Lights! Camera! Action! due in Sitka this summer

Posted: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

SITKA (AP) -- Sitka residents will have plenty of chances to make their television debuts this summer.

Among film crews coming to the city in July is a 50-person team from Montreal shooting a segment of the miniseries ''Further Tales of the City.''

The two-part, four-hour miniseries calls for 72 extras to be picked from residents. Three others will win speaking parts.

''Further Tales'' is the third installment of a miniseries that started with the Public Broadcasting System's adaptation of Armistead Maupin's book, ''Tales of the City.'' Showtime followed with a sequel, ''More Tales of the City.''

The books and the series follow the adventures of a group of friends in San Francisco through the 1970s. The ''Further Tales'' installment has a brief episode in Sitka, where some of the characters arrive on the cruise ship Sagafjord.

Maupin included details of Sitka to give readers a feel for the town:

''A vigorous fur-trading monopoly in the last century had given Sitka a distinctively Russian cast: a Russian blockhouse, Russian grave markers everywhere, Cossack dancers performing for tourists, even a pretty Russian Orthodox cathedral in the center of town. Prue loved every inch of it.''

Sitka filming will take place July 23-24 and Further Tales Productions needs people to look and act like Sitkans. The cast calls for fishermen, hippies, casual tourists, children, Natives and regular Joes.

Local casting director Ellen Frankenstein also has to find a New Archangel Dancer and an elderly ''Welcome Lady'' from among the available Sitka talent. Auditions will be Sunday and Monday.

Frankenstein told the Sitka Sentinel she will photograph applicants and try to fit them into an appropriate category.

''I'll be saying, 'Gee, this person looks like a fisherman, this one looks like a potential tourist,''' she said.

To avoid falling short of the production company's demand, Frankenstein said she'll probably over-cast.

''I want to get extra extras,'' she said.

The three speaking roles include a Native housewife about 45 years old, a 20-something female who can pose as a ticket-taker, and a man with a beard in his early 30s.

The crew will be filming all over Sitka during its two-day stay. The crew will seek city permits for some of its shooting locations.

Returning to the miniseries for another turn at her role as a transsexual landlady will be Olympia Dukakis. Parker Posey also is to star in the production, scheduled for broadcast next year.

Sitka will be visited by other film crews as well.

A German travel program called ''Let's Get Away'' will shoot tourist sites June 30 and July 1.

A crew from The Nashville Network will film a show called ''North to Alaska,'' hosted by Larry Csonka. The former professional football player and his crew will shoot July 5-8 during a stay at the Baranof Wilderness Lodge.

Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc. will shoot filler scenes July 7-15 for a PBS documentary next year on retracing of the Harriman Alaska Expedition.

Another PBS crew will film the Cape Decision lighthouse July 13.

Finally, High Noon Productions will record segments for a Home and Garden TV show, ''If These Walls Could Talk,'' about houses that have an interesting history.

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