2005 – Award-Winning “Hollywood’s Magical Island” Syndicates Nationally on American Public Television

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First-ever film on the history of Catalina Island to premiere on American Public Television

Award-winning “Hollywood’s Magical Island – Catalina” recounts why it became a mecca for film stars, music greats, and the thousands who arrived by boat each day

LOS ANGELES – November1, 2005 – Today, Catalina Island is a picturesque getaway that Southern Californians might visit once or twice in their lifetimes. In its heyday, thousands flocked to this once world-famous mecca in a single day – lured there by such attractions as the Big Band swing music of such legends as Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Les Brown; the world premieres of the first talkie motion pictures; underwater kelp gardens found nowhere else in the world; and endless other man-made and natural wonders.

What you don’t know about this quaint, 22-mile long, eight-mile wide oasis – located just 26 miles (or a one-hour boat ride) off the coast of Los Angeles – has been captured in an award-winning documentary that will premiere on the PBS affiliate, KOCE, on March 8 at 7:30 pm.

Narrated by Emmy-winning actor Peter Coyote, “Hollywood’s Magical Island – Catalina” presents the fascinating history of California’s own paradise isle through rare 16 mm footage, never-before-seen vintage photographs, and interviews with celebrities, island historians, and a Wrigley heir.

“Hollywood’s Magical Island” received The Audience Award from the 2004 Temecula Film Festival. The film has also been showcased in the Marco Island (FL), Ojai, Big Bear Lake, Wine Country (Napa Valley), Pacific Palisades, and Newport Beach Film Festivals.

Filmed over a period of several years by first-time director Greg Reitman, who maxed out his credit cards to get the documentary made, “Hollywood’s Magical Island” takes viewers on a first-time journey through its unparalleled history – beginning in 1919, when self-made chewing-gum magnet William Wrigley, Jr., purchased a portion of the island sight-unseen in 1919, then bought up the rest for $2 million soon after arriving.

Among those featured on-camera are:

“Hollywood’s Magical Island” takes viewers on an intimate journey through such history-making developments and moments as:

About the Production

“Hollywood’s Magical Island” marks the directorial debut of Greg Reitman, who also wrote and co-produced the Blue Water Entertainment Production with well-known casting director Mike Fenton.

Reitman, now 33 years old, grew up outside New York City, and was headed to Emerson Film School when his father – owner of an executive search firm in the publishing industry – objected, insisting his son pick a more respectable profession.

So he enrolled in international studies, graduated from the University of Massachusetts, then spent a year working in the sales department of the trade division at Oxford University Press – followed by a year in England as the multi-media manager for Simon & Schuster International.

Ready for a new challenge, he moved to Australia and became a vice president of sales for META Group, selling information technology research to Fortune 500 companies. At the same time, he got his first hands-on experience in filmmaking from Tina Dalton, the award-winning wildlife documentary filmmaker whose work is frequently featured on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

It was enough to inspire Reitman to transfer to META Group’s Los Angeles office, where he was put in charge of their Southern California operation. At the same time, he embarked on an intensive training program to learning filmmaking, A to Z. Besides reading every book published on the subject, he enrolled in UCLA’s Extension certificate program – or which he attended classes five days a week for two years.

After graduating, Reitman started planning his exit from META. He had made a lot of money, put away as much as he could, and now just wanted to bury himself in celluloid.

As fate would have it, Reitman was on the verge of leaving META when he happened into a Malibu dive shop, where he saw a book on Catalina’s indigenous underwater kelp forests. A scuba diver since college, he had explored the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Florida Keys, Hawaii and Israel, yet never seen anything like this unique natural wonder.

Intrigued, he hired a Harvard-educated researcher and paid her $500 to tell him more. She returned two weeks later with a 10-page report that included the history of the island. “I said, ‘Wow,’ this is a fascinating place!’” he recalls.

Buoyed by the fact that no one had ever captured Catalina’s history on film before, Reitman resigned META, formed Blue Water Entertainment and visited Catalina for the first time.

Fortunately, he fell madly in love with the island the moment he saw it – because he would spend the next several years racking up $50,000 in credit card debt, supplemented by a free Panavision package, film from Kodak and post-production services from Modern Video Film.

“Documentaries are wonderful, but you do not make a living making documentaries,” Reitman says with a laugh. Even so, he’s hard at work on his next one.

For more information, please contact:

Lyla Foggia
Public Relations
(661) 259-6561
[email protected]