Hollywood comes to San Felipe.
page1 | page 2 | page 3

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

The first indication that something different was about to happen in town was the appearance of a huge white catering truck with a large trailer in tow parked in front of the NET's front door. Two days of activity in and around the vehicles added credence to the rumors that Hollywood was coming to San Felipe. They were going to film a motion picture in our little town.

This information, true or not, had a profound influence on the local population. People began to exhibit strange behavior. Their personal appearance changed. They suddenly visited public places, local watering holes, paraded themselves along the town's Malecón. They even walked differently. Obvious evidence of self-preening and primping were brandished like resumes along sidewalks and everyone was careful, when spotting a stranger looking their way, to throw their faces into slendid profile against the blue sky.

It was like watching a kind of Klondike Gold Fever. The town was staking its claim, digging like marmets into every possible place of discovery, hoping some keen-eyed director or producer would become riveted by their latent screen presence and manifest genius.

A little while after the catering trucks were provisioned and readied, the rumor took on a more concrete expression. A convoy of equipment trucks rumbled into town, followed by several luxurious motor homes. The local grapevine whispered about a house that had been rented by the film company. Then someone knew someone who was a friend of the person whose boat and truck had been rented for a scene in the movie. A lady near Los Penguinos spoke about her neighbor's children, who had been profitably recruited as background garnish.

Strangely enough, most of the rumors turned out to be true, which ought to make you think twice about Greek mythology. The house had indeed been rented and the film company had beseiged it with equipment, technicians and movie-makers. I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle some of the activity, and so early one Monday morning, digital camera in hand, I made the drive out to El Dorado's Saltidas Road, north of town.

From a distance, Jonne and Leo Jacob's red hay-bale house near the Rock 14 turn-in looked like a busy truck-stop cafe. Huge trailers and trucks, their loading ramps lolling like dry tongues on the sand, lined the side of the road.

Equipment Trucks
Equipment trucks.
Movie Lighting
Lighting the House for a Take
Preparing a scene.

The roustabouts were languidly standing at ease. Some huddled together in the back of a truck, talking quietly. A few were throwing a baseball back and forth. Most of their work had already been done earlier that morning.

I made my way toward the house, which bristled with a forest of aluminum and steel lighting stands, camera bases, screen supports, umbrellas and tripods. The catering trucks were deployed nearby, their canopies shading away the sun like baseball caps. Baja Java owner Karen Bradley was there, her espresso machine and blender arrayed on the tailgate of her Bronco. She had been invited by the film company to supply them with her menu of rich espressos, lattes, capaccinos, frappes and other assorted exotic caffeinations.

The film crew's tradesmen had rigged her machines with electricity and a pump for the filtered water.