By Grace Mundy
Living in Los Angeles, specifically in the San Fernando Valley, movie culture is a large part of our everyday lives. For many of us, it is not unlikely to have seen a movie being filmed, or to be familiar with someone in the film industry. Movies, for many, are a defining interest that can create a cult following. And we have many famous backdrops right in our own backyard.
One of the most well-known, and closest, filming locations was for the movie “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” For one, almost all the neighborhood scenes in the movie were filmed in the heart of Porter Ranch. Some of the main Porter Ranch streets filmed on include Killimore Avenue, Viking Avenue, and Granada Circle.
However, simple suburban neighborhoods are probably not the scenes that stand out the most to audiences watching the movie. Many people recall the iconic scene where E.T. saves the day by using telekinesis to lift he and Elliott above the trees and away from the chase.
What many do not know is that this scene was filmed on our very own White Oak Avenue, just minutes away from the Granada Hills Charter Zelzah campus. What is meant to look like a canopy of trees in the forest is just another popular valley street, one that many students walk or drive on every day.
Another iconic scene in “E.T.” was filmed in a local Porter Ranch park. In the scene where the main characters, Michael and Eilliot, take E.T. to this park, a specific landmark stands out to many locals: a giant caterpillar play structure. Officially named Porter Ridge Park, it is known affectionately by many as E.T. Park.
“I think that’s pretty cool they filmed there because I used to visit that park a lot because my dad works near there,” junior Adrik Zulueta said.
Like Zulueta, many people’s childhood experiences are relayed in these locations.
“I went there every single day practically. While my parents were working, I went with my grandpa. I thought: Wow my street was featured, that’s cool,” sophmore Talin Demirjie said.
From the streets of Porter Ranch, to our local parks, “E.T.” filming locations are all over the neighborhood. This film has had lasting impacts on many students’ childhoods, and is a significant part of San Fernando Valley culture.
However, “E.T.” wasn’t the only movie filmed here in the Valley. All kinds of movies, from classic high school films like “Clueless,” shot throughout Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys, to more recent hits like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which was shot in Chatsworth, were filmed in the Valley.
Movies have a special value to many, but are even more special when they are filmed in an area so close to home. Seeing our neighborhoods represented in movies gives us a special connection to them. “E.T.” and many other movies create a sense of home when watching them, which draws us back to watch them over and over again.