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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:41 pm 
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Martian War Lord

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:01 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: UK
FROM : <a href='http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~20949~2723246,00.html' target='_blank'>www.dailynews.com</a><br /><br />PIRU -- When "War of the Worlds" converged on Piru, the residents just shrugged it off.<br />Sure, seeing Steven Spielberg was pretty cool. And spotting Tom Cruise was a highlight. But when it comes to getting excited over film production, Piru's residents have come to accept it as business as usual.<br /><br />"They bring a lot of business to town," said Natalie Flores, who serves up meals and coffee to locals at Jan's Coffee Shop, just off Main Street. "But it can be a nuisance."<br /><br />As for ogling movie stars, Flores seemed indifferent.<br /><br />"I saw Tom Cruise last week," she said as she filled a cup of coffee. "He's just a person."<br /><br />Ever since anyone in town can remember, film and television studios have always sought out Piru for its small-town charm that evokes a bygone era reminiscent of Mayberry, the Southern town depicted in "The Andy Griffith Show." Nearby canyons and farmlands set it apart, officials said. <br /><br />"I was a World War II baby from Wisconsin, and it's kind of got that old flavor," said Ventura County film permit coordinator Daniel Price.<br /><br />"Film companies love it because the downtown atmosphere is great, and so is the surrounding area."<br /><br />Last year, production companies filed 14 permits to film in Piru. The town earned about $12,000 just from those permits. <br /><br />So far this year, three permits have been filed by studios, including for filming the H.G. Wells classic "War of the Worlds," directed by Spielberg and starring Cruise. The film is set to be released on June 29.<br /><br />Last week, television crews used the downtown area between Main and Central streets near the town green to shoot part of an episode of the CBS military drama "JAG."<br /><br />"It seems like the people there are attuned to filming," Price said. "They are used to it. They pretty much put up with it. There's a few people that say, Don't tread on me, especially when they have to shut the streets down."<br /><br />Piru, an unincorporated area of eastern Ventura County nestled where Piru Creek and the Santa Clara River meet, was once known as a center of horticulture in the late 19th century. But it seemed destined for stardom as evidenced by a photograph on display at the Piru Hotel/Heritage Valley Inn, a photograph of America's First Sweetheart of film Mary Pickford. In the photograph, she is standing in front of the Inn, on Main Street.<br /><br />"Every since I can remember, they've filmed everything here," said 32-year-old Fernando Vancini, the hotel's innkeeper and cook. "Every day it's something different."<br /><br />Vancini said that, while the residents like the small-town feel, they have tried to accept Hollywood's frequent visits.<br /><br />"It breaks up the quiet," he said.<br /><br />Richard Alverdi, who was born and raised in Piru, agreed that, while the residents must bear the burden of road closures as film crews set up, local businesses see some benefits.<br /><br />Alverdi, a truck driver who makes deliveries in town, said it can get a little inconvenient. But, like many other residents, he said seeing film crews in town has been a part of his life since childhood.<br /><br />"It's good in that it brings people to the town," Alverdi said. "People complain, but this is a part of the community." <br /><br />

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