Filmmaker negotiates use of Oak Harbor pool

Kids on the Oak Harbor swim team may appear on the silver screen someday.

Bill Walker, director of the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District, announced at a board meeting Thursday night that a movie producer has asked to rent the pool to shoot a pivotal scene in a film.

The catch, Walker said, is that he wants to close the pool to the public while he films during a weekday.

And the producer is requesting a break on the regular $100-per-hour rate for renting the pool.

Joseph Itaya, a graduate of South Whidbey High School, has returned to the island in hopes of filming an independent movie currently titled “Lost & Found.” He wrote the story of two brothers visiting their uncle on a remote, mysterious island.

Itaya told the Whidbey News-Times recently that there may be two “prominent Hollywood actors” and some notable child television stars on the set.

Most of the scenes are slated to be filmed in the Coupeville area, and Itaya’s already obtained permission from the Coupeville Port District to film at the historic wharf. But he also needs a swimming pool.

Walker said Itaya plans to employ as extras in the pool scene members of the swim team and people from the community.

“Personally I think it would be a great idea to be part of this,” Walker said.

But several members of the park district board were hesitant to close the pool during the busy weekdays, which is when the pool is used by swimming teams, people taking classes, lap swimmers and others.

“I don’t want to take away a program for someone who isn’t a regular user,” said Sean Merrill, chairman of the parks district.

Commissioner Lori Clark, however, said being involved in the movie would give the pool the opportunity for good press.

The board ended up passing a motion allowing the filmmaker to use the pool only on a Sunday morning, which is when it is normally closed. The parks district is offering the director a reduced rate of $500 for eight hours of shooting.


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