Redlands City Council Chambers were transformed into a film set, as Work and Play Productions taped segments for a documentary highlighting 125 years of philanthropy. Historian Larry Burgess, above, and other area notables are featured in the film. kristina hernandez — staff photographer
By Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts
POSTED: 08/25/13, 9:20 PM PDT | UPDATED: ON 08/25/2013
REDLANDS >> Council Chambers were transformed over the weekend to accommodate a two-day film shoot for a documentary focusing on 125 years of philanthropy and volunteerism in the city.
Scenes featuring former library chief Larry Burgess were filmed at City Hall on Saturday and Sunday. The documentary has been in the works for months under the direction of Work and Play Productions.
Several other Redlands notables are also part of the film, scheduled to be screened at Esri on Nov. 26, the date of the city’s incorporation in 1888.
A film crew from Work and Play have been filming scenes around the city, including spring’s Run Through Redlands and Friday night’s Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival finale.
The film is a collaboration between the local production company and the city, which hired Work and Play in February.
A grant and other donations are fronting the project. No city money is being used to produce the film.
Pre-production began shortly after Work and Play came on board, said the company’s President, Susan Stevens.
Full production began in March. A draft of the film is due Oct. 1.
“The biggest challenge — we have recorded well over 50 hours of interviews, but this is a 45- to 52-minute final piece,” Stevens said. “So our big frustration is we will not be able to put everything in we have learned and gathered.”
By narrowing the focus to philanthropy and volunteerism, Stevens and Co. thought they would be able to narrow it down to the planned time.
But boy, were they wrong, Stevens said.
“Because what we have learned,” she said, “is there’s so much philanthropy and volunteerism, and examples of giving in Redlands, it would take a series of films to properly cover it.”
Most of the film crew come from the area, and many have experienced the two subjects themselves, she said.
“We thought we knew local history and what this town was about,” she said. “But no — we are learning too much.”
Burgess’ scenes were shot behind a backdrop highlighting the city’s history created by Richard Pennington and his crew from Pennington Designs.
Prior to the anniversary celebration kick-off, Burgess had written the City Council a letter asking if it was going to hold a series of events celebrating the milestone.
Burgess chaired the city’s 100th Anniversary Committee.
“I thought it was such a wonderful experience,” he said.
Burgess was approached by Mayor Pro Tem Paul Foster, who is leading the city anniversary celebration this time around, to be a part of the film.
Burgess agreed, and prepared himself to tell the stories best for the film.
“As I say to people, there’s no great reward necessarily in getting old,” he said. “But having studied this for 45 years, it really does give you an excellent opportunity not just to reflect, but to incorporate all the changes, nuances and new material being found. I don’t think I could have done it the same way if I had only studied it for three years.”
Filming will continue until the Oct. 1 deadline, with crews hoping to add footage before the November release, Stevens said.
The year-long 125th anniversary celebration started in December with the annual Redlands Christmas Parade. It concludes in November.