Erica Harrell

from THE SEARCHERS (1956). courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures from THE ATTIC DOOR. Darrell (Actor Jake Johnson) hesitates before stepping into hot Western sun.

In THE ATTIC DOOR, we use the desolate and epic Western landscape, iconic John Ford country, to echo the terrifying loneliness of our two young characters. Though the landscape was at times harsh for our crew with high temperatures, dust storms, and the occasional flooding (seen in Episode 5 of “Behind the Attic Door), we were certainly not the first filmmakers to face these conditions in Utah.

I found this great excerpt from John A. Murray’s Cinema Southwest: An Illustrated Guide to the Movies and their Locations.

“As early as 1925 director John Ford traveled to Promontory, Utah, to film part of his twelve-reel epic film The Iron Horse, shooting at the very place where the historic golden spike was driven, connecting the East Coast with the West Coast for the first time by rail line (which, in a larger sense, signaled the birth of modern America). During the 1930s the area around Kanab in southwestern Utah became known as “Little Hollywood” for the many pictures made there. Later, in the 1950s, the center of gravity shifted to the east, as Moab became the state’s major center for filmmaking. Virtually every American director and actor of note has worked in Utah, from Cecil B. DeMille (Union Pacific, 1939) to John Ford (Rio Grande, 1950) to Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989); from Henry Fonda (My Darling Clementine, 1946) to Clint Eastwood (The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976) to Jodie Foster (One Little Indian, 1973). If a film has red slickrock and prickly pear cactus desert, cloudless blue skies, and distant mountain ranges, there’s a good chance it was shot in Utah.”

This article talks about shooting in Paria(h) as well as Kanab, Zion and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Theres also a mention of Jackie Hamblin-Rife, our ultimate production supporter, and mentor for shooting in the west.
Check out the entire article here.
Behind the Scenes - Camera crew prepares on the exterior set.
Imagine giant film cameras and huge lighting trucks trying to maneuver down into Paria where it was difficult for us to go with our lightweight equipment, smaller vehicles and sparse crew. The advances in film technology really allow for modern indie filmakers to go to places where previously only huge Hollywood productions could afford to go. It is so humbling to think back on our shooting and all of the famous films that came to that area before us and the many more that will come after.

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