By Breanna Fields
With such diverse land and river areas, Kern County has been a primary target for many large film companies based out of Los Angeles for decades. It’s an easy commute from the bustling city streets and only a few hours away from the rigid hills, terrain and flat land found in places like Tehachapi, Tejon Ranch and Red Rock Canyon.
“Kern County is geographically blessed. We’re very close to the major industry centers in Hollywood, but more importantly than that, it’s incredibly diverse,” said Dave Hook, executive director and film commissioner of the Kern County Board of Trade.
The latest edition to Kern’s movie list includes the reboot of “Superman” directed by Zack Snyder. Part of the movie was filmed at Edwards Air Force Base and is due for release in 2013. Among other big productions to take place in the area recently was the third “Transformers” movie. This film, along with the original two, was also shot at Edwards Air Force Base and Tejon Ranch.
Compared to the greater L.A. area, Kern County is an inexpensive place to film, which makes another reason why it’s an ideal place for filmmakers. Also, the costs of goods and services are competitive to other areas even with travel expenses taken into consideration.
In 2011, the cost of total production in Kern County was about $19 million. Within the first five months of this year, movie companies spent $9.6 million filming in the area.
The good news is that funds poured into movie production are often equated with that of tourism, which is a real help to our local economic situation.
“You’re not taking money and shifting it from one pocket to the other,” said Hook. “You’re taking outside money and adding it to the Kern County base. When you do that, everybody wins.”
Although the money coming in is primarily from major companies in the industry, Kern County is also known for indie films, commercials and music videos. Artists ranging from Rihanna and Pink to Aerosmith have shot footage in Kern County.
“There’s enough going on up here that there’s something filming somewhere in Kern County virtually every day,” Hook said.
Filming reality TV shows in Kern County is also starting to become popular. Within the last couple of months “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss” and “Storage Wars” have been in town. There are other major projects in negotiation, but Kern County likes to keep things under wraps.
“We know how to keep a secret,” said Hook. “The industry likes it that way, so they can go quietly about their business.”
With that said, it’s best to keep a watchful eye when you’re driving in some of these areas; you never know when you’ll come across the set of a major motion picture.
Here are some movies that have been filmed in Kern County since the 1940s:
Man of Steel (2013)
The Avengers (2012)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Green Lantern (2011)
Fast Five (2011)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Land of the Lost (2009)
Star Trek: The Future Begins (2009)
Fast & Furious (2009)
Iron Man (2008
Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Herbie Fully Loaded (2005
Blade: Trinity (2004
Van Helsing (2004)
A Man Apart (2003)
Behind Enemy Lines (2001
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Space Cowboys (2000
Erin Brockovich (2000)
Deep Impact (1998)
City of Angels (1998)
The Odd Couple II (1998)
Starship Troopers (1997)
Wag the Dog (1997)
Star Trek: Generations (1994) Speed (1994)
Wayne’s World II (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Psycho II (1983)
The Cannonball Run (1981)
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
Every Which Way But Loose
Bound for Glory (1976)
The Andromeda Strain (1971)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
It’s a Mad) Mad) Mad) Mad World (1963)
North by Northwest (1959)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)