Filming Black Tar Road with the shades of Dolph Sharp, Ray Bradbury, Sanora Babb, Wilma Shore, Joseph Petracca, Elliott Grennard and Ben Maddow, Bonnie Wolfe and more.
At the foot of the Hollywood hills are the lights and noise of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS,but up the hill lies a different world. Away from the commercial cacophony below is a quiet tree lined residence.
If you were to have driven up the long narrow winding road to the top of the hill, last week, behind a white wall, inside an old Spanish house you would have found film director Jay Holben shooting scenes for soon to be released gritty, lesbian love story BLACK TAR ROAD.
The filming took place at the late writer Dolph Sharp’s home . This was no ordinary film set. This house is one of love, laughter, creation and history. Dolph and his wife Roslyn lived there for over sixty years. Dolph, born in 1914, wrote for fiction magazines; Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post and Women’s Day.
The house, home to a writers group, which included greats like Ray Bradbury was redecorated for use as a set in the real, passionate, heart tearing film Black Tar Road, starring Amber Dawn Lee and James Black.
Dolph is dead these many years, his wife Roslyn died last month. She was a pianist. Her grand Steinway still fills the house with memories of music past.
Actress Amber Dawn Lee felt the location was perfect for the shoot, not just for the history of the house, but the energy it held. The film is a 2013 American contemporary drama expanded from the short film written by Amber Dawn Lee titled “Lot Lizard.”
“ This special filming location brought my scene work to life even more than I could have imagined,” Amber said as she acted in her role as “Charlie” a drug-addicted lesbian with a heart. She said “I felt like I had fallen into a magical place of discovery and I wanted to keep filming, even when done. The authenticity of the film is shown in the locations. Having “meaning and emotion” come through in the locations is important to actress Amber Dawn Lee
Actress Eugenia Crane from the networking group “The Table” joined the cast playing the grandmother, and we look forward to seeing her on the big screen. Actor Bart Baggett brought laughter to the crew during and after his shots as the Priest. Noelle Messier continued her role as a prostitute. The edgy love-story is one of hope.
The set was filled with the shades of Dolph Sharp, Ray Bradbury, Sanora Babb, Wilma Shore, Joseph Petracca, Elliott Grennard and Ben Maddow, Bonnie Wolfe and more; all the members of the writers group, all now gone. Only their stories and the memories of their laughter remains.
Dolph Sharp’s daughter, Ray Bradbury’s protege, author E.E. King remembers: “for over 30 years, they came to Blair Drive. The house is built on the hill. One enters on the top floor and descends a few steps into the living room. Gathering around the coffee table, they would read their works and comment on one another’s projects. There were drinks and smokes and laughter…always laughter. Sometimes their spouses and other writer’s would join.
“ Ray thought that the writers group worked so well and lasted so long because they were all so different. They were screenplay writers, architectural critics, magazine columnists, songwriters and scriptwriters. Joseph Petracca, wrote of his Italian roots in NYC, while Sanora Babb recalled the Dust Bowl of the Depression. Wilma Shore wrote for the New Yorker, while Peg Nixon wrote about her childhood in South Africa. And my father penned semi fictional/semi autobiographical tales of the New York Jewish Brierman family.”‘There was no one stepping on anyone else’s feet,’ Ray said.
The same spirit of enthusiasm was on set while filming several scenes for the upcoming film BLACK TAR ROAD. The creative elements of the location are magical, and mysterious.