog Internet video, a Chevy commercial north of Bishop and a cast and crew from episodic television are some of the most recent film projects working locally.
To help accommodate the continued increase in film traffic, the Inyo Film Commission has begun to search for additional local resources for these productions on location.
“We published our filming resource guide a few year back, thanks to a U.S Forest Service grant, but we are always adding to our files of service providers and local resources that can help the filmmakers be successful,” Film Commissioner Chris Langley explained. “At the moment I am looking for local caterers who are flexible enough to handle catering on location, and bonded, and certificated security services.”
An example of a recent film project is French songstress Melissa N’Konde last week recording a music video featuring her new song “Freedom,” which will be available on the Internet soon. Langley said it was really a pretty simple production over two days in the Alabama Hills west of the Gene Autry Rock, on the Olancha sand dunes and at Fossil Falls. “A flexible caterer ready to serve those spots with hot food would have been very useful,” he said.
According to Langley, N’Konde is an up-and-coming pop star from Europe. She was first a defeated candidate of Season 7 of “New Star,” which Langley called “one of those talent programs so popular right now.” She went on to win a contest in July 2010 called “I Want to Sign with AZ,” organized by Valery Zeitoun.
Since her victory, the young woman of 19 flew to Brussels to record her first album at the famous studios of ICP (which include Alicia Keys and Wallen) along with Jay-Z and Drake, and also the drummer for Amy Winehouse.
According to Langley, while much of the crew and the producer were American, the music video director was French, so a person with experience working with film crews who happened to speak French would have been useful.
“It was a fun shoot with two talented dancers working with the singer to illustrate the idea of freedom through costume and dance,” Langley said. “Generally, the costumes were quite skimpy which added to the exotic flavor of the video, but remember it was just above 40 degrees all day. When they weren’t performing, they were wrapped in heavy robes, but no one complained.”
BLM Alabama Hills Steward and monitor Dave Kirk worked all day to ensure “no brush was crushed,” but he said the cast and crew were easy to accommodate starting with their 6 a.m. call. It was cold and dark then.
The ICFC is collecting updated contact information by e-mail. Interested residents should their name, contact information, description of services they can offer, availability and resume of experience to Mail the material to Box 99, Lone Pine. Langley can be reached at (760) 937-1189 for additional information.
“We are looking for experienced grips, P.A.s or anyone with specialized equipment for rental that hasn’t already worked with film companies locally in the last few years,” Langley said. “We are not looking for casting candidates at this time, as each search will be advertised when the opportunity arises.”
For those interested in seeing the Anthropologie video made in the Alabama Hills, the URL is and use search instrument for video “roadtrip.”

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