Santa Paula filming

Santa Paula was the early film capital of California when Gaston Melies brought his Star Film Company to the city in 1911. The popular early silent film maker turned out more than a dozen one- and two-reelers with names like The Ghost of Sulphur Mountain and Oil Well Romance. By 1915 the action had shifted to Hollywood where early filmmakers like Jack Warner were making stars of actors named Chaplin, Mix, and Pickford.

Santa Paula early success as a film center was just a harbinger of its coming popularity with filmmakers. One of the epic miniseries of the 1970s, The Thorn Birds, starring Richard Chamberlain, was filmed in part in Santa Paula (look for the train station). In the ensuing years, many films and commercials have sought out locations in the city because of its authentic 50s downtown and the wide availability of varied historical settings. Many locales in the city date to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Santa Paula Airport, founded in 1930, still has that barnstorming look of the early days of aviation. The city's 1887 Santa Paula Train Depot is one of the very few original Southern Pacific Railroad Depots serviced by antique trains today. The countryside surrounding Santa Paula evokes a bygone era with its orchards, ranches, and oilfields.

The City of Santa Paula invites location scouts and production companies to explore the city for filming locations. Filming in Santa Paula is coordinated by the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce and can be contacted at 805.525.5561.


For more information:

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Copyright 2006, City of Santa Paula, California
Photographs used in this website taken by Craig Mailloux, copyright 2006


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