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'Innocence of Muslims' casts shadow on Blue Cloud Movie Ranch

September 13, 2012|By Richard Verrier
  • A scene from the trailer for the film "Innocence of Muslims."
A scene from the trailer for the film "Innocence of Muslims." (Sam Bacile )

The movie trailer known as "Innocence of Muslims," blamed for sparking riots in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, has cast an unwelcome spotlight on one of the busiest movie ranches in Los Angeles County.

According to FilmL.A. Inc., responsible for filming permits in the area, a Duarte-based group called Media for Christ obtained a permit to film in the county for one day in August 2011.

Although FilmL.A. did not disclose the location, citing a request by authorities not to release the permit because of public safety concerns, a source familiar with the project who was not authorized to speak publicly said the movie was partially shot at Blue Cloud Movie Ranch.

The 100-acre ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley specializes in military settings, with a Middle East Town and Baghdad Square set that is so real the U.S. military uses it for training.

The ranch also has a full-scale army camp, aircraft hangar and 50 military vehicles, including tanks, Humvees and helicopters.  Blue Cloud has a long list of credits, including such movies as "Iron Man" and television series like "NCIS Los Angeles" and "Jag."

Owner Rene Veluzat said Wednesday morning he couldn't recall whether the movie, which was granted a film permit through Los Angeles County under the title "Desert Warrior," shot at his ranch, and declined to return calls seeking comment Thursday. Some scenes for the film, which presents an inflammatory portrait of the prophet Muhammad, were also reportedly shot in Duarte.

A former stuntman and actor, Rene Veluzat bought the ranch in 2000. In January, he told The Times he booked 70 shows and nearly $1 million in revenue last year, renting his property to crews for such TV shows as "Touched" and "Chuck" and the low-budget war movie "Battle Force."

"I get 50 phone calls a day," Veluzat said then.

"Blue Cloud is one of the many movie ranches located in the Santa Clarita Valley that on a consistent basis hosts movies and television shows, " said Russell Sypowicz, film office administrator for the city of Santa Clarita. "Because it's unique it gets a significant amount of action."


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