New film 'Freaky Tales' being shot in Oakland through January; Film sets impact small businesses

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Friday, November 18, 2022
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The new feature film "Freaky Tales" is being shot in Oakland through January. Nearby small businesses feel impacted by the local film sets.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Late Night Video isn't a new store in downtown Oakland near the Fox Theater. It's fake. Welcome to the set of "Freaky Tales," a new movie being filmed with the City of Oakland as its backdrop

"It looks so cool. All the old cars, all this stuff -- it's a vibe for sure," said Tiana Roberts, who works at Somar Bar and Lounge, which is on the same block as Late Night Video.

The vibe is 1987 Oakland. Prop cars from the era line Telegraph Avenue between 17th and 18th, where they are filming this week.

The all-star cast includes Pedro Pascal, Ben Mendelsohn and Jay Ellis, among others. Poppy Hanks, as well Oakland rap legend Too $hort -- known for his song that shares a name with this film -- are adding producing credits.

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The entertainment news site DEADLINE describes the movie as being, "Comprised of four interconnected stories, each featuring distinct characters, real-life locations and noteworthy historical events."

Movie crews are often tight-lipped about details, but an assistant director tells ABC7 News that they are using local labor unions and most movie extras are from Oakland, both which help the local economy.

But not everyone is happy.

"At first, I was very excited. I was thinking this is an opportunity as a small business owner to make some extra money," said Teena Johnson, the owner of the small restaurant Mama T's Oakland.

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The restaurant is next door to the made-up Late Night Video store. Despite the signs saying that businesses are open on Telegraph, Johnson says there has been limited foot traffic.

"People who work in the area, they only get 30 minutes for lunch, or 15 minutes for a break. So, when they come out and turn this corner and see all this, they wonder if we are even open. So, yes I am losing business," said Johnson, who says she is still trying to recover from the pandemic.

Connie Vino says she is excited about the buzz the film is creating. But she says Feelmore Adult, where she works, is also being impacted. She wishes the city did more to better explain the process to small businesses.

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"There is a lot of crime down here. So even with parking, people have to park really far. People risk getting their car broken into, their windows broken," Vino said. She says the parking problem is a deterrent.

In an email to ABC7 News, Karen Boyd, Oakland's citywide communications director, says, "The (movie's) location manager and her team of scouts have been engaged in a robust communication plan with the affected businesses along the street closures. This has included face-to-face communication and flyer distribution in the area."

The movie wraps up filming at the Telegraph location near the Fox Theater on Wednesday. The movie continues to film in Oakland and other parts of the East Bay through January.

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