Filmmaker Foiled!

I’ve spent the last six months working on a short film about bicycles, and part of the production involves shooting a bicycle chase in and around the eastern neighborhoods of Downtown Los Angeles. Over the course of my scouting, I’ve come across some truly awesome locations.

Here are two of them (photos by me):

4th_st.jpg grand.jpg

At left, 4th St bridge over the LA River, looking west.  And at right, the street below Grand, in Downtown (as seen in The Terminator and Repo Man).

We’re also shooting in Chinatown and in Boyle Heights. One of the potential locations included the beautiful Mariachi Square, but after scouting in that neighborhood I discovered that the Square is under construction and every street in a 1-block radius has been closed to through traffic.


So the question I put to you, faithful readers is this: What are some of the lesser known but no less interesting and distinctive East La/Boyle Heights/Downtown landmarks that might lend themselves to being photographed?

13 thoughts on “Filmmaker Foiled!”

  1. As far as the Boyle Heights area, the murals around here are pretty distinctive… over on Soto and Cesar Chavez, across the street from King Taco. The murals at Estrada Courts too, closer to Olympic and Lorena. There’s always Hollenbeck Park as well. Those are just a few things I can think of for this area.

  2. Here’s my quick ‘n dirty location ideas, though some of them might not be lesser-known enough but what the hey:

    • Olympic Boulevard Bridge and the Sears Building where Boyle Avenue deadends into Olympic.

    • Union Station: How cool would it be for a bike chase to traverse the tunnel to the train platforms!? Hell yeah!

    • Mission Street: Paralleling the river. Lotsa industrialness.

    • Hollenbeck Park: There’s something about where the freeway goes over part of the lake and Boyle Avenue that’s just totally and bastardly L.A.!

    • Sixth Street Bridge!

    • Sci-ARC Building adjacent the Arts District

    • The L.A. River bottom!

    • Staples Center and the Blade Runnerness of the Nokia Theater courtyard

    • Music Center courtyard and underground parking

    • DWP building

    • Grand Avenue downhill past the Central Library and the Biltmore

    • Bonaventure Hotel skyways

  3. The scary hills on 7th Street between Orme & Soto make a great scene at sunset because you can get the downtown skyline in the background at the top of the hill. Or just the hill on Mott starting at Whittier and going down into El Hoyo. (If you don’t know El Hoyo, you’re not from Boyle Heights.) We used to ride that one on Tonka trucks as kids. The wheels didn’t last too long after that. Another good shot would be at 6th and Camulos which offers another great view of downtown, but you may want to check in with the White Fence gang in case they still hang out there. But for iconic photos, the Sears Tower does well, as does the 6th Street Bridge, the Buddhist temple on 4th at Mott, and the Hollenbeck Park bridge. And don’t forget the murals at Estrada Courts, Evergreen Cemetery, the older Odd Fellows Cemetery, and the Lorena Street Bridge.

  4. The pathways through Evergreen Cemetary? There’s a jogging path around it, but a portion of it is also closed (like the Mariachi Plaza) due to Gold Line construction.

  5. holy crap guys, that’s a lot of suggestions! i’m taking my bike out for a ride scout this saturday – i can’t wait to go adventuring!

    anybody want to come with?

  6. It sounds like you need to study Alex Cox’s LA masterpiece: Repo Man. If you’re looking for storefronts and alleyways, watch Reservoir Dogs, filmed here in Highland Park.

  7. I agree with above.. there are some steep hills right above La Mascota on Whittier between Euclid and Soto that offer great views of downtown..

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