Developer Andrew Meieran is plenty busy. He owns downtown L.A. nightclub the Edison and has undertaken the multiyear, multimillion-dollar redo of the nearby Clifton’s Cafeteria. But a few years ago he decided to take up a very L.A. moonlighting gig.

Drawing inspiration from his experience revitalizing historic buildings, Meieran began working on a screenplay about a group of laid-off teachers working to revitalize a rundown part of Detroit.

But unlike so many aspiring scribes, Meieran, who is represented by William Morris Endeavor, was able to turn his efforts into a movie, “Highland Park,” starring Parker Posey and Danny Glover. The film was released to video on demand earlier this year. It was his first turn as a director and second producing credit. Meieran’s co-writer was Christopher Keyser, whose credits include “L.A. Law.”

Meieran, 46, said his work in real estate development helped not only in terms of source material, but in managing so many people.

There was one major difference, however. Meieran, who financed 75 percent of the movie, said once production started on the film, the action happened a lot faster than it does in the real estate world.

“It’s a big real estate development project on steroids,” he said. “It’s the same amount of money but dumped out in six weeks rather than 24 months.”

Thai’d Up in L.A.

He’s been referred to as the unofficial mayor of Thai Town for years, but now the government of Thailand is giving him a more official title.

This month, the Royal Thai Consulate-General of Los Angeles named local chef Jet Tila its first culinary ambassador of Thai cuisine.

“I was really shocked that they would offer the position to me,” he said. “I’m not the first guy pushing Thai in America but I must be the best known. It’s a huge honor.”

Tila, 38, has been cooking pan-Asian and Thai cuisine nearly his whole life. He has made a name for himself as a chef at a number of Thai and Asian cafes and restaurants, and has recently expanded his offerings to a line of frozen Asian entrees, Schwan’s Home Delivery. He has appeared on the Food Channel to talk about Thai cuisine and offers tours of Thai Town restaurants locally to visitors and restaurateurs.

In his new official ambassador position, Tila will be required to educate the public about Thai cuisine in local and national media and other venues.

“My job more than anything is to be the spokesperson in all media,” he said. “All the Thai chefs cooking at the large Thai festival early next year, when they get calls, I’m the guy who answers those calls and spreads the word.”

Staff reporters Jonathan Polakoff and Jacquelyn Ryan contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.