Box trucks were parked behind the Marine Park Parking Garage and what appeared to be television production crewmembers were observed on Thursday setting up equipment around Tracy’s Crab Shack, a waterfront eatery known for its award-winning bisque.
A spokesperson for the television production, Jennifer Thompson of Thompson and Co., declined to answer questions and wouldn’t even reveal the identity of her client because she was worried it could spoil the outcome of the show. She would only say that Alaskans would see it in the first quarter next year and it would be “big.”
Wanetta Ayers, division director of the state’s Division of Economic Development, says there are no productions currently shooting in Juneau that have already qualified for the state’s film production tax credit.
Capital City Fire and Rescue says they were asked to provide emergency medical technicians for the production. But Chief Rich Etheridge says they passed the request onto local firefighter unions and volunteer organizations. Firefighters not on CBJ duty for a particular day could moonlight or work as an on-set private contractor for the production company.
CBJ Harbormaster Dwight Tajon estimates that the production company brought about 150 people into town and unloaded a bunch of stuff from one of the cruise ships this week. Tajon says he gave production crewmembers at least three different options when he was approached on Monday about the use of Juneau harbor facilities. He says they wanted to pick through and sample the fish that would be in totes on the float at the Auke Bay Loading Facility next to Alaska Glacier Seafoods. But Tajon says he warned them that the weather may be poor and the float may be in heavy use.
“I let them know that the possibility of using the entire float probably wouldn’t work because we have the returning gillnet fleet that should be coming in,” said Tajon. “They should be in right now, today, Thursday.”
Tajon says the production company’s early plans included a cooking competition at a local high school with food sampled by local fishermen. But those plans may have changed by now.
Tajon says the firm that asked about use of the Auke Bay Loading facility was The Mission Productions from Los Angeles. That company may be best known for production of the Top Chef television show that airs on Bravo. According to industry trade notices, The Mission Productions ended a casting call for the tenth cycle of Top Chef back in March.
Juneau residents have reported seeing a camera crew at a local grocery store and stars of the show hitting the downtown bars and restaurants this week.
More reporting from elsewhere:
- Gov. Bill Walker says he wouldn't go through the hassle of calling another special session this year if he didn't expect Alaska legislators to pass the bills on his agenda. But Walker faces an uphill battle in selling skeptical senators on his new tax bill.
- The bow of an abandoned boat could be seen this weekend drifting up and down the Gastineau Channel between Lemon Creek and the Douglas Bridge. A broadcast warning to mariners was issued Saturday, but no further action was being taken as of Sunday afternoon.
- With a surge in vehicle thefts in Anchorage, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. One group mobilizing through Facebook is reuniting stolen vehicles with their owners. Members of the A Team, as they call themselves, say they are filling a void left by overworked police.
- The Haines area used to be a Tlingit stronghold, ruled by an alliance between the prosperous Chilkat and Chilkoot people. A new Haines Sheldon Museum exhibit explores how the Native territory gradually gave way to white settlement in the late 1800s. The exhibit will anchor the museum’s upstairs space for at least two years.