"Oakland [is] a Sleeper Hit With Hollywood"

by Chauncey Bailey, Oakland Tribune, 1 April 1999

OAKLAND — More movie cameras are rolling in Oakland.

The latest film production lured to Oakland is "Partners" a CBS-TV pilot about relationships away from the workplace — in this instance, the tender and turbulent at-home lives of police officers.

The crew spent about five hours Wednesday filming scenes at Dave's Coffee Shop on Broadway, across the street from Oakland Technical High School.

A parking lot was filled with large lights, production vehicles, actors and production assistants.

Producers from Los Angeles-based High Productions also plan to film in Oakland's Chinatown, at the Scottish Rite Temple near Lake Merritt and on Broadway closer to downtown.

Carl Franklin, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 1971 and played high school football and ran track at Harry Ells High School in Richmond, is directing "Partners."

Franklin, who directed Denzel Washington in "Devil in a Blue Dress," said he chose Oakland because it looks and feels a lot like Pittsburgh, the city in "Partners."

"This is not a shoot 'em up," said Franklin. "It's about the lives of police officers, their families, relationships."

Scenes filmed Wednesday involved a police officer coping with his troubled son, a female officer who is anticipating similar family problems, and a promotion that goes to an older officer, Franklin said.

Oakland's Film Commission has been aggressively promoting the city to filmmakers looking outside of Los Angeles. Producers are attracted to Oakland's diverse locations for scenes, better weather, and less traffic and congestion than San Francisco.

Oakland is becoming a popular location for filmmakers. "Made In America," with Whoopi Goldberg, "True Crime" with Clint Eastwood, and "Poetic Justice" with Janet Jackson and the late Tupac Shakur are recent examples.

The commission has been communicating with "Partners" executive producers Amy Lippman and Chris Keyser, who were also producers for the TV series "Party of Five."

"This could air in September... if they like it, or never," said Ken Topolsky, another executive producer, standing near a black-and-white "Metro Police" patrol car.

Robert Stuckey of Oakland has been working as a production assistant.

"It's going to be a great movie. I'm glad I had a chance to work with them," he said.

©1999 Oakland Tribune

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