DMA Location Spotlight: Occidental College, Where Movies Get Made

By Phill Powell

If you get a strong sense of deja vu when you attend DMA tech camp at Occidental College in Los Angeles, it’s only because you really have been here before.

Many, many movies and TV shows are filmed both on the Occidental campus and in the surrounding neighborhood of Eagle Rock. You’ve seen this area before.

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The iconic, slow-motion walk at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs was shot near Occidental’s campus.

A CLASSIC FILMING LOCATION

Occidental College has been serving as a typical college background for films and TV shows since the 1920s. The screen’s greatest dancer, Fred Astaire, shot Second Chorus here at the college.

The manic Marx Brothers filmed their college comedy, Horse Feathers, here, in part so they could use Occidental’s stadium for the big football finale, with the brothers winning the game by riding into the end zone in a horse-drawn garbage wagon.

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The Marx Bros. shot at Occidental, to take advantage of the football stadium…and the local scenery.

In the mid-50s, perhaps the most famous film shot in the area was filmed at nearby Griffith Observatory, which is still open to visitors. Here, legendary actor James Dean starred in scenes from his biggest hit, Rebel Without a Cause. (Visitors still act out Dean’s switchblade fight from the movie.)

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James Dean (in white shirt) is forced to play with knives in the classic Rebel Without a Cause.

MORE RECENT HITS & TV SHOWS GALORE

A load of more recent, popular movies were either shot on the Occidental campus or in nearby Eagle Rock. Crowd pleasers like Clueless were shot on campus, while classic action flick The Hunt for Red October was partially shot in Eagle Rock. Major hits like Reservoir Dogs, Top Gun and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock were all shot or partially shot in the area.

Clueless
The Occidental campus rises behind Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.

And over the decades, the Occidental/Eagle Rock area has shown up repeatedly in TV shows. Most recently, this includes in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., NCIS, Charmed and Arrested Development.

Agents_of_Shield_at_Occidental
Called “Ohio State” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this all-American campus was really Occidental.

SETTING THE STAGE FOR YOUR GREATEST SUMMER

Digital Media Academy was drawn to Occidental not only because of its fun Hollywood history, but because of its overall academic excellence. It has produced some very distinguished alumni, including U.S. President Barack Obama, who attended the college between 1979 and 1981.

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Occidental alumni often go on to achieve big destinies, like this guy.

This coming summer, kids and teens from all over southern California (and other parts of the U.S., too) will attend DMA tech camps at Occidental.

In addition to summer filmmaking courses, students will be exploring today’s coolest tech subjects, including everything from programming and app development to Virtual Reality and Wearable Tech.

If it’s happening now in the world of tech, you can study it this summer at Digital Media Academy. And at Occidental, you can do it in Hollywood!