‘Angels’ in Opa-locka: Action Caught on Camera

By Christina Gordon….

Commissioner Rose Tydus proudly boast about the City of Opa-locka to French filmmakers shooting a 30-minute documentary on the City.

ACT ONE – 28-year-old Gloria Morales was in full military combat gear, running through a round of simulated “friendly fire,” during the filming of the television pilot “Charlie’s Angels,” a Woodridge Production, Inc. in association with ABC Television, shot at the Villa Francine Town Homes, 132nd Street and 28th Ave, on March 8, 2011 in the City of Opa-locka, where MUCH interest has been directed, cameras have been aimed and inquiries have been made by producers, directors and upcoming filmmakers, scouting for fascinating scenery with unique history or architecture to enhance the look of their productions.

After set designers completed the preproduction work, the location for one of the first scenes of the “Charlie’s Angels” pilot would appear to have been straight out of Kandahar, but the blueprint for this backdrop wasn’t in the of the second largest City in Afghanistan, nor was it a movie back lot in Hollywood, California, as one would have thought after first glance. It was a locale, 7,700 miles away, recreated in the City of Opa-locka by the amazing work of set designers who transformed the inimitable structure of some of the City’s most exclusive Town Homes into just the right visuals to put them in another place, the way Glenn Curtis did over 85 years ago when he captivated imaginations by building a fantasy theme City in Opa-locka, from the book 1001 Arabian Nights.

According to Diego Morales, Assistant Location Manager of Woodridge Production, s Angels’ pilot is a new c 70’s television actionive team chose areas da as the setting for this to distinguish it from its remaining true to the – three smart, capable y save the day, but also backs, all while solving un in the sun.” Some of had work for the movie City of Opa-locka.

ay, a “closed-set” was stractions. Arrangements refully coordinated by the ’s Locations Department, roval from Property owng with residents in the e shoot, worked closely pa-locka’s Management, Works, Community ding, Police and other nsure that all necessary ssions for all activities well, the Production to insure that filming t and rewarding experid Villa Francine Town Homes to have the perfect start for the set, because it adhered to Ordinance 91-2 of the City’s land Development regulation code which established an Arabian/Moorish Motif within the District of Opa-locka. There were other elements already in place, which also supported Producers decision to seek permission to use the property, leaving minor alterations such as the removal of a fence surrounding the property and placing gravel/rubble in the parking lot to resemble an unpaved road. At the focal point of the set was a building and three condo units distress with paint hits, the temporary removal of a door from one home and the extraction of glass from all windows, which were then draped with clotheslines, curtains, garments, rags etc. Other props and effects were positioned, such as military and burned-out vehicles, children’s old toys, black burning smoke and a cast of professional actors to complete the illusion. After a full day of filming, the next few days consisted of restoring and rebuilding the area to its original and/or better condition.

ACT TWO – Prior to the filming of “Charlie’s Angels,” Armand Morin, a young artist and film maker from France began a documentary project on the City of Opa-locka, after having spent several months in Miami-Dade County in 2009, through an Art School scholarship to work and observe Miami’s history and architecture. When requesting a film permit, citing reasons for doing the documentary on the City, Morin disclosed, “I discovered Opa-locka… but after being back in France, I was kind of obsessed by the City, it’s creation, architecture, history and actual times for almost two years and I’ve been compiling documentation about Opa-locka.”

As a post graduate in an experimental film school, Le Fresnoy, in North of France, Armand decided to produce the 30-minute documentary about the different sides of Opa-locka, from its creation by Glenn Curtiss to the Moorish style architecture, airport history, economy, population, Arabian Nights Festival and today’s culture and redevelopment in the City, including interviews with Community Development Corporation CEO Willie Logan and Rapper Brisco. He stated his goal was to “describe Opa-locka as an incredibly rich place, and as such… stimulate viewer’s imagination.”

Armand and his cameraman “T-Bo” interviewed local personalities, historians and teachers from Florida International University and the University of Miami, while filming the City’s historic district. Morin said he was unable to see the archives and obtain all the documents he wanted on Opa-locka’s history, because he met with some resistance from few people in the City, but with limited time in South Florida he was pleased and appreciative for those who did cooperate and provide information and video “on such a beautiful City.” Beginning with the Arabian Night Tale, Armand said, “There are stories insides stories,” and he described Opalocka as “poetic.” He said the film will be screened first by the Le Fresnoy School, then possibly in the Panorama 13 Film Festival in the French City of Lillie. The City will also have access to the final cut.

ACT THREE – Ned Myerberg, an undergraduate at Brown University in Providence, RI wanted to film a short video as an Art History class project to celebrate the unique architecture of the City of Opalocka. Therefore, between March 28th and March 31st, Myerberg filmed “The Daily Life in the City of Opa-locka,” including many of the buildings and short interviews with eager residents and City Officials who were delighted to assist in the advancement of Myerberg’s education. The said, “After editing, the five-minu shown exclusively to c fessors at Brown Uni Myerberg volunteered copies for any Opa-lock pating in the film and create a promotional re for future use by the C familiar landmark to M ther, who accompanied ment and resides in Hal.

FINALE – In addition tioned projects, The Ci gained much encourag positive publicity withi and international limeli ductions, including an a Jeopardy question wi segment on a Japanes Show highlighting Com Holmes’ “No Ifs, Ordinance; Vice Mayo Johnson’s Resolution f name a street in honor Obama; Commissioner Walk and Parade which 10, 6, 4, Telemundo a with Commissioner Assistant City Manager the arms of the City an community with their a the Armand and the My Additionally, scouts f shows Burn Notice an Travel Show (DirecTV channel) have made inq in the City. According Myra L. Taylor, “This there are so many more be recorded in our stor write the script daily t plishments, and everyon form, so rehearsing is v stellar presentation. O longer be type-cast o Mayor exclaimed, “We five-star rating, with a ductions.” Attracting “Charlie’s Angels,” an media outlets, affirms th of the City is being ob gram is…” she said in a CONTINUED!”

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