Location International 2022

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LOCATION INTERNATIONAL 2022

SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

INTERNATIONAL2022

SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

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Photo: Marshal’s Office of the Małopolska Region Archive, Dunajec Castle in Niedzica

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FILM INCENTIVES PROGRAM

EUR 23 200 000 WHO CAN APPLY • a Polish partner with credits or a company registered in Poland

CO-PRODUCTIONS AND SERVICES ARE ELIGIBLE ELIGIBLE PRODUCTIONS • full-length features • full-length documentaries • full-length animated features • all kind of series

BASIC REQUIREMENTS

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

• a cultural qualifying test applies

• applications are accepted all year round

• minimum spending level applies

• “first come, first served” basis

• at least 75% of production funding is confirmed

• support from development to post-production • cap per applicant and cap per project applies

more information: incentives@pisf.pl, www.en.pisf.pl/incentives

MINORITY CO-PRODUCTION SCHEME

EUR 1 500 000 WHO CAN APPLY • producer based in other EEA countries, however, it is strongly advised to have a Polish co-producer

BASIC REQUIREMENTS • Polish artistic contribution • application must be submitted before the shooting period • the remaining sources must be confirmed by LOIs, memo-deals or co-production agreements

ELIGIBLE PRODUCTIONS • full-length features • full-length documentaries • full-length animated features

IMPORTANT INFORMATION • up to EUR 430 000 per project • up to 70% of Polish funding • 2 calls per year: January and August

more information: promotion@pisf.pl

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A GLOBAL MEDIA HUB • Fully integrated media ecosystem • Unparalleled standards of livability

G R E AT L I F E ST Y L E

Changing the future of the Media & Creative Industries...now. Are you ready to shape the change? Learn more at NEOM.com

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WITH A DIFFERENCE • Progressive laws and regulations • Highly attractive incentives

I N S P I R I N G C R E AT I V I T Y

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INTERNATIONAL

2022 SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION INDUSTRY Published by Boutique Editions Ltd. Additional copies are available on request EDITOR Julian Newby MANAGING EDITOR Debbie Lincoln CONTRIBUTORS Andy Fry, Sandy George and Gary Smith PUBLISHER Richard Woolley PRODUCTION MANAGER Roger Hall

ART DIRECTOR Christian Zivojinovic www.anoir.fr

PUBLISHED BY Boutique Editions Ltd 117 Waterloo Road - London SE1 8UL - United Kingdom T: +44 20 7902 1942 www.boutiqueeditions.com

ADVERTISING SALES INTERNATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR Jerry Odlin jodlin@boutiqueeditions.com SALES MANAGER (EMEA+ASIA) Lisa Ray lray@boutiqueeditions.com SALES MANAGER (NORTH AMERICA) Nicki Webber nwebber@boutiqueeditions.com The paper used by Boutique Editions is a natural, recyclable product made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The manufacturing process conforms to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. Copyright ©2022 Boutique Editions Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without prior permission of Boutique Editions Ltd is strictly prohibited.

ITZURUN BEACH, ZUMAIA, GIPUZKOA, SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN This location is characterised by the extraordinary rocks and cliffs that reflect 60 million years of geological history. It also stands out due to the various tones of the meadows and forests that alternate behind the coastline. Add to the landscape the possibility of sun, rain, wind or fog, and there are a variety of looks to imagine. There are a diverse range of locations throughout Gipuzkoa, from urban areas — including San Sebastian — as well other picturesque towns, beaches, cliffs, mountains and forests, all close by. Recent productions filmed here include feature film Rifkin’s Festival (2020) and TV series Game of Thrones (2011-2019). Photo, courtesy Aruizhu - iStock

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CONTENTS

2022

12 96 22 113 34 12Creating THEGotham BATMAN out of cities

83 CANADA 113 CALIFORNIA Canada is back in action after the The Golden State welcomes

22 UK Charting the remarkable growth

88 AUSTRALIA Australia shows its ability

34 EUROPE Scouting unexpected locations

96 BETTER CALL SAUL 131 IN PICTURES Shooting against the big, wide, More spectacular locations high backdrops of New Mexico

around the world

67 IN PICTURES Exploring film-worthy locations

105 TOKYO VICE Michael Mann puts the streets

136 ADVERTISER INDEX

and studios in the UK and US

of the British production sector

across the continent

from around the world

industry's lockdown hiatus

to double for the rest of the world

more high-profile productions

125 GEORGIA

The Peach State grows its status as a leading production hub

of Tokyo centre-stage

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MAKING A SCENE THE BATMAN

Robert Pattinson as Batman in The Batman, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures & ©DC Comics. ©2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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THE BATMAN! ROBERT PATTINSON STARS AS BRUCE WAYNE AND BATMAN IN THE LATEST MOVIE TO FEATURE THE CAPED CRUSADER AS HE STRIVES TO RID GOTHAM CITY OF CORRUPTION AND VIOLENCE. IN THE BATMAN, A KILLER IS TARGETING GOTHAM’S ELITE WHILE LEAVING A TRAIL OF CRYPTIC CLUES ACROSS THE CITY. JULIAN NEWBY REPORTS

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If you’re working in film, TV, animation or games, Film London offers expert advice on locations, logistics and the UK’s tax reliefs. From ground-breaking indies to big-budget blockbusters, we can help bring your ideas to the screen. Get in touch to find out more.

@Film_London filmlondon.org.uk

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MAKING A SCENE THE BATMAN

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HETHER in graphic novels, TV series or movies, Gotham City is always depicted as an eerie, shadowy approximation of New York City. So it may surprise some cinemagoers to learn that in 2021’s The Batman, it was predominantly the UK cities of London and Liverpool, and the Scottish city of Glasgow, that were used as the backdrop. Created by director, writer and producer Matt Reeves, along with screenwriter Peter Craig, the Warner Bros. Pictures movie depicts Gotham as a threatening, dark metropolis where evil can hide. “Gotham is a really scary place,” Reeves says, “and as a world is incredibly rich for a filmmaker.” Craig says he and Reeves “wanted Gotham to be entirely alive, with the remnants of its corrupt history everywhere. One of the most exciting things about working on this was getting to experience Matt’s visual talent — and then having [production designer] James Chinlund on the other end of a speakerphone, fleshing out ideas and sending us images. We had the advantage of working with those pictures in front of us: Batman standing at the edge of an unfinished skyscraper, or Gotham Square seen from a perch above. While leaning into that style, we still wanted to sidestep its deeper cynicism. We saw Gotham like Bruce Wayne did: a dangerous and troubled place, but a place worth saving.” “I wanted to lean hard into the early Bob Kane and Bill Finger stories in which Batman was solving crimes as a means of describing Gotham as an incredibly corrupt place,” Reeves says. “So, I came up with the idea of having the character he is interacting with — the case he is involved with — being a new iteration of The Riddler as a serial killer who is targeting so-called pillars of society. And in the wake of the murders, through the crime scenes and cyphers he leaves behind directed at The Batman, The Riddler is revealing the truth about these individuals. In doing so, I felt that Batman’s journey to solve the case could also serve to uncover for him the history of corruption in Gotham. And because the cyphers are left for him, it gets personal and rocks him to his core. This is not a Batman in control,” he says. “This is

a Batman in a little bit of a freefall.” So where to find this “scary”, “corrupt” “dangerous and troubled place worth saving”? Chinlund says that when creating Gotham, he and Reeves were “thinking about the effects of corruption and crime, and a bit about climate change, too. That helped us generate the visual rules that would guide us going forward. It really landed us in our own space: a contemporary world that you could believe is a part of America, similar to towns like Detroit

and Cleveland, but at the same time, it’s entirely unique.” Chinlund was also designing the city on the idea that Gotham had enjoyed a very prosperous heyday, but over the years, corruption led to decay. “As if time had stopped, much of the growth of the city was frozen in the past,” Chinlund says. “Then we incorporated a frozen attempt at modernisation, which allowed us to create these rusting hulks, these massive towers that remain incomplete. Looking at the construction of the World Trade Center in

Robert Pattinson (left) and director Matt Reeves. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures & ©DC Comics. ©2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

“GOTHAM IS A REALLY SCARY PLACE AND AS A WORLD IS INCREDIBLY RICH FOR A FILMMAKER” MATT REEVES

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the 1970s, for example, was a big inspiration; you saw these shards of steel going up into the skyline. I love the way those sorts of skeletal shapes in the skyline married with the Gothic shapes, allowing us to create a world that felt simultaneously modern, but not shiny and new. You could see those representations of the failure of the system in the skyline itself.” Much of the production was initially created using virtual reality, which allowed Reeves, Chinlund and director of photography Greig Fraser, to design the sets, add camera and lighting and move around — and make changes to — the virtual sets before they were built. Chinlund and his team had many sets to design and build, including the Iceberg Lounge, The Riddler’s apartment, the din-

er, Falcone’s loft and others too, which, he says, “created an amazing opportunity for us to build a backlot set of Gotham. That was one of the first things we attacked, in addition to the iconic pieces like the Batcave and Wayne Tower.” How to create the Batcave was of particular concern to Reeves and Chinlund. “The Batcave and Wayne Tower, both built on the stages at [the UK's] Leavesden Studios, were two sets that make a production designer wake up in the night in a cold sweat!” Chinlund says. “Those two sets have been executed so beautifully by so many in the past, how could we possibly create something new that the fans hadn’t seen before? Matt and I agreed that all we could do was deliver something that feels true and real to our story.”

The design team first had to ask and answer a question: ‘If Wayne Tower was built in the 1920s, would there be an opportunity for a cave under it?’ “I was thinking about foundations,” Chinlund says. “I remembered there’s an underground train station at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and the myth, which I think is true, is that there’s a train parked there all the time for whenever the President is in town and if there’s ever an emergency, they could take him through this secret tunnel at the Waldorf and it would get him out of town discreetly. I always loved that idea and thought it was so romantic. I thought that if you were the Waynes and you had created this city, you would probably have your own secret train terminal under the tower. It created a great visual

Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, leaving Gotham General Hospital, where Alfred Pennyworth is staying after being injured in one of the Riddler’s attacks. The building is actually the Walker Art gallery in Liverpool, England. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures & ©DC Comics. ©2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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Ireland For the Story Makers

Your Partner for Film, Television & Animation Production 32 – 35 % Tax Credit

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MAKING A SCENE THE BATMAN

where you had an underground train station and a very skeletal glass elevator that led to the top of the tower.” While the Batcave and Wayne Tower were designed and constructed at Leavesden, the entrance to the Batcave was an actual London location — the Kingsway Tram Tunnel, that once took doubledecker trams underground from Holborn, north of the Thames, to Waterloo, south of the river. The tunnel was decommissioned in 1952, but remains a piece of London transport history. The locations team considered several US cities, including Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and New York, before deciding to base the main shoot in London. Chinlund had some doubts at first, but once he had visited the UK cities of Manchester and Liverpool and the Scottish city of Glasgow — all of which can be reached from London in a couple of hours — he

saw the value of basing cast and crew in the UK capital. “We noticed a decayed Gothic layer that we just don’t have in the States,” Chinlund says. “It gave us a real opportunity to combine practical set builds and some Chicago location work with this amazing rich tapestry of architecture from the UK and to try and weave all that into an American city you’ve never seen before.” In the end, location work included Liverpool, Glasgow and London, while Leavesden and Cardington Studios, both close to London, provided stages and back-lot space for the massive sets. Second-unit shooting also took place in Chicago, with stunt doubles on the motorbike and Batmobile, as well as drone footage that would be incorporated into the main footage in post-production. But creating the Gotham skyline was problematic. “We realised it was going to

be beneficial to find a location where we could shoot plates, which would allow us to judge the way the light reflects off of other buildings,” Chinlund says. “We found a location in Lower Manhattan that we used to anchor the unfinished skyscraper and then rebuilt the world around it. That became a key part of the Tricorner Bridge area of Gotham. So, there is a piece of Lower Manhattan that was the kernel of our city after all.” There was a day’s worth of aerial plates over Manhattan and Brooklyn, for broad shots that showed Gotham after heavy rain and floods. “We altered the cityscape, removed the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, added the Tricorner Bridge, added a partially destroyed seawall and flooded Downtown Gotham,” visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon says. “We also used plates from that aerial shoot at the beginning of the movie,

The Kingsway Tram tunnel on Southampton Row, London: Photo: Tony Hisgett

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when the Drifter rides back to Wayne Tower over the Tricorner Bridge — and again replaced the Brooklyn Bridge with the Tricorner Bridge and added a digital Drifter and a cafe racer. “Panoramic photographs of Manhattan from the palisades of New Jersey served as a foundation for certain shots from The Riddler’s POV as well,” Lemmon says. “The same technique applied, replacing major elements of the skyline, adding the Tricorner Bridge, and then also creating digital elements for particular surrounds.” Chinlund used Central Saint Martins art-and-design college in London to double as the Gotham City Police Department Command Center, as well as the morgue. “The architecture and patina of this building just lent itself so well to going way down in the bowels of the Gotham City Hospital, where they are understaffed and underfunded.” Other major sets included Gotham City Hall, whose interior was constructed at Cardington Studios in Bedford, north of London — one of the largest indoor spaces in Europe — while the neo-classical, grade-one listed St. George’s Hall in Liverpool doubled for the exterior. The set had to accommodate real stunts, where a car smashes through the doors and drives up

the central staircase. The way in which the various cities used as backdrops were stitched together for the completed film, is well illustrated by a chase scene involving Batman jumping from a building and using his wing suit to break his fall. The sequence begins on the rooftop of the Gotham City Police Department, which is actually a combination of the famous dockside Liver Building in Liverpool and the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Wide aerial shots of Batman standing on the parapet were shot on location in Liverpool, then altered in post to increase the height of the building and replace Liverpool’s waterfront with Gotham City. The actual shot of Batman leaping from the building was filmed on a partial set at Leavesden Studios, with a camera strapped to the back of a stunt performer on wires. The stuntman only had around two-and-a-half metres of travel before he reached the bottom of the set, so the shot handed over to a digital Gotham City Police Department building and Batman as the wingsuit inflated and began to take flight. Batman’s descent through the urban canyon was based largely on LaSalle Street in Chicago, where the production

The Necropolis Cemetary in Glasgow, Scotland, which was used for scenes that take place in Gotham Cemetery

TO BE ABLE TO TAP INTO THE TRADITION, THE AMAZING CRAFTSMANSHIP OF THE ARTISTS IN THE UK, WAS REALLY A DREAM COME TRUE

JAMES CHINLUND

shot extensive plates from a drone. “However, the drone didn’t have the correct flight dynamics and was not able to fly fast enough to realistically recreate wing-suit flight,” Lemmon says, “so, the VFX team used the Chicago footage as a springboard to create a grittier Gotham-ised street in CG that they could then race through with more appropriate flight dynamics. Matt wanted it to feel believable, so that you get to the end of the scene and say, ‘Oh my God, Rob Pattinson actually just flew down the streets of Gotham in a wingsuit and landed without a parachute!’” Pattinson was ever appreciative of Reeve’s level of attention to detail. “Matt is incredibly patient. He’s like a conductor of an orchestra, able to keep the entire story in a macro view in his mind the entire time. He’s never rushed, he will only move on when he feels like he’s got what he needs,” Pattinson says. “He isn’t afraid to stray a little from the Batman canon and he definitely made some pretty bold stylistic choices, and that’s exciting.” While the three UK cities gave director and designer most of what they wanted, the British weather didn’t. “The cold and rain during two UK winters made for difficult working conditions, but working with the British crew made up for the hostile weather,” Chinlund says. “To be able to tap into the tradition, the amazing craftsmanship of the artists in the UK, was really a dream come true. I was shuttling back and forth, so Grant Armstrong, supervising art director, was generous in helping me build this team and brought so many talented people to the table. Lee Sandales, our set decorator, did such beautiful work, top to bottom, and Andy Evans, our construction manager, is a legend and was so supportive of us the whole way through, and built some of the most beautiful sets I’ve ever seen.”

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IN MID-2020, THE UK’S ENTIRE FILM AND TV PRODUCTION INDUSTRY GROUND TO A HALT AS THE WORLD TRIED TO FIGURE OUT ITS RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC. BUT, AS ANDY FRY REPORTS, RECOVERY WAS FAST

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FEATURE THE UK Director Robert Eggers and crew on the set of The Northman. Photo: Aidan Monaghan. ©2022 Focus Features

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OLLOWING on from a record-breaking year in 2019 — that enjoyed £3.6bn in production — studios across the UK went dark, locations lay untouched and cast and crew were left to worry about their futures while isolated at home. At that time, few would have predicted the speed of the recovery in 2021. Fuelled by a combination of pent-up demand and increased competition between streaming platforms, the UK reported production revenues of £5.64bn in 2021. That’s double the figure in 2020 and £1.27bn higher than the pre-pandemic position. Film has yet to regain its pre-pandemic level, reporting a figure of £1.55bn as against £1.96bn in 2019. But the truly remarkable story is the growth in high-end TV. According to the BFI, this sector of production topped £4.09bn in 2021, nearly double the 2019 figure. And the early signs are the 2022 will continue on the same trajectory. British Film Commission chief executive Adrian Wootton says “the UK is enjoying a once-in-a-generation growth in production”. What is particularly noticeable about the recovery, he adds, is that it is not focused on one particular part of the UK. “The benefits are being felt right across our nations and regions, with large-scale investment in infrastructure that will directly benefit local communities. Existing production hubs are growing to accommodate demand and new hubs are developing, bringing with them thousands of new jobs.” Wootton cites a couple of key factors in the speed of the recovery: “The government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme played a key role in enabling the industry to get moving again quickly after the suspension in activity during 2020. But I also think the industry did a great job of introducing world-class COVID-19 compliance processes. After the first few productions returned, clients quickly saw the UK was a safe and responsible place to work and came rushing back.” As to the scale of the recovery, Wootton puts it down to the same factors that were driving growth pre-pandemic: “The quality of the crews and infrastructure and the range of locations continue to be a major attraction. And then there is the UK tax incentive. Set at 25%, it is one of the world’s most attractive offers — but more than that it’s extremely stable. Producers who want to establish a long-term relationship with the UK know that it’s a very mature programme that continues to enjoy strong support from our policy-makers.” Not to be overlooked either is that the UK continues to be home to a wealth of great acting talent: “At a time when productions haven’t been able to travel very easily because of COVID restrictions, being able to tap into the UK’s diverse on-screen talent pool while also accessing all those other advantages has been very beneficial,” Wootton says. The BFI records that a total of 209 films entered production in the UK during 2021, of which 55 of these were “inward investment films” and contributed £1.28bn to the total. Nine

CLIENTS QUICKLY SAW THE UK WAS A SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE PLACE TO WORK AND CAME RUSHING BACK ADRIAN WOOTON

of these were US studio-backed feature films including The Batman (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023), The Marvels (2023) and Mission: Impossible 7 (2023); non-US studio inward investment films generated a spend of £283.7m. For high-end TV, 2021 saw 211 productions base themselves in some part of the UK. Bridgerton (2020-), Havoc (2022), His Dark Materials – The Amber Spy Glass (2019-22), Killing Eve (2018-22), Outlander (2014-), A Very British Scandal (2021) and The Witcher: Blood (2022-) were just a few inward investments to take advantage of the UK’s diverse offering. This was further bolstered by a rich domestic slate including The Amazing Mr. Blunden (2021), The Ipcress File (2022-), The Midwich Cuckoos, Shetland (2013-) and Without Sin (2022). Looking at the UK story from a regional perspective, Northern Ireland continues to excel as a production hub for film & TV. Having put itself on the map with its immaculate handling of HBO’s Game Of Thrones (2011-19), Northern Ireland has kept up the momentum by attracting a mix of film and TV productions. Summarising 2021, Northern Ireland Screen CEO Richard Williams says: “We had two of the biggest TV dramas of the year broadcast; Line of Duty (2012-21) and Bloodlands (2021). It was also a privilege to co-host the Irish premiere of Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast (2021), in Belfast, with the Belfast Film Festival. The north coast also takes a leading role in Robert Eggers’ The Northman (2022), while the third series of Marcella (2016-), starring Anna Friel as an undercover detective in Belfast, captivated ITV viewers.” Northern Ireland Screen head of production Andrew Reid says the province benefits from a mix of great crews, stunning locations and an impressive studio infrastructure that is capable of hosting both film and high-end TV. “In recent times, we have been fortunate to have Paramount Pictures shooting their Dungeons & Dragons (2023) movie in Titanic Studios, while The Northman filmed in Belfast Harbour Studios. In addition, we have had numerous great TV series shooting on location across Northern Ireland.” Viking action movie The Northman shot in 2020 and was forced to adapt its approach significantly because of the pandemic. With overseas locations off the table due to travel restrictions, the team had to recreate the Scandinavian look and feel of the film in Northern Ireland, rethinking locations and set building and prepping everything from costumes and props to horse-training and armoury-safety during shutdown. Delayed by six months, the three-month shoot finally began in August 2020 at Belfast Harbour Studios and on location at Torr Head (County Antrim) where a full Viking village was built. There was a fear Northern Ireland’s industry might suffer when HBO’s Game Of Thrones ended, especially after the hotlyanticipated prequel House Of the Dragon (2022-) was located elsewhere. “But it’s been the reverse,” Reid says. “We’ve been careful to ensure we have a mix of productions here so that we don't become over-reliant on one type. For example, longrunning series give your workforce stability. But having a turnover of shorter-term projects means you can always be out in the market talking to people.” One particular coup for Northern Ireland in 2021 was its first Netflix production, The School For Good And Evil (2022). Directed by Paul Feig and based on the young-adult fantasy novels by Soman Chainani, the story follows a group of girls and boys who are taken to an institution and trained to become fairytale-like heroes and villains. Commenting on the decision to base the production at

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Belfast Harbour Studios, Feig says: “This is a challenging film to mount and their facilities offer us everything we need and so much more for a production of this size. They have also been wonderful to work with and we can’t thank them and Northern Ireland Screen enough for all their support and enthusiasm. They’ve been all good and no evil!” Looking ahead, Reid says a lot of effort is also going into future-proofing Northern Ireland’s offer to clients. “A significant percentage of our annual budget goes directly into training the workforce of the future,” Reid says. “There are also some very exciting developments around virtual production, involving stakeholders like Ulster University and Belfast Harbour. On top of that, there’s a real appreciation here of the importance of ESG — by which I don’t just mean sustainability. Clients want to know that if they base a production somewhere, they are contributing to the long-term welfare of the local community.” Unquestionably, Northern Ireland has benefited from having state-of-the-art studios as focal points for major productions. Wales is in a similar situation, having supplemented its natural location-based advantages with studios built to the highest standards. In October 2020, for example, media investor Great Point entered into an agreement to lease and manage Seren Stiwdios (formerly Pinewood Studios Wales) near Cardiff. The 74,000 sq ft production base has played host to a range of high-profile productions including The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016), Sherlock (2010-17), and Doctor Who (2005-). In 2021, visiting productions included Havoc (2022), a cinematic thriller starring Tom Hardy, Timothy

Olyphant and Forest Whitaker. South Wales is also home to both Dragon Studios and Wolf Studios; the latter owned by Bad Wolf — the producer of His Dark Materials (2019-22). Bad Wolf was founded in 2015 by Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter, both of whom have been longterm champions of production in Wales. Tranter says: “The talent base is a major factor behind us locating here, developing that base further and putting down our roots. Plus the incredible variety of landscapes and locations that Wales offers means we keep overseas locations to a minimum.” This message hasn’t been lost on the wider creative community: “Wolf Studios Wales has been permanently full for the last five years and we have worked in two other studios during that period." A major development for Bad Wolf came in late 2021 when Sony Pictures Television acquired the company, including the studio hub. Wayne Garvie, president, international production, Sony Pictures Television says the Bad Wolf team “has built a tremendous business and established Wales as the home of some of the most fantastic tales of the age and now we aim to help them build still further.” Garvie, whose company is also behind major series like The Crown (2016-/via its ownership of Left Bank Pictures) adds: “Wolf Studios is an incredible resource, a vast studio that can accommodate enormous scale, but there are opportunities for further studios, maybe more compact square-footage, maybe green-screen stages. We are looking at the possibility of further studio expansion — the advantages of having a permanent base is that you can give people jobs 52 weeks a year and it makes sense in terms of training and development.”

Lauryn Ajufo as Misha in episode one of The Last Bus, season one. Photo: Mike Hogan/Netflix. © 2021

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Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland through enhanced funding, services and support with backing from Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Home to world-class talent, crews, facilities and breath-taking locations, Scotland also offers a range of financial, production and location support for national and international productions.

screen.scot | @screenscots | @screenscots screen@creativescotland.com

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FEATURE THE UK

Thomasin McKenzie and Matt Smith in Last Night In Soho. Photo: Focus Features

In addition to developments at Seren and Wolf, there are also ambitious plans for a new Cardiff-based creative hub called media.cymru. The £50m scheme involves 24 media production, broadcast, university and technology partners and is aiming to deliver a “world-class virtual studio". Professor Justin Lewis of Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, says: “After COVID-19, the need for digital innovation has never been more critical. The media.cymru programme focuses on making Cardiff Capital Region a global hub for media innovation. It will give SMEs and startups opportunities to collaborate and innovate.” Wales also benefits from the diversity and versatility of its locations. Parts of capital city Cardiff, for example, were transformed into a London street for the second season of Amazon Prime’s Alex Rider (2020-) series. Netflix’s remake of DH Lawrence classic Lady Chatterley’s Lover, meanwhile, was spied filming in North Wales locations including Lake Vyrnwy. Sky Cinema’s Save the Cinema (2022), meanwhile, was a quirky look at 1990s Wales — featuring South Wales towns Carmarthen, Ammanford, Laugharne and Llandeilo. Starring Samantha Morton, Adeel Akhtar, Tom Felton and Jonathan Pryce, the film focuses on a community’s battle to save a muchloved entertainment venue from developers. Production in Scotland has also been booming in recent times, with a wealth of new film and TV productions including Outlander (2014-), Good Omens (2019-22), A Very British Scandal (2021), The Lost King (2022), Indiana Jones 5 (2023) and Girl, written and directed by Adura Onashile. Isabel Davis, executive director of Screen Scotland, says the industry bounced back well after COVID. “Across 2021 we’ve seen a significant increase in filming, with Amazon’s The Rig (2022) and Anansi Boys filming at FirstStage Studios; Good Omens at The Pyramids; Indiana Jones taking over Glasgow City

Centre; Apple’s Tetris (2022) showing Aberdeen’s versatility as it doubled for Moscow; and Britbox’s detective drama Crime (2021-) shooting across Edinburgh and Glasgow.” Screen Scotland screen commission officer Caris Pittendreigh says “producers have always been attracted to Scotland for its locations. Our scenic landscape has doubled for everywhere from Northern Canada to South America, while Glasgow has stood in for New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Then there’s the Gothic architecture and cobbled streets of Edinburgh as well as thousands of castles that vary in style and period. We’ve even had HBO’s hit series Succession (2018-) coming to film in Dundee.” All of this is still a magnet for production, Pittendreigh says, “but the real transformation we’re seeing is because of the constellation of studios that are being developed across the central belt of Scotland.” In addition to the FirstStage projects, which both benefited from the studio’s 80-feet plus height: “We’ve had Outlander occupying Ward Park in Cumbernauld for a long time while West Lothian’s Pyramids has played host to Outlaw King (2018) and Shetland. There’s also the Kelvin Hall Development which hosted Screw (2022-), a six-part series for Channel 4 set in a prison.” More expansion is on the way, Pittendreigh says, with the acquisition of Ward Park by Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital, and The Pyramids by London & Regional. Away from the Glasgow/Edinburgh axis, there is also Alba Studios, a purpose-built complex situated in the Outer Hebrides. “I also think we could see Dundee emerge as a postproduction and animation hub. It has already established itself as a gaming centre of excellence.” In terms of priorities, she says that Scotland is embarking on a “very aggressive skills strategy. We’re going to need a

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www.glasgowfilm.com

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Actors Vicky McClure and Otto Farrant mid-shoot on Bristol's Cumberland Basin, a location for Amazon’s spy thriller Alex Rider. Photo: Michelle Scoplin

lot of new talent to meet the growth in demand and we’re working with the industry to achieve that.” One example is the Outlander Training Programme, which has been offering traineeships since back in 2014. Jennifer Reynolds, Glasgow Film Office commissioner, says her city has had a remarkably strong post-pandemic recovery, reporting £42.4m in production expenditure for 2021 — a figure boosted by delayed 2020 projects. Recent highlights have included The Batman (2022), which used a cemetery and former psychiatric hospital in the city; Batgirl (2022) which used the city to double for Gotham City; and Indiana Jones 5, which transformed a main city street into a 1960s New York parade. “I think we’re really benefiting from word-of-mouth,” Reynolds says. “So many location managers have had good

WE’RE GOING TO NEED A LOT OF NEW TALENT TO MEET THE GROWTH IN DEMAND AND WE’RE WORKING WITH THE INDUSTRY TO ACHIEVE THAT” CARIS PITTENDREIGH “

experiences that the message travels. One thing we’ve been known for since World War Z in 2011 is that we have a very co-operative local authority. If a production needs to shut down roads, for example, then we’ll do our best.” The city’s Victorian architecture has made Glasgow a great place for doubling, Reynolds says, “but the thing that really works in our favour is the city’s grid system — which is perfect for recreating the US.” The positive story in the UK nations is replicated in the regions, with the North of England hosting production from the West coast to the East coast. Liverpool bounced back from COVID-19 by generating £18.7m of inward investment in 2021, equating to 250 productions and 1,100 film days. Highlights in a busy year included Midas Man, a biopic of Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Iconic locations used in the movie included Port Sunlight’s Hulme Hall, where The Beatles played their first concert after drummer Ringo Starr joined the band. In recent years, Liverpool has been a magnet for domestic TV productions including Doctor Who, Peaky Blinders (201322) and The Responder (2022-). But the city has also shown itself capable of hosting major film projects. In 2021, the city hosted The Batman, with director Matt Reeves choosing the city because he wanted Gotham City “to feel like an American city you’d never been to”. Using famous landmarks like St George’s Hall and the Royal Liver Building for their Gothic architecture, the production then added a Gotham-esque skyline in post-production. Liverpool’s ability to double was also evident in ITV’s stylish new thriller series The Ipcress File, where the city was used to recreate 1960s London and Berlin. Similarly, Liverpool’s iconic Adelphi Hotel stood in for New York’s St Regis for the upcoming feature film Dali Land. Liverpool has been keen to consolidate its progress by providing ever more reasons for producers to return to the city. One development was the introduction of the Liverpool City Region Production Fund, which is able to offer up to £500,000 to projects. Productions to have benefited to date include TV series Time (2021-) and Help (2021). More significant, perhaps, is the city’s attempt to become the ‘Hollywood of the North’ by opening up studio space. One long-cherished ambition is to convert a derelict Littlewoods department store into a state-of-the-art film studio. And the Liverpool Film Office (LFO) recently opened The Depot, a new film and television shooting space that comprises two purpose-built, 20,000 sq ft units. The LFO predicts that The Depot will generate a £24m economic boost for the regional economy, creating 360 new jobs and 760 indirect jobs in the process. LFO head Lynn Saunders says: “We’ve been campaigning for studio space since before Samuel L Jackson was running around the city in a kilt (The 51st State/2002). For us it’s more than a space for sets, it’s an opportunity to build a production hub, where we can futureproof Liverpool’s position.” Writer Jimmy McGovern, whose series Time (2021-) benefited from the LCR Funds, adds: “Everyone knows how great the city is in hosting productions, but we can’t always complete a shoot here due to limited capacity. These studios will be a huge shot in the arm — especially for the talented army of people who make the magic happen off-screen.” Liverpool is not the only Northern production hub of note. Nearby Manchester has long been established as a key focal point for domestic production — for example for BBC, ITV and

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Sky. But these days it is also attracting investment from global streamers. Productions to have shot in the city in 2021 include Wedding Season for Disney+ and Stay Close (2021) for Netflix. Local film agency Screen Manchester says Amazon Studios and Apple TV+ have also made the city their home in 2021. Screen Manchester reckons it dealt with 500 production enquiries in 2021 and serviced over 300 productions. This equated to £5.4m on-location spend. According to Screen Manchester film office manager Bobby Cochrane, a key recent development has been the launch of a talent database, which is run by crew & facilities manager Elli Metcalfe: “It is important to make sure we are in direct contact with freelancers from all areas of the film and TV industry. There are always gaps to be filled and if global producers know they can find who they are looking for in our region without bringing in staff from further afield we will have achieved our main objective.” Manchester has proved popular with productions seeking to double the city for New York (for instance The Crown and Morbius/2022). But another key USP for Manchester is the volume of studio space it already has up and running. This includes 80,000 sq ft of purpose-built stage at Space Studios and a further 40,000 sq ft of shooting space at Sharp Project. While there is still room to host new productions, Space Studios’ studio manager Dean Sinacola confirms that “2022 and indeed 2023 are already looking busy”. Space Studios sales manager Mark Hackett adds: “As soon as I arrived at Space Studios and experienced what Manchester has to offer I realised we have so much to shout about. As word spreads, more decision-makers are exploring options and several have already made the decision to move projects North.” Another crucial part of the Northern England story is Yorkshire, which has built a strong production infrastructure over the last two decades. Led strategically by Screen Yorkshire, the country has hosted almost 4,000 filming days since 2019. Productions supported over the past year include Hollywood franchises, Mission: Impossible 7 (2023) and Indiana Jones 5, as well as UK films The Railway Children Return (2022) and Emily. TV dramas include Gentleman Jack (2019-), The Witcher (2019), All Creatures Great and Small (2020) and Confessions of Frannie Langton. Blessed with a superb mix of urban, rural and coastal locations, Screen Yorkshire has been a pioneer on various fronts over the years. Its Yorkshire Content Fund has partfinanced more than 50 productions while its Crewing Service, launched in July 2020, has facilitated more than 4,000 days of work. Partly as a result of its efforts, the screen industries in Yorkshire & Humber are estimated to support some 12,000 jobs with a turnover of more than £1bn. Like the other Northern hubs, Yorkshire has made studio space a priority. Flexible build spaces such as Church Fenton and Peregrine Studios have hosted high-end period dramas including Gentleman Jack and Victoria (2016-19), as well as feature films like Hope Gap (2019) and Official Secrets (2019). Also coming soon is Versa Leeds Studios, a new 130,000 sq ft facility that is set to open soon, a short distance from existing Leeds facilities Prime Studios and Studio 81. The Versa development is interesting both at a Yorkshire and a national level. The company has already opened a West London facility and is planning to open a Manchester studio too. Executive director of Versa Charlie Ingall says: “Our vision is a network of studios across the UK to meet the growing demand for content.” Away from the North, the UK’s sleeping giant Birmingham

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looks set to see a surge in production — with the new Digbethbased Mercian Studios development lined-up to host reality TV show MasterChef and a planned Peaky Blinders movie. Further advanced is the southwest city of Bristol, home to The Bottle Yard Studios. Here, Laura Aviles, senior Bristol film manager, Bristol City Council, says 2021 was a hugely busy year. “We welcomed an unprecedented number of dramas to film at The Bottle Yard Studios and the diverse locations supported by Bristol Film Office (BFO). We’ve hosted memorable performances from Christopher Walken who walked Bristol’s streets (and painted over a Banksy); Celine Buckens, who gave us the character we loved to hate in Showtrial's Talitha Campbell; and Lesley Sharp as a Bristol-based detective in Before We Die [2021-].” The BFO says that film and TV production was worth £12.6m in Bristol in 2020-21 (653 filming days). That was lower than the previous financial year, but “fully expected” after COVID-19, according to Aviles. “What is heartening is that once production resumed, Bristol went on to register similar levels of spend to previous years. We hope 2021/22 will match, or exceed, pre-pandemic levels.” Productions to use the city and surrounding area have included War of the Worlds (2019-), The Pursuit of Love (2021) and comedy thriller The Outlaws (2021-/BBC) starring Stephen Merchant and Christopher Walken. The Last Bus (2022) and Becoming Elizabeth (2022) both filmed at the Bottle Yard and on location across Bristol. Amazon Prime’s Alex Rider used Bristol extensively for series two, with Bristol doubling as London in the new eightpart thriller. Significant sets including the central setting of the MI6 division known as The Department, were built inside A Bond Warehouse in the Cumberland Basin, while filming also took place at other locations around Bristol. Producer Richard Burrell says: “Relocating Alex Rider from London to Bristol was a decision born from COVID-19 but it proved to be a successful choice on every level. The range of locations that Bristol and the West Country gave us were amazing.” Bristol also hosted ITV’s new series The Long Call (2021), the first British primetime drama to place a gay detective at the centre of its story. The show’s producer Angie Daniell says: "What I love about shooting in Bristol is that for a relatively compact city it offers such a variety of locations: from a period private house in Clifton to a converted warehouse in Brislington. As our story was set in Devon, it was a bonus to be able to 'cheat' the coast in Portishead and on Severn Beach.” One southwest of England location that has clearly experienced a surge of interest in recent years is Cornwall — thanks to productions like Poldark (2015-19), Doc Martin (2004-22), Delicious (2016-19) and Fisherman’s Friends (2019). In 2021, the rugged coastal county was back on the map with news that a sequel to Fisherman’s Friends has started principal photography. Even more significant for the county are reports that the new Game of Thrones sequel House of the Dragon (2022-) has been spied filming around Holywell Bay. If that production has a good experience in Cornwall then it may pave the way for other large scale productions to take advantage of the region’s spectacular locations. This might also provide a boost to the coastal city of Plymouth, which sits on the Devon/Cornwall border. The city revealed in 2021 that it is working with Creative England on an initiative to encourage producers to consider the city as a base for production. Amanda Lee, marketing manager within the economic development team at Plymouth City Council,

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Cush Jumbo and Bethany Antonia in Netflix series Stay Close. Photo: Vishal Sharma

is leading on the development of Film Plymouth and says: “Plymouth has such a wealth of locations and facilities on offer, from historic cobbled streets to wide open boulevards and the open waters of Plymouth Sound to the brutalist architecture of the post-war city centre. From facilitating location support and permissions, to providing links to supply chain businesses, we’re ready for inquiries.” One notable trend across the UK’s nations and regions is their ability to double as London. The BFC’s Wootton welcomes this development because it keeps both international and domestic producers rooted in the UK. “The beauty of high-end TV is that it is much more flexible than film, so it’s not so tied to London and the Southeast,” he says. In his capacity as head of Film London, a role he holds alongside his BFC position, Wootton says this sharing out of high-end TV has not adversely affected the capital’s production business. “Like everywhere else, there was a short suspension followed by recovery.” London’s offer is built around a combination of world-class studio space and iconic locations, Wootton says: “Pinewood, Shepperton and Leavesden continue to attract some of the world’s biggest movies, while the city itself has welcomed a wide range of productions. London has developed a reputation as a film-friendly city where all the main agencies pull together to facilitate production requirements.” Wootton says a snapshot of recent productions shows the versatility of the city. “Film and TV producers have done an amazing job opening up the visual vocabulary of London. In 2022, Netflix’s The Crown was filming in South London while action comedy Sumotherhood shot around Hackney in northeast London. We’ve also seen productions working at the

heart of the city — from the new Luther (2022) feature film in Piccadilly to Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho (2021), which was like a love letter to this famous part of London.” Disney’s hit movie Cruella (2021) was another high-profile production that showcased the richness of London’s location database. Speaking to Film London, Cruella location manager Ali James revealed that around 40 locations were in London: “We visited old favourites, including Greenwich Naval College, but we also spent a lot of time shooting small sequences in quirky back streets. There was a memorable day on Portobello Road, which was a lot of work but looked fantastic. Being able to work with iconic London department store Liberty was a real bonus. Liberty was great and so supportive of our filming.” One issue that regularly comes up with regard to London and its surroundings is whether it can keep up with the astonishing pace of demand. Wootton says: “If you look across the southeast there are numerous studio developments aimed at providing the necessary space. Pinewood is progressing well with its planned £500m expansion while the new Sky Studios Elstree complex is poised to open, with 13 stages from 10,00030,000 sq ft.” Elsewhere, Netflix spent around $1bn making 60 shows in the UK during 2021 — and is now in the process of doubling the size of its base at Pinewood-owned Shepperton Studios. Meanwhile, Wootton says, Dagenham-based Eastbrook Studios is expected to be fully operational by 2023. “We’re not complacent,” Wootton adds. “We reckon the UK industry needs 50,000 new jobs in the next five years and there’s a lot of investment going into meeting that need. Importantly, growth of this magnitude is also an opportunity for us to broaden the range of voices in the sector by recruiting a diverse young workforce.”

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EVERYONE THINKS THEY KNOW EUROPE. IT’S THAT VERY FAMILIAR PLACE THAT MANY PEOPLE VISIT ON THEIR HOLIDAYS. BUT NO MATTER HOW WELL WE MIGHT THINK WE KNOW THIS VAST CONTINENT, THERE ARE ALWAYS MORE MYSTERIOUS, UNIQUE AND UNEXPECTED PLACES TO DISCOVER. LOCATION INTERNATIONAL TAKES YOU ON A TOUR OF SOME OF EUROPE’S MOST REMARKABLE LOCATIONS THAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE SEEN BEFORE. BY GARY SMITH

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Margarita Levieva as Jenny, on location for In From the Cold. Photo: Samantha Lopez/Netflix. ©2022

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UROPE is well known and much loved for its many thousands of historical buildings, stunning countryside, variety of urban landscapes and rugged geography. It is, however, also home to some wonderfully off-beat locations. Take Lapland for example, where lakes are usually frozen 200 days per year. “We are one of the few places in the world where you get frozen lakes and ponds for a long period of time — and frozen deep enough to carry heavy loads,” Kirsikka Paakkinen, film commissioner for Lapland, says. “It’s only when productions are looking for clear, see-through ice that we can’t always deliver as there is usually a lot of snowfall when the waters begin to freeze. We also get regular requests for remote small villages, snowy vistas and snow-covered plains that resemble Siberia. Snow is a strong, emotive and visual element for any production, and even though a lot can be done in the studios these days, filming the real deal still has an impact on the end result. We’re also finding that luxurious villas and activities with reindeer and huskies are especially popular among makers of music video and reality productions.” But Lapland is much more than ice and reindeer: “The rugged, treeless landscapes that extend to the horizon in Utsjoki and Enontekiö are really impressive. Around the forests in autumn, the colours are not limited to the trees; there’s lichen

and small shrubs spread generously across the ground as well. I’m also a fan of the slightly run-down architecture from the 1960s and 1970s that you still find here in small-town centres. When you add the tones of the midnight sunlight to that, you get something unique and atmospheric. Another great look is the snow-crowned trees on Riisitunturi fell in Posio, where Sir David Attenborough recently filmed for his series The Green Planet.”

Serbia, Europe’s chameleon F

rom Lapland’s uniqueness we head to the adaptability of Serbia, one of the country’s main advantages when it comes to filming on location. “Serbia can offer a lot of authentic locations, but it can also look like any other part of the world,” says Marija Markovic, location manager at Serbiaand London-based Firefly Productions. “One of the hardest and the most interesting requests we had recently was to raise the water level of the Tamis River in order to enable a stuntman to jump in from the bridge. After we managed to get the authorities to close the dam and raise the water level, it was an amazing feeling.”

The Dundjerski Family Palace, known as the the Fantast Castle, Serbia

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Since Serbia has become a popular destination for producers from around the world, locations resembling different capitals are often requested. “We have a variety of architectural styles — everything from Roman archaeological sites, medieval fortresses and baroque palaces, to streets and villas from the inter-war period, Communist-era brutalist architecture and modern-day skyscrapers. So it’s easy to find easily accessible exteriors that resemble cities such as London, Berlin and Paris. On the other hand, the locations that are less accessible are usually the most stunning, such as the deep forests and meadows of Tara Mountain — home to traditional Serbian gods — plus the Balkan Mountains and the rocky hills of Borac,” Markovic adds.

Portugal’s mini-California U

nlike many popular coastal regions, the Algarve is rich and diverse, with Arabic-inspired dwellings, a wealth of medieval structures, modern villas and municipal buildings, plus Europe’s very own mini-California. According to Julian Hicks, executive producer at MovieBox Studios, which is still under construction and situated in the town of Loulé in the Algarve: “We’re a mere 20 minutes from Faro airport. There’s a great marina, fishing port and hotels, and weaving through the city is a walled castle, and cafes,

restaurants and ancient churches.” Easy access and parking throughout make this a city ripe with filming opportunities. These include the University of the Algarve's educational complex, which houses several modern, dynamic campuses, reminiscent of an American High School in its design and layout. And as with many organisations and institutions in the region, they are film-friendly. “Then, 20 minutes further along the stunning coastline you end up in Quarteira,” Hicks says. “With modern apartment blocks lining the coastal boulevards, it resembles Miami or Venice Beach. Traveling east you pass through the Hollywood-style boulevards of Quinta De Lago and a mini-Los Angeles-style neighbourhood, lined with palm trees. It has a Beverly Hills/Bel-Air vibe. Not far from these attractive locations you can head out into the uninhabited scrubland and hills, which resemble parts of California.” Many of the local villages feature quaint backstreets, cafes and hidden gems, and all could double for a town or village in any European country. “MovieBox Studios is fortunate to have the support of the Loulé Film Office, who join us in our excitement for the future of ‘the California of Europe’. The Infernal Machine (2022), starring Guy Pearce, Alex Pettyfer and Alice Eve, was shot on the MovieBox construction site over the summer of 2021, and has secured distribution with Paramount Pictures. We also hosted There’s Always Hope (2021), which at one point was the only active production in the country as COVID-19 struck,” Hicks adds.

An aerial view of MovieBox Studios in the Algarve at night. The Algarve is establishing itself as Europe's Hollywood

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The Seskine neighbourhood in Vilnius, Lithuania

Film-friendly Vilnius I

n the centre of Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, lies Lukiskes prison, a popular location for filmmakers. “Netflix series Stranger Things (2016-) was in Vilnius filming part of the show’s fourth season, shooting in locations around the Lithuanian capital including the former prison,” the Lithuanian Film Commission’s Jurate Pazikaite says. “The prison was built in the early 1900s, but ceased operations three years ago. Various changing regimes in Vilnius — including Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and finally, independent Lithuania — all used it as a prison. Now it serves as a location not only for filmmakers, but also for artists and cultural organisations who stage concerts, shows and festivals.” The Pripyat evacuation scene for HBO’s Chernobyl (2019) involved two months of preparations, because of the need to close a major road in the Vilnius neighbourhood of Fabijoniskes for a whole day: “Big, disruptive shoots take time to arrange, but we can get them done. We also pulled off important day/night scenes in the Seskine neighbourhood for Netflix’s Young Wallander (2020-); and a scene featuring a gallows in front of the Town Hall for HBO’s Catherine the Great (2019),” Pazikaite says. “The Norwegian series State of Happiness (2018-22) and BBC2’s documentary Rise of the Nazis

(2019-22) were filmed at Vilnius University, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University and the Lithuanian Railway Museum, plus multiple other period locations around Vilnius.” Recently, Hollywood director Lasse Hallström and production company Viaplay Studios transformed Vilnius into a late-19th/early 20th-century Stockholm for his upcoming movie Hilma, about Swedish artist and activist Hilma af Klint. “Vilnius is fully prepared to accommodate the needs of foreign film crews, enable access to high-level professionals and a huge range of shooting locations, as well as filming permits,” Pazikaite says. “The city attracts high-profile productions due to its multifaceted history and its ability to provide backdrops representing different historical periods.”

Europe’s sun capital M

allorca has an impressive variety of locations, including mountains, dramatic cliffs and small bays, historical and urban sites — and thanks to the compact nature of the island, most of them are within a one-hour drive. “Also the fact of having one of the mildest climates in Europe, with over 310 sunny days a year, is a plus,” Pedro Barbadillo, director of the Mallorca Film Commission, says. “And we’re well

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connected to almost all the main capital cities in Europe, with a wide variety of hotels and restaurants. We’re also improving the sustainability on shoots and working to become a fully green shooting territory within the next year.” In terms of unique sites, Barbadillo has several suggestions: “The Cap de Formentor and its lighthouse and the 360º curves of the Sa Calobra road are firm favourites. And for buildings, the Castle of Bellver in Palma, and La Fortaleza in Pollença, a 17th-century fortress on a hill surrounded by the Mediterranean, where TV series The Night Manager (2016) was shot, are very special.” Mallorca has hosted some challenging shoots recently including HBO’s The Climb, showcasing the extreme form of climbing known as Psicobloc, with Jason Momoa (Aquaman/2018) and top climber Chris Sharma. “The weather was really bad, and the rocks were slippery,” Barbadillo says. “It wasn’t easy, but they ended up doing almost everything

they wanted. We’re also regularly hosting shoots from Bollywood, China and Japan, and big names are coming here too, including upcoming series from Netflix, HBO and Amazon.”

Forest and desert in Navarre A

ccording to Sara Sevilla, commissioner at the Navarra Film Commission, it’s the mix of original and varied locations, convenient logistics and a generous tax deduction that make the region attractive. “The diversity of locations offers a wide variety of artistic and creative

Scenes for Terry George's The Promise (2015) were shot in the semi-desert of Bardenas in Navarre

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San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa is one of the privileged enclaves in Europe. Due to its proximity to several countries, its landscape diversity, its experience with more than 1,700 shoots and recordings, because of its industry and local professionals, its quality of life standards, safety, employment, qualification and because it has established itself as a welcoming and friendly region. WWW.SANSEBASTIAN-GIPUZKOAFILMCOMMISSION.EUS

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An Apple TV Screensaver shot in Iceland with Hero Productions and Logan

opportunities within a fairly small radius. And shoots in Navarre can benefit from a 40% tax deduction. But more than anything else, we love to point to sites such as the Valley of Rio Aragon, where the medieval village of Gallipienzo is surrounded by a unique landscape that mixes the two main ingredients that productions look for in the Navarre: forested landscape and period architecture. I would say those are the looks that best define us.” Then there’s the Irati Forest, the Roncal Valley, the Urbasa mountain range, the Castle of Olite and the Monastery of Irache, all of which have hosted major productions, most recently the Mark Waters movie Vampire Academy (2014). “The scale of that production meant that it involved most of the technical staff based in Navarre. And finally, all this mix of forest, mountains and unique buildings is perfectly contrasted by the utterly unexpected semi-desert of Bardenas Reales.”

Sub-Zero magic in Iceland A

s Búi Baldvinsson, founder of Icelandic production company Hero Productions happily admits, he still has moments when he cannot quite believe that he gets paid to be the country’s go-to production company. “There are

some special places that induce a euphoric state, such as being on a floating iceberg in the Glacier Lagoon, feeling the motion of the iceberg and hearing the sounds of nature,” he says. “Then there’s Stokksnes, where a thin layer of water flows over the sand creating a huge mirror that reflects the mountains. It just takes everyone’s breath away.” Recent shoots include an Apple TV Screensaver with creative agency Logan, and American Eagle with Rosco Productions. For the latter shoot, the challenge was getting a fireworks permit for the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon in a season when they aren’t allowed. “That was a logistical problem solved through good connections to the government and strong friendship with the land owners,” Baldvinsson says. “The crew was setting up gas pyro letters for the background of the images, and we came up with the idea of tilting the firework cakes and shooting from the beach into the lagoon, saving a ton of time reloading compared to having them on barges.” Shooting in Iceland is globally popular. “US companies have shot here, blockbusters like Star Wars [Episode VII - The Force Awakens/2015, Episode VIII - The Last Jedi/2017], The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [2013], Prometheus [2012], James Bond [Die Another Day/2002] and Oblivion [2013],” Baldvinsson says. “We have excellent crews able to work in the harshest conditions, no matter if it’s summer or winter. Equipment rentals are of the highest standard with the latest gear and we’re all about green energy, making it a popular place for more environmentally friendly productions.”

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The series Sin Limites filming on Azkorra Beach, Bilbao-Bizkaia

Period paradise in Poland P

oland has an impressive variety of mountain ranges, the Baltic Sea and coast, forests, lakes and rivers and even a desert,” general director of the Polish Film Institute, Radosław Smigulski, says. “In terms of architecture, Poland also offers locations for every style and epoch. The country sits at the heart of Central Europe where many cultures meet and many different styles — from Romanesque to post-modern — are represented in our architecture. Whatever you want to recreate, whether it’s the Middle Ages, the realities of World War II, the communist era or a modern city, you can find it all here — and, importantly, all in close proximity to each other.” The high quality of Poland’s crews, producers and directors is well known and now the country is focused on showing that to the rest of the world. “We want to demonstrate our creative potential through co-productions and Joika and Silent Twins [2022] are great examples of this,” Smigulski says. “Joika, directed by James Napier Robertson, is about one of the most famous American ballerinas, Joy Womack. It is a Polish-New Zealand co-production — the two countries have a co-production agreement — which had Klaudia Smieja-Rostworowska from Warsaw-based production company, Madants, in charge of the Polish production side. SmiejaRostworowska previously produced titles including High Life [2018] and Mr. Jones [2019].” Silent Twins, the story of the identical twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons, faced a double challenge — sanitation and location. Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, the set required

a meticulous reconstruction of Britain in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with interiors and landscapes created for the film. “It was extremely demanding, especially because, thus far, people had gone elsewhere to film these types of period looks. As with Joika, the shooting of Silent Twins was at the peak of COVID in Poland, but thanks to the help of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Polish Film Institute, it was possible to efficiently move around the country with the foreign cast and crew,” Smigulski says.

Everywhere’s a location in San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa T

he truth about San Sebastian is that the whole city is a potential location thanks to its unspoilt streetscapes and buildings. Likewise the mountains and coast of Gipuzkoa are perfect cinematic backdrops. “Then there are the villages and countryside, which are exceptional,” San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa Film Commission’s Marta Zabaleta says. “Examples include Itzurun beach in Zumaia, where Game of Thrones [2011-19] was shot and where several feature films and commercials have been filmed. La Concha Beach played a leading role in Woody Allen’s Rifkin’s Festival [2020] and in the J&B commercial directed by Tony Kaye in 2021.” The Miramar Palace has recently been the setting for American series, Vampire Academy (2014) and is much in-demand as a location. The Infantado Palace was the setting for Sin Limites (2013-) and El Internado: Las Cumbres (2021), both for Amazon Prime. Zarautz beach, Irún, Hondarribia, the Igartubeiti farmhouse, the Peñas de Aia mountains alongside

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villages like Soraluze and Tolosa, have hosted shoots for Icia Bollain’s Maixabel (2021); Mariana Barroso’s La Linea Invisible (2020); Aitor Arregi’s Handia (2017); HBO historical drama series Patria (2020); and Pablo Agüero’s Akelarre (2020). “Patria, presented us with a challenge as we had to set up an entire boulevard in the centre of San Sebastian to shoot a bus burning. Then Woody Allen’s film Rifkin’s Festival, was also a tough one but not because there were complicated scenes, it was that it was shot in summer with the city full of tourists. It was hard to keep the location secure and closed off,” Zabaleta adds. The San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa Film Commission has been operational since 2003, prides itself on its agility and flexibility, and operates as a one-stop shop. “We offer exemptions such as free use of public spaces in San Sebastian, plus we have

discount agreements with other highly impressive private locations,” Zabaleta says. “On top of that, there are also tax incentives, including a 25% deduction for foreign productions. But above all, San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa is an exceptional environment with an audiovisual ecosystem endorsed by multiple national and international awards.”

Madrid’s abundant gifts A

ccording to Víctor Aertsen, communications manager at the Madrid Film Office, Madrid and its surroundings had a productive but highly challenging 2021. “Wes Anderson used a large area in the south-east of the region,

Madrid's abandoned Olympic aquatic centre

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This disused highway outside Madrid was used for La Fortuna, the first TV series from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, produced for Movistar+

outside the city of Madrid, called Chinchon and Colmenar de Oreja, to recreate the Arizona desert for his latest [at press time] untitled, film,” Aertsen says. “The logistics were complex because the area they needed for the shoot was large and belonged to many different owners, requiring considerable co-ordination to get an agreement and make the project possible.” Another challenging film, he says, was De Caperucita a Loba (2022), from Spanish director Chus Gutierrez. “For one scene we managed to close the Gran Vía for an afternoon and night — bearing in mind that this is the main commercial and transit avenue in the centre of the city of Madrid — to recreate a dream sequence that included several horses, dressed as unicorns, riding through this iconic street. Also, in 2021, the streets of Madrid hosted the chases featured in the last season of Money Heist (2017-21), the international phenomenon from Netflix, the last season of which premiered in December 2021.” Very little is off limits for filmmakers in Madrid: “Some of

the most emblematic, institutional buildings, including several ministries and the Moncloa Palace — the official residence and workplace of the Prime Minister of Spain — were locations in La Fortuna (2021), the first series from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, produced for Movistar+ and AMC Studios. “La Fortuna takes place between Spain and North America, but due to the COVID restrictions, most of the scenes that take place in North America were shot in the region of Madrid. They also filmed on a disused highway, allowing them to recreate a chase using a lot of traffic,” Aertsen says. “Madrid also hosted several international series in 2021 including Netflix spy thriller In From the Cold (2022-), starring Margarita Levieva, and shot entirely in Madrid, including scenes that recreate a Russian city. The upcoming Amazon/BBC One series The English, a western starring Emily Blunt, used great outdoor landscapes alongside astonishing palaces to recreate a plethora of wealthy interiors.”

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Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino on location in Greece for Netflix series Beckett. Photo: Yannis Drakoulidis

The city ‘s most popular exteriors include Gran Via and the Plaza de Callao, known as Madrid's Times Square. The city also features unique underground infrastructure, for example the Tanque de Tormentas, a spectacular underground deposit created to collect rainwater; the emergency tunnels of the M-30 underground bypass; and the tunnels of Madrid’s Metro, which also offer an old, abandoned station in perfect condition. The Railway Museum, a historic train station with a large collection of locomotives, is also an popular location among filmmakers. “A large, unfinished, construction that was planned to be an Olympic aquatic centre, has become an incredible film set due to its immense, brutalist structure and galleries,” Aertsen adds. “Heading out of the city, there are some incredible locations including areas like Rivas Vaciamadrid, Ciempozuelos and the strange rocks of La Pedriza, plus the Alpedrete quarry that resembles the surface of Mars.” In the north of the region there are also notable castles like the pristine Manzanares El Real; monasteries, churches, palaces and other historical buildings, all surrounded by lush green forests. “There’s arid semi-desert in the south, then an hour to the north-east there’s Cercedilla, our very own Swiss Alps; and the enchanted forest in La Hiruela. In fact, some Sierra Norte locations resemble those used for The Lord of the Rings movies.”

Greece: so much more than archaeology H istorical sites and islands of every shape, character and size are well-known Greek location assets, but the mainland also has many outstanding and less obvious sites. “Places like Epirus, the pristine paradise between the Pindos mountains and the Ionian Sea is one of them,” Stavroula Geronimaki, operations manager at the Hellenic Film Commission, says. “The area was the location for Netflix’s series Beckett (2021), directed by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino. Pindos is an untouched mountainous mass with virgin forests, the spectacular Vikos Gorge — the second deepest in the world — and traditional stone bridges of exceptional architecture. I’d also suggest the many picturesque villages of Zagoria, with their paved paths, as being exquisite locations.” And of course there are plenty of cityscapes with cinematic potential. “The Stavros Niarchos Foundation

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Snow-crowned trees on Riisitunturi Fell in Posio, Lapland, where Sir David Attenborough filmed for The Green Planet series

Cultural Center in Athens, houses the National Library of Greece and the Greek National Opera and is surrounded by the Stavros Niarchos Park. Designed by Renzo Piano, it is a state-of-the-art location that’s very important for Greece as it was built during the crisis. It has become a landmark location for Athenians and has the potential to host amazing productions,” Geronimaki says. “I would also point to the new premises of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), which opened in 2020. Housed in the former Fix brewery on Syngrou Avenue, it’s a large, iconic postindustrial landmark in modern Athens that has a 3,123 sq m. footprint.”

a significant decrease in the number of flights,” Ochandiano says. “And with help from Bilbao Airport and the municipal authorities, vehicles were diverted.” The Netflix series Intimidad (2021), produced in collaboration with production company Txintxua Films, is scheduled to premiere this year. “Intimidad filmed for six months in Bilbao Bizkaia, using more than 100 indoor and outdoor locations, with the whole shoot carried out sustainably,” Ochandiano says. “One of the most complicated locations was the protagonist’s principal residence, the inside of which was built within a municipal building provided by the Bilbao City Council. There is also a host of unique urban sites including the Bilbao neighbourhoods Casco Viejo, Bilbao La Vieja and Olabeaga-Zorrozaurre, which combine historic spaces with avant-garde urban sites and post-industrial areas converted into cultural spaces. And we have to mention unique infrastructure such as the Bizkaia Bridge, and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, an islet off the coast of Biscay, internationally recognised as the setting for Game of Thrones.”

Traditional collides with modern in Bilbao Bizkaia B Sky and water in perfect harmony in the Netherlands M ilbao Bizkaia is known globally for its multiple and extraordinary locations and also, since 2020, for its ability to carry on despite the pandemic. “We demonstrated that safe filming is a reality in full compliance with the authorities’ health standards,” says Xabier Ochandiano, city councillor for Economic Development, Trade and Employment, Bilbao City Council. “El Cuarto Pasajero [title TBC/2020], was directed by Alex de la Iglesia, a native of Bilbao who returned in 2021, coinciding with a moment of international success for his work on 30 Monedas [HBO/2020-]. El Cuarto Pasajero was complex, requiring the use of two kilometres of motorway in one direction for three days. We were able to provide the section of motorway accessing Bilbao Airport, mainly due to there being

ention the Netherlands and most people think of the urban/historical delights of Amsterdam, Amersfoort and Haarlem. But don’t under estimate

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The other-worldy Adan Martin Auditorio in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

the country’s waterscapes: “The IJsselmeer is a huge natural, freshwater lake. It’s non-tidal, has a horizon just like at sea, but is only four-to-five metres deep, which makes it great for rigging constructions. And above all, it boasts the unpredictable, scattering skies which are an inspiration for DoPs and filmmakers alike, just like they were for the Dutch Masters in the Golden Age,” the head of the Netherlands Film Commission, Bas van der Ree, says. “But of course Amsterdam is still the number-one requested location because of its uniqueness and compact, cosmopolitan feel. Also it often stars as the unique and sole location in a screenplay, not infrequently as a WWII backdrop. But the city authorities are currently reluctant to issue filming permits due to the maintenance of over 650 old bridges and hundreds of kilometres of quays — all this amidst the hundreds of thousands of tourists, bikers and delivery vans. Fortunately we have many other beautiful cities and places which can double for Amsterdam.” A major challenge for the Netherlands Film Commission came from Dunkirk (2017) director Christopher Nolan, who wanted to mount an IMAX camera on the wing of a Spitfire fighter plane. “These planes came from the UK and, by entering Dutch airspace, they lose their airworthiness certificate under Dutch regulations,” van der Ree says. “The supervising location

team had tried to get a permit, which was refused. So the Film Commission intervened and worked behind the scenes with the support of the former CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund. Engineers at one Ministry worked hard on new technical requirements for airworthiness and finally made it happen. The Dutch line producer also did a tremendous job on this and the entire production of 19 shooting days, in and above the IJsselmeer, were seen as a huge success.”

Compactness and diversity, plus a warm welcome in Portugal A

ccording to Manual Claro, commissioner at the Portugal Film Commission, it’s tough to pick just a few unique locations, given the sheer number of them. “For example there are the historic villages in the centre known as the Aldeias Historicas; the Douro vineyards and their riverine landscapes;

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The Espaces d’Abraxas, built in the 1980s by Ricardo Bofill, situated in Noisy-le-Grand in the suburbs of Paris

the palaces and monuments in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley; the coastline in Alentejo and the Algarve; and the astonishing, enchanted Laurissilva forest in Madeira, plus the lakes and waterfalls in the Azores,” he says. “And we like a challenge here. Recent shoots that asked a lot from everyone involved, included filming on bridges for Money Heist in 2020, as well as in historical monuments and ancient villages for The House of the Dragon [2022], last year. Because Portugal is immensely rich in heritage and diverse scenery, many productions require specific handling of filming issues, that we take on and resolve through co-operation with local and national authorities.” Claro is clear as to why any shoot should choose Portugal: “Throughout the year, you can find clear, blue skies and a beautiful light with the most amazing, diverse scenery that can cover pretty much anything you’d wish to film, and all in proximity. The quality of our teams and professionals, the thriving studios and equipment, the co-production agreements with more than 60 countries, our scouting programme and, of course, last but not least, one of the most competitive cash-rebate systems in Europe — all in a country that is stable, safe and very welcoming.”

A dark tunnel in the City of Light T

om Cruise always demands spectacular chase scenes for the Mission Impossible (1996-) franchise, so Stéphane Martinet, international promotion manager at Film Paris Région assumed that he would use the River Seine for Mission Impossible: Fall Out (2018). “From the river, you see landmarks such as Notre-Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower,” Martinet says. “Then someone told him about the Saint Martin tunnel, a covered canal, a location that is highly unexpected as it’s in the middle of Paris. The main difficulty was getting the city authorities to co-ordinate the different administrative services and to convince them to agree to block other boat traffic. We also had to negotiate with the producers about the impact of the speedboat scene because speed is normally limited.” Cruise

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Leane Best as Detective Frida Rask, Adam Palsson as Kurt Wallander in Young Wallander. Photo: Andrej Vasilenko/Netflix

wanted to go fast and eventually he got his way. “The contrast between the tunnel and the bright summer light is spectacular. And it all took place right under Place de la Bastille.” Martinet’s favourite locations include the Espaces d’Abraxas, built in the 80s by Ricardo Bofill. “Situated in Noisy-le-Grand in the suburbs of Paris, it’s a futuristic location which pulls you into a fantasy world of multiple architectural references. The columns and pediments and the unique dimensions are spectacular,” he says. “The atmosphere is one of a superpower headquarters, which can be good or evil — and, unsurprisingly, it was used in the Hunger Games film [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1/2014, Part 2/2015]. “Paris is a hugely popular filming destination, so much so that various Hollywood production companies are opening offices in the city,” Martinet says. “They are hiring French employees who know how to deliver the locations they need. Both the major platforms and studios regularly come to Paris — they enjoy the fine hotels and gourmet restaurants.”

Brussels, a multilingual city in the heart of Europe A

ccording to Julien Schreiber of Screen.Brussels, several major projects have visited the city in the recent past: “Goliath [2016-21], Pandore [2019-] and 1985 (2018) have all been challenging yet thrilling for us to welcome to Brussels. Generally with large-scale projects, our main task is to steer the requests for authorisations through the various official authorities (municipalities, police departments, environment or transportation authorities, federal state, regional mobility department, electricity/

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Mallorca has an impressive variety of locations, including mountains and 310 sunny days per year

gas transportation providers etc.). In Brussels, don’t forget that this also happens in a minimum of two languages, and that one place, street, building or park often involves several jurisdictions and we deal with all that through solid preparation well ahead of the shoot.”

Malta: a jewel in the southern Mediterranean M

alta has seen a flood of international productions over the past year, with several projects shooting across different locations on the island — among them Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), Apple TV+ series’ Foundation (2021-) and Sky’s Das Boot (2018-), which returned to Malta for its third season. The UK’s Channel 5 series The Holiday (2021-) and The Madame Blanc Mysteries (2021-) both shot around Malta in recent months. And Apple Studios’ Napoleonic epic Kitbag, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix, is shooting in locations on Malta this year. “Jurassic World: Dominion was shooting here in August

2020, one of the first big-studio productions to resume location shooting during the pandemic,” says Aidan Cassar, creative advisor at the Malta Film Commission. “In February, Universal Pictures released the first trailer for the movie featuring scenes of bikes chased by a mob of hungry velociraptors in capital city Valletta’s main square and dinosaurs hopping on various roofs in the city. The multi-million production also had scenes shot in Vittoriosa, Mellieha and Pembroke.” Jurassic World: Dominion was directed by Colin Trevorrow, who received the Malta Film Commissioner’s Award during the first edition of the Malta Film Awards earlier this year. “Alongside the island’s many natural and architectural sites, one of the most attractive locations here is Malta Film Studios,” Cassar says. “With two huge unique exterior water tanks benefiting from a natural horizon and equipped with special effects equipment, the complex has serviced over 200 productions, including Captain Phillips (2013), Foundation, local movie The Boat (2018), Renegades (2021) and Ridley Scott’s classic White Squall (1996). And next to the studios is Fort Ricasoli, one of Malta’s most popular filming locations, a bastion that was built by the Order of St John between 1670 and 1698. The fort has been extensively used as a location for feature films and television productions throughout the past two decades.”

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MONTANAFILM.COM 406.841.2876 Firefighter Mountain in Flathead National Forest

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PLAZA MAYOR, MADRID, SPAIN This location features the busy street life and rooftops over one of Madrid's quintessential neighbourhoods, La Latina, characterised by its narrow, winding streets, picturesque stairways, old churches and some of the most beautiful and iconic squares of the city. Many TV productions have used this location, including: films The Flower of My Secret (1995), The Limits of Control (2009) and The Cold Light of Day (2012); and TV series Money Heist (2017-2021) and In From the Cold (2022-). Photo, courtesy Madrid Film Office

LOCATION IN PICTURES WITH THE HELP OF FILM COMMISSIONS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LOCATION MANAGERS, LOCATION INTERNATIONAL TAKES A TOUR OF THE STRIKING AND DIVERSE LOCATIONS ON OFFER AROUND THE WORLD

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SALAH AL-DIN CITADEL, CAIRO, EGYPT The medieval fortification of the Salah Al-Din Citadel in Cairo, built by Egyptian ruler Saladin, was the seat of government in Egypt for nearly 700 years, from the 13th to the 19th century. It dominates the skyline on the Mokattam hills close to the centre of Cairo and is now a preserved historic site which includes mosques and museums. Films shot in Cairo include: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Malcolm X (1992), Red Notice (2021) and Death on the Nile (2022). Photo, courtesy Brandon Druker

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SALLATUNTURI, LAPLAND, FINLAND This wooden hut is on top of Sallatunturi (or Salla Fell), which is also home to the Salla ski resort and is located close to the border with Russia. From this vantage point it is possible to see pristine wilderness in every direction, save for the ski resort infrastructure and the few roads that lead to and from the village. In winter, dawn and twilight are exceptionally colourful and in summer, it is green from horizon to horizon, punctuated only by lakes and rivers. The area is one of Lapland's most popular tourist destinations, with experienced support services for productions. Photo, courtesy Jonne Vaahtera

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EAST RIVER STREET, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, US River Street runs along the southern edge of the Savannah River for two miles (3.2km), and boasts a range of historic cotton warehouses. Filmmakers can find period locations here and also make use of the varied romantic and dramatic river views. There is also a beautiful bridge, a shipping channel with large container ships, and a rugged wilderness across the river. Films shot here include: The Longest Yard (1974), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Lady and the Tramp (2019), I Want You Back (2022) and Devotion (2022). The third season of TV series Ozark (2017-2022) also filmed here. Photo, courtesy Andy Young for the Savannah Regional Film Commission

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TAIPEI CITY, TAIPEI, TAIWAN Taipei is located in a basin surrounded by mountains and rivers. Notable location possibilities include splendid cherry blossoms and hot springs on the Yang-Ming Mountain, a beautiful riverside park, a 19th-century street by the Danshui River, the 508-metre-high skyscraper Taipei 101 and bustling night markets. Compared to other East Asian cities the cost of living here is very low. Films that have shot here include: Lucy (2014), A Sun (2019) and The Soul (2021). Photo courtesy Taipei Film Commission

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SCHEVENINGEN PIER, THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS Scheveningen Pier opened in 1959 and faces the North Sea in the Netherlands. As well as the ferris wheel, there is a bungee jump facility and close by is the grand 19th-century Kurhaus hotel, located on a flamboyant boulevard. This location is waiting for it’s first big break on film. Photo, courtesy Luc Schol photography 2019

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STEEL MILLS, HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA These industrial sites are in close proximity to downtown and suburban Hamilton, offering a full range of east-coast city looks that can double for, for instance, Boston or Baltimore. Skylight Steelworks, an expansive industrial site on this bay, is now exclusively used as a backlot. Productions here have included feature film The Shape of Water (2017), and TV series The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-) and Star Trek : Discovery (2017-). Photo, courtesy Ontario Film Commission, Ontario Create ©Queen’s Printers for Ontario.

THE BATHS, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS This picture shows The Cathedral, a site at the National Park called The Baths in Virgin Gorda, which is the British Virgin Island’s third-largest island. The Baths comprises aweinspiring granite boulders which form sheltered sea pools on the beach’s edge. The Cathedral at The Baths can offer a panoramic view of stunning pristine beaches and further rock formations. Brands that have used this location include for Sports Illustrated, Perlita Swim, JCrew, Kenny Flowers and Billabong. Photo, courtesy BVI Tourist Board & Film Commission.

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DRUMMOND ISLAND, SITGREAVES BAY, MICHIGAN, US Drummond Island is the second largest US island within the Great Lakes and is situated in northern Lake Huron, surrounded by several small islands and beautiful blue fresh water. A visit to Drummond Island requires a short ferry trip from the mainland. The island is home to marshlands, dense forests, 150 miles of shoreline and one of the world's largest alvars — a rare type of grassy limestone plain — and is a unique landscape in a freshwater ‘sea’. Photo, courtesy Michigan Film & Digital Media Office

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PALAIS GARNIER OPERA HOUSE GRAND FOYER, PARIS, FRANCE The Palais Garnier in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, has been the home of the Paris Opera since 1875, though today it is mainly used for ballet. The opulence of the Grand Foyer is stunning, featuring 30 different types of marble from eight countries, with a profusion of gold gilding and breathtaking art. It is said that Palais Garnier inspired the early 20th-century novel Phantom of the Opera. Many films and TV shows have filmed here, inside and outside, including: movies Funny Face (1957), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Marie Antoinette (2006), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and Midnight in Paris (2011). TV series include The Phantom of the Opera (1990) and Emily in Paris, (2020-). Photo, courtesy Mark Indig, LMGI

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DRESDEN, SAXONY, GERMANY Dresden, the capital city of the eastern German state of Saxony, lies on both banks of the Elbe river, surrounded by countryside and forests. The city is home to Baroque-style architecture, numerous world-renowned museums and impressive buildings from the Renaissance era as well as contemporary examples of modernism and post-modernism. Film productions that have used this area include: A Royal Affair (2012), The Danish Girl (2015) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Photo, courtesy Mark Indig, LMGI

WILLCOX PLAYA, COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA, US The Willcox Playa is a large dry lake close to Willcox, in the southeast corner of Arizona. Unlike similar dry lakes, the black mud below the surface contains a rich fossil pollen record of the pluvial periods of the Ice-Age era. The site has become a night-time roosting area for 4,000-8,000 sandhill cranes and contains the greatest diversity of tiger beetles in the US. The open, barren, flat landscape with mountains in the background provides ample of space for highspeed car or aerial work and a number of car commercials have filmed here. Photo, courtesy Ehrin Davis, LMGI

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Get a 33% cash rebate on expenses spent on film or TV production in the Slovak Republic. Minimum local spent requirement for a feature film is $ 113,000 (€ 100,000), for documentaries and animations it is $ 57,000 (€ 50,000) and for TV series $ 339,000 (€ 300,000).

33%

small country big potential No budget limit on eligible costs. Registration of the projects is open all year round. If registered by mid-August 2022, the cash rebate is payable in 2023.

www.filmcommission.sk #filminslovakiagoodidea office@filmcommission.sk

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STEALING THE SCENE Ranked a top 10 city in North America to live and work as a Moviemaker, Calgary is stealing the scenes of major productions. With its unique vistas, competitive incentives, and half a million square feet of sound stages backed by award-winning talent and crews, Calgary is your ideal creative playground. Capture it in Calgary.

calgaryfilmcommission.com

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FEATURE CANADA Melanie Scrofano as Wynonna Earp (left) and Katherine Barrell as Officer Nicole Haught in a season-four episode of Wynonna Earp. Photo: Michelle Faye/Wynonna Earp Productions Inc./SyFy

BACK IN ACTION

WITH A LONG HISTORY OF LOCAL AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL AID TO ITS HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED PRODUCTION SECTOR, CANADA WAS QUICK TO ENGAGE ITS SUPPORTIVE INFRASTRUCTURE WHEN THE PANDEMIC HIT. AND THE RESULT WAS A QUICK RECOVERY, AS DEBBIE LINCOLN REPORTS LOCATION INTERNATIONAL 2022

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© Queen’s Printer for Ontario, April 2022

ONTARIO IS READY TO ROLL!

21.5% Tax Refund New Studio Space Deep Talent & Crew Base Sustainable Production 10,000+ Locations

ontariofilmcommission.ca

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FEATURE CANADA

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ANADA's audiovisual sector has set the mould for recovery over the past year or so. For Ontario film commissioner Justin Cutler: “In many ways the film and TV industry has been operating under a new normal for quite some time now.” It’s true to say that national and international filmmakers have stampeded back to work in a country that has a long and stellar history of filmmaking talent — in front of, and behind, the camera, in the support industries and with an enthusiastic back-up from local and national governmental and non-governmental bodies. And the figures back this up. The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) reported that in 2020 total film and television production volume reached more than C$9.bn, contributed C$12.2bn to GDP and created some 244,500 jobs. Telefilm Canada, whose remit is to finance, develop and promote the country’s audiovisual industry, reports similarly positive progress. “Our industry was hit hard due to the shutdown of filming at the beginning of the pandemic and the closure of theatres at various times over the past two years,” executive director and CEO, Telefilm Canada, Christa Dickenson says. “During that time, Telefilm and the industry didn’t give up. The government disbursed emergency support funds as well as the Short-Term Compensation Fund to help the industry. And we did not stop there. We updated and doubled our Development Program funding for fiscal year 2020-2021. Telefilm redirected funds during the pandemic to support all projects submitted to the Development Program. Great projects were being developed and we will see the results of it in the coming years.” A strong, established infrastructure provided the foundation for recovery across the country, with Ontario a strong case in point. “In 2021, Ontario reported its highest production levels to date, with 394 productions bringing in C$2.88bn in production spending for the economy. These numbers represent over 48,000 full-time equivalent direct and spin-off jobs,” Cutler says. This success can be put down to a variety of film-friendly locations, alongside ongoing studio-space expansion, a diverse talent pool and “robust health and safety protocols”. The province was off to a flying start from the beginning of 2022, with 38 projects under way, including Flint Strong, directed by Rachel Morrison (Oscar-nominated for cinematography on 2018’s Black Panther) and written by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight/2018). The true story is about 17-year-old Claressa Shields, from Flint, Michigan, who achieved an Olympic gold medal in boxing at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. As well as the high levels of feature-film production Cutler says that there are “record levels of project scouting under way”. TV is also a powerful driver of activity in Ontario. The majority of projects filming in the province in the early part of 2020 were episodic dramas, including: the fourth season of superhero series Titans (Warner Bros.); Sort Of (CBC), featuring gender-fluid millennial Sabi who struggles to reconcile her job as a bartender in an LGBTQ bar and being the youngest child in a large Pakistani family; the fifth series of The Handmaid’s Tale (MGM/Take 5), continuing the terrifying vision of a future state; the third season of Pretty Hard Cases (CBC), featuring the comically tetchy police-detective duo who struggle to balance work and personal lives; and the pilot for Gotham Nights (Warner Bros.), a muchanticipated slice of life in the dark city of DC comics. Calgary, Alberta, showed extraordinary resilience in the face

of the pandemic. CHCH-DT/SyFy series Wynonna Earp was among the first television series to restart production in North America and was certainly the first out of the gate in Alberta since the pandemic took hold. While the producers behind the western horror television series went “above and beyond” to keep people safe while filming the final six episodes of season four, the Calgary Film Commission also took bold steps to ensure the length of the shutdown was as short as possible and that all who work on a film set in Alberta are safe. On March 13, 2020, when the world shut down due to the pandemic, the Wynonna Earp cast and crew were about to take a week-long hiatus after finishing the first six episodes of the fourth season. The Calgary Film Commission worked with the production, city and province to determine how to get the series back into safe production as quickly as possible. “The first thing the Commission did was to work with the management of the Calgary Film Centre, where the series was based, and the series’ production management, to negotiate a rent abatement agreement until production could resume — along with an extension of the lease to account for the duration of the shutdown,” film commissioner at Calgary Economic

IN 2021, ONTARIO REPORTED ITS HIGHEST PRODUCTION LEVELS TO DATE

JUSTIN CUTLER

Development, Luke Azevedo, says. The Commission also researched public health orders at all levels of government, assessed current levels of health and safety requirements for the motion picture industry and collaborated with government, funding agencies and jurisdictions across Canada on protocols for COVID-19 health and safety. And the Commission kept up correspondence with Alberta Health Services, the government of Alberta, the Wynonna Earp production team and the Calgary Film Centre, on all issues related to health, safety and hygiene. “We also worked closely with the City of Calgary to allow the production access to locations around the city in a safe manner,” Azevedo says. “And we worked with the Rapid Testing Program at Calgary Airport. Alberta was the only jurisdiction to test the pilot programme, giving Wynonna Earp the ability to bring international talent and crew back to finish the season without lengthy quarantine." The cult series took advantage of the local landscapes to create a distinctive visual style, as well as making the most off the full package of enticements on offer in Alberta. Emily Andras, creator and executive producer of the hit series says: “I really don’t think we could make the show anywhere else but Calgary.” Other recent productions in Alberta include Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), which began shooting in Calgary July 2019 and wrapped in 68 days — filming at historic Lougheed House in Calgary, the Turner Valley Gas Plant, downtown Drumheller, the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod and the Bleriot Ferry which crosses the Red Deer River. Land (2021), Robin Wright’s feature directorial debut, filmed over 29 days in Alberta, largely on Moose Mountain in Kananaskis County. For Let Him Go (2020), starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, locations throughout the province stood in for North Dakota and Montana, including Fort Macleod, Calgary, Didsbury and Drumheller. Disney’s Togo (2019), starring Willem Defoe, which tells the heroic true-life story of a sled dog and handler

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The set of Nightmare Alley’s carnival on Markham Fairgrounds in Ontario which was exposed to the elements during the filming lockdown. Pictured are director Guillermo del Toro, producer J Miles Dale, actors Rooney Mara and Bradley Cooper

distributing diphtheria antitoxin in 1925, shot entirely in Alberta. And the pro-active work carried out by the Calgary Film Commission and others during the pandemic, has helped to maintain and grown the industry in Alberta. Production activity in 2020 was $482m, jumping to $522m in 2021 and forecast to be at $550m in 2022. Some of these macro attempts to combat the effects of COVID on the industry are groundbreaking and industries around the world will hopefully share strategies in the coming months and years, keeping them in place for future such crisess. But there were specific, of-the-moment measures too, that needed to be taken when COVID hit. On Guillermo del Toro’s latest movie Nightmare Alley (2021), for Disney and Searchlight Pictures, production stopped abruptly, shortly after breaking for lunch, for what in the early days of COVID was hoped to be a few weeks. But the break grew closer to nine months, after which there was a cautious return to filming. Del Toro speaks specifically of a scene involving a lie-detector session where the questions and reactions, in close-up, were shot months apart. Del Toro has shot a number of films in Canada — specifically Toronto and Hamilton — including Pacific Rim (2013), Crimson Peak (2015) and The Shape of Water (2017), nominated for 13 Oscars and winning four, including Best Film and Best Director, as well as a BAFTA for Best Director. He also shot TV series The Strain (2014-17) and upcoming horror anthology TV series Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities in and around Toronto. For Nightmare Alley, del Toro again chose Ontario for part of the filming, with help and support from the film commission. A tale of moral decline, set in late 1930s/1940s America, it’s a darkly psychological film. And as always for del Toro, production design and location is key. A lot of the action takes place against the backdrop and characters of a traveling fair and elements of an original period-specific carnival were unearthed and erected on Markham Fairgrounds, outside Toronto.

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Del Toro says: “We built the carnival in a real place, in an exterior, because we wanted the weather to affect the tarps, the poles, the banners, the steam… We rigged the entire carnival extension with heating and steam systems to keep the ground full of mud and vapours and we researched every single prop that appeared in the film — prizes, popcorn bags, cooking utensils, vending machines.” When COVID struck and the production closed down, the carnival was left in the field weathering naturally. One small and rare benefit that arose from a pandemic shut-down. Film commissions across Canada have reported robust activity despite the challenges of 2020-2021. As one of the busiest filmmaking areas of Canada, British Columbia’s production industry in 2019/20 is estimated by Creative BC to have reached C$3.6bn and 411 productions, based on direct tax-credit application. Films made in British Columbia in 2021 include: Amblin’s Easter Sunday, Fox Searchlight’s Fresh, Disney’s Peter Pan And Wendy and Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2, among others. TV series shot recently in British Columbia include: two seasons each of Batwoman, Nancy Drew and Superman & Lois; the third season of Charmed; the sixth seasons of DC Legends Of Tomorrow and Super Girl; the second season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist; and the list goes on. In the Northwest Territories, recent location shoots include Alone Across The Arctic (2019) and Red Snow (2019); and documentaries Food For The Rest Of Us (2021); Salvage (2019); and Aurora Love (2019). Manitoba has seen a busy shooting schedule for the last year including Lionsgate’s Ordinary Angels; Buffalo Gal’s Unspoken; Hallmark’s ’Tis The Season To Be Merry; and Crashing Through The Snow. Recent productions in Nova Scotia include TV series Washington Black; The Sinner (2017-21); Moonshine (2021-); Chapelwaite (2021-); and feature films The Lighthouse (2019); The Good House (2021); and Books of Blood (2020).

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FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR PRODUCTION

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ANADA has a long history of state and private aid and incentives to the production industry, based primarily on the fact that its neighbour, with whom it shares a language — the US — is the world’s biggest exporter of films and television. Among the many public and private funds available to producers in Canada is a wide range of local incentive schemes. In British Columbia the Film Incentive BC (FIBC) — up to 35% — provides refundable tax credits to Canadian-controlled production companies based on eligible British Columbia labour costs. The programme includes six initiatives with different percentages: Basic; Regional; Distant Location Regional Training; Digital Animation; VFX and Post-Production (DAVE); and Scriptwriting. The British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC), meanwhile, is not subject to any Canadian content requirements. In addition, there is no limit on the PSTC that may be claimed on a particular production and there is no limit that a corporation or group of corporations can claim. This programme includes four initiatives: Basic (28%); Regional; Distant Location; and Digital Animation, Visual Effects and PostProduction (DAVE). Alberta runs the Film and Television Tax Credit (FTTC), launched in January 2020, which offers a refundable Alberta tax-credit certificate on eligible Alberta production and labour costs to producers of films, TV series and other eligible screenbased productions in the province, for either a 22% or 30% tax credit rate, with a minimum total production budget of C$500,000 on new productions. In addition, there is the Alberta Media Fund, for possible grants and support to Alberta filmmakers. Yukon, in the northwest of the country, has a development fund available for projects with an economic benefit to the territory. New Yukon media-fund programmes include a Pre-development Fund; Development Fund; Media Production Fund; and Training Fund. Next door, the Northwest Territories (NWT) offers financial incentives to productions filming on location. The programme categories include 25%-40% cash rebate for the purchase of goods and services; travel to and within the NWT; and wages for training and hiring local residents, particularly in film-industry positions. To encourage production across the region,

the programme also provides an increased incentive of 15% for productions filming outside the territory’s capital, Yellowknife. The vast Nunavut territory across the north of the country provides a complex range of available funds, particularly for residents, including: Story Telling Fund (in direct response to the COVID pandemic); Entry-Level Film Experience Program; Industry Development and Training Fund; Short Film Fund; Creative Content Development Fund; Nunavut Spend Incentive Program; Market Endowment Program; and the Inuktut Language Incentive Program. Creative Saskatchewan is the economic development agency for Saskatchewan’s creative industries. Recently, the government there announced an increase from C$2m to C$10m into Creative Saskatchewan’s production programme in the provincial budget, in addition to any federal support gained by a production. The Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit includes generous incentives including up to 65% with the Cost-of-Salaries Tax Credit (including bonuses) or up to 38% on all eligible Manitoba expenditures with the Cost-ofProduction Tax Credit (including bonus). The Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (OFTTC ) is based on eligible Ontario labour expenditures incurred by a qualifying production company and is generally harmonised with the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. The OFTTC is generally calculated as 35% of the eligible Ontario labour expenditures incurred. An enhanced rate of 40% on the first C$240,000 of qualifying labour expenditure is available for first-time producers. Productions that are shot in

Ontario entirely outside of the Greater Toronto Area, or that have at least five location days in Ontario (or in the case of a TV series, the number of location days is at least equal to the number of episodes), and at least 85% of the location days in Ontario are outside the GTA, receive a 10% bonus on all Ontario labour expenditures incurred for the production. The OFTTC is calculated as 21.5% of all qualifying production expenditures incurred in Ontario. The Province also provides support to productions shooting in northern Ontario through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. Québec has always welcomed filmmakers, national and international. It offers 20% cash-back on all expenses; and 16% on labour-based computeraided special effects, animation and chroma-key screen activities, with a minimum total budget of $250,000. The smaller provinces comprising the eastern seaboard of Canada also offer incentives, including: Newfoundland and Labrador, which offers the refundable provincial Corporate Income Tax credit for eligible local film projects at a rate of 40% of eligible local labour costs, but may not exceed 25% of production costs; Prince Edward Island, with The Prince Edward Island Film Production Fund that provides a rebate of 32-35% of eligible Prince Edward Island expenditures for work completed in Prince Edward Island; Nova Scotia, which has different offers depending on the percentage of ownership of local ownership in the province; and New Brunswick, which runs similar support systems for development and production, depending on local investment.

ACTION ON ECO-RESPONSIBILITY IN EARLY 2022, Telefilm launched the first phase of its action plan on eco-responsibility. "We are committed to seeing positive change,” executive director and CEO, Telefilm Canada, Christa Dickenson, says. “We were inspired by the Indigenous practices and their relation to the land and the environment, as well as the progressive work done by industry partners in Canada and around the globe. Moving forward, we will look to: attract partnerships to support and lead research and build capacity across the production and promotion value chain; enhance sustainable and measurable best practices; and evolve Telefilm’s and industry’s practices and commitment to lower carbon and environmental footprint through a science-based approach.” Initiatives from film commissions include BC’s Reel Green, the Ontario Green Screen programme and Rolling Green in Québec.

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FEATURE AUSTRALIA

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THANK YOU VERY MUCH AS HEALTH RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE TO BE LIFTED AROUND THE WORLD, A GROWING NUMBER OF HIGH-PROFILE PRODUCTIONS ARE CHOOSING AUSTRALIA AS A LOCATION — AND NOT NECESSARILY FOR STORIES THAT ARE SET IN THAT COUNTRY. SANDY GEORGE REPORTS

Austin Butler as Elvis in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama Elvis. Photo: Trent Mitchell. © 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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SAVE MORE THAN 30% ON YOUR SPEND IN AUSTRALIA* USE THE AUSTRALIAN SCREEN INCENTIVES CALCULATOR & CALCULATE NOW

AUSFILM.COM You can save more than 30% on your spend when filming in Australia (and up to 45% when you complete post or visual effects in Australia), if you combine Australian Federal, State and Territory screen production incentives and grants. Ausfilm’s Australian Screen Incentives Calculator can help you identify what incentives and grants are available for your production, and more importantly, who to contact.

Let’s Talk

Erin Stam Executive Vice President, International Production T +1 310 229 2362

*The Australian Screen Incentive Calculator is not an official Australian Government tax incentive estimate, certification or approval. You will need to apply to the relevant government agency.

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HE 2022 CANNES Film Festival has welcomed Baz Luhrman movie Elvis (2022) to the world’s biggest annual gathering of movie people, for its world premiere. The Warner Bros. Pictures’ movie, starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (Butler), and particularly his complicated 20-year relationship with manipulative manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). The film spans Presley’s rise to fame and unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of America’s evolving cultural landscape. And this quintessentially America story has been shot almost entirely on Australia’s Gold Coast. Luhrman has moved his Bazmark production company to the Queensland coastal city, having declared that he and his colleagues have “really fallen in love” with the place, its people and its “creative energy”. The production has employed some 900 Queenslanders in roles behind the camera and is expected to have spent more than $70m in the area. And there has been more good news for Queensland as the romcom Ticket to Paradise (2022), starring more A-listers — George Clooney and Julia Roberts — also chose to shoot there. In the movie the two stars play a one-time husband and wife who take action to stop their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) doing the same stupid thing they once did. The story starts in Chicago, then moves to Bali and from the outset, the creative team favoured Australia as the principal location for filming. “I recced Queensland for something else many years ago,” producer and Working Title Films co-chair, Tim Bevan, says. “[This time] we were looking at infrastructure and tax credits, and somewhere comfortable for two movie stars.” Producer Deborah Balderstone, based in Sydney, did the early

leg work, including scouting — communicating with Bevan and director Ol Parker remotely. If the pandemic hadn’t hit so hard worldwide, Bali would have been an option, but the creative team probably wouldn’t have wavered from tropical Queensland, Bevan says. He said that for a big movie where the main cast is coming from LA, it’s no different for them, whether they go to the UK or Australia.

“FOR A BIG MOVIE WHERE THE MAIN CAST IS COMING FROM LA IT’S NO DIFFERENT WHETHER THEY GO TO THE UK OR AUSTRALIA” TIM BEVAN

Bevan and Parker, producer Sarah Harvey, cinematographer Ole Bratt Birkeland and six actors in all, came from elsewhere and entered two weeks of mandatory quarantine in Australia. “The first seven weeks of shooting were glorious,” Bevan says. “I can’t fault anything, infrastructure-wise. I’d never shot at Village Roadshow Studios before and it’s a good facility. I’d certainly go back there. The unit around the camera was as good as any in the world. You need the A-team. It was a great can-do, friendly lot of people.” He said it was “fantastic” to see a 50:50 gender diverse crew, and women as camera operators, grips and electricians. “Racially it was not so good, but that’s a job at hand for the world.” Quite a lot of crew came from New South Wales, the state to the south of Queensland. He laughed when he said that Australians love their trucks and vans, just as Americans do — in London crews have to be more nimble.

Uli Latukefu and Kurt Robertson in Young Rock. Photo: Kane Skennar/NBC

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FEATURE AUSTRALIA

“On a stage (in Australia), you wouldn’t know whether you were in Australia, America or Pinewood, except for the Australian accents and shorts and T-shirts,” he says. Film sets have become more democratic in the way they operate, he added, but on a big US movie it remains "hierarchical and imperialist". A problem arose, however, when Australia opened most of its internal borders, and COVID cases soared — for a while it had tried for an elimination strategy. Wrap was scheduled for January 19, 2022, but the set shut down two weeks prior. With strict COVID practices in place, they were up again three weeks later. “Given the stresses and strains, the material we got was fantastic. Everyone had had a Christmas break. I joked with Eric [business partner Eric Fellner] that we should build a hiatus into every film.” To get the most out of Australia’s financial attraction incentives, which are in part based on the level of local expenditure, considerable post was done in the country, including VFX at Cutting Edge. “We will come back. A big movie or a 10-episode series makes sense for Australia. And we’ve got a great, great partner there in Deb … Australia always feels further away than it is." Universal Pictures releases Ticket to Paradise in the UK in September, and in the US in October, 2022. Two big US projects are sharing Village Roadshow Studios’ nine stages throughout 2022. The 10-part live-action series Nautilus for Disney+ is the origin story of Captain Nemo and his submarine, as depicted in Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The water tanks helped win Nautilus. The other project is an untitled movie in Legendary Entertainment’s MonsterVerse franchise. Producer is Eric McLeod, who was on the ground for Kong: Skull Island in 2016, and Godzilla vs Kong in 2019, both of which were filmed in Queensland. “In the 35 years I’ve been here at the studios, I’ve never seen it so busy as it’s been for the last two years,” studio president Lynne Benzie says. With the shortage of studios around the world, she said she would be delighted to expand but it would only be possible if a “visionary” client folded the cost of construction into a big production. The studios are busy because of the Federal Government incentives. Ticket to Paradise received A$6m, the new Legendary film $16m and Nautilus A$23.3m via the Federal Government’s Location Incentive, a discretionary grant. All are expected to claim a further 16.5% Location Offset, a tax rebate. This will equate to a saving of 30% of Australian expenditure. Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the projects would be spending A$47m, A$119m and A$172m respectively in the country. Any production must spend at least A$15m to claim the Location Offset. Applications and payments are made upon completion. A 30% Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset also exists for TV series and films, irrespective of where they were filmed. Expenditure must be A$500,000. Some states also have PDV money. In financial year 2020/21, 45 international projects received an estimated $101m via the PDV and Location Offsets — the department will not divide the figures because taxation matters are confidential — and $99.6m for 13 productions under the Location Incentive. The three productions mentioned also got money from the Queensland Government, via its agency Screen Queensland’s Production Attraction Incentive. Actual amounts were not available.

The big recent news in terms of Australian studio infrastructure is the opening of a A$46m 3,700 sq m (40,000 sq ft) super-stage at Docklands Studios Melbourne (DSM), which increased the controlled shooting space by more than 60%. “The global appetite for content, combined with DSM’s reputation for quality and service, has increased inquiries,” Docklands CEO Antony Tulloch says. “Stage 6 will help us facilitate these projects. DSM has traditionally punched above its weight. Stage 6, with its practical layout and systems, will enable us to attract more business whilst facilitating domestic projects.” Being government owned, DSM has always left room for Australian projects, which are growing in budget and ambition. This year Stage 6 will also see director Mark Gracey (The Greatest Showman/2017) make a biopic about musician Robbie Williams. And DSM is also hosting Garth Davis’s feature Foe. Tulloch was operations boss at Iskandar Malaysia Studios, and recently took over from Rod Allan, who had been in the job for 13 years. In April cameras rolled on season two of La Brea (2021), the first international production to visit Stage 6; filming is scheduled through to November. The original series was principally filmed in 2021 on location and using warehouse

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FILM COMMISION

FIJI

One of the best tropical locations in the world Pristine and accessible, decades of production experience, and a film-friendly government.

ATTRACTIVE FILM TAX INCENTIVES

www.film-fiji.com info@film-fiji.com

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FEATURE AUSTRALIA

space, over winter, in the state of Victoria — Melbourne is Victoria’s capital. With 14 episodes in the new series, Fletcher says A$118m will be spent in Australia compared to A$98m last time. “Changeable weather is part of the Melbourne scene and our show is outside a lot as it depicts Los Angeles 10,000 years BC,” senior vice-president, production, at Universal Television Richard Ross says. “The studio will give us a larger footprint to create that world on a stage — and weather cover.” He said returning to Victoria was “a slam dunk”. He moved the first season to Australia in part because of the pandemic, but also because the level of production activity in Canada undermined his confidence about getting enough crew expertise. He asked Melbourne-based Matchbox Pictures, owned by Universal International Studios, whether the country could handle a big show with big elements. Matchbox said it could; then he had the job of convincing the key creatives that it could be produced in Australia at a high quality. It was a hit with NBC’s audiences and a new season was ordered before the first played out. “Good incentives are only as good as the infrastructure and labour … I couldn’t be happier with the experiences I’ve had down there, with our partners and with the people at Matchbox, who know the country. We take the lead from them — if I have a show that’s right creatively, they’re my first call.” When asked if Australia had weaknesses, he drew attention to how Australians and Americans drive on opposite sides of the road: “In a police drama with a lot of action on the roads it’s going to be, not a weakness, but a disadvantage. You have to find cars with left-hand drive and change road signs.” Asked the same question, Brian O’Leary, senior vicepresident, tax counsel, NBC Universal, talked of the measures Australia is putting in place to deepen and broaden the crew base, including building on what he calls “a natural synergy with Australia’s existing VFX and gaming skill set”. The worldwide streamer-induced production boom is putting a squeeze on personnel in Australia, just as it is in many territories. But big foreign companies like O’Leary’s are helping with that: no-one can successfully apply for the Location Incentive unless they add to Australia’s skills base. This time around, Matchbox Pictures and NBCUniversal are spending A$350,000 to fund training in virtual production, in partnership with the

A CGI profile of the water pit in Stage 6, Docklands Studios Melbourne. Image: Grimshaw Architects

Australian Film, Television and Radio School. The states compete vigorously for interstate and international production. The local screen agencies need to be the first port of call for those seeking the Location Incentive because the Federal Government looks to them to make a judgement about whether a state has capacity. Without that approval, projects are not eligible. Joe Brinkmann, manager of production attraction and support at VicScreen, and his colleagues, expect Stage 6 significantly to boost Victoria’s production levels. He talks of offering an end-to-end service to ensure visitors have a great experience, so that they become ambassadors. Ensuring an orderly pipeline of local and international activity is one aim — although, with so many moving parts to productions, it’s never easy. He’s helping to entice people from other industry sectors with compatible skills to learn the ways of film, as it’s seen as a quicker way to grow skilled crew numbers compared to fasttracking entry-level people. In his experience US productions want 50:50 studio space and locations. Australia has great diversity of landscapes and looks and Victoria is no exception: in recent years, it has doubled for Africa and India, as well as period Shanghai, Edinburgh and New York.

‘AUSTRALIA HAS DOUBLED FOR AFRICA AND INDIA, AS WELL AS PERIOD SHANGHAI, EDINBURGH AND NEW YORK’ Brinkmann says VicScreen is invited to pitch for 80-90 projects a year, a marked increase from three years ago when it was more like 40 projects. “We are back, post the height of the pandemic, in an environment that’s hugely competitive and are still seeing the benefits of strong incentives,” Ausfilm chief executive officer, Kate Marks, says. The organisation that markets Australia’s locations, services and people to the world, fielded enquiries for A$1.4bn worth of production in the six months to early March 2022. Marks advocates for a diversity of foreign production but is enjoying seeing returning US series — and also increasing levels of Australian involvement at a high creative level. Young Rock (2021-), The Wilds (2020-) and La Brea, for example, all had Australian directors in the credits. Australia’s third world-class studio, which is also on the east coast, is Fox Studios Australia, in the heart of Sydney. Now owned by the Walt Disney Company, the last big production there was Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). It has been having a quiet period and at the time of writing there was no information on future bookings. That is likely to have changed by now, however. Fox has a few dozen tenants, including full-service postproduction company Spectrum Films, which recently took over and acoustically rebuilt the Dolby Atmos theatre at the site. Soundfirm, another renowned full-service company, also created a Dolby Atmos theatre in a nearby suburb — it has another in Melbourne. Post Lounge and Arc Film have both opened new post facilities in Sydney — one of Arc’s founder owners, Peter Sciberras, was the editor on The Power of the Dog (2021). As mentioned, A$500,000 spent with any of these companies — or with one of the many VFX companies — delivers a 30% rebate.

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MAKING A SCENE BETTER CALL SAUL

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul. Photo: Ursula Coyote

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'GET BIG, GET WIDE, GET HIGH' BETTER CALL SAUL IS A SPIN-OFF SERIES FROM BREAKING BAD, A PREQUEL THAT TELLS THE ORIGIN STORY OF BREAKING BAD’S HAPLESS LAWYER, SAUL GOODMAN. THE YEAR 2022 SEES ITS SIXTH AND FINAL SEASON AIR ON US NETWORK AMC AND THE GLOBAL STREAMER NETFLIX. BOTH SERIES USED THE BIG, WIDE, HIGH BACKDROPS OF NEW MEXICO AS A CRUCIAL CHARACTER IN THEIR STORIES. JULIAN NEWBY SPOKE TO PEOPLE WHO WORKED ACROSS BOTH SHOWS

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MAKING A SCENE BETTER CALL SAUL

T

HE VINCE Gilligan creation Breaking Bad (2008-13) was arguably one of the main triggers for a whole new raft of high-profile TV dramas, designed to give competing platforms a chance in a flourishing, but overcrowded, global marketplace. The show didn’t have an easy path to begin with; HBO, Showtime and FX, said ‘No thank you’, and it was finally picked up by AMC, where the first two or three seasons enjoyed a healthy cult status. Many argue it was Netflix that pushed the show and its stars into the mainstream — AMC says differently. Turn that story around and it could also be argued that it was Breaking Bad that gave Netflix its first big boost, the show’s cliffhangers encouraging binge-watching by viewers keen to know what happens next — ‘binge-watching’, a term not used widely when Breaking Bad first appeared on AMC, on January 20, 2008. The series’ success also encouraged the creation of more Netflix originals, placing the rights to future such flagship series firmly in the streamer’s hands. So, from cult to mainstream to prequel — and a movie too. As with Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier (1993-2004), Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman didn’t seem to everyone to be the obvious spin-off star — until it happened. As Odenkirk said towards the end of Breaking Bad: “For four years I was a part-timer. My character popped up here and there and I was pretty sure Saul was going to get knocked off at any moment. He would have been the perfect character to take out: big enough to matter, not big enough to change the core story. Every time I was sent a script, I looked for Saul’s death scene. But it never came.” And here we now are, at the sixth and final season of Better Call Saul (2015-22). Viewers will miss the comic but complex lawyer and the ridiculously dangerous and unlikely scrapes he gets himself into — and Odenkirk, cast and crew will miss Albuquerque, the New Mexico city that both series made their home. It can be said that Breaking Bad and, later, Better Call Saul, put Albuquerque on the map; the tourist’s map at least. Filmmakers have long enjoyed shooting in and around the city, but the two series have created a whole new appeal to the area, for ‘set-jetters’ keen to retrace the steps of the characters that made these

two series into global hits. Former X-Files (1993-2018) writer Gilligan had originally planned to set Breaking Bad in Riverside, California. Producer Sony suggested switching to New Mexico, primarily because of the financial incentives available there. New Mexico’s incentives package includes a 25% to 35% Refundable Film Production Tax Credit. But it soon became about more than just money. “Vince got on board immediately,” executive producer of both series, Melissa Bernstein, says of the decision to move. “He felt like New Mexico really lent itself to the production of a modern-day western and the dominance of beige in the palette of the setting matched up well with Walter White’s journey.” And it was a natural choice for the season’s prequel, too: “Albuquerque really developed into a character in Breaking Bad so it wouldn’t have felt right to set the follow-up anywhere else,” Bernstein adds. Cyndy McCrossen scouted for both

series before taking on the role of film liaison officer at the Albuquerque Film Office. “Bob Odenkirk always mentions the amazing skies in New Mexico as being one of his favourite things about working here,” McCrossen says. “The show really took time to treat the location as its own character in the show. And as a scout, I always felt that the locations were on equal standing with all the other elements of the series. Both shows used signature time-lapse photography to call out the beautiful skies and landscapes of Albuquerque. Anecdotally it seems that international audiences loved seeing the high-desert locations, too. It really sets a sense of time and place that is bigger than our human stories and keeps all the crazy human drama in perspective.” Gilligan shares those feelings: “When I think of Albuquerque, I think of clouds, just those beautiful floating cumulus clouds. The skies. These are skies you just don’t see in Southern California,” he says.

On set: Raymond Cruz as drug lord Tuco Salamanca with Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy/Saul in Better Call Saul, season one. Photo: Lewis Jacobs/Netflix

I WAS PRETTY SURE SAUL WAS GOING TO GET KNOCKED OFF AT ANY MOMENT BOB ODENKIRK

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“You really get the depth and the sense of scale in the desert in Albuquerque. On days when I’m out there on the set, the first thing I do is look out the window. If it’s a day with no clouds, I get really upset! I think about the Sandias [mountains] and about this great city that I’ve grown to love." So, Breaking Bad was a hit; Albuquerque was the natural home of all the characters that had grown together during the series; cast and crew had gone native — so to continue with the prequel was really a no-brainer. “When we were shooting the final season of Breaking Bad there were little whiffs, you know, whiffs of a new project coming, some kind of a spin-off — you get a little gossip but nothing official,” Breaking Bad location manager from season four, Christian Diaz de Bedoya, says. “And then we heard from Melissa that it looks like we are going to do a spin-off and it’s going to be about Saul. So, they kind of kept us on our toes, but said ‘Look, try not to go anywhere!’” Diagnosed with terminal cancer, highschool chemistry teacher Walter White sets about building a meth factory inside an RV to help pay for his medical bills. His wife Skylar (Anna Gunn), a writer of short stories — whose brother Hank (Dean Norris) is a cop — learning of his misdemeanours, takes on a book-keeping job at a local car wash to help him launder his dirty money. Meanwhile partner in crime, his former chemistry student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), slowly becomes torn between his loyalty to White — and the money they are making — and his need to do right thing. As things get out of hand, they seek legal help — and a bit more. They hire strip-mall lawyer Saul Goodman, who soon becomes too involved in their schemes. To help launder Walt's drug money, Saul uses the website White’s son set up for donors to contribute to Walt's chemotherapy, to make the drug money look like small donations from contributors. Saul also helps Jesse anonymously to buy his aunt's house back from his parents, using his share of the drug money.

Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring — legit businessman and local do-gooder on the outside and ruthless drug baron when the locals aren’t looking — in Better Call Saul, season three. Photo: Michele K. Short Saul digs himself deeper and deeper into this multi-layered life of crime and ends up leaving town and taking on a new identity. Launched in February 2015, Better Call Saul follows the travails of aspiring lawyer Jimmy McGill who, with his lawyer genius brother always in the background, is struggling to make a career for himself. Albuquerque is as important as ever in this prequel series. Wide skies, deserts and mountains serve to contrast with Jimmy’s feelings of smallness and desperation in the face of the problems he’s putting on himself. Incongruous buildings in the middle of nowhere reflect his sense of helplessness and isolation, always reminding us that it’s not only the innate badness of some human beings that can overwhelm us, but that our environment can too. “When I interviewed for the job, I had watched previous seasons of Break-

I DEFINITELY SCOUTED LOCATIONS WHERE WE COULD REALLY OPEN IT UP. GET BIG, GET WIDE, GET HIGH”

CHRISTIAN DIAZ DE BEDOYA

ing Bad and I knew that Vince and crew really liked to get these big, wide, beautiful shots,” Diaz de Bedoya says. “So I knew that was always going to be a big part of the aesthetic of the show. And I definitely scouted locations where we could really open it up. Get big, get wide, get high.” “New Mexico is the hottest and coldest place I have ever been,” Bernstein says. “The altitude, hot-air balloons, monsoon season, propensity for lightning and so much more, definitely kept us on our toes. We moved a handful of scenes inside when the weather wouldn’t co-operate. The schedule would endure changes, but we did our best to preserve the integrity of the script and New Mexico, definitely, provided more opportunities than limitations.” “We had to find environments for all these characters that hadn’t been introduced in Breaking Bad,” Diaz de Bedoya says. “Like Lalo Salamanca — nephew of drug lord Hector Slamanca — his hacienda, his operation, his world. And also we were re-visiting some of the Breaking Bad elements of it all. What was so great about Better Call Saul is that I was able to come in with new inspiration. "That was a really big push for myself and my department. You know, you start finding these other creative worlds, loca-

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tions that hadn’t been claimed yet. And in that process, Vince and Peter [co-writer Peter Gould], even though they may have had something in mind, we’d always bring something to the table and they’d say: ‘Oh this is much better than we had anticipated, let’s go with that’.” While this was clearly a love affair between cast, crew and New Mexico, nobody is going to pretend that this is always the easiest place to shoot. “We get heavy summer monsoon rains that can catch you unaware,” McCrossen says. “One August while filming night scenes at Mike’s house [Michael Mckean who plays Jimmy’s brother Chuck], the thunder was clapping again and again overhead. You didn’t even have time to reset the lightning detectors. The rain was coming down so fast and hard it was flooding over the sidewalks in a matter of minutes. The crew had to wrap up equipment as best they could and leave everything with the security guards and walk away till the next day. It was nuts! Crews need a wide range of wardrobe available for all they might face. The desert is harsh. Medics are kept busy in the summer, keeping the crew safe from heat stroke and sunburn. We are even required to have snake wranglers on set to chase away rattlesnakes when filming on remote sites.” One of the biggest problems faced during the combined 12 seasons of both series was nothing to do with the choice of location. “During the final season Bob had a

heart attack. On stage,” Diaz de Bedoya says. “Yeah, he was actually dead on the scene. He was given CPR and rushed to hospital and overall, he came out OK. But it was a very frightening moment for everybody because it happened right there on stage. And with all of that we only stopped production for one week. We shut down for a week, we reorganised some of the shooting schedule and continued to shoot with all the other characters — shooting scenes that didn’t involve him. We had scheduled work for him so that he could take some time off actually. That was right around the time that thing happened. So that worked out, but it was pretty crazy.” Both series have drawn new tourism to the area. Because while we are all used to New York, Chicago, LA, Washington and Miami — all perfect backdrops for gangs, criminals, corrupt politicians and the law-enforcement agents who bring them to justice — Albuquerque is relatively new to TV crime series. “It felt like Albuquerque was a bit off the beaten path for most folks when Breaking Bad came on to the scene,” Bernstein says. “But over the years a Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul cottage industry seems to have taken hold. Home-grown location tours and souvenir shops are expanding the experience for the many tourists who have made Albuquerque a destination, often expressly to walk in Walt’s and Saul’s shoes. I’ve seen families, friends, bachelor parties, artists, writers — all on the path of that adventure.”

Bob Odenkirk on the run, on set for Better Call Saul season one. Photo: Ursula Coyote/Netflix. S1

Cast and crew also ensured that their presence there for 12 seasons was a positive for the community and not just tourists. “We definitely tried to find ways to invest in the community over the years, through employment opportunities, fund-raising drives, educational events, and donations to many worthy causes serving the community,” Bernstein says. “Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn and many of the actors would perform improv as well, with a local company. We are still engaged with the city to find ways to leave a mark so it’s very much an ongoing conversation.” “There can be tensions in neighbourhoods during productions,” McCrossen says. “It’s like the circus comes to town and lands right on your doorstep. Despite that, in general, the citizens of Albuquerque are very receptive to film crews. The Film Office works hard to have reasonable oversight of film crews while in neighbourhoods, so that residents receive adequate notification and clear explanations of what to expect. There is a Code of Conduct that each production must sign off on. And as a series, this show knew they had to be good guests if they wanted to return.” She adds: “Producers often provided late-night coffee or ice-cream trucks, which was fun for the neighbourhoods. And the cast has been very involved in charity and non-profit events.” And if the productions have finally gone, some cast and crew are remaining. “Bob Odenkirk, Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris and others have purchased homes here,” McCrossen says. “This show was amazing in how it really developed a crew that was as tight as a family. That comes from having a 12-season franchise in town. The State of New Mexico actually created a Breaking Bad incentive of an additional 5% for series that film here. Series can be bread-andbutter for a crew and town as the show camps out for multiple seasons. This particular production was amazing in how it cultivated crew talent and moved up team members from within. The Albuquerque Film Office will deeply miss having such creative partners and cheerleaders for film in New Mexico.” So does McCrossen think the franchise has gone forever? “We are so looking forward to having the creative team develop a new storyline that can be filmed here in New Mexico. One can always hope, right? We are collectively, eternally grateful for the spotlight these shows have shared with Albuquerque.”

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MAKING A SCENE TOKYO VICE

LOOKING FOR THE BAD GUYS

Ansel Elgort walks through the neon-lit Tokyo night. Photo: HBO Max/Endeavor Content/WOWOW

TOKYO VICE IS THE SERIES ADAPTATION OF THE 2009 MEMOIR BY AMERICAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST JAKE ADELSTEIN. AS THE FIRST NON-JAPANESE REPORTER TO WORK FOR YOMIURI SHIMBUN, ONE OF JAPAN’S LARGEST NEWSPAPERS, ADELSTEIN WORKED INSIDE THE TOKYO POLICE VICE SQUAD, HIS MISSION: TO EXPOSE CORRUPTION ACROSS THE CITY. JULIAN NEWBY REPORTS LOCATION INTERNATIONAL 2022

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TOKYO FILM COMMISSION https://www.locationbox.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/english/

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T

HE TITLE, Tokyo Vice (2022-), offers a hint as to what viewers might expect from this brand new HBO Max series. Back in 1984 a new style of detective series arrived on our screens. Michael Mann’s Miami Vice celebrated 1980s music, 1980s fashion and perfectly encapsulated the danger and the glamour of the US city in which it was set. Now, be prepared for this new series to do exactly the same: Michael Mann is back, ready to do for Tokyo what he did for Miami. A co-production with HBO Max, Endeavor Content and Japanese Broadcaster WOWOW, Tokyo Vice is inspired by US journalist Jake Adelstein’s book of the

Rachel Keller as Jake’s friend Samantha, speeding through the streets of Tokyo. Photo: HBO Max/ Endeavour Content/WOWOW

same name, his real-life record of his time spent embedded with the Tokyo police, investigating the city’s underworld. The series is created and written by playwright J T Rogers, a friend of Adelstein, who also serves as executive producer and showrunner. Michael Mann, also executive producer, directed the show’s pilot, setting the tone for the series that shot almost entirely on location in Japan. In Tokyo Vice, Ansel Elgort stars as Adelstein, the first non-Japanese reporter to work for a major publication in Japan. The series begins with the fatal stabbing of a man in Shinjuku City, known for its skyscrapers, buzzing clubs, karaoke rooms, hotel bars and restaurants. Adelstein’s investigation into the murder leads him deeper into a world that looks respectable and enterprising by day, full of neon-lit fun by night, but which he

soon discovers is not all that it seems. Elgort stars alongside Japanese movie star Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai/2003). Watanabe plays Hiroto Katagiri, a detective with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, who handles negotiations with the Yakuza, members of international organised crime syndicates that have their roots in Japan — mainly in Tokyo. A family man devoted to his work, he befriends Adelstein and guides him through the city’s underworld. A mentor to the young reporter, he also becomes a father-figure and protector. As showrunner for the series, Rogers was a natural fit. “Jake Adelstein has been my friend since childhood and I got pulled into the story because, when his nearest and dearest were being threatened by Japanese mobsters on the phone, to get at Jake, I was the person they came to,”

MICHAEL WANTED TO SHOOT DEEP DOWN, IN THE ‘BASEMENT’ OF TOKYO. IT REALLY GIVES YOU THAT UNDERWORLD FEELING KEN WATANABE

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he says. “And you’re always looking for a story and a story about gangsters, about loyalty, about struggling to find the truth as a journalist, about what it means to be a detective and coming at it from late 1990s Tokyo — that seems insane enough to be impossible to do. So you’re drawn to it. And if you could pull it off, we could make something that hadn’t been seen before.” And if Rogers was the right guy to write the series, he believes Mann was the only choice as executive producer for the series and director of the pilot. “That first episode is so important in setting up the visual template for the world of the show. You know, having Michael’s sign-on, to come in and do that, was tremendous, because he’s justly lionised for [many] reasons. He built the visual infrastructure for the show, which we could then build on and continue after he went. It was great to have him for sure.” “As a director, he wants everything to be so rooted in reality. It’s almost comical how obsessive he is over all the little details and making sure that everything is real and everything is authentic,” Elgort says. “He has this giant stack of notes with him. He’s tape recording what everyone’s

saying. He said to me, you’ve got to write it down immediately, or get a tape recorder. Otherwise, you’ll never remember exactly the way someone said something. And in a place like Japan, where you get a lot of ‘No’s’ and there are a lot of rules that kind of have to be followed and a lot of boundaries that you can’t cross, well Michael is the kind of guy who doesn’t take no for an answer. So he was just like, ‘What do you mean? What do you mean we can’t do that? Of course we can.’ That kind of attitude was very helpful for making the show as authentic as possible and shooting in the best locations — all that kind of stuff.” Elgort decided early in the process to take a method-acting approach to his role, immersing himself in Japanese culture — and taking on the task of learning Japanese, which Watanabe describes as “the most difficult language in the world”. And he says that COVID actually helped this total immersion process. Six days into the production, the pandemic hit and filming of the pilot shut down as lockdown measures were put in place. “It was probably how Jake felt in the 1990s,” Elgort says. Because now, tourism there is crazy and I feel like the culture in that way

Ansel Elgort as Jake Adelstein and Ken Watanabe as Hiroto Katagiri, in Tokyo Vice. Photo: HBO Max/Endeavor Content/WOWOW

I’M VERY INSPIRED BY LOCATIONS. I LOVE LOCATION SHOOTING

MICHAEL MANN

has become more westernised — slowly, but surely. But in the 1990s it was more strictly Japanese and with COVID it was like turning back the clock, because I really did feel like, ‘Wow, I’m one of the only guys around here who’s not really someone who belongs in Tokyo.’” Lockdown also helped with Elgort’s Japanese. “We got shut down and so we had a whole other prep period — two or three months, so I started taking Japanese classes again, for the pilot and the following episodes. Michael Mann said, ‘Great, we get to do a whole prep period over here. You can use that time to get better in Japanese’.” Location shooting is at the heart of everything that Mann does. “I’m very inspired by locations. I love location shooting,” he says. “I like going to real places and immersing myself into a culture and doing research ahead of time — and then making that come alive for audiences in ways that inspired me when I was involving myself in it to begin with.” However, it is well known among filmmakers — local and international — that Japan, and particularly Tokyo, can be a difficult place in which to film. It’s an issue that the Japanese authorities are working on, but it’s a fact. And if you focus specifically on Tokyo, there are four key reasons for this: it’s crowded — a symptom of its success as a city; rules and regulations are stringent and so historically, permitting has been problematic; few people outside of Japan speak Japanese; and until now, there have been few financial incentives in place there. For Mann, “probably the biggest challenge is tranquility. There is such a wonderful respect, a cultural respect for tranquillity. But when you’re doing a film production, tranquillity sometimes is not allowed. You need to get answers. And sometimes getting answers is very difficult,” he says. “And the kind of answers that serve us are a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. The No’s are very valuable, because then you can move on to the next alternative. It was it was difficult sometimes to get to get answers on locations.”

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MAKING A SCENE TOKYO VICE

But the various problems Mann and his team came up against did not put him off, principally because “the locations that present themselves are spectacular”. “Michael Mann wanted and needed to shoot in Tokyo,” Watanabe says. “Japanese critics sometimes say that foreign filmmakers only want to shoot Tokyo from above, like from the sky or something. But Michael wanted to shoot deep down, in the ‘basement’ of Tokyo. It really gives you that underworld feeling.” Other cities were considered for Tokyo Vice, but Mann wanted the real thing. And he is quick to speak of the positives. “There are tremendous benefits to shooting in Japan,” he says. “The art department, the spirit and the energy and the commitment to the crews — to perfection — it’s fantastic.” At one time there were only 11 Americans on the team. The rest of the crew was Japanese, and “they were quite terrific. The base expectation that crew members have for themselves is perfection. So that is very much a plus.” Working with Japanese on-screen talent was another plus. “The work of the actors was extraordinary. And sometimes it was a little strange, because when you’re casting, or you’re directing, it takes

you some time to make that connection where you’re really having an interior dialogue between yourself and the actor.” But working with the Japanese actors on Tokyo Vice, was “very easy” and he found himself working with “pure artistic talent. It was really exciting.” Meanwhile, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau are engaged in the business of creating a more film-friendly approach, initially by offering grants for location scouting and the production of movies and TV dramas to be released overseas in fiscal year 2022-2023. Around 10 projects will be selected this year for the scouting incentive, in which the Tokyo Film Commission is offering up to 50% of travel, accommodation and co-ordination, up to a maximum of JPY1m ($8,000). And around three projects will also be selected for the filming incentives programme, in which the Commission will cover up to 50% of production expenses for shooting in Tokyo, to a maximum of JPY5m. Only Japanese companies can apply for this incentive, so overseas productions will be required to team with a Japanese partner to be eligible. The Commission has also set up The

Tokyo Location Box (TLB), which was established in April, 2001 as part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The TLB provides services “to ensure a safe and trouble-free filming experience in Tokyo with the co-operation of local governments, private companies, local communities, the TV/film industry and its related industries”, its mission to support filmmakers “in making an impactful film which conveys Tokyo as a fascinating place to viewers at home and abroad”. Services on offer from the TLB include help with authorisation procedures, for example with police and fire services; providing liaison between filmmakers and the owners or managers of locations and remaining on set during filming to help solve any problems that may arise; offering general advice on filming in the city; and promoting films and series through the Tokyo Film Commission website and promotional events. For the Commission’s Mayu Sugaya, what’s important is that productions show an authentic version of Tokyo, as she feels that some foreign productions present “a stereotypical representation of Japan and the Japanese. But with Michael Mann, I didn’t get that feeling at all.”

Rinko Kikuchi as Eimi in Tokyo Vice. Photo: HBO Max/Endeavor Content/WOWOW

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FEATURE CALIFORNIA Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama King Richard. Photo: ©2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment

A WINNING FORMULA TAX INCENTIVES, NEAR-PERFECT WEATHER, A HIGHLY TRAINED CREW BASE AND URBAN AND RURAL LOCATIONS THAT CAN PASS FOR ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. THAT’S CALIFORNIA. ANDY FRY AND JULIAN NEWBY FOCUS ON A NUMBER OF PRODUCTIONS THAT TOOK ADVANTAGE OF WHAT THIS FILM-FRIENDLY STATE HAS TO OFFER

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INCE the Golden State’s tax incentive programme was introduced in 2009 to stem the tide of runaway production, it has helped generate billions of dollars of business for the local industry. CFC executive director Colleen Bell puts the success of the programme down to a number of key factors. “Our state tax incentive isn't the biggest in the world, but it’s backed up by superb infrastructure and crews. Productions that base themselves here know that they are getting the double benefit of an attractive tax rebate and a firstclass service.” At the same time, Bell says the programme has been carefully targeted. “Right from the start, the architects of the tax credit knew what they wanted to achieve and designed the programme accordingly. It’s now into its third edition and every time it evolves in line with the industry’s core priorities.” Also important is its longevity and consistency. “Programme 3.0 was introduced in July 2020 and runs through until 2025,” Bell says. “By that time, the programme will be 16 years old — which goes to show the level of political support for it. That stability feeds into the industry’s decision-making — both in terms of where to base productions and where to build infrastructure.” The current programme is worth $330m a year and is reckoned to have generated $2.6bn in production spending in its first year. “Amid the disruption and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the programme continues to work as intended,”

Bell says, “creating jobs and opportunity across our state”. One project that has benefited from the tax credit is Netflix’s much anticipated action movie The Gray Man (2022), starring Ryan Gosling. Speaking to CFC's Bell as part of her Spotlight California series, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos estimated that the film would represent “$100m in below-the-line spending in California”. With approximately 400 crew members involved in the production, Sarandos says the tax credit doesn’t just improve the bottom line: “I count the stars and crews of shows among my closest friends and there is a real benefit in not breaking up families for six months to go chasing better economics around the globe. I’m a big believer that a happy cast and crew produces a better product.” In its current incarnation, around 57% of the incentive budget is geared towards television. Of this, approximately one third of this is reserved specifically for TV series relocating from other production hubs. This aspect of the programme has been particularly successful with more than 25 series to date relocating from Canada, Ireland and other parts of the US. Such is the importance of this goal that California has increased the money it targets at relocating series. It has also relaxed its criteria so series that filmed their pilot episode out-of-state can qualify as a relocating TV series — the programme previously required relocating series to film an entire season out-of-state. For the 2020-2021 period, five series agreed to locate to California — In Treatment (2008-21), Miracle Workers (2019), Hunters (2020-), The Flight Attendant (2020-) and Chad (2021-) — worth around $174m in wages. More recently, it was confirmed that Disney+’s The Mysterious Benedict Society

Ryan Gosling in The Gray Man. Photo: Netflix

I’M A BIG BELIEVER THAT A HAPPY CAST AND CREW PRODUCES A BETTER PRODUCT TED SARANDOS

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(2021-) is relocating from Vancouver, while ABC series about Latino families vying for power in California, Promised Land (2022-) is leaving Georgia for the West Coast. But, of course, it’s not all about TV. Still arguably the movie capital of the world, the state delivers hundreds of movies a year for the international market and the tax incentives are keeping those numbers up. Will Smith-starrer and Oscar winner King Richard (2021) — which tells the story of how Richard Williams coached two of his daughters to world domination in the game of tennis — is one hit film to have benefitted from the Golden State’s tax incentive programme. The Warner Bros. movie was shot entirely in and around LA and went for an authenticity so strong, that early work on the film included a mission to find the actual house where the Williams sisters grew up. Venus and Serena wouldn’t endorse the movie or come in as executive producers until they could be convinced that it was telling the real story and telling it where it actually happened. Thankfully for Warner Bros., director Reinaldo ‘Rei’ Marcus Green and everyone else involved in the production, the joint holders of 60 Grand Slam titles did eventually give the film their blessing. Venus said that the film showed that everyone “really cared about telling a story that was authentic” and didn’t just follow a formula, while Serena described King Richard as “a brilliant piece of work” — achieved, in part, by the ever presence on set of Isha Price, Venus and Serena’s half-sister and executive producer on the film. “I had a

responsibility to my family, to make sure that the story was told right,” Price says. Richard Williams had a clear vision for his daughters and the film shows how he engaged the power that can come from strong family ties, coupled with total belief, in order to achieve the impossible — taking two young girls from the tough streets of Compton, to sporting excellence, extraordinary wealth and global stardom. The choice of director — a keen baseball player — helped to achieve the successful telling of the Williams’ story, as the film’s location manager David Park explains: “When I first met Rei, it was clear that he had a connection to this story, as an athlete growing up with a strong sports father. He had the conviction to make an honest and heartfelt movie that was not overdramatised,” Park says. “This conviction led the way for much of the writing, performances and even the locations.” Early thoughts on the film came from producers Tim and Trevor White and writer Zach Baylin. The White brothers came up with the idea after seeing an image of Richard Williams at the 1999 Lipton Championships holding up a sign in the stands just after Venus had won the title. The sign read: ‘I told you so’. It was the same tournament at which Richard had held up a sign saying ‘Welcome to the Williams show!!’ as Venus and Serena warmed up to play each other in the final. “We kind of thought that this could be maybe the greatest coaching story in the history of sport,” Tim White says. “And what made it really exciting, was when we started to dive into

The Williams family’s former home in Compton, southern Los Angeles County, as it is today. Photo: David Park

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Matthew Rhys, star of HBO’s 2020 crime drama Perry Mason. Photo: HBO

their story. It was far more than a coaching story; it was about a family — and a story about love and how that keeps the drive alive. It was very inspiring for us. And once Zach came in, we said, that’s the shape to the movie.” “It wasn’t just going to be a sports-centered package about the great moments that we all know about,” Baylin added. “If we were really going to get to know the family, we needed the intimate moments.” An authentic depiction of the family’s early home life was crucial, Price says. So finding the right home in the right neighbourhood was key to the telling of the story. “We started off our journey by packing into a minivan and going to look at the actual Williams’ family home in Compton. Not only were we all personally excited to see this house, it felt like the perfect jumping-off point,” Park says. “Luckily the people who live there today were extremely friendly and welcoming of our group to tour their home. They were excited that we were making this film and felt invested to see the story come to life. That became a common theme as we scouted in Compton and other parts of Southern California. Everyone had their story of Venus and Serena Williams, seeing them practice at the court by their house, hearing stories of them winning and how they got there. People were so excited to share their memories and couldn’t wait to see it on the big screen.” The actual Williams’ childhood home is small. “The rooms

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are tiny and do not leave a lot of space for a full crew and equipment. It’s not uncommon for a replica set to be built on stage to provide flexibility to the crew and more control to be able to create specific shots and lighting,” Park says. “But Rei did not want to build the house on a sound stage. He wanted to find a real house that felt authentic and had all the elements he was looking for and was clear that he was going to make that work.” Eventually three houses were used. Park and the team scoured Compton and other areas of South Los Angeles with the tough task of finding somewhere that had the compact feel of the Williams’ house, but with the capacity to shoot scenes with up to seven or eight actors at one time. Park’s team eventually found all the elements and then set about piecing them all together. All of the challenges associated with city-based filming have not dissuaded producers from using the wonderfully chaotic city of LA for period projects. Quentin Tarantino, for example, lovingly recreated the end of the 1960s in his acclaimed movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019). Eddie Murphy-starrer Dolemite is my Name (2019) was an homage to 1970s LA in all its tacky glory; the F Gary Gray-directed Straight Outta Compton (2015), which recounts the origins of hip-hop band NWA, spectacularly brought the rawness of 1980s LA to life; and LA was the setting of the Amazon Prime series Bosch (2014-21), based on the novels of Michael Connelly, which tells vivid crime stories while paying homage to the present-day City of Angels. Season one of HBO’s 2020 crime drama Perry Mason, starring Matthew Rhys, sets out to recreate LA in 1932. Inspired by the Erle Stanley Gardner novels, the HBO series — now recommissioned for a second run — is billed as an origin story for fabled defense attorney Perry Mason. Directed by Tim Van

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Patten, the project gives LA a compelling noirish feel that is reminiscent of classic movies like Chinatown (1974) and L.A. Confidential (1997). But at the same time, it has a kind of Coen Brothers sensibility — recalling the richness of movies such as Barton Fink (1991) and Hudsucker Proxy (1994). Location manager Alexander Georges describes how he and senior location manager Jonathan Jansen “did a lot of digging and brushing away to find LA’s gems. It was a location-heavy show, with hundreds of locations. It required a lot of conversations with VFX, to understand what they needed to work with.” Helping out the location team were University of Southern California professor and historical consultant William Deverell and production designer John P Goldsmith. One of Goldsmith’s first tasks was to dig up images from the time that might aid him and his colleagues in their research. Valuable resources included LAPD crime-scene archives and waterandpower.org, a website that delivered insights into roads, buildings, signage, fashion and vehicles in that era. A key location in season one was the San Pedro area of LA, which still bears some core similarities to how the city would have looked in the 1930s. Modern had to be stripped out, and period features like billboards and shop displays had to be created. Once period vehicles were added to the mix, the end result was a meticulous recreation of 1930s LA. Iconic locations that helped capture the period included the 1930s art deco Warner Grand movie palace; the aweinspiring Mountain View Mausoleum; Los Angeles City Hall; The Ebell of Los Angeles; and Hollywood Boulevard’s Musso and Frank Grill. For the exterior of Sister Alice McKeegan’s Radiant Assembly of God Church, the production used the former Second Church of Christ, Scientist in West Adams, built in 1910. For the interior, the Embassy Hotel’s Trinity Auditorium was used in scenes where the charismatic Sister Alicia delivered her dynamic sermons. The location team would typically go scouting with VFX supervisor Justin Ball to try and devise period solutions. One thing that quickly became apparent was that a lot of LA buildings still looked authentic from the second floor upwards. So, an ongoing question was whether it was possible to eradicate the modern elements at ground level. Sometimes, the decision would be taken to physically remove anachronistic features — subject to approval from city

agencies. On other occasions, it would be a question of camera angles. When neither of those solutions worked, then VFX could be called into play to erase items. This editing of reality was only part of the VFX role. Another great example of VFX/locations integration was the use of the Angel’s Flight funicular railway at Bunker Hill. Out of service for several years and now surrounded by modern architecture, it was decided that the distinctive climbing railway would be the backdrop to a crime committed in the first episode of season one. It took the combined skills of production designer Goldsmith and VFX supervisor Ball to create an illusion of how the railway would have looked almost 100 years ago. Heading the location team for season two is Mandi Dillin, who has recently become a period-piece specialist: “From January 2020 until now, I’ve spanned four time periods with the projects I’ve worked on — Los Angeles in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s (all filmed in LA), modern-day San Diego (mostly filmed in LA), and 1930s LA. I love working in

I LOVE WORKING IN DOWNTOWN LA. IT’S HECTIC BUT LIFE-AFFIRMING

MANDY DILLIN

Downtown LA. It’s hectic but life-affirming.” Dillin says the team is “taking a bit more creative license” in season two. “While season one was impressively historically accurate, with immense amounts of time spent changing minor details on location, we are exercising artistic liberty this season,” she says. “Of course, we are mindful of things that are blatantly not period-correct, but having a larger date range that extends to pre-war LA has opened many more doors for us. If nobody notices, we did our job well.” California can of course do urban as well as anywhere in the world — but it can also do mountains, deserts, oceans and dramatic countryside, too. The movie Dog (2022), starring Channing Tatum, showed another side of California — the state’s ability to offer pretty much any kind of backdrop a production might need. Dog is a road movie that travels right across America, but the film was able to shoot almost entirely in California.

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Released in February 2022, the MGM production is a buddy comedy that tells the story of Briggs, a military veteran played by Tatum, and Lulu, his troubled canine companion — “a story that’s been growing in our lives for years” Tatum says, referring to himself and co-director Reid Carolin. At the start of the film Briggs is living alone in the snowy outback of Montana, unable to re-acclimatise after his experience in Afghanistan. But then he is called on to take charge of military dog Lulu — also a frontline veteran of the war in Central Asia — and deliver her to the funeral of her recently-deceased handler. According to supervising location manager Justin Hill, the story tracks a course from Montana over to the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, then down through California and on to Arizona and New Mexico. The wild majesty of Montana, for example, was recreated around Mammoth in Northern California, while Randsberg, a couple of hours northeast of LA, doubled for a New Mexico

THE ART DEPARTMENT DID A GREAT JOB, CREATING EVERYTHING FROM A DOG POUND TO A MILITARY CHECKPOINT FROM SCRATCH. AT THE START THERE WAS NOTHING BUT A GRAVEL LOT”

JUSTIN HILL

town and open highway. “We had a lot of fun turning empty plots of land in Lancaster (one hour north of LA) into a cemetery in rural Arizona for one of the key scenes. Identifying unmarked parcels of land required quite a bit of detective work — tracking down and convincing owners to sign a rental agreement in order to be able to film there.” One of the most impressive pieces of production smokeand-mirrors was the creation of Fort Lewis in Pomona, on a vast disused site that eventually will be transformed into facilities for Cal Poly. “It’s a great location, because the site has a lot of distinctive looks and you are able to control the roads in and out,” Hill says. “The art department did a great job, creating everything from a dog pound to a military checkpoint from scratch. At the start there was nothing but a gravel lot.” While the reality of road trips is that they tend to pass through large swathes of unexciting terrain, the magic of movies meant that Hill and his team were able to bring many spectacular looks to the screen as possible. “We really wanted to showcase the beauty of the Pacific Coast through the choice of locations — everything from ocean to mountains to Redwoods. Everywhere we filmed, we shot as much as we could. Aside from Mammoth, we spent time around Big Sur and Santa Cruz, which were both new locations for me. We sent a small unit out for a couple of weeks to get as much diversity on screen as possible. “It really runs the gauntlet in terms of topography and climate, from snowy mountains to remote deserts,” Hill says. “But fortunately, we were able to shoot 99% of it in California.”

Channing Tatum with Lulu, in Dog. Photo: MGM

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FEATURE GEORGIA Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore in Season 4 of Ozark. Photo: Tina Rowden/ Netflix. ©2022

GEORGIA’S GOING FOR GOLD FILM AND TV INCENTIVE PROGRAMMES DON'T ALWAYS DELIVER WHAT POLICY MAKERS INTEND. BUT A RESOUNDING EXAMPLE OF SUCCESSFUL INTERVENTION IS THE US STATE OF GEORGIA, WHICH HAS EMERGED AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S PREMIER PRODUCTION HUBS THANKS TO ITS ATTRACTIVE 20-30% TAX CREDIT. ANDY FRY REPORTS

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AUNCHED in 2008, the Peach State’s incentive programme has provided encouragement for massive infrastructure development, so that Georgia is now home to some of the world’s best studios. In parallel, it has given the state an opportunity to introduce filmmakers to the wealth of its locations. With the exception of deserts, this surprisingly diverse film hub has it all — from mountains and coastline to architectural and cultural diversity. Georgia’s film and TV industry has generated such momentum that even a global pandemic couldn’t stop it expanding. For fiscal 2021, the state set a new record with $4bn in direct spending on productions. That compares with $2.9bn for the last pre-COVID year, 2019. “To some extent, we benefited from pent-up demand,” director of the Georgia Film Office, Lee Thomas, says. “And I also think we were able to pick up some productions that had been planning to shoot in other lockeddown markets. But the speed and scale of the overall recovery speaks volumes about the level of trust filmmakers have in Georgia’s film and TV industry.” Thomas says Georgia’s success can be measured in various ways. One is the range and calibre of projects coming to the state. With 40-50 productions live in Georgia at any one time, featurefilm highlights have included mega-budget Marvel movies Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021/a co-production with Sony). At time of writing, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) was in Georgia while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (2023) is another recent credit. And, there is also a movie version of Wicked and the latest in the Creed franchise to look forward to. Switch to high-end TV and the roster is no less impressive. If the films demonstrate the remarkable capabilities of Georgia’s studios, then the TV series showcase the state’s topography and built locations. The Walking Dead (2010-22), Ozark (2017-22), Underground Railroad (2021), Lovecraft Country (2020) and WandaVision (2021) just scratch the surface of what’s on offer, Thomas says.

Thomas says the rude health of the state’s industry is underlined by the speed of studio construction. “At the end of fiscal 2021, the state offered 2.1 million sq ft in purpose-built stage space and 3.2 million in retrofitted stage and dedicated warehouse space. But we’re on course to double the purpose-built figure by 2023.” There are several players in the vicinity of the state’s largest city Atlanta. These include Trilith (formerly Pinewood Atlanta), Blackhall, Eagle Rock Studios, OFS and Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre studio/backlot enterprise that is used to host Perry’s productions and third-party projects. Trilith is known for Marvel’s blockbusters at its studio complex, but that only scratches the surface, there are 24 stages of various shapes and sizes. Studios 5 and 6, which are both 50 ft high and have 30,000 sq-ft areas, have housed several Marvel films and The Suicide Squad (2021). But there is also a wide array of other stage arrangements in the 15-20,000 sq ft range. In addition, there are production offices, filming equipment, construction workshops and backlots. Frank Patterson, Trilith president & CEO, says the studio setup is an important part of Georgia’s attraction to producers. But he stresses that “it is only one part of our vision. We are making a place where great storytellers can do anything they imagine.” Patterson adds: “We’re also investing in technology and content. In tech, we are currently focused on virtual production, while in content we have acquired companies like Believe Entertainment Group and kids studio Sutikki. We are making our own content, like kids show Moon & Me. We’re also exploring opportunities to invest in emerging kinds of content.” Trilith’s ambition doesn't stop there. “We are also in the process of building a 235-acre town where creatives can live and raise their families,” Patterson says. “There’s a range of homes, restaurants, a wellness centre and more. What we are developing here is an ecosystem where people can live and work, and where our clients can find the crew and vendors they need to support their productions. “We built this complex for big-budget movies, but we have

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in Avengers: Endgame. Photo: Marvel Studios

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Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' Loki. Photo: ©Marvel Studios 2021.

had multi-year TV projects like WandaVision,” he adds. “We’re in discussions about more long-running projects but we have to find a way to accommodate them without nudging the movie production out.” Satisfaction with Trilith’s services is evident in the studio’s healthy order book. And it doesn’t do any harm to have hosted Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has taken $1.8bn at box office. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Dr Strange in the new Spider-Man, adds that the high levels of craft feeds through into on-screen performance: “The scale of what they have here is not to be underestimated. The quality of the set build, the effects really put you right on your game.” In terms of planned developments, Blackhall Studios, which has hosted Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) and Jungle Cruise (2021), is currently undergoing a $250m expansion. Not far away, Gray Television is building a new studio in Doravilla. Projected to be one million sq ft in total, the majority of the site is being built on a former General Motors plant. But in September 2021 Gray extended its footprint by acquiring Third Rail Studios, adjacent to the GM plant. While the GM section of the complex is expected to be ready by 2025, Third Rail already boasts high-quality stages and production offices. Recent clients have included Netflix, with productions including Ozark and Rampage (2018). In January 2022, Cinelease unveiled plans to expand its existing presence at Three Ring Studio in Covington. Having opened in Atlanta with just 8,000 sq ft back in 2008, the expanded Three Ring complex will have 14 purpose-built sound stages in 2023. In addition to 276,000 sq ft of stage space, there will be 100,000 sq ft of office space, and 72,800 sq ft of flexible space. Not surprisingly, Atlanta communities close to the studios

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have also benefited from location work. Gwinnett County has positioned itself as a film-friendly destination and offers Victorian homes, historic downtowns, parks, malls, high schools and taverns. Projects using Gwinnett locations include Stranger Things (2016-), The Outsider (2020) and Macgyver (2016-21). The Marvel movie Loki (2021-) also shot scenes at a Vulcan Quarry in Loganville. DeKalb County has also enjoyed production growth, claiming that 60% of all Georgia productions have touched the County. In a recent economic report, DeKalb Entertainment Commission director Shelbia Jackson confirms that: “DeKalb has been booming with productions that range from major blockbusters to independent productions.” One show that made heavy use of DeKalb was ABC’s reboot of The Wonder Years (2021-), which used locations in Decatur, Tucker, Lithonia and Stone Mountain. Jackson says: “DeKalb’s diverse landscape offers options that mimic a bustling city through to the retro feel viewers will experience with this iteration of The Wonder Years.” The GFO’s Thomas says of all the studio expansion has meant “a lot of ribbon-cutting ceremonies — not just the Atlanta area. There are also plans for a $60m development in Athens. Athena Studios will provide 350,000 sq ft of space for film and television production.” In addition, one sound stage at Athena Studios will be used by the University of Georgia and the Georgia Film Academy to train the next generation of film-industry professionals. The development of the Athens hub, 70 miles outside Atlanta, is a good illustration of how the upswing in film and TV production is being felt across the entire state, GFO’s Thomas adds. “As the industry has matured, producers have also started looking further afield,” Thomas says. “At the same time, we’ve developed a much more robust network of local film offices to service productions. We’ve also benefited from our Camera Ready community programme, which taps into local expertise about great locations, places to stay and the specifics of permitting.” The town of Thomasville down on the Florida border has

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also become a focal point for filmmakers. Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek and Amy Adams were recently there to shoot Sam And Kate. Other visiting films during 2021 included Bandit (2022) starring Mel Gibson and Josh Duhamel. “Also worth checking out is Columbus,” Thomas says, “which has its own incentive for producers who chose to bring crew there.” A major beneficiary of Georgia’s reinvention as a production capital has been the exquisite port city of Savannah, located on Georgia’s East Coast. “Like everyone, we had a pause for COVID in 2020,” says Beth Nelson, film commissioner at the Savannah Regional Film Commission. “But we got really busy again in 2021.” The year 2021 generated around $114m spend on film and TV, “our second-best year ever”, Nelson says. “And 2022 will top that. Already we’ve got TV projects from Sony, AMC and Apple TV+, as well as a lot of independent features. Late last year, we also had NBCUniversal’s The Girl from Plainville (2022), starring Elle Fanning.” Another project that has just wrapped is Halloween Ends (2022), the third movie in the horror franchise reboot, starring Jamie Lee Curtis. “The city itself is encircled by a mix of rural countryside, waterways and small towns,” Nelson says. That range has enabled Savannah to double for quite a few states in the US, as well as London, Buenos Aries and Southeast Asia. Savannah has a rich history of production, but it has undoubtedly seen a significant uplift since the introduction of the Georgia tax credit. The city has also introduced its own tax credit,

WE’RE ONLY 2.5 HOURS FROM ATLANTA, SO THERE’S ALSO NO REASON WHY AUGUSTA COULDN'T BE CALLED ON TO HANDLE SECOND-UNIT SHOOTS ON MAJOR FILMS JENNIFER BOWEN

which can be used in conjunction with the state tax credit. Pitched at 10% of qualifying spend, Nelson says it has proved another major attraction. The city is also an easy place to shoot, she adds, with a friendly community and great crew. Also Savannah is currently the LMGI’s Outstanding Film Commission for its work on Amazon’s 10-part series The Underground Railroad. The series was shot entirely in Georgia, mainly in Savannah, which was also the pre-production base. During production SRFC spent many hours assisting the location manager with the permitting and logistical challenges of filming a period piece in the middle of a busy city. The biggest challenge involved obtaining a permit to close a busy arterial highway for a major scene. The road runs in front of Savannah City Hall, which was transformed into the Griffin building, a pivotal location in the series. The one thing missing, of course, is a studio ecosystem. But there are moves in that direction, Nelson says. Savannah College of Art and Design is expanding its 22,000 sq ft facility and a major new complex, Savannah Studios, broke ground in Q3, 2021. Other locations coming on to the radar include Macon, about 80 miles south of Atlanta. Aaron Buzza, vice-president of development/COO at Visit Macon says: “Macon’s proximity to Atlanta allows for us to be at the top of the list for scouts because

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we are close, while offering a wide variety of location options.” A number of productions have used Macon’s downtown, Buzza says, “so closing streets is pretty standard. That has allowed picture cars to move in and ‘fireballs’ to be dropped from the sky. We’ve had streets aged so they can play for 100 years ago. And we recently had an historic building owner authorise the removal of third floor windows to accommodate a cast iron claw-foot bathtub to be lifted into place by crane. Our historic Terminal Station, which was featured in Black Widow (2021) and The Underground Railroad, saw upgrades and updates that were left in place inside the Terminal after the productions left.” Buzza says Macon is “definitely benefitting from the Georgia boom and we’ve seen a slight change in requests. Productions are looking at larger spaces that would allow set building. Some are looking for large outdoor spaces and business parks that are hard to find elsewhere.” Augusta, halfway between Atlanta and Savannah, has also identified film and TV production as a growth opportunity. Jennifer Bowen, the city’s film liaison, says the variety of period and contemporary architecture remains a key attraction. New England, Gothic, Mediterranean and Victorian are all present, as are distinctive hotels, libraries, university buildings and a cemetery. “We also have a distinctive downtown look with a lot of different influences, including French,” she says, adding, “there is a river, swamps and a mix of rural locations.” 2021 was a good year, she says, almost returning to prepandemic levels: “Of particular note we had three independent features. Mel Gibson was in town to shoot a spy thriller called Agent Game (2022), while Dennis Quaid visited later in the year for The Hill (2022). But we’re also seeing a lot of enquiries related to high-end TV series. We’re only 2.5 hours from Atlanta, so there’s also no reason why Augusta couldn't be called on to handle second-unit shoots on major films.” In terms of future-proofing, Patterson believes Trilith’s placemaking strategy will play an important role delivering resilience and longevity to the state’s production sector. “But from a tech perspective, we’re also investing in virtual production. We are just about to open an 18,000 sq ft facility called Prysm, built in partnership with NEP. And we’re expecting our first client to move in around June 2022.” GFO’s Thomas says another key pillar in the state’s strategy is the creation of a larger talent base to service production. In part, she says, this is helped by the range of productions visiting Georgia. “While the big budget projects get the headlines, the state hosted a total of 366 productions in fiscal 2021, including 45 independent films, 222 television and episodic productions and 57 commercials. They are all opportunities for younger talent to learn from their peers.” Also key to this agenda, she adds, is the Georgia Film Academy, which trains new entrants to the production industry via colleges and universities. Additionally, the GFA works with incoming productions to try and find roles for new talent. This year, for example, MGM partnered with the GFA to create eight student intern roles on Michael B Jordan’s Creed III (2022). Elizabeth Raposo, president of Jordan’s Outlier Society, says: “We are inspired by the mission of the Georgia Film Academy and believe that mentorship of the next generation of filmmakers is essential to the longevity of our business.” Jeffrey Stepakoff, GFA executive director, expressed his appreciation: “This is the kind of public-private partnership which puts Georgians to work and makes our state ready to support all the production activity of today and tomorrow.”

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SCHONBRUNN PALACE,VIENNA, AUSTRIA The spectacular 18th-century Schönbrunn Palace, the main summer residence of the Habsburg imperial rulers. Films shot here include A Breath of Scandal (1960) and The Living Daylights (1987), plus the TV series Vienna Blood (2019-). Photo, courtesy Mark Indig LMGI

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BARRANDOV STUDIOS, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC Barrandov Studios is a set of film studios in Prague, Czech Republic, the largest film studio in the country and one of the largest studio complexes in Europe. Several major Hollywood productions have been made here, including: Mission:Impossible (1996), The Bourne Identity (2002) and Casino Royale (2006). Recent TV projects include: Knightfall (2017-19), Carnival Row (2019- ) and The Wheel of Time (2021- ).

SAN FELIPE, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO Located by the Sea of Cortez, San Felipe is a beautiful town faced by islands off the coast and unspoiled waters. The Bay of San Felipe is three metres above sea level and at low tide the water can recede as much as two kilometres. The beach is one of the highlights in San Felipe, the sea is warm and calm, and there are beautiful sunrises. Movie productions shot here include: Jarhead (2005) and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). Photo, courtesy Ehrin Davis, LMGI

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SAN LUIS, SANDOVAL COUNTY, NEW MEXICO, US Sandoval County is an area featuring beautiful rock formations that provide different looks in differing lights and weather conditions; its dusty lonesome highways are scattered with historic buildings. Countless movies have taken advantage of these landscapes and filmed throughout New Mexico over the years, including: 3:10 to Yuma (2007) and Sicario (2015). Photo, courtesy Ehrin Davis, LMGI

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ALHAMBRA, GRANADA, ANDALUSIA, SPAIN The Alhambra is a palace and fortress in Granada, an important example of Islamic architecture, built for the Moorish monarchs. The name Alhambra — meaning “the red” in Arabic — is probably derived from the reddish colour of the outer walls. The Alhambra is situated in a locale of rare natural beauty, built on a plateau which overlooks the Albaicín (Albayzin) quarter of Granada’s Moorish old city. Some of the film projects that have chosen this unique location are: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Delusions of Grandeur (1971) and Time Bandits (1981). Photo, courtesy Mark Indig, LMGI

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ALBUQUERQUE FILM OFFICE .................................................................................................................... 98 AUSFILM ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 90 BARRANDOV STUDIOS................................................................................................................................. 36/37 BILBAO BIZKAIA FILM COMMISSION ....................................................................................... 38 BRITISH FILM COMMISSION ........................................................................................................................24 BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS FILM COMMISSION ..................................................102 CALGARY FILM COMMISSION................................................................................................................... 82 CANARY ISLAND FILMS .............................................................OUTSIDE BACK COVER (INTERNATIONAL EDITION) CITY OF MADRID FILM OFFICE .............................................................................................................. 42 COSTA RICA FILM COMMISSION ................................INSIDE FRONT COVER CREATIVE SCOTLAND ................................................................................................................................................. 28 DURBAN FILM OFFICE ...............................................................................................................................................16 FILM FIJI ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 94 FILM LONDON 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STUDIOS..................................................................................................108 KENT FILM OFFICE .......................................................................................................................................................... 30 MONO COUNTY TOURISM AND FILM COMMISSION ................................... 20 LOCATION MANAGERS GUILD INTERNATIONAL...............................................110 LOCATIONS AFRICA.....................................................................................................................................................102 MADRID FILM OFFICE .............................................................................................................................................. 40 MALLORCA FILM COMMISSION............................................................................................................ 50 AND OUTSIDE BACK COVER (CANNES SPECIAL EDITION) MALTA FILM COMMISSION 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NAVARRA FILM COMMISSION................................................................................................................. 44 NEOM ...................................................................................................................... PAGES 6/7 (INT EDITION) AND INSIDE FRONT COVER (CANNES SPECIAL EDITION) NETHERLANDS FILM COMMISSION ...............................................................................................10 NORTHERN IRELAND SCREEN .................................................................................................................. 26 ONTARIO CREATES ........................................................................................................................................................... 84 PALM BEACH COUNTY FILM AND TV COMMISSION............................... 100 POLISH FILM INSTITUTE........................................................................................................ PAGES 4/5 PORTUGAL FILM COMMISSION............................................................................................................. 48 RIVERSIDE COUNTY FILM COMMISSION......................................................................... 114 SAN DIEGO FILM COMMISSION .......................................................................................................... 116 SAN FRANCISCO FILM COMMISSION ...................................................................................... 119 SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY FILM COMMISSION...............................................122 SAN SEBASTIAN- GIPUZKOA FILM COMMISSION ........................................... 46 SANTA CLARITA FILM OFFICE ...............................................................................................................120 SAVANNAH REGIONAL FILM COMMISSION .............................................................. 127 SCREEN IRELAND .................................................................................................................................................................18 SCREEN QUEENSLAND.............................................................................................................. 08 AND 93 SCREENWEST AUSTRALIA............................................................................................................................... 92 SLOVAK FILM COMMISSION ..........................................................................................................................81 TAIPEI FILM COMMISSION ..........................................................................................................................104 TOKYO FILM COMMISSION..........................................................................................................................106 TRILITH STUDIOS ............................................................................................................................................................. 124 UPSTATE CALIFORNIA ............................................................................................................................................ 112 VIENNA FILM COMMISSION........... VII (CANNES SPECIAL EDITION) VILLAGE ROADSHOW STUDIOS............................................................................... PAGES 2/3 VILNIUS FILM OFFICE ............................................................................................................................................... 64 VISIT SAVANNAH ...........................................................................................................................................................129

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