Hong Kong’s Moviola Prods. and Grey Advertising/Hong Kong were collaborating on a Bank of China commercial, and had a tall order for Film Producer’s Warehouse in Phoenix.

“We require 20 authentic Native Americans, 20 horses and one John Wayne look-alike stuntman for a commercial shoot in Monument Valley. Can you help?”

No problem. Internet technology helped bridge the six-time-zone difference, facilitating casting, location scouting, prop and even crew selection. Even the latest weather satellite pictures were transmitted electronically — allowing the shoot to be pushed back one week to avoid inclement weather and the costs from delays.

“Everything considered, pre-production went quite smoothly,” said Stephen Brain, producer with FPW for the shoot. “We were able to do it on schedule and under budget.”

The commercial, based loosely on John Ford’s “The Searchers,” was filmed in Monument Valley Tribal Park, the site used by Ford for the original pic over 30 years ago.

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IF YOU WRITE TO THEM, they will come. Or at least Michael Novotny, set designer for the upcoming Jean-Claude Van Damme feature “Inferno,” will. He chose several high desert locations around the city of Ridgecrest, in response to Film Commissioner Ray Arthur’s direct mail marketing.

“Based on leads from various sources, we mail film information packets out to production companies who have feature films in development,” said Arthur.

Using California Film Commission estimates for on-location filming, Arthur calculates “Inferno” will generate $902,000 in revenue to the Ridgecrest area, which is becoming a popular site. Commercial filming in the area through May generated $2.7 million, roughly 55% of the $4.9 million generated throughout Kern County.

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SOUTH DAKOTA’S BADLANDS are proving to be out-of-this-world for film production.

After its role as the planet Tango Urilla in “Starship Troopers,” the Barry Barber Ranch, near Interior, S.D., has reappeared as the surface of the killer asteroid in “Armageddon.” According to S.D. Film Office Director Gary Keller, the ranch site was selected as one of three fictional planet locations for TriStar/Disney’s “Starship Troopers” after a search of more than 20 states.

As a result, location manager Richard Klotz became interested in the locale for Disney’s Buena Vista production “Armageddon.”

“They really worked Hollywood magic on the saw-toothed spires and canyons of the Badlands with the lighting design. At midnight, with the actors in space suits walking around on the terrain, it really felt like another world,” Keller said.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol helped out with the chase scenes through the Badlands National Park.