Music festival filming for A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper’s new version of A Star Is Born filmed at music festivals and public venues across California and in the UK.

Bradley Cooper’s new version of A Star Is Born filmed at music festivals and public venues across California and in the UK.

Cooper makes his feature directorial debut with the movie that follows young up-and-coming singer Ally, played by Lady Gaga in her acting debut, as she is discovered and mentored by troubled country and western performer Jackson Maine, played by Cooper.

Music festival filming for A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born

The movie, made for a budget in the region of $30m, received tax credits worth a reported $7.7m from the California Film Commission.

As a result, the film became one of only a few high-profile studio features for which shooting in California was economically viable.

Several scenes were shot at real festivals as Cooper sought to chart the touring careers of Jackson and Ally. The production team made full use of having Lady Gaga as their star, as well as enjoying considerable support from music company giant AEG and promoter Goldenvoice.

“We had explored the idea of doing certain things on sound stages because there’s certainly a lot more control in terms of noise, lighting – things like that,” says producer Bill Gerber. “But it just so happened that we started finding great locations and the venues were incredibly co-operative and supportive of us filming there, so there was no reason not to go do it in the real places these things happen.

“It’s a bold way to start production, but it turned out to be surprisingly less complicated than we initially thought.”

Cooper and Lady Gaga sang live throughout the shoot, with only their on-screen bands faking their performances. An array of sensitive sound equipment was used on each stage to maximise the quality of the vocal recordings.

A Star Is Born

The first key filming location was the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, 130 miles from Los Angeles. Logistics for the shoot were helped by the fact that Lady Gaga was headlining the festival that year.

Filming also took place in the UK at Glastonbury, where Cooper took a few minutes of Kris Kristofferson’s set time – who by coincidence starred in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand – to get the shots he needed performing as Jackson Maine in front of the festival’s real thousands-strong crowd.

Back in the US, Cooper and his team invited Lady Gaga’s vast fan base – she has nearly 80 million Twitter followers – to appear as extras for sequences shot at other large-capacity performance venues in Los Angeles.

A Star Is Born

Regular gig tickets were sold for these shoot dates, with the proceeds going to a non-profit organisation founded by Lady Gaga at the start of her own career.

California recently extended its filming incentive tax credit programme through to 2025, but chose not to act on the advice of a June report from the Milken Institute that recommended increases to its film fund and better support for big-budget features.

Limitations to the state’s filming incentive mean big-budget studio films still tend to base themselves either elsewhere in the US or internationally.

Most of the productions that shoot in California remain on the lower end of the budget spectrum and do not manage to secure tax credit support. That said, this year California has still managed to attract shoots like Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel and Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, both of which were incentivised by the state.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in California.

Images: Warner Bros/MGM

Music festival filming for A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper’s new version of A Star Is Born filmed at music festivals and public venues across California and in the UK.

Cooper makes his feature directorial debut with the movie that follows young up-and-coming singer Ally, played by Lady Gaga in her acting debut, as she is discovered and mentored by troubled country and western performer Jackson Maine, played by Cooper.

The movie, made for a budget in the region of $30m, received tax credits worth a reported $7.7m from the California Film Commission.

As a result, the film became one of only a few high-profile studio features for which shooting in California was economically viable.

Several scenes were shot at real festivals as Cooper sought to chart the touring careers of Jackson and Ally. The production team made full use of having Lady Gaga as their star, as well as enjoying considerable support from music company giant AEG and promoter Goldenvoice.

“We had explored the idea of doing certain things on sound stages because there’s certainly a lot more control in terms of noise, lighting – things like that,” says producer Bill Gerber. “But it just so happened that we started finding great locations and the venues were incredibly co-operative and supportive of us filming there, so there was no reason not to go do it in the real places these things happen.

“It’s a bold way to start production, but it turned out to be surprisingly less complicated than we initially thought.”

Cooper and Lady Gaga sang live throughout the shoot, with only their on-screen bands faking their performances. An array of sensitive sound equipment was used on each stage to maximise the quality of the vocal recordings.

A Star Is Born

The first key filming location was the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, 130 miles from Los Angeles. Logistics for the shoot were helped by the fact that Lady Gaga was headlining the festival that year.

Filming also took place in the UK at Glastonbury, where Cooper took a few minutes of Kris Kristofferson’s set time – who by coincidence starred in the 1976 version of A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand – to get the shots he needed performing as Jackson Maine in front of the festival’s real thousands-strong crowd.

Back in the US, Cooper and his team invited Lady Gaga’s vast fan base – she has nearly 80 million Twitter followers – to appear as extras for sequences shot at other large-capacity performance venues in Los Angeles.

A Star Is Born

Regular gig tickets were sold for these shoot dates, with the proceeds going to a non-profit organisation founded by Lady Gaga at the start of her own career.

California recently extended its filming incentive tax credit programme through to 2025, but chose not to act on the advice of a June report from the Milken Institute that recommended increases to its film fund and better support for big-budget features.

Limitations to the state’s filming incentive mean big-budget studio films still tend to base themselves either elsewhere in the US or internationally.

Most of the productions that shoot in California remain on the lower end of the budget spectrum and do not manage to secure tax credit support. That said, this year California has still managed to attract shoots like Tom Cruise’s Top Gun sequel and Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, both of which were incentivised by the state.

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in California.

Images: Warner Bros/MGM

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