LOST LA Explores Untold Stories of LA History in New KCET Original Series


Rachel Coulson                   




LOST LA Explores the Untold Stories of Los Angeles History

in New Three-Part KCET Original Series

Created in Partnership With USC Libraries


"Lost" History of Los Angeles Told in a Series of Short Documentaries 

by Local Emerging Filmmakers Based on Original L.A. as Subject Archival Material



BURBANK, Calif. - January 13, 2016 - KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station, introduces a new special broadcast series, LOST LA created in partnership with the University of Southern California Libraries. Based on KCET's "LA as Subject" web series written by LA historianNathan Masters (KCET.org/LAasSubject), LOST LA is the latest broadcast special to come out of KCET's online to on-air incubation model where high-trafficked web content is produced for broadcast.

A digital destination for related content will be featured at kcet.org/LostLA, which will host web-exclusive content and the most popular L.A. As Subject stories, allowing readers and viewers to rediscover the history of LOST L.A. through written and video storytelling. An exclusive web previewsegment of the WILD L.A. broadcast episode featuring L.A.'s lost grizzly bears premieres online today. Viewers and readers can join the conversation on social media using #LOSTLA.

"We are very excited to work with USC Libraries to extend the reach of the LA as Subject stories, among our most consistently popular web destinations, to a broadcast audience," said Juan Devis, SVP, Content Development and Production. "We have some fascinating stories to tell about Los Angeles through the lens of emerging filmmakers and we're pleased to be able to educate our viewers about the region's past with their debut work."

A co-production of KCET and USC Libraries, LOST LA brings Southern California history to life by marrying the extensive collections housed at the USC Libraries and among L.A. as Subject member archives with innovative forms of documentary storytelling from fresh new voices in filmmaking.

"To inform and inspire--those are essential contributions of great libraries to creative and educational achievement," said Catherine Quinlan, dean of the USC Libraries. "Lost LA unites those functions in a series that is itself an inspiring accomplishment. I'm grateful to our partners at KCET and among L.A. asSubject members for bringing the important stories in all our collections to a tremendous audience in incredibly inventive ways."

The three-part series, which Masters hosts, explores stories from L.A.'s past that have been lost to folklore, including wildlife and wildfires; the Elysian Hills before Dodger Stadium's construction; and defunct tunnels, canals and hills. The nine filmmakers, utilizing techniques that range from rotoscoping to cinema verité, bring the primary sources of L.A. history to the screen in surprising new ways.

"Los Angeles has forgotten, buried, or rewritten much of its history," said Masters. "It's torn down landmarks, recast its Mexican past as a Spanish romance, and written entire cultures and communities out of its official historical narratives. Drawing upon the city's archives, this series gives an authentic voice to some of those stories, bringing to light what might otherwise be permanently lost."

The LOST LA three-part broadcast series will be televised as follows:

WILD L.A. (Premieres Wed., Jan. 27, at 8:30 p.m. PT)

The premiere of LOST LA, "Wild L.A.," unwraps the complicated relationship between the city and its natural environment. The program explores the origin of the Santa Ana winds, that infamous weather phenomenon that trigger allergies, fray nerves and alarm fire-prone communities. The series also examines the demise of the grizzly bear in Southern California, an animal once revered by indigenous peoples but later targeted by Europeans as a threat to safety and security. Created by filmmakersLaura Purdy and Sara Joe Wolansky.

BEFORE THE DODGERS (Premieres Wed., Feb. 3, at 8:30 p.m. PT)

In this episode, Lost L.A. explores the various ways Southern California's inhabitants have used the hills around Dodger Stadium. The Elysian Hills once stood where the now-iconic Dodger Stadium hosts legendary baseball. Raised up by tectonic forces and carved into deep ravines by the ancient precursor of the Los Angeles River, these highlands meant many things to many people long before Sandy Koufax threw Dodger Stadium's first pitch, and even before the first residents moved into Chavez Ravine. The region's native Tongva Indians escaped floods there, and later settlers quarried stone in the hills to build what would become an American city. Viewers will discover a lithographic view of nineteenth-century L.A. as drawn from an Elysian hilltop, the vanished neighborhood of Chavez Ravine, and a massive construction project that reshaped the land into a modern baseball palace. Created by filmmakers Ben Sax, Javier Barboza, and Amy Lee Ketchum.

RESHAPING L.A. (Premieres Wed., Feb. 10, at 8:30 p.m. PT)

"Reshaping L.A." details how the modern metropolis has altered its topography to better suit its needs, visiting the city's now-defunct hills and tunnels, as well as the vanished canals of Venice Beach. Much of L.A.'s history has been buried in a figurative sense, but some literally lies buried beneath the modern landscape, concealed long ago when the city, opted to mold its developing infrastructure to suit its modern needs. Created by filmmakers Kelly Parker, Matt Glass and Jordan Long.



On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 50-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. KCET is a part of the KCETLink Media Group.


The USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation, and preservation of knowledge at the University of Southern California and beyond. The libraries serve as host institution for L.A. As Subject, an association of more than 230 libraries, cultural institutions, official archives, and private collectors dedicated to preserving and telling the sometimes-hidden histories of the Los Angeles region.


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