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LOCATION 2018 INTERNATIONAL

N ER A H TH H. T E NO AC R MOST A Y BE JURETT P

2018 INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

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COVER LOCATION INT 2018.indd 1 CVB3372_The Location Mag FPFC Film_Mech.indd 1

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PUBLISHED BY BOUTIQUE EDITIONS

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THE FURTHEST REACHES OF YOUR IMAGINATION ARE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.

With versatile landscapes, experienced film crews and incentivized tax breaks, the only limit to filming in the U.S. Virgin Islands is your imagination. Enjoy up to a 29% tax rebate and up to a 17% transferable tax credit when you film in the USVI. For more opportunities in St.Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, call 340.774.8784 ext. 2243.

filmusvi.com

DOWNLOAD THE FILM USVI APP:

© 2018 U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

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With versatile landscapes, experienced film crews and incentivized tax breaks, the only limit to filming in the U.S. Virgin Islands is your imagination. Enjoy up to a 29% tax rebate and up to a 17% transferable tax credit when you film in the USVI. For more opportunities in St.Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, call 340.774.8784 ext. 2243.

filmusvi.com

DOWNLOAD THE FILM USVI APP:

Š 2018 U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

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AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST SOUND STAGE AT VILLAGE ROADSHOW STUDIOS

AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST WATER TANK AT VILLAGE ROADSHOW STUDIOS

Nine sound stages totaling 156.736 sq ft / 14,560 m² includes largest sound stage of 40,000 sq ft/ 3,716 m²

Three heated and filtered water tanks totaling 2.48 million gallons / 9.4 million liters including the huge outdoor tank of 1.85 million gallons /7 million liters

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DIVERSE FILM FRIENDLY LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT THE REGION

INCENTIVES AND SUPPORT FROM SCREEN QUEENSLAND AND CITY OF GOLD COAST

The Gold Coast offers city architecture, beautiful beaches, sub-tropical rainforests, scenic country roads and dusty quarries — all within 30 minutes of the Studios.

Screen Queensland and City of Gold Coast offer film incentives and production attraction support, along with on-the-ground resources focused on supporting all aspects of your production.

Village Roadshow Studios: www.villageroadshowstudios.com.au Screen Queensland: www.screenqld.com.au

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© Algérie vue du ciel - aarc / Hope production-2016

Shoot in Algeria Algerian Center fo Cinema Development Algerian Film Commission Contact us : contact@cadcinema.dz / +213 23 31 69 34

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2018 INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

2018

INTERNATIONAL

Published by Boutique Editions Ltd. Additional copies are available on request. EDITOR Julian Newby MANAGING EDITOR Debbie Lincoln CONTRIBUTORS Andy Fry, Sandy George, Marlene Edmunds, Gary Smith PUBLISHER Richard Woolley 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 Jerry Odlin International Sales Director jodlin@boutiqueeditions.com Lisa Ray Sales Manager (EMEA+Asia) lray@boutiqueeditions.com Nicki Webber Sales Manager (North America) 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 ©2018 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.

LAKE MCDONALD, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA Our cover shows boats on Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park's biggest lake. Gouged out by Ice-Age glaciers, this 10-mile-long, 472 ft-deep lake is surrounded by mountains, with the Continental Divide 14 miles away. The mountains provide a spectacular backdrop for the lake and also act as a rain block. Productions shot here include: The Shining (1980), Heaven's Gate (1980), Forrest Gump (1994), The River Wild (1994), The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe (2005) and My Sister's Keeper (2009). (Photo, courtesy Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development)

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08 16 30 CONTENTS

COCAINE GODMOTHER

Star Catherine ZetaJones and director Guillermo Navarro talk to Location International about their new Lifetime movie

DAS BOOT

CANADA

The new television series Das Boot won't disappoint devotees of the original 1981 production

Canada offers more than its nickname Hollywood North might suggest

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Great weather, a skilled crew base, diverse locations, and knowledgeable, enthusiastic film commissioners... No wonder filmmakers continue to love Spain

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48 78

LOCATION INTERNATIONAL TOURS SOME OF THE STRIKING AND DIVERSE LOCATIONS ACROSS THE WORLD

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GREECE

The Greek island of Naxos provided the backdrop for the finale of Bollywood blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai

SERBIA

Two years into its film incentive programme, Serbia has become one of the most competitive territories in Europe for foreign filmmakers

CALIFORNIA

The UK film and TV production boom shows no sign of abating, with prestige projects shooting all over the country

Seasons one and two of this 1920s drama are widely regarded as among the best TV to be made in Germany

IN PICTURES

California can do all kinds of fantasy as well as real-life Americana. And fuelled by a successful incentive programme it has once again become the natural home of the movies

THE UK

BABYLON BERLIN

SPAIN

93

37

115

MOUNTAIN STATES

The US' mountain states are naturals in front of the camera. And they have a lot more to offer than just mountains

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122 GEORGIA

The year 2018 has seen dozens of productions flock to the southern US state, drawn by incentives and more

OKLAHOMA

Star-studded feature film I Can Only Imagine brings to life the true story of the most popular contemporary Christian song

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QUEENSLAND

As well as golden beaches, the Australian state of Queensland offers a sophisticated production industry that welcomes the world

134 JAPAN

The art of legendary Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai comes under the scrutiny of 4K technology

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MAKING A SCENE COCAINE GODMOTHER

Catherine Zeta-Jones as the Black Widow, Griselda Blanco

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MAKING A SCENE COCAINE GODMOTHER

MAKING A SCENE

‘She's not

the sweetest

woman...’ Making the Lifetime TV movie Cocaine Godmother was a labour of love for its star Catherine Zeta-Jones and director Guillermo Navarro. They spoke to Julian Newby about the birth of the film and taking it on location

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MAKING A SCENE COCAINE GODMOTHER

Guillermo Navarro directs Juan Pablo Espinosa who plays Blanco’s second husband, drug trafficker Alberto Bravo

I

T’S STRANGE that the story of Griselda Blanco has not been told on film before now. Stories of evil, cold-blooded male killers have dominated our screens for decades. But what of the women? It’s true that the most notorious, murderous criminals over the years have been men — but surely that would make the women’s stories even more compelling, driven by questions about the differences between a male and a female killer, and how and why a woman might come to carry out such violent acts. Catherine Zeta-Jones, who plays Griselda Blanco in the Lifetime movie Cocaine Godmother, has clearly been fascinated by such questions. “It was a character I’ve been wanting to play for some years,” she tells Location International magazine. “This woman has kind of been with me for some time, so doing this film was a dream come true. But it was also like some kind of exorcism of her, because she’s not the sweetest woman to be carrying around for years in your head.” Prostituted out by her mother when just a child in her native Colombia, Griselda Blanco became an outlaw at a very young age after shooting dead one of her clients. She left Colombia for New York, married while still a teenager and had three boys, but left her abusive husband for

a drug trafficker whose business she took to a whole new level, by using beautiful women to smuggle cocaine in their underwear. Taking her sons with her, she followed the business to Miami and later Los Angeles, where she lived in various luxurious homes while maintaining her cold-blooded ability to kill at will and put fear into anyone she met along the way. She murdered her second husband and married a third time while still openly engaged in a love affair with Carolina (Jenny Pellicer), one of the women on her smuggling team and sometime babysitter to her boys. All three husbands died at her hands, earning her the nickname the Black Widow. Zeta-Jones first came across the character while watching the 2008 documentary Cocaine

Catherine Zeta-Jones “This woman has been with me for some time”

Cowboys 2, one of three documentaries by director Billy Corben about the Colombian drug barons who brought their trade and brand of extreme violence to Miami in the 1980s. Although just a background character among the men who dominated the documentary, ZetaJones was fascinated by Blanco and so pursued her story with the aim of putting it up on the screen. “Usually actors say they find something in a character that is close to them, but this woman has nothing,” Zeta-Jones says. “There’s no redeemable quality at all, she’s everything that I’m against. But I wanted to find a way of playing her so that, first of all, one would understand her not as a woman, but as a woman or man alike coming from where she came from, and getting to the heights of success as she did. I wanted the audience to go on this journey with her and understand where this came from. And there was also the idea that, if it was a man who succeeded as she did — money, success, power and the fear of God that she instilled in people — would you find it so fascinating? Would you find it so terrible, the extent of what he did to get the power and money that he craved? That really I think is the root of where I came from.” She adds: “As an actor, it’s something that always crosses your mind — I’ll read a book or whatever and think, ‘Wow, I could really do

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Film Tax Rebate

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MAKING A SCENE COCAINE GODMOTHER

Navarro came on board, “who I adore. It was just a dream come true.” As a Mexican, and director on two episodes of season one of Narcos, Navarro would instantly bring some authenticity to the project. So what did he feel about having a Welsh-born actor playing the Colombian lead? “There is some controversy about that. But I believe that it’s about having a good actor playing the part and understanding the character,” Navarro told Location International. “Also, the project came to me, it’s not that I went out to cast her. She was the leading part of the movie. But I didn’t have any hesitation that she

Catherine Zeta-Jones “There’s no redeemable quality at all, she’s everything that I’m against”

Catherine Zeta-Jones on set as the young Grisleda Blanco

something with this, I’d love to play that part.’ This is a woman that just jumped out of that documentary for me and so I did more research on it, but it’s taken this long for it to come to fruition.” The research led Zeta-Jones to “six or seven” scripts that were being worked on by various people, and particularly one by screenwriter David McKenna. “When you do these kind of biog things it’s always a question of ‘Where do you start? Do you do the earliest years? Where do you come in and out of her life?' And it’s a pretty intense life.” Blanco came from the slums of Medellín,

Colombia. An outlaw from the age of eleven, she ended up married in Queens, NY while on the run. She later moved to Miami and then to Los Angeles. “How can you get all that into a reasonable amount of time? I wanted to make a slice of life. So David’s script came to me and I loved how he’d worked it. Then I needed to get some more work done on it and we went out to directors. But first of all I had a meeting with Tanya Lopez at Lifetime, and she said to me: ‘What do you want to do?’ And I said I wanted to do this, and that’s how we’re here.” More of the parts fell into place for Zeta-Jones when “the wonderful” director Guillermo

could play it, she knew the character very well and she was able to get out of her own skin in terms of being Catherine Zeta-Jones. She became that other person and she was wonderful at that, so I’m very happy with the work we did together.” He adds: “She worked with a dialect coach, she went through a whole transformation not only physically but internally to embody that character, and she owned it completely from the first day of shooting onwards.” So next, where to shoot? The four distinctive South and North American locations are important to this true story, but how easy would it be to visit all of them for the film? “We considered all the places where the story actually took place but there were practical problems with each of them,” Zeta-Jones says. “Miami, for example, is as instantly recognisable today as it was then, but there are elements that would have made continuity difficult.” More importantly, if the production was going to shoot on location, budgets needed to be considered. The production team fast settled on Vancouver, British Columbia. “I had to go somewhere with a rebate, and I’ve shot in Vancouver before so I was comfortable there,” Navarro says. “But I had to create the world where the story takes place — New York, Miami, LA and Colombia — and there’s nothing like that there. So it’s actually amazing that we pulled it off, that we found the bits-and-pieces to do it.” And in bits-and-pieces is exactly how it was shot. A shocking scene where Blanco goes out one night purely to kill, is shot outside the Miami home of a husband and wife who are coming

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MAKING A SCENE COCAINE GODMOTHER

Shooting a scene from Griselda Blanco's third wedding, in Cocaine Godmother

home to their children after an evening out. The wife meets her fate out in the street while the rest of the family is dealt with inside. “That was a house [in Vancouver] that looks like a Miami house. But it was the only one in the entire area,” Navarro says. “So it was like that, it was very hard, but we had a very good location team and we were able to find the corners to do it.” For Zeta-Jones, shooting on location helped her to get deeper into the part. “I love my husband and my kids, but I was so glad to be on my own on location, to immerse myself in this woman,” she says. “So I pretty much was walking around feeling like Griselda for the whole length of the shoot — and then I put my back out. But I don’t care — it was worth it. I wanted to let it all hang out. Griselda didn’t care; she thought she was beautiful. She was a movie star, starring in her own movie, and she didn’t give a shit what other people thought. I wanted to have that attitude, that mentality, not to do a caricature of the mugshot people only ever see of her.” As well as Vancouver — and in studios for various interior shots — Navarro believed that it was important also to shoot in Colombia, where Blanco was born and lived until the age of 11. “Medellín, Colombia is a very poor area so it was hard to be there,” he says. “These are places that are blighted by poverty and people struggle for

their lives every day so it’s hard to pull off. But It was important for me that the beginning of the movie grabs who she is as a character — and she’s a product of her circumstance and poverty, you know? So that is the driving force, of surviving, that you had to do whatever to move forward.” He adds: “It’s a little bit like what we know today about what a child soldier is, where children are surrounded by violence and don’t develop a sense of empathy in their growing up and that’s why they’re capable of committing atrocities.” Navarro says that filming in Colombia “wasn’t dangerous, but it was real. It can be difficult when a film crew invades a part of the world where you’re a complete stranger, but we were

Guillermo Navarro “Medellín, Colombia is a very poor area so it was hard to be there”

able to keep it real and keep focused on what we were doing. I found an incredible young actress who plays young Catherine [Isabella Sierra] who was great. It was a very difficult part, so in general it was a very positive experience.” Zeta-Jones is certain that television was the right choice for distribution of the film. “It doesn’t fit into what the corporate world of our industry considers a money-making movie for women,” Zeta-Jones said. “Budget wise, if it was a $100m dollar movie I would have had a better chance at getting it made, or if it was a handheld student film that we showed at Sundance for $500,000 I’d probably get a handle on it being released in a cinema. But the fact that this is a female playing a not necessarily identifiable woman is a hard sell. Right now it’s really, really tough to get these made. If this was a sequel to a comic book franchise, then yes. But it’s not. And the press and advertising takes so much money out of your budget to put it on the big screen, that to be able to do what I wanted to do — I wanted the best cinematographer, which is Guillermo, to shoot it, I wanted everything on the screen, and this is the way I could do it. And Lifetime jumped at it and it was really admirable.” Cocaine Godmother is produced by Asylum Entertainment for Lifetime. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights

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FEATURE CANADA

CANADA ON CAMERA

Showbusiness is big business in Canada. Diverse locations, appealing incentives, top-quality studios, first-class infrastructure, political stability, a raft of organisations to support the sector, outstanding filmmaking talent and a can-do attitude, together prove that Canada offers more than its nickname of Hollywood North might suggest. Debbie Lincoln reports

tion is the 2017 Oscar-winning film The Shape Of Water, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, which according to the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) contributed more than CA$20m to the provincial economy. Directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, The Shape Of Water led the nominees at the 2017 Oscars with 13 nods, and won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score and Best Production Design. Canadians Oscar-nominated for the film included production designers Paul Austerberry, Jeff Melvin and Shane Vieau; and film editor Sidney Wolinsky. One of the film’s producers, another Canadian, J Miles Dale, says: "Other than Guillermo, the cinematographer and some of the actors, every single person on this film was Canadian.” The story, that Del Toro calls the ultimate romantic fairytale, is set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America where in a government laboratory in Baltimore, lonely mute cleaner Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret amphibious being who seems to reflect human emotion. The setting is both fantastical and recognisably real. The Ontario Film Commission worked closely with producer Dale and unit/location manager Vince Nyuli to source locations. The production primarily shot in two Ontario regions, Toronto and Hamilton (a port city to the south west of Toronto), over 58 days. Locations included Toronto’s Massey Hall and Elgin Theatre, the brutalist exterior of University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus, Hamilton Sand Piles, Hamilton City Hall, Toronto’s Keating Channel and Gardiner Expressway; and Toronto’s retro diner The Lakeview. The government laboratory’s bathroom and locker room each hosted key scenes and these were shot in Toronto’s massive Hearn Generating Station, a decommissioned power station. “We looked at Hearn because it has tiled rooms — we ended up hand-painting every tile to be in our palette,” production designer Paul Austerberry says. The neo-classical exterior of Elisa and her neighbour Giles’ apartments was provided by Massey Hall, a performing arts theatre.

A REPORT by the Canadian Media Producers Association revealed that the 2016-2017 fiscal year was strong for the whole of Canada, with production volume reaching a record CA$8.38bn, lead by British Columbia (BC), closely followed by Ontario and then Québec. The industry also generated more than 24,000 direct full-time jobs in BC, a similar figure in Ontario, and more than 14,500 in Québec. Although it’s true to say that some Hollywood dollars have been lured north by favourable exchange rates, that is only part of the picture. The hike in activity includes a surge in international projects, especially from the UK, France and Germany. A perfect recent example of the cocktail of Canadian talent and loca-

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FEATURE CANADA

Martha Higareda and Joel Kinnaman filming Altered Carbon

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FEATURE CANADA

Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba starred in Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, shot in Toronto

When Eliza climbs down the fire escape, modern recognisable architecture is green-screened from the horizon. The Keating Channel, where the Don River meets Lake Ontario, appears several times, notably the deluged climax where the Gardiner Expressway is clearly visible, but the unmistakable Toronto skyline has digitally disappeared. The studio base for The Shape Of Water was Cinespace Film Studios, a family-owned company based in Toronto for 30 years, operating over one million sq ft of studio and support space. Real water obviously played a role in this film, which required challenging tank work. For some of the underwater sequences, Danish DOP Dan Laustsen went back to old techniques, shooting ‘dry for wet’, creating the illusion of water using heavy smoke, wind machines and projection to replicate water, allowing the actors to work with their eyes open. Doug Jones, who plays the amphibious creature says: “Sally and I were working in fog with lights zig zagging around like waves. When I saw the playback, I was like, ‘dang that looks real’.” The other-worldly atmosphere was crucial to this story, especially the colour palette and lighting. “The sets were like stepping into a painting,” Hawkins says. Production designer Austerberry's skills were put to the test for interior scenes. Elisa and Giles’s neighbouring apartments were like two halves divided by an arched window. Del Toro adds: “With Giles, even if the scene was at night, we lit it like sunset in very warm tones. The colour-coding of Elisa’s apartment is aquatic, with cool lighting and lots of cyan. Dan [Laustsen] is a genius, he was

On location for Netflix series Altered Carbon in British Columbia

WHEN THEY AWAKE DOCUMENTARY WHEN THEY AWAKE FILMED EXTENSIVELY ACROSS CANADA. The celebration of

indigenous music wrapped at the beginning of 2017. The film title was inspired by Louis Riel, a Metis Elder, who in 1885 said: “My people will sleep for 100 years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirits back.” “We shot in the NWT — in all six regions, from Yellowknife and Hay River to Norman Wells and Fort Simpson on the MacKenzie River, to Inuvik, all the way up above the tree line, and down to Fort Smith on the Alberta border,” says co-director and producer Pedro Marcellino. “Our first non-northern shoot happened in Ottawa, and it was followed by Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Six Nations of Grande River, Nipissing First Nation, Saint-Annede-Bellevue in Quebec and then back north to Iqaluit, Nunavut. But, the majority of our shoots continued to take place in remote areas of the NWT, including Tuktyaktuk, then the northernmost community in mainland Canada, a fly-inonly location that finally got an all-weather highway last year. We arrived in the NWT as rookie filmmakers, but had partnered with 90th Parallel Productions, a documentary house in Toronto, and with Raindance Canada. Then we reached out to Western Arctic Moving Images, the NWT equivalent of Raindance, an essential support system over the course of our principal photography and distribution phases. It also helped us open the door with the Northwest Territories Film Commission, which was just testing their Pilot Rebate Program, and When They Awake ended up as one of the first two productions in Canada to receive their financial support — a lifeline for us. We also relied on the Nunavut Film Development Corporation for advice and logistical facilitation in Iqaluit and beyond, and Telefilm Canada supported our magnificent World Premiere [at the Calgary International Film Festival].”

able to light the film as if it was 1950s black and white, even though we use colour.” Another example of home-grown talent came from local VFX company Mr. X, the CEO of which, Dennis Berardi, was VFX supervisor on the film and had the job of recreating the look of 1960s Baltimore from archive photos. “The idea was that it should feel photo-real, yet with that fable-istic component,” Berardi says. The company was also instrumental in making the painstakingly constructed creature’s suit look alive. Doug Jones acted many scenes in the suit, but for a few occasions Mr. X created a fully digital version of the creature, complete with breathing gills. And after Sally Hawkins was suspended from a harness on a dry sound stage with projectors that mimicked refracting light, in post-production, Mr. X added ripples in Hawkins’ clothing, removed the harness wires and added floating hair. Del Toro has filmed extensively in Hamilton on earlier films. At the premiere of The Shape Of Water during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) — at the Elgin Theatre, a key location in the film — he said: “This is not a movie that comes to Toronto for a rebate, uses the city and gets the fuck out of there.” The city of Toronto ranks as one of the top-five screen-based industry hubs in North America, according to the City of Toronto Economic Development and Culture Division. Just recently the call sheet has included: The Downsizing (2017), starring Matt Damon; TV series Star Trek: Discovery; long-running TV series Suits, The Expanse, Shadowhunters and Designated Survivor; and the second season of MGM Television’s The Handmaid’s Tale. When Elizabeth Moss

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©April, 2018, Destination Ontario

OVER 10,000 + LOCATIONS

FILM IN ONTARIO “THE SHAPE OF WATER is an Ontario film, in virtually every sense. The Ontario Film Commission was integral to finding our unique locations, world-class crews and special effects teams. So for us, Ontario is a one-stop jurisdiction.” — J. Miles Dale, Producer, THE SHAPE OF WATER

#ONcreates @OMDCtweets

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OMDConline

OMDConline

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TORONTO’S LARGEST PURPOSE-BUILT STUDIO The leading destination facility for film and TV production Talk to us:

t: +1 416 406 1235 e: megan.guy@pinewoodgroup.com For further information on our studio, please visit: www.pinewoodtorontostudios.com

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FEATURE CANADA

Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy, the wealthy ‘Parking Lot King of Minnesota’ in the third season of MGM’s Fargo, shot in Alberta

received the Best Actress in a Drama award at the Golden Globes she dedicated her award to her Toronto crew. A great showcase for the city came with Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game (2017), the true story of Molly Bloom and her fight with the FBI after running high-stakes poker games. The film took over three sound stages at Pinewood Toronto Studios, a facility minutes from downtown, which offers 11 stages, including the Mega Stage, one of North America’s largest purpose-built sound stages. Other city locations included restaurants Katana, Bardi's and Hy's. British Columbia has taken a bigger-than-ever share of production in recent times, what Vancouver film commissioner David Shepheard calls “consecutive banner years for activity and spend”. Vancouver was the base for filming for 2016’s Deadpool, a 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment story about a mercenary with a twisted sense of humour, and the city welcomed Deadpool back for its second outing in 2017, filmed entirely in BC, with local resident Ryan Reynolds once again taking the lead role. The schedule of city-street and highway closures needed for the shoots was amiably reported on local TV and news sources in this film-friendly city. The filmmakers also made use of a Vancouver landmark, The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in Hastings Park. The PNE — instigated in 1910 as an eclectic seasonal exhibition with an industrial/ scientific flavour — is now entertainment-focused, with many events and a nine-acre amusement park. It has been the location for countless movie, TV and commercial productions, with adaptable buildings — including Art Deco and Modernist — and studio space. The Pacific Coliseum is an arena with filmic hallways and corridors. The Forum is a multi-purpose facility of over 44,000 sq ft, popular for commercial shoots due to its 60-foot ceiling (at peak). The Agrodome features an ice surface for hockey and skating events over winter, which becomes a polished concrete surface surrounded by nearly 3,000 seats in warmer months; and there are the historic Rollerland and Livestock buildings, the latter over 100,00 sq ft. Manager of film services at PNE, Fiona Crossley, reports that Deadpool was here in 2015, and returned in 2017, along with: Noelle, a Walt Disney Pictures holiday feature; Columbia Pictures’ A Dog’s Way

Home, due in 2019; Point Grey Pictures’ Game Over Man! (2018) for Netflix; MGM’s Overboard (2018); TV series Supergirl and new sci-fi series Blue Book Project; and numerous commercials including Bose, Nike Duracell and Turbo Tax. Another studio facility has arrived in the city, the result of the huge investment made by Netflix in its new Original Series, Altered Carbon. Created, written and executive-produced by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island/2010), and based on a novel by Richard K Morgan, Altered Carbon tells the story of Takeshi Kovacs, a mercenary and rebel who wakes up 300 years in the future tasked with investigating the apparent suicide of Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), one of the world’s richest men, in a future where consciousness is digitised and stored in ‘cortical stacks’ that can be installed into a new body. Kalogridis teamed with Skydance Television and Netflix for the 10-episode series that pushes technical filmmaking and narrative creativity to the max. Joel Kinnaman stars as Kovacs and Will Yun Lee takes the role of Kovacs in his original body in flashback scenes. Skydance Media, the California-based producer behind Star Trek Beyond (2016) and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) — both of which were filmed in Vancouver — transformed a former printing press building in Surrey into a five-sound-stage studio, including one of the world’s

ONE LOCATION, EVERY SETTING. Vancouver’s PNE Grounds offer an array of unique buildings, adaptable arenas, studio spaces, scenic green spaces, a 9-acre amusement park, and ample on-site parking. Lots of looks, one convenient site.

604-252-3532 • pne.ca/locations

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THE REVENANT

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From the rugged back country to the ends of the earth, stories as vast as our landscapes have ventured west to Calgary, Canada. Home to breathtaking locations, the Calgary Film Centre and award-winning talent and crews. Learn more at calgaryeconomicdevelopment.com | (403) 221-7868 NWTFilm_Ad2018_W210mmXH142mm.pdf

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Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins on set for The Shape Of Water

Hamilton City Hall became a retro advertising agency in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water

CGI effects and a constructed set replicating a city and hosting a cast of hundreds of extras — which can be rained on at will. The studio has given the production a believable look, according to special visual effects supervisor Everett Burrell: “In the future San Francisco — called Bay City — there are iconic things like the Golden Gate Bridge, but we added a giant dam around the bay because global warming has raised the water level.” A number of locations in Vancouver were also used: the lobby of the Marine Building, an Art Deco skyscraper, served as Bancroft’s palace; a clinic was set in the old mid-century Canada Post building, which was also used as a police station; the Sky Pilot suspension bridge in Squamish, the Convention Centre’s West Building, the visitor centre at VanDusen Botanical Garden, the UBC Museum of Anthropology and The Qube were also used. The Rose Garden on the University of British Columbia campus became Bancroft’s gardens in the sky, a location that is used in another regular visiting TV series The Man In The High Castle (2015-). The province of Alberta reports CA$308m in production activity in 2017, “the highest ever” according to Jolayne Motiuk from the creative industries department of Calgary Economic Development. Notable recent TV shows include the second season of Tin Star (2017-), the third season of Fargo (2014-) and the second and third seasons of Wynonna Earp (2016). The region has also hosted a raft of commercials, including for Chevy, Kleenex, Oreo, Jeep/Ram, Toyota, Ford, Coca-Cola and GM. MGM Television’s Fargo — based on the Coen brothers 1996 film — is set in Minnesota but filmed entirely in Alberta. Ewan McGregor plays two roles in the new season, the wealthy Emmit Stussy — ‘Parking Lot King of Minnesota’ — and his younger brother Ray, a bitter parole officer with a mullet. The latest shoot encountered a particularly harsh winter. McGregor was not fazed by the weather though, telling the Calgary Herald: “I think when it gets really down to the minus 20s, I’m like ‘this is the real deal’.” An Alberta facility used by the Fargo team was the new $28.2m Calgary Film Centre. In the city’s industrial southeast, 25 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from downtown, with 50,000 sq ft of

longest and tallest stages, that can accommodate a production staff of up to 400 people. Altered Carbon, which co-stars Vancouver actress Kristin Lehman, was the first TV series to be filmed at the studio, over eight months, and is by any measure a big-budget investment for TV. Skydance Studios is home to impressive facilities geared to accommodating the dystopian future of Altered Carbon, using a mix of green-screen and

SUPPORT SYSTEM CANADA BOASTS A WELL-ESTABLISHED SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR THE MEDIA INDUSTRY AND THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TRAIN FOR THE INDUSTRY,

resulting in a country packed with talent, a largely filmfriendly citizen population and country-wide local government has endeavoured to bring filmmakers from all over the world to Canada. Among them: Telefilm supports feature films, from development, to production and postproduction, to marketing at home and abroad, offering itself as a financing partner. It also gathers and analyses relevant business intelligence for the audiovisual industry. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a public film and digital media producer, and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary films, animation, web documentaries and alternative dramas. The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, promotes, develops and finances the production of Canadian content. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors and is a not-for-profit corporation that delivers funding to support the Canadian television and digital media. CBC is Canada’s public broadcaster. Aside from the official co-production treaties currently in force with nearly 60 partners across the world, the CBC aims to help creators and technicians from Canada gain recognition worldwide and spark demand for Canadian productions, including at festivals and markets internationally.

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for broadcast. The six-part series is produced by Montreal-based Productions Casablanca in association with Bell Media and NBCUniversal International Studios, with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Cogeco Program Development Fund, and the assistance of the Québec Film and Television Tax Credit, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. The psychological thriller concerns the family secrets that are unearthed after the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy. Peter Coyote plays former prosecutor and Judge Henry Sullivan, the patriarch of the fractured family. The project was green lit in early 2016 for Serie+, and was acquired by Corus Media which decided not to keep the project. “Joanne Forgues, president and producer at Casablanca, took the gamble of translating the first three episodes,” Productions Casablanca’s Charles Ohayon says. “Not knowing any of the broadcasters in English Canada, we chose to send the scripts to the Bell Media Group.” Then, liaising with Bell Media’s CTV and the US’ NBC “we explained that Québec was a territory we knew well, crews have an excellent reputation and to add the special flavour of Québec would add to the series”, Ohayon says. The story called for a suburb, an environment with water and train tracks. “Montreal being an island, we shot in the suburbs of the north and south shore,” Ohayon adds. Impressive locations can hardly be more impressive than the Nunavut territory, running from the Hudson Bay up and into the Arctic Circle. Though sparsely populated, the territory is regularly home to local and international productions, features and documentaries. “Nunavut is a vast territory. The Nunavut Inuit people, language and culture

purpose-built studios and 25,000 sq ft of warehouses and workshops, the Centre also houses production services company William F. White International. Fargo used two of the three sound stages for interior sets. For exteriors the art team was looking for the quirky suburban look that fits into the midwest Americana tradition — not an easy task with encroaching urban sprawl. Locations included the main street of the village of Beiseker and its library was also used as a model for Eden Valley’s library/police station hybrid. Calgary’s Inglewood and Marda Loop neighbourhoods were used for apartment exteriors and the Clarion Hotel features. The art department also restored a very dilapidated house near Indus, a tiny settlement east of Calgary. Hosting a TV series that becomes so popular that it returns is good fortune, and to get lucky twice might seem unlikely for regions outside the major cities, but Alberta has achieved it. Tin Star, produced by the UK’s Kudos Film and Television and written by Rowan Joffe, follows Tim Roth’s British detective who relocates his family to the fictional town of Little Big Bear, and finds himself up against new criminal elements after the arrival of an oil company. The production team also made use of Calgary Film Centre studios. It is once again TV that puts the spotlight on another film-friendly Canadian province, Québec. The Disappearance is a series that bears all the hallmarks of a classic Canadian production with support from some of the formidable Canadian media institutions. Its international success was assured by the decision to make it in English, though French-language channel Super Ecran has commissioned the series

CANADA A-Z INCENTIVES ARE A CRUCIAL PART OF THE PLANNING FOR FILMMAKERS AND CANADA HAS A SUITE OF OFFERS, SOME IRON-CLAD, SOME FLEXIBLE. ALSO SOME JURISDICTIONS WITHIN THE PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES OFFER THEIR OWN INCENTIVES OR BONUSES.

ALBERTA

The Screen-Based Production Grant offers up to 30% of eligible production expenditures made in Alberta as well as an increase in the CA$5m per-project cap of up to CA$7.5m in funding per project. Available to film and TV, not commercials.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

The Film Incentive BC Tax Credit is a refundable corporate income tax credit for Canadian productions and co-productions. Feature films, TV movies, TV series and pilots are all eligible to claim a specified percentage of the labour costs incurred. It does not apply to commercials. The Production Services Tax Credit is a refundable labour-based tax incentive for international projects made in BC. It is not subject to any Canadian content requirements. Feature films, TV movies, TV series and pilots are all eligible to claim back 28% of their labour costs. This also does not apply to commercials. The DAVE

(Digital Animation, VFX, and Post-production) tax credit is designed to provide an incentive to production companies employing BC-based talent to create digital animation and visual effects in BC — certain post-production activities are also eligible. The Thompson Nicola area of BC offers the Distant Region Film Tax Credit at 12% on labour added to the basic BC Production Services Tax Credit of 28% for a total of 40% in Tax Credit.

MANITOBA

Projects receive up to 65% with the Cost-of-Salaries Tax Credit (including bonuses) or 30% on all eligible Manitoba expenditures with the Cost-of-Production Tax Credit. Bonuses include: Frequent Filming Bonus: Increase the tax credit to 55% on the third film shot within a two-year period. Keep the 10% bonus on subsequent projects by maintaining production activity so that three films are shot within a two-year period. Manitoba Producer Bonus

increases tax credit to 50% by co-producing with a Manitoba producer. The Rural and Northern Bonus increases it to 50% by shooting at least 50% of Manitoba production days at least 35 km from Winnipeg's centre. These incentives do not apply to anything promotional, including commercials.

NEWFOUNDLAND

The Newfoundland and Labrador Film Tax Credit is based on a calculation of eligible labour limited to the lesser of 25% of the total eligible budget or 40% of the total eligible labour expenditure. The credit may also be considered as part of a producer's equity in a given production. At least 25% of the total salaries and wages must be paid in Newfoundland and Labrador to eligible employees.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Help is available as either the LabourBased Incentive equal to a maximum of 40% of eligible salaries paid to New Brunswick residents (eligible salaries and

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volume,” Ginny Collins, communications and marketing director, Manitoba Film & Music, says. The latest TV projects include the third installment of Channel Zero for Syfy (2016-), Taken (2016) and Burden Of Truth (2018-). Movies include: Nomis (2018), starring Henry Cavill and Ben Kingsley; Siberia (2018), starring Keanu Reeves; Nellie Bly (in production), starring Christina Ricci and The Parts You Lose (2019), starring Aaron Paul. The good news continues into Northwest Territories (NWT) according to Alinar Dapilos, from the Northwest Territories Film Commission. “The NWT has had a steady flow of interest from producers, but there’s been a very noticeable increase in film activity in the Beaufort Delta region mainly due to the new Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway,” Dapilos says. “The types of productions are also becoming more diversified. More producers are coming to the NWT to produce features, commercials and background plates.” Recent productions in the NWT include: feature The Sun At Midnight (2016); documentary When They Awake; commercials for Mercedes and Volkswagen; and TV series Wild Kitchen (2014-) and True North Calling (2017-). The popularity of reality and adventure TV programmes has also benefitted Yukon, in the north west of the country, bordering Alaska. Shows locating in Yukon include National Geographic’s Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet and Discovery’s Gold Rush.

offer a matchless location experience,” says Jessica Kotierk, projects manager at the Nunavut Film Development Corporation (NFDC). The NFDC receives funding from the Nunavut government and has a mandate to promote locally produced film and television. Kontierk adds: “We are witnessing continual growth of in-territory productions and off-shore productions.” Nunavut was the recent location for feature film The Grizzlies (2017) and is soon hosting Arnait Video Productions’ in-production novel adaptation Restless River and a UK-Canada drama co-production. The Grizzlies is based on the true story of high-school teacher Russ Sheppard, who moved to the struggling Arctic community of Kugluktuk, which was plagued by alcoholism, abuse and the highest suicide rate in North America. As a way of providing a positive activity for youngsters he started a lacrosse league, which galvanised the town, helping with better school attendance and a drop in the suicide rate. Shooting was in the small city of Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, which was also the location for three other recent films — Heaven's Floor (2016), Two Lovers And A Bear (2016) and Iqaluit (2016). Producerdirector Miranda de Pencier is making her feature directorial debut with The Grizzlies, with a script by Canadian writers Moira WalleyBeckett and Graham Yost. Sheppard is played by Ben Schnetzer and the cast and crew was rounded out by a number of local young people. Manitoba, which sits at the centre of Canada, to the west of Ontario, has followed the trend in a rise of production activity. “Manitoba had its highest production year on record — with CA$160m in production

wages cannot exceed 50% of the eligible costs of production), or an All-Spend Incentive equal to a maximum of 25% of all New Brunswick expenditure, or to a maximum 30% of all New Brunswick expenditure for New Brunswick-based productions or co-productions.

NOVA SCOTIA

The Film & Television Production Incentive Fund is based on an all-spend model for eligible Nova Scotia costs. This new fund is administered by the province’s economic development agency Nova Scotia Business Inc., and comprises up to 32% of eligible costs for spending in Nova Scotia, including labour, goods and services.

NUNAVET

Nunavut Spend Incentive is available to film, TV and commercial producers, when they are partnered with a Nunavut producer or production company. It awards a rebate on the total eligible costs for production goods and services purchased and consumed in Nunavut.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

NWT has a Film Rebate Program which gives productions filming on location in the territory 25-40% cash rebates on travel, labour and training, and goods and services spend. Commercials are eligible

We dedicate this article to the memory of Joi ‘SJ’ Harries, professional motorcycle road racer and stunt driver, who tragically died while filming in Vancouver in August 2017

under the travel rebate category of the programme. Productions must spend a minimum of CA$60,000 in the NWT.

16%, net of any assistance, applies to eligible labour expenditures within Canada.

ONTARIO

SASKATCHEWAN

The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) offers a suite of refundable tax incentives to domestic and foreign producers including The Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit (35%), the Ontario Production Services Tax Credit (21.5%) and the Ontario Computer Animation & Special Effects Tax Credit (18%). Producers can also take advantage of federal tax credits on eligible labour expenses. Commercials are not eligible.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

A new arts and culture strategy for the island includes plans for a Film Media Fund to support home-grown, independent film development.

QUEBEC

Québec offers a tax credit corresponding to 20% of all expenditure, with no prescribed limit, paid to Québec residents or Québec companies. For digital special effects and computer animation, a 16% tax credit enhancement is added, on extended eligible labour. Filming in front of a green screen is also included. At the federal level an additional tax incentive of

At press time Saskatchewan incentives were not available.

YUKON

The Yukon Film Location Incentive has three components: the Yukon Spend Rebate, a Training Rebate, and a Travel Rebate (for productions not accessing the Yukon Spend Rebate). There are also four funding programmes available. The Film Training Initiative offers up to CA$3,000 per person per year for Yukon residents. The Yukon Filmmakers Fund makes up to CA$8,000 available per applicant for Yukon resident film and video professionals. Through the Film Development Fund, up to 50% of the Yukon expenditure to a maximum of CS$35,000 or 33% of total expenses (whichever is less), is available to Yukon residents or corporations. The Film Production Fund provides up to CA$500,000 per project to Yukon corporations that financially and creatively control projects in Yukon. Commercials productions are eligible to apply under the Yukon Film Location Incentive for the Travel Rebate only.

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CANADA IN PICTURES WITH THE HELP OF FILM COMMISSIONS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LOCATION MANAGERS, LOCATION INTERNATIONAL TAKES A LOOK AT SOME OF THE DIVERSE LOCATIONS ON OFFER IN CANADA

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PEACE BRIDGE, CALGARY Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, Calgary’s Peace Bridge is a popular location with filmmakers — and the diverse geography surrounding Calgary’s vibrant urban setting, from the Rocky Mountains to the Badlands and prairies, makes the wider area an ideal location for a vast range of productions. Recently, Calgary has been home to TV series Fargo (2014-), Tin Star (2017-) and Wynonna Earp (2016-); as well as many commercials including Chevy, Kleenex, Oreo, Jeep/Ram, Toyota, Ford, Coca-Cola and GM. (Photo courtesy of Calgary Economic Development - Locations Library)

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HATLEY CASTLE, BRITISH COLUMBIA Hatley Castle is located on the Royal Roads University campus, Colwood, Greater Victoria, BC. The natural beauty of the grounds and the rich history of the castle make for a stunning film location. Hatley Castle is an Edwardian estate built in 1908. It is one of very few castles in Western Canada and is a Classified Federal Heritage building. Surrounded by an old-growth forest that is complemented by stunning Pacific Ocean views, the castle rests on a property totalling 565 acres. A diversity of looks can be found on the campus including immaculate Italian, rose and Japanese gardens. Feature films shot here include Descendants (2015), Deadpool (2016) and The Boy (2016). TV series include Arrow (2012-), The Killing (2011-2014) and Witches Of East End (2013-2014). (Photo, courtesy David Bukach)

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WABAKIMI PROVINCIAL PARK, ONTARIO Wabakimi Provincial Park is a huge expanse of wilderness representative of Northern Ontario’s vast lake systems. Northern Ontario’s film industry is growing rapidly. Access to unique natural assets, including lakes, rivers and forests are complemented by a strong crew base, financial incentives and film infrastructure, which together provide an enticing package for producers. While there have been no shoots to date at this specific location, TV series including Eye Witness (2016-), Letterkenny (2016-) and Cardinal (2017-); and acclaimed features including Born To Be Blue (2015) and The Witch (2015), have shot in the wider Northern Ontario region. (Photo, courtesy ©April 2018, Destination Ontario )

BEAUFORT DELTA REGION, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES This area is situated above the Arctic Circle, which means around 30 consecutive days of no sunlight in the winter and around 50 consecutive days of 24-hour sunlight in the summer. Canada’s only free-ranging reindeer herd lives here. The defining characteristics in this part of the world are very little light pollution, aurora borealis, tundra, mountains, Arctic coastline, pingos (mounds of earth-covered ice found only in the Arctic that can reach up to 230 ft in height), and unique wildlife including muskox and polar bears. Some notable projects that were filmed in the region include TV documentary series Canada Over The Edge (2016-) and True North Calling (2017-). The feature film The Sun At Midnight (2016) shot here as well as commercials for Mercedes and Tropicana. (Photo, courtesy Weronika Murray )

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MAKING A SCENE DAS BOOT

August Wittgenstein, Rick Okon and Franz Dinda star in Das Boot Photo: ©Nik Konietzny, Bavaria Fiction

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MAKING A SCENE DAS BOOT

‘A

MAKING A SCENE

very special kind of

navy’

A cast of 79, over 1,000 extras, a budget of €30m, stunning locations and a loving attention to detail should pretty much guarantee that the new television series Das Boot won’t disappoint devotees of the original 1981 production. Julian Newby reports

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HE STORY of the new TV series Das Boot (2018-) begins towards the end of 1942, half way through World War II. Submarine warfare is becoming increasingly important in the conflict and many young men are suffering in dangerous and cramped conditions. U-612 is ready for its maiden voyage, a surveillance mission as the Resistance begins to build at the western French port of La Rochelle on the Bay of Biscay. Inside the U-boat, the ensuing danger and the claustrophobia is putting a strain on the camaraderie of the 40 young crewmen. Meanwhile on land, navy translator Simone Strasser, whose brother is on board U-612, has fallen in love, calling into question her loyalty to her country. The Bavaria Fiction, Sky Deutschland and Sonar Entertainment co-production follows on from Wolfgang Petersen’s 1981 cinema adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s bestselling novel — which was re-edited into a three-part mini-series for television four years later.

The 106-day shoot took cast and crew from Bavaria Studios, Munich, to La Rochelle in western France, Malta Film Studios on the Mediterranean island of Malta and Barrandov Studios in the Czech Republic capital of Prague — where a 45-metre-long replica U-boat interior was built, complete with control room, radio room, torpedo room, sleeping quarters, engine rooms, galley, hydrophone room, conning tower and captain’s quarters. The series benefitted from financial incentives available in France, the Czech Republic and Malta. The working U-boat used for in-water shots at La Rochelle and Malta took two months to refurbish and weighed 240 tons. The series’ executive producer, Bavaria Fiction’s Moritz Polter, sums-up the production schedule: “We started in Prague, where we shot the French interiors that were later matched to the exteriors of La Rochelle. We then went to La Rochelle and shot the streets and town and the U-boat leaving and returning to the harbour. Then we went to Munich for a week on our way back to Prague,

where we shot a brothel scene and one of the rooms of one of our central characters on stage. Then we went back to Prague and shot on stage for the U-boat interiors, and we finished off in Malta.” Some €30m and 105 days later, “and we’re very happy”. Crawl inside the authentic mock-up of U-612 built at Prague’s Barrandov studios and you realise how hard life was for the men who were working inside the real thing. According to former post-war U-boat commander, second in command of the German Submariners Association and consultant on the series, Jürgen Weber, by 1942-43 when “the big losses began”, the average life expectancy of a submariner on a U-boat was 90 days. Even when not under attack, the lack of space and constant underwater movement took a toll on the men’s bodies and their minds. So why would anyone agree to do it in the first place? “It was a very special kind of navy,” Weber says. “It was a kind of elite, or at least they felt like that. I have spoken to many veterans and it made sense to them to join the submarine force in Germany

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MAKING A SCENE DAS BOOT

Shooting at the original U-boat harbour at La Rochelle

because they knew they would be given good food — and enough food. At that time, that was one of the best arguments. Another of my old comrades in Munich said that he decided to join the submarine force because he otherwise might have had to join the SS. So there were a lot of different motivations.” Life on board a U-boat was tough for the actors too. Apart from the fact that it was based in a warm, dry studio, the replica U-boat in Prague — set on a gimbal to simulate movement — was no more forgiving than the real thing. “The first thing the actors did after they were cast was basic boot-camp training, where we worked with them to make sure that they were able to jump through the hatches,” Polter says. “Overall I think when you’re shooting in a studio and you have a U-boat on a gimbal that is moving the whole time, you get quite fit because your body has to absorb all the waves created on the gimbal. You also have to absorb the waves when you’re shooting on the ocean, because the floor beneath you is constantly moving, which means you constantly have to balance your body. So I think they did get quite fit while they were doing it and they were quite tired at the end of the day. More so on the open ocean than in the studio. They said it was a demanding shoot but also a very rewarding shoot because there were so many different locations and they did things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, so they were very happy to

go to their limits.” He adds: “It also helps with the acting because you don’t have to pretend — your body has a certain tension all the time because of this movement, so it gives you a different posture that you can’t act, it’s just real. And because it’s real, you can see how different bodies cope with it and that’s something that will be seen on screen.” The quest for authenticity didn’t stop there. Five of the 20 days of shooting at La Rochelle took place in the harbour, built by the Nazis in 1942-43, specifically for Germany’s U-boat fleet. “It’s not used any more, it’s not a museum or anything, it’s useless for anything but submarines,” says Henri Deneubourg, production manager on the French part of the shoot. “It was used for two movies — for the original Das Boot and then a few

Henri Deneubourg: “We had to clean the harbour, because today it belongs to pigeons”

weeks later, Steven Spielberg used it to shoot the sequence with the submarine in the first Indiana Jones [Raiders Of The Lost Ark/1981]. So we had to clean it, because today it belongs to pigeons, so it was very dirty.” Un-used for 70 years and bombed during World War II, the harbour’s seven-metre-wide walls are built of concrete and so still perfectly intact. “It’s a big bunker, actually, so even the bombing during the war couldn’t destroy it. We rebuilt the quays and covered them in plastic so if we come back to shoot next season it will be as we left it. The funny thing is that at the time the story is set, 1942, it was brand-new, they had just built it. But we didn’t want to make it look like a brand new location because if you do that it looks phony. So in the story it will be aged and weathered. That’s the odd thing with period productions." Director of the La Rochelle Bunker, Hervé Sinquin, was historical consultant to the La Rochelle element of production. “I had to make sure everything was historically accurate, that there were no anachronisms,” Sinquin told local reporters. “The story takes place in 1942, so it was necessary to check all the details: the ranks of the military, license plates, everything to avoid mistakes. It was sometimes necessary, for example, to extinguish the headlights of cars, in accordance with the blackout imposed at the time, to avoid giving any sign to the Allied bombers.” Sinquin remembers ‘a ‘Dunkirk effect’ after the

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Can’t Skip filming in Portugal 300 days of sunshine per year Every imaginable scenario at short distances Top level professionals, equipment and facilities Affordable cost of living & great food

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25% to 30% Cash Rebate for Film, TV and VOD Minimum spending of €500.000 - fiction, animation and €250.000 - documentaries and post-production. Upfront payments in installments and courtesy location scouting.

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MAKING A SCENE DAS BOOT

Vicky Krieps as Simone Strasser in Das Boot

release of the original movie. “There was a rise in tourism after the film Das Boot in La Rochelle in 1981 and we’re building on that now. I’m sure this will attract more people to the city.” Historical accuracy was also a responsibility for Weber. “I’m not a historian, but I was regularly contacted by the people designing and building the set, usually on matters of uniform, and submarine equipment.” He was also consulted on how submariners might behave on board. “They’d ask how the men might stand in the control room, how they should speak to superiors, what words they can and cannot use,” he says. “Sometimes we would discuss general things, and sometimes real detail like how to behave on the periscope — because of course it was fake, they couldn’t actually see anything. They’d say: ‘Am I moving the periscope too slowly? Too fast? How do I put the enemy data into the computer?’” Costume design, too, is crucial for historical atmosphere and accuracy. Long-established Berlin-based theatrical costumiers Theaterkünst was brought in early in the production process, to ensure authenticy. From designs by celebrated French costume designer Chattoune, Theaterkünst staff worked with individual cast members to ensure their clothing matched the rest of the detail of the production. “Together we discussed the designs for the costumes that were to be made especially for

this project, for which Chattoune provided us with hand-drawn figurines. According to her designs, we then created the required bespoke garments in our studio, for example for the actor Tom Wlaschiha, also well-known from Game Of Thrones [2011-],” Theaterkunst managing director Susanne Franke says. “Other actors including Vicky Krieps came to us for fittings, and later on we also sent additional costumes on request.” The working U-boat used for open-sea scenes resides in Malta. Built for the French-American war film U571, directed by Jonathan Mostow back in 2000, it was moved on a yacht transportation vessel to La Rochelle for the 20 days shooting there. “They had it in their docks rusting away and then we came along and refurbished it,” Polter says. “So it’s back with them now and they’ll maintain it a little better in the hope of return business, I think. It’s seaworthy for the shots and it can go seven knots, so it’s not slow. It’s not made for huge waves though, so you wouldn’t want to take it into a storm.” Most of the in-water action was shot at Malta Film Studios which has an indoor water tank and two large exterior water tanks that are situated along the coast and so offer a natural ocean horizon. Preparation and shooting on the Mediterranean island took four weeks. “We shot a lot of ocean material where you don’t have to do a lot of CGI — you can just shoot for real and that was fantastic,” Polter says.

But that was just for the daylight shots. “You can’t do night-time shots on the open ocean because it’s too dangerous, so we went into the water tanks to do the night work and the heavy rain work where we had rain machines and big wave machines,” he says. “We shot night-for-night in the tanks, which is great because you only need to light the scene to the extent you really need it. On the ocean you wouldn’t really be able to light anything.” For the tank shots, a mock up of the U-boat was used, a 30-metre model with the front and back removed, but which was able to float. Back in the open sea, meanwhile, a second boat ran alongside the working U-boat for actors when they weren’t required in-shot — a kind of floating green room. “Using a small RIB, we would move the actors from one boat to the other. It was quite something.” On the last day of production, series director Andreas Prochaska, said: “We’ve worked hard to entwine and differentiate the narratives of the upcoming Resistance in La Rochelle and the claustrophobic life aboard U-612. We believe that the energy created by cutting between the two storylines will keep audiences hooked and eager to know what is happening on the other side.” He added: “The scale of this production, including filming in four different countries with 79 actors and almost 1,000 extras, has been an incredible project to be a part of.” • The 8 x 1-hour series will show on Sky channels

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19/04/2018 16:42


FEATURE UK

Oscar-winner Gary Oldman as Sir Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour

UK ON A WINNING STREAK

The UK film and TV production boom shows no sign of abating, with prestige projects being shot the length and breadth of the UK’s nations and regions. And there’s plenty of capacity for more, writes Andy Fry

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FEATURE UK

that this boom will end soon.” The UK, Wootton says, is in a strong position to benefit from the content-creation boom because of its favourable tax incentives, diverse locations and first-rate crews, studios and VFX talent. “To this can also be added the quality of our writing, acting and directing talent,” he adds. “When I travel around the world promoting the UK, industry executives always want to talk about the likes of Steven Knight, Sally Wainwright, Chris Chibnall and Abi Morgan.” The fact that the UK has a 25% film and TV incentive is well documented, but what makes it especially attractive, Wootton says, is its predictability: “It’s 10 years since the film incentive was launched and five since TV was added. At a time when fiscal incentives in other parts of the world ebb and flow depending on the political priorities of a state or region, ours is consistent and stable. Producers welcome that certainty, as do investors looking to establish or develop businesses in the UK.” There is another benefit to having a reliable incentive, Wootton adds: “As the years have gone by, we’ve become much better at ser-

NEW FIGURES from the British Film Institute (BFI) estimate that spend on film and high-end TV drama grew by 11% in 2017 to reach almost £3bn. Film production accounted for £1.9bn of this total, of which £1.69bn was the result of inward investment by 68 projects. Among these were Tim Burton’s Dumbo (2019), Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin (2019), David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Gindelwald (2018), Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread (2017), Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018), Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World (2017) and Joe Wright's Darkest Hour (2017). As for high-end TV, £684m out of a total £1.1bn spend was the result of inward investment — 27% up on 2016. Premium TV productions made in the UK in 2017 include Game Of Thrones, Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance, Outlander, Vanity Fair, Peaky Blinders, Howard’s End, Rellik, The Miniaturist, Kiri and White Dragon. Worth noting is that these productions were shot in different parts of the UK, including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the North of England and Bristol in the South West. Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, says several factors explain the UK success story. “But at the root of it all is an insatiable appetite for film and TV content among audiences, which is being fed by both Hollywood and digital platforms including Netflix, Amazon and Apple. I don’t see any sign

ADRIAN WOOTTON

“At a time when fiscal incentives in other parts of the world ebb and flow depending on political priorities, ours is consistent and stable. Producers welcome that certainty, as do investors” vicing productions, especially in busy locations like London. A production like Transformers: The Last Knight [2017] filmed all over London, which is testimony to the way all of the city’s agencies pull together. Maybe 10 years ago, the process was a bit bureaucratic, but now we are all well prepared when the big circus rolls into town

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FEATURE UK

Christopher Plummer as J Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread

If there is a possible downside to the UK’s success story, which has also been fuelled in 2017 by a favourable exchange rate, it is the suggestion that the country is ‘full’ — in other words, no longer able to accommodate production. That is an impression that Wootton is quick to counter. “I wouldn’t be out selling the UK if there was no room for production. We’re busy, but not at capacity. If you look around the UK, there are plenty of options for producers, and plans for further expansion on the studio side. In East London, for example, there is a new studio development being planned in Barking and Dagenham. Film London also has a programme that identifies alternative spaces, such as disused factories and warehouses, that can be converted for production, primarily for high-end television,” he says. Wootton’s assessment of the capacity situation is echoed by Andrew Smith, corporate affairs director at Pinewood Studios Group. “In the last year, we’ve hosted major productions like Mary Poppins Returns [2018], Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018] and Solo,” he says. “And we are in the midst of an expansion programme that will be more than sufficient for us to meet the needs of our clients.” In the first phase, Pinewood opened five new sound stages in 2016. Phase two will deliver a further six studios by early 2019, Smith says, at which point Pinewood will be able to house four blockbuster movies at a time. In addition, he adds, Pinewood has had a fully operational studio up and running in Wales for the last few years and has also just acquired 100 acres of land next to Shepperton Studios. “Shepperton has recently wrapped on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again [2018],” he says. “And assuming we get all the necessary approvals at Shepperton, we’d look to do more of the same.” The UK’s capacity question is further addressed by several developments across the country. Bristol’s production scene, for example, has been transformed by The Bottle Yard Studios, which opened

Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns

and wants to shoot on Pall Mall or shut down one of our iconic bridges or Trafalgar Square.” A case in point is Darkest Hour, the Second World War drama in which Gary Oldman won the 2018 Best Actor Oscar for his role as Winston Churchill. For this film, a number of high-profile London locations were called into play, alongside sets at nearby Ealing and Leavesden studios. Darkest Hour was also one of the few films to be granted permission to shoot outside 10 Downing Street, an iconic location that has had to be recreated in-studio by past projects. The team also shot scenes in the Treasury, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the House of Commons. For a scene in which Churchill visits King George VI, London's Somerset House provided the entrance to Buckingham Palace, with green screen used to add the view of The Mall beyond. For the interiors the crew moved north to Yorkshire where Wentworth Woodhouse provided rooms similar in size to the Palace .

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FEATURE UK

Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War. (Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2018)

in 2010. With eight stages available just 15 minutes from Bristol city centre, The Bottle Yard has hosted a slew of high-profile TV drama productions, including Poldark (2015-), Broadchurch (2013-17) and, for Starz in the US, The White Princess (2017-). Recently, the studios were selected as home for the UK-based shooting on the third and final instalment of Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude (2015-). As well as significant studio space, the four-part mini-series, produced by Fifty Fathoms, will employ a number of facilities provided by the studios’ tenant companies. Fortitude producer Andrew Wood says: “As far as I'm concerned, The Bottle Yard is totally fit for purpose for Fortitude. This UK leg of the shoot is entirely studio-based, so we've needed room for a lot of sets and construction. This was a large part of what drew us to Bristol and the space available here has allowed us to completely fulfil our production needs.” Northern Ireland is another expanding centre of film and television production. The province has been on the map for some time thanks to an attractive film and TV incentive that is available on top of the national incentive. This has helped attract productions including

HBO’s fantasy series Game Of Thrones (2011-), which is based at Belfast’s Titanic Studios, as well as a host of prestigious TV drama productions, such as The Frankenstein Chronicles (2015-17) and The Woman In White (2018-). More recently, the launch of a second complex, Belfast Harbour Studios, has further enhanced Northern Ireland’s appeal. Last summer, for example, Syfy Channel’s Superman prequel Krypton (2018-) became the first production to base itself at the new £20m development. Richard Williams, chief executive of Northern Ireland Screen, says: “Securing Krypton is a real coup for us and establishes our position as a world-class filming location, with a local and highly skilled crew base with vast experience. The construction of the studios by Belfast Harbour has added tremendous value to our proposition.” A similar story is unfolding in Wales, which has seen a production surge in the last five years thanks to local government backing and inward investment from the BBC, Pinewood and various international producers. In 2017, independent producer Bad Wolf also got in on the act by announcing the launch of its own state-of-the-art facility, Wolf Studio, within close proximity of Cardiff. With six

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FEATURE UK

HUGO HEPPELL

former Littlewoods building — a massive Art Deco structure, formerly occupied by Littlewoods Pools company — is being redeveloped into a major studio hub. For Liverpool Film Office manager Lynn Saunders, the studio is the logical next step for a city that has experienced its own production boom. “Even without a studio, filmmakers have been coming to Liverpool in recently because of our great locations and expert crew,” she says. “The city has a lot of stunning locations and can also double for many different places, such as New York, London or Eastern Europe. As a result, we’ve hosted Sherlock Holmes [2009], Captain America: The First Avenger [2011], Jack Ryan [2018-], Fast & Furious 6 [2013], Peaky Blinders [2013-]and Foyle’s War. [2002-15]” Recent months have proved especially good for Liverpool, Saunders reports, with 289 film and TV projects shot in the city — the equivalent of 1,359 filming days and an £11.1m boost to the local economy. “Peaky Blinders returned for its fourth season and used several Liverpool locations, including Crosby Beach,” she adds. “We’ve also had Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool [2017], Broken [2017-] and Tolkien, a new biopic about the creator of The Lord Of The Rings featuring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins. The new Sky One series Bulletproof [2018-] also filmed in Liverpool.”

“The North of England is equipped to handle any kind of production. I think the only barrier is a mistaken perception that there isn't a cultural scene outside London” stages ranging from 14,200 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft, Bad Wolf is using the facility for some of its own projects, most notably its TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy classic His Dark Materials. Not long after the unveiling of the studio, it was also revealed that Sky and HBO had taken a minority stake in Bad Wolf as part of a $250m multi-year coproduction deal. The upshot of this is that Bad Wolf will now supply high-end, large-scale drama to Sky and HBO, with some of it presumably being channelled through the new studio facility in Wales. One of the happy consequences of the infrastructure development in Wales is that it has made it easier for producers to access the country’s superb locations. Hannah Thomas, a producer at Cardiff-based Severn Screen, who previously worked for Film Agency Wales, has recently completed filming the psychological TV drama Hidden in North Wales. “We based the production out of Caernarfon and shot all over North Wales,” Thomas says. “And not just the bucolic, beautiful parts. We showed the visceral, menacing, epic side of the Welsh countryside, as well as its more industrial side — which looks amazing when juxtaposed against the scenery.” Severn Screen makes film and TV productions that are rooted in Wales but have international sales potential — another example being Apostle (2018), a movie starring Michael Sheen and Dan Stevens that has been picked up globally by Netflix. The company is also working on Denmark (2018), starring Rafe Spall, and The Promise, a follow-up to 2015’s The Passion. “The great thing these days is that we can service everything out of Wales,” Thomas adds. “There’s a great network of location managers, crews and studios to support productions.” Moving to the east of England, yet more studio space is being planned on a disused military base in Suffolk. The site, Bentwaters Parks, has already established itself as a location for filming, but the addition of a studio will enable it to service productions in a more comprehensive manner. Suffolk’s proximity to London means the proposed Bentwaters studio will be able to tap into the high volume of production based in and around the UK capital. One production that has already bought into Suffolk’s ambition is ITV’s political thriller Fearless (2017). In an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, Fearless assistant location manager Chloe Misson said: “Suffolk looks amazing. It features from the opening episode all the way through, in a series of flashbacks, as well as current-day action. We filmed at Bentwaters Parks and the countryside around it. You can’t get that look, or create that mood anywhere else — certainly nowhere inside the M25 [London orbital motorway]. And we found our Suffolk locations really accessible from London.” Not to be overlooked, either, are plans to transform the North of England into a production powerhouse capable of handling the same kind of work as the Pinewood/London axis. In Liverpool, for example, the

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FEATURE UK

only barrier is a mistaken perception that there isn't a cultural or leisure scene outside London.” That said, Heppell believes the strength of the North’s offering has really begun to be understood by the TV-drama sector. “Alongside the studios, we’ve seen significant growth in the supporting industry — for example, in production design. And there is a constant traffic of crew backwards and forwards across the Pennines between Leeds and Manchester. I think one of the most exciting things happening right now in Yorkshire is the number of productions coming without our investment, because they have confidence in our offering.” Nicola Shindler, founder of critically acclaimed Manchester-based Red Production Company, has seen a real transformation in the scale and volume of productions coming North. “For a long time, there weren’t a lot, but in the last couple of years things have really changed,” she says. “We’ve recently shot the new Netflix drama Harlan Coben's Safe up here and Sky TV are in the North working on a huge racing-car series called Curfew [2019-], starring Sean Bean. I’d really encourage anyone to shoot around here because the crew and locations are of such high quality.” As Liverpool’s experience illustrates, studios are useful but not essential in attracting film and TV production. England’s West Country has attracted productions such as TV series Poldark and 2017 movie My Cousin Rachel because of its stunning scenery. The search for new locations has also thrown up gems such as Essex and East Kent, both shown to spectacular effect in the critically acclaimed TV drama Liar (2017). Kent, in fact, has built up a formidable portfolio,

Noting that a new Netflix project is soon to land in the city, Saunders says building up hubs like Liverpool is key to addressing the demand from international producers. “But I don’t see our city working in isolation,” she adds. “I think the real opportunity is for a Northern powerhouse that draws on talent across Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull, which are all in reasonable proximity to each other. We are capable of hosting a diverse range and scale of productions.” Leeds sits at the centre of a Yorkshire-based production boom that has been fuelled in recent years by the availability of a regional fund. Managed by local film and TV agency Screen Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Content Fund can invest from £10,000 to £500,000 in individual films or TV dramas. Since 2012, it has invested around £15m in more than 40 projects, including Dad’s Army (2016), Swallows And Amazons (2016), Dark Angel (2016), Peaky Blinders, Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell (2015-) and A Royal Night Out (2015). Among the latest projects to land in Yorkshire is Official Secrets, a movie starring Keira Knightley and Matt Smith. As a result of the production boom, Yorkshire has been able to justify supporting its own studio infrastructure. In the heart of Leeds, for example, is Prime Studios, which services high-end TV drama and feature films. There is also Church Fenton, a former RAF base that is currently home to Mammoth Screen’s ambitious period drama Victoria (2016-), which it produces for ITV. With all of this infrastructure and funding in place, Screen Yorkshire head of investments Hugo Heppell shares Saunders’ view that “the North of England is equipped to handle any kind of production”. He adds: “I think the

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FEATURE UK

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story. (Photo: Jonathan Olley. © Lucasfilm Ltd.)

says: “We know encouraging film and TV productions to base themselves in Scotland generates significant returns for the Scottish economy and opportunities for our skilled crew. A production like Outlaw King brings huge benefits to the screen sector, as well as related businesses. Having our stunning locations featured in productions also increases tourism. Some of the locations featured in Outlander have seen visitor numbers increase significantly — Doune Castle has recorded an increase of 91% since being featured in the series.” In terms of direct investment into the Scottish production industry, it is worth noting that the production company behind Outlaw King is Glasgow-based Sigma. Sigma’s Gillian Berrie says: “Creative Scotland has really supported the development of Sigma and Outlaw King, which is one of the biggest home-grown films ever. Sigma is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of filmmakers and, to that end, has employed 35 trainees on Outlaw King across all departments.” This is a significant point on which to end, because the discussion about UK studio space actually deflects attention away from the real issue facing the UK — which is the need to constantly be bringing through new talent to service productions. This is especially true in the light of the UK’s inexorable move towards Brexit. “We have a lot of European talent working in key sectors like VFX and animation,” says Film London’s Wootton. “It’s important that there are no unnecessary barriers after Brexit to prevent that talent working on UK-based productions. At the same time, Brexit throws into relief the need to accelerate skills and training.” Assuming the UK can manage to maintain an open-door policy in this regard, the future looks bright for its production sector.

having hosted productions including The Escape (2017), Yardie (2018) and Darkest Hour. In the latter, several scenes were filmed at Fort Amherst and Chartwell House, Churchill’s former home. A National Trust property near the town of Westerham, Chartwell’s rooms remain much as they were when Churchill lived there. A combination of experienced crews, outstanding countryside and evocative urban period architecture have also driven a production boom in Scotland. It is reckoned that total spend on film and TV in Scotland has increased by more than 200% since 2007. High-profile productions to have headed north of the border in recent times include Starz drama Outlander (2014-) and the Danny Boyle film T2 Trainspotting (2017). Benedict Cumberbatch filmed period drama Patrick Melrose (2018) in Glasgow, while Edinburgh was a backdrop to Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War (2018). A-listers including Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo were all reported to be in the Scottish capital to film fight scenes for the latest instalment of the superhero saga. On top of this activity, Scotland has also been playing host to epic new Netflix series Outlaw King (2018). Starring Chris Pine, the $120m production tells the story of King of the Scots, Robert the Bruce, and has been seen filming in Glasgow Cathedral, Stirling, Linlithgow Palace, Aviemore, and Craigmillar, Glencoe, Blackness and Doune castles. There has been some criticism of the fact that Outlaw King was awarded £500,000 from Creative Scotland’s Production Growth Fund and another £500,000 from the National Lottery (also through Creative Scotland). But the general view is that the benefits of the production outweigh this. Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop

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MAKING A SCENE BABYLON BERLIN

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MAKING A SCENE BABYLON BERLIN

Nazis storm a train carrying gold in Babylon Berlin

MAKING A SCENE

Hello to

1920s Berlin

Thanks to a budget of €40m and ferocious attention to period detail, the 16 one-hour episodes that make up seasons one and two of 1920s drama Babylon Berlin are widely regarded as among the best TV ever produced in Germany. Gary Smith reports

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ET IN the late 1920s in Weimar Germany, the first two series of Babylon Berlin tell the story of police officer Gereon Rath from Cologne — played by Volker Bruch (Generation War/2013) — who finds himself assigned to the Berlin vice squad. The series is produced by X-Filme, ARD, Degeto, Sky Deutschland and Beta Film. Following a first window on Sky Deutschland, German free-to-air channel ARD is broadcasting the show, and a host of other linear broadcasters around the world will also be transmitting the two series back-toback in 2018. “To produce the 16 episodes with the level of period accuracy that we wanted, we had to shoot for 180 days,” says executive producer Uwe Schott of X-Filme. “We used around 300

locations and more than 5,000 extras. Basically, we had to build and create pretty much everything, including a railway station near Cologne on a stretch of active track.” Based on the novels by Volker Kutscher, the drama is set at a time when Berlin was full of opportunity for those with talent and ambition. However, life was brutal for the impoverished masses striving to exist in the aftermath of the First World War. It was a time of social turmoil, proliferating organised crime and political extremism, where the old military elites had not yet given up trying to run the country. Meanwhile, in the background, an even more dreadful form of extremism had started to flex its muscles in the shape of the Nazis. Schott says that X-Filme was acutely aware

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MAKING A SCENE BABYLON BERLIN

Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath

from the outset that filming a credible version of 1920s Berlin — “an iconic and globally famous period in the city’s history” — was going to be a challenge. “Everything had to be authentic, and every detail of the period had to be right on every single building, background, vehicle and actor. That’s why we ended up with more than 100 people working in the production department — much the same size of team that you’d expect to see on a major feature film,” Schott says. Further proof of the quality of production came at Babylon Berlin’s screening in Los Angeles. After the session, Schott was approached by several producers, convinced that the 16 hours had cost around €80m — double the actual budget. The climax of the second series, which takes place at the beginning of episode 16, is based around a shipment of gold hidden in a train that is also carrying poison gas. Tasked with recovering the gold, Rath finds himself facing his nemesis, chief inspector Bruno Wolter (Peter Kurth). Wolter is already on the train, waiting for Rath in the secret compartment where the gold is hidden. Their confrontation takes place on the roof of the moving train, with both men having no choice but to advance towards each other firing their weapons, or risk getting shot in the back or jumping off a train moving at high speed. Clearly, attempting to film the scene on a moving train would have been too difficult and too dangerous, so the production moved to MMC Studios in Cologne for one week. This interlude was sandwiched in between a three-week period in North Rhine-Westphalia, where multiple scenes were also being shot. Among these were sequences of a real steam train on a heritage track, being boarded surreptitiously by Rath and his

assistants, and a confrontation between Wolter and a posse of Nazi gangsters. Several scenes in a fully operational railway station at Hagen, close to Neustadt am Rübenberge on the BremenHannover railway line, were also shot at this time. The roof confrontation was filmed in MMC’s 2,000 sq m Studio 32 using a mock-up of a railroad tank car plus several carriages in front of a large green screen. “Even though we only needed to build the roofs of the three cars that Rath and Wolter were standing and running on, what was going on around that [in terms of the production] was immensely complex,” Schott says. “We were

Uwe Schott “It’s never easy getting a large crowd of people to do what you need them to do” simultaneously shooting outdoor scenes in the Cologne area, so the scale of what we were doing was the main challenge.” This involved several different departments. “The props people, the visual FX team, production and design, and of course the director were all busy at the same time. Making sure that everything worked seamlessly when there were 600-700 people involved was very complicated.”

While the railway scene was an Olympian feat of co-ordination, technical deftness and planning, another scene set in the legendary Berlin club, Moka Efti, represented a very different kind of challenge. Episode two features an extended, 11-minute sequence of nightclub revelry in the style for which 1920s Berlin was notorious. A crowd is dancing to a frenzied jazz track while, up on stage, a Russian cabaret singer performs a routine inspired by Marlene Dietrich, flanked by semi-naked dancers in banana skirts. In terms of choreography, the scene is extremely complex — and the same goes for the props and the decor of the club itself. “In its own way, it was every bit as challenging as the train scenes,” Schott says. “The cabaret artists had a difficult routine to master and the crowd also had to learn a whole series of moves, so there were weeks of practice because the set-up was such that we had to get it right pretty much the first time we shot.” Schott adds that the scenes featuring mass demonstrations and riots, some of which were shot at night, were also a challenge. “It’s never easy getting a large crowd of people to do what you need them to do,” he says. On top of the technical issues, Schott, his fellow producers and the writers were faced with an unexpected pressure in the early days of filming. “When we started writing and planning Babylon Berlin, there weren’t that many series that I would see as competition,” Schott says. “There was some admittedly excellent Nordic Noir and House Of Cards [2013-], but not much else of note. But by the time we finished in 2016, it was a very different story, and we knew we had some serious competition. So our challenge was to match the quality that we were seeing across so many other TV series. In fact, you could say that our final challenge was how the audience was going to react. I’m relieved to be able to say that Babylon Berlin has been very well received and we are currently developing a third series of eight, perhaps 10, episodes. But there is as yet no fixed date for the start of filming, because it’s now down to when people are available.” Babylon Berlin is directed by Tom Tykwer with fellow German filmmakers Henk Handloegten and Achim von Borries sharing the directorial duties. It was written by the three directors. The drama was watched on both Sky Germany’s linear and catch-up services by 1.2 million viewers within six days of its debut. It was also a hit with international buyers at its Cannes premiere at MIPCOM in October 2017. The 16-hour show has already been sold by Beta Film to 60 territories, including the US, Australia, Spain, the UK, Italy, France, Russia and Scandinavia. “Babylon Berlin is airing on Sky UK and on Netflix in the US, where it will be broadcast – both dubbed and in its original version with subtitles,” says Dorothee Stoewahse, head of communications at distributor Beta Film. “The series has now been sold to all major European and English-speaking territories, and we are currently working on South America, Africa and Asia.”

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This forest in Urbasa captured at dawn features in Jacques Audiard’s film The Sisters Brothers

SPOTLIGHT ON SPAIN

Year-round sunshine, easy accessibility, modern infrastructure, value for money, architectural and cultural diversity, experienced crews, knowledgeable and enthusiastic film commissioners… No wonder filmmakers continue to love Spain, writes Gary Smith

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ACCORDING to a 2017 survey by consultants Scopen for advertising industry association APCP, Spain’s advertising production industry generated €438m in 2016, representing an increase of 37% compared to the previous bi-yearly report. On top of that, the local film industry is enjoying a boom period, posting record production numbers, and attracting more and more foreign films, drawn to Spain by its multiplicity of looks and 18%-20% tax payback against local spend. According to APCP’s general director Adriana Piquet: “On average each year, around 38% of advertising production comes from Spanish clients or agencies. Alongside that, we’ve seen an increase in foreign clients shooting in Spain, as well as new areas of business, such as branded content for Google and YouTube. Currently, APCP and Google are working together on several new projects, and an increasing number of APCP members are also now doing service production as well as cinema.” While Barcelona, Madrid and Palma de Mallorca remain the most popular locations, APCP encourages production companies to consider less high-profile locations. “We love to highlight places like Almería, the Canary Islands, Málaga, Valencia and Seville, because they have so much to offer,” Piquet says. “We work with different local and regional authorities and agencies to promote locations around Spain. We have agreements with Valladolid, where we organise our annual festival, as well as with Benidorm, Bilbao and San Sebastián.” Piquet says that the biggest and most challenging jobs often involve the many world-famous football players who have made Spain their home. “These celebrities have special needs and highly packed schedules, but APCP member companies have become experts at handling that,” she adds. Lying way down south in the Atlantic Ocean, on the same latitude as southern Morocco, the Canary Islands combine year-round spring/ summer temperatures with spectacular volcanic landscapes, jungles, beaches and urban modernism. The islands hosted more than 30 productions in 2017, ranging from feature films and TV series to documentaries and animation. “Our biggest project of the last 12 months was the shooting of Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) on the island of Fuerteventura,” says Natacha Mora, co-ordinator for the audiovisual department of the Canary Islands government and Canary Islands Film. “We also hosted several Spanish productions and foreign TV series, including Black Mirror (2011-). Currently, our foreign business comes mainly from the US, the UK, Denmark, Ger-

many and France. They mainly come for the unusual variety of locations that are all within easy reach of each other. Then there’s our weather. We have an average temperature of 24ºC in summer and 19ºC in winter, and more than 4,000 hours of sunshine per year.” Mora says that, away from the Canary Islands’ popular spots, there are countless less well-known locations. “Each island has its own personality and features,” she adds. “We also have more protected natural areas than any other region in Spain. There are 146 protected natural areas, covering 40% of the archipelago.” On top of that, the Canary Islands offer a 40% tax rebate to foreign productions, a 45% tax credit to national productions or co-productions, and a mere 4% corporate income tax. “We are a tourist destination, so we have excellent connections to and from and between the islands,” Mora adds. “And we have a lot of experience in international and national production. In the past five years, the Canary Islands have played host to close to 90 feature films.” When Game Of Thrones (2011-) visited Bilbao Bizkaia in 2016, the city gained both recognition and prestige. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, one of the settings of the seventh season of the HBO series, was named as Best European Film Location of the Decade at the European Film Commissions Network's (EUFCN) European Film Location Awards. According to Xabier Ochandiano, city councillor for Economic Development, Trade and Employment at the Bilbao City Council, it is the perfect time for Bilbao Bizkaia to promote its strengths as a prime destination. “We offer competitive financial incentives and a full catalogue of locations, including city, natural parks, coast, historic neighbourhoods and industrial landscapes, all within an hour’s drive,” Orchandiano says. He also points to the wealth of local companies with extensive experience and proven track records in the creative, artistic, technical and service sectors of the audiovisual industry. Ochandiano cites feature film Handia (Giant/2017), filmed entirely NATACHA MORA

“Each island has its own personality and features. In the past five years the Canary Islands have played host to close to 90 feature films” in the Basque language, as an example of his region’s creativity. “It has won 10 Goyas [Spain’s Oscars] and offers plenty of evidence of the quality of cinema from the Basque Country. The team that produced Handia was also responsible for Loreak (2014), nominated for an Oscar two years ago.” He adds that 2017 was a big year for the region across feature films, advertising, documentaries and TV series. Among the prominent directors to have shot in Bilbao Bizkaia were Julio Medem and Gracia Querejeta. The region also hosted SpanishArgentine co-production Cuando Dejes De Quererme (When You Stop Loving Me), which premiered in February 2018. Global brands Volvo, Volkswagen, TAG Heuer, Coca-Cola, Lexus, Ford, Renault and Reebok have all filmed spots in Bilbao Bizkaia. In 2017, US series The Bachelor (2002-), which pulls in an average

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Shooting scenes from the multi-award winning basque feature Handia (Giant) in Bilbao Bizkaia

place. “L’Hospitalet offers a super-modern economic district and El Prat de Llobregat is home to the international airport, plus a long, unspoilt beach and the Nelson Mandela bridge,” Guerrero Bernaus adds. “Both towns are very popular for commercials. Terrassa features the Parc Audiovisual de Catalunya and the ESCAC film school, while Garraf and the city of Sitges south of Barcelona are among the most popular places for shoots, attracting around 100 to 150 productions each and every year.” In the last three years, Navarra Film Commission has assisted 206 projects, totalling 1,330 days of filming in the region. According to a Navarra Film Commission survey, the benefit to the region in 20152017 amounted to €37.4m, of which €16.1m was generated in 2017. “The overall number of projects grew from 61 in 2016 to 70 in 2017,”

audience of 10 million, also filmed in Bilbao Bizkaia. “They come for our beaches, forests, cutting-edge architecture like the Guggenheim Museum and the history and identity of the Basque Country,” Ochandianos says. “We are people of our word and we stand by our promises.” For most people, the mere mention of Catalonia brings to mind the world-famous architects Gaudí and Domènech i Montaner. And perhaps unsurprisingly, their work is, according to Catalunya Film Commission manager Carlota Guerrero Bernaus, one of the region’s main attractions: “Undeniably, ‘modernisme’ — the Catalan version of art nouveau — is not to be found in other parts of Spain or Europe, but what I believe makes Catalonia appealing is its versatility,” she says. “It offers nature, coasts, mountains, modern architecture, quaint villages, medieval towns, spectacular landscapes and, most importantly, skilled crews and a film-friendly environment. Recently, we’ve had a number of period productions that needed to recreate the first years of the 20th century. They were not only taking scenes 100 years back in time, but also using Catalan locations to double for other parts of Spain, such as the main square in Guernica [in the Basque Country], which was bombed during the Spanish Civil War.” In that instance, La Granada de Penedès, a small town south of Barcelona, stood in for Guernica. “We also hosted the shoot of TV series El Día De Mañana (2018-) for Movistar+,” Guerrero Bernaus says. “The series presented a double challenge, in that shooting went on for four months and was set in the 1960s, which meant they needed to dress up 16 towns in Catalonia to look as they did 50 years ago.” El Día De Mañana, directed by Mariano Barroso, filmed in Begues, Caldes d'Estrac, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Dosrius, La Roca del Vallès, Mataró and 10 other towns. Featuring mainly local actors, it required technical support from an 80-strong local crew. Barcelona and its satellite towns are where most production takes

XABIER OCHANDIANO

“They come for our beaches, forests, cutting-edge architecture, and the history and identity of the Basque Country. We are people of our word and we stand by our promises” 57

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An aerial view of San Sebastián from Igeldo

says Sara Sevilla, Navarra Film Commission co-ordinator. She adds that movies drove this growth, with 12 shooting in the region in 2017, and four TV series. “For 2018, we are optimistic,” Sevilla says. “We expect 10 movies and there are also several investment projects in facilities for indoor shooting, post-production and animation.” One of last year’s biggest projects was French feature film The Sisters Brothers (2019), set in 1850s Oregon and directed by Jacques Audiard. “The main shoot location was the Urbasa y Andía Natural Park,” Sevilla says. “The film crew was in Navarra for a week, but they were working in the field for a full month building several sets. The shoot involved approximately 150 people, plus a fleet of 15

trucks and a further 30 service vehicles.” According to Sevilla, Navarra is a true hidden gem: “It has some dream locations, many of them yet to be discovered by the industry. The Autonomous Community of Navarre has worked to maintain its architectural and natural landscapes, and it’s the sort of heritage that can greatly enrich a project. There’s also an enormous variety of landscapes on offer, which are greatly appreciated by producers. In a relatively small area, you can find both lush green forest and desert. Also, in terms of the architectural heritage of Navarre, the monastery of Iranzu is a stunning but little-known location. This year, an episode of the series Adventun was filmed there for Movistar+.” Lorea Hernández, commissioner at the Donostia-San Sebastián Film Commission, also says business has been brisk in her stunning coastal region. “The beginning of last year started out unusually busy when we hosted two Spanish and Latin American co-productions — MICHAEL MOFFETT, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PSN AND A PARTNER IN PSN Operación Concha (2017) and SPAIN, recently worked with Netflix’s marketing team to shoot promotional material for Cuando Dejes De Quererme locally produced TV series Las Chicas Del Cable (Cable Girls/2017). “Our success shooting (2018) — at the same time, as well with Netflix in Spain has led them to call on PSN for similar shoots this past year in Sweden, as the famous Spanish series Allí Italy, Germany, India and Mexico,” Moffett says. Abajo [2015-]. And last January, the Toni Schulz, executive producer and managing director of Barcelona-based PSN partner Mamma Team, says a recent shoot for Louis Vuitton was very challenging thanks to its team of the award-winning movie short turn-around. “The board came in on Wednesday, we sent the budget on Thursday, it Handia filmed some new scenes to was approved on Friday and we then shot for three days on Ibiza — with a Hollywood complete the film, which was shot celebrity — from the following Wednesday. We had to take approximately 70 crew in San Sebastián by a local crew members from Barcelona to Ibiza, plus 12 vans. Even though the Ibiza Film Office is good a n d p ro d u c e d by l o c a l at handling rush jobs, it was tough. But we knew from the beginning that we could make it companies.” — and make it well — otherwise we wouldn’t have taken the job." San Sebastián not only offers an impressive variety of locations,

FROM NETFLIX TO LOUIS VUITTON

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BILBAO HAS IT ALL XABIER OCHANDIANO, CITY COUNCILLOR FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TRADE AND EMPLOYMENT AT THE BILBAO CITY COUNCIL, names San Juan de

Gaztelugatxe, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Vizcaya transporter bridge as among his region’s top locations. “But there are many other spots — the Bizkaia coast, with its beautiful cliffs and fishing villages, including Bermeo, Mundaka and Elantxobe, particularly stands out. Also deserving of special mention are our natural parks, which include Gorbeia and its Otxarreta beech forest, and Urkiola. Urdaibai, a UNESCO biosphere reserve, is also a real cinematic gem.” Ochandiano is also a fan of Bilbao Bizkaia’s industrial landscape, with its modern architecture and science parks. “A unique aspect is our identity,” he adds. “I’m thinking of historic neighbourhoods, centuries-old churches and monasteries, and palaces from throughout history.”

This scene from the 2008 documentary Presunto Culpable (Presumed Guilty) by Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith, was filmed on Laga Beach in Urdaibai, the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Biscay region. Picture ©David Herranz

the most beautiful cities in Spain. La Concha beach and the local palaces provide great locations and have been used recently for several projects. A less-known but no lessximportant and special place is the Artikutza forest, located 30 minutes away from the city centre.” Madrid has long been a staple of shoots in Spain but, these days, it is the city’s outskirts and surrounding towns that are proving a hit with TV and movie-makers: “In terms of pure volume of shoots, we have seen a rise of around 35% from 2016 to 2017,” says Samuel Castro Hansson, co-ordinator at Film Madrid. “One of the most challenging projects we hosted was for the Movistar+ series La Zona (2017-), which is set in a world after a major nuclear accident. It’s not possible to shoot in a working nuclear facility, but we found an alternative in Madrid’s main water-pumping station — Arroyo del Fresno, at the northern edge of the city. We have also hosted Asghar Farhadi’s latest psychological thriller Todos Lo Saben [Everybody Knows/2018] starring Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, and several major TV series, including Las Chicas Del Cable [Cable Girls] and Elite (2017), a series about a special school for rich problem kids. For Moviestar+’s eight-part series Gigante (2017), which recounts the story of a group of gypsy criminals who morph into a branch of the Mafia, the town of Valdilecha, just south of Madrid, was transformed into a typical Andalucian village.”

but it is also a regional centre for production companies and professionals. “In fact, the city can provide professionals from the whole audiovisual value chain, from production companies to make-up artists, location managers and post-production companies,” Hernández says. “And in terms of locations, the city combines modern and traditional architecture, lovely beaches, a forest, a racecourse — there’s much more variety than you would imagine. On top of that, the film commission helps producers as much as possible. The City Council of San Sebastián charges no fees for filming on city land, and also offers tax-free parking-space reservations, free assistance from the municipal police and a fixed rate at the luxury hotel Maria Cristina.” Shoots are predominantly for Spanish productions, but the city’s heritage and sweeping vistas also pull in documentary-makers. “They are mainly focused on gastronomy and tourism,” Hernández adds. “San Sebastián is known around the world for its cuisine and Michelinstarred restaurants, plus it is also widely recognised as being one of

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NEW CASTLE OF MANZANARES EL REAL, MADRID The New Castle of Manzanares el Real, also known as the Castle of los Mendoza, is a palace-fortress built in the 15th century in the town of Manzanares el Real, in the northern part of the Community of Madrid, next to the Santillana reservoir at the foot of Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range. One of the best-preserved castles in Spain, it was built as a residential palace for the House of Mendoza, near an ancient fortress that was abandoned once the new castle was built. As a public location it is exempt from any payment for film productions. Movies shot in this area include El Cid (1961), The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964) and Conan The Barbarian (1982). (Photo, courtesy Region of Madrid Filming Promotion Office)

SPAIN IN PICTURES WITH THE HELP OF FILM COMMISSIONS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LOCATION MANAGERS, LOCATION INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS A SELECTION OF LOCATIONS IN SPAIN

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BISCAY LANDSCAPE, BILBAO Pictured here is a traditional baserri — a half-timbered farmhouse — in the province of Biscay in Spain’s Basque Country. Typically, baserri farmhouses are set in countryside, not in a village or town. This one is set in the green hills that surround Bilbao, the capital of the Basque Country. A popular place for filming, scenes from the TV series Game Of Thrones (2011-) were shot in Bilbao and its surrounding areas. Other high-profile productions in the Basque Country include Battle Of Britain (1969) and Papillon (1973). (Photo, courtesy Bilbao Bizkaia Film Commission)

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LOCATION IN PICTURES WITH THE HELP OF FILM COMMISSIONS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LOCATION MANAGERS, LOCATION INTERNATIONAL TAKES A WORLD TOUR OF IMPRESSIVE LOCATIONS, SOME USED AND SOME STILL TO FEATURE ON FILM

DEAD VLEI, DUNES OF SOSSUSVLEI, NAMIB DESSERT, NAMIBIA Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan created by the Tsauchab river that flows through the Sesriem Canyon every five to 10 years. Even in very wet years it doesn’t reach the Atlantic Ocean but drains away between the dunes of Sossusvlei. Sossus means ‘place of no return’. Because of the lack of water all the trees in this valley have died, so the meaning of Dead Vlei becomes clear. What makes it so remarkable is that there is not even moisture enough for normal decomposition to occur. So all the trees here, though dead, have been nearly perfectly preserved for centuries. The Namibian countryside has high dunes that meet the ocean, stunning deserts and mountains and also the skeleton coast with countless shipwrecks. Productions shot in Namibia include: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Beyond Borders (2003), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and The Mummy (2017). (Photo, courtesy Peter Harris)

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SUNRISE ON THE OXBOW, PALM BEACH, FLORIDA This 52-acre site is part of the Northeast Everglades natural environment with mesic flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, hydric hammock and mangrove swamp ecosystems. This is a view along two tributaries of Limestone Creek that still flow intermittently through the area. Despite the dryness of the habitat, delicate bromeliads and clumps of ball moss cling to tree branches. The dense growth under the tree canopy attracts many birds. Listed animals observed on the site include: the gopher tortoise, West Indian manatee, the American redstart, the little blue heron, the yellow-crowned night-heron, the osprey and the bald eagle. This is a good location for nature shows that feature wild birds, old Florida, inland fishing and environmental preservation storylines (Photo, courtesy PBC-Environmental Resources Management )

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CORDILLERA DEL PAINE, PATAGONIA, CHILE At the Southern tip of the Andes in Chile lies Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most impressive sights in the Southern Hemisphere — encompassing mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers. The Torres del Paine landscape is dominated by the huge Paine Massif, also known as the Cordillera del Paine. This magical location has yet to feature in a movie, on TV or in a commercial. (Photo, courtesy Janice Polley, LMGI)

PIHTSUSKÖNGÄS WATERFALL, FINLAND Pihtsusköngäs is the largest waterfall in Finland, located in the middle of the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, near the Norwegian border in the Arctic Circle. The falls are located 45 km from the village of Kilpisjarvi and can be reached by skiing or hiking. This image was taken from a helicopter. Flying over northern Lapland, in the Arctic Circle near the Russian border, the earth is untouched so that you can see the striations from the ice age as if it had just happened. This is a rugged, powerful landscape. Lapland is best-known for its northern lights and winter snow but the 24-hour shimmering light of the summer months is magical, a filmmakers dream. (Photo, courtesy Lori Balton, LMGI )

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MOOSE MOUNTAIN, ALBERTA, CANADA Moose Mountain is a solitary monolith guarding the front range of the Rocky Mountains and located 19 km west of Bragg Creek, Alberta in Kananaskis Country. The sprawling mountain peaks at 2,437 metres (7,995 ft) and was created many thousands of years ago when a giant tract of land was overturned, trapping huge forest reserves underneath. Moose Mountain is located within the Calgary filming zone. You can park an entire unit at just over 6,500 ft and it is located within public lands. It offers fantastic views, ridges, forests and roads. Recent productions filmed on this mountain include TV series Tin Star seasons 1 and 2 (2017-); and feature films Brokeback Mountain (2005) and The Revenant (2015). (Photo, courtesy Jason Nolan, LMGI)

REGENT'S CANAL, ST PANCRAS LOCK, LONDON St Pancras Lock is on the Regent's Canal, in the London Borough of Camden, England, with the St Pancras Basin nearby. Leaving the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal near Little Venice, The Regent's Canal heads east across London passing Regent's Park, London Zoo and Victoria Park before turning south to end at Limehouse Basin. The area enjoys visually diverse looks. Train tracks, canal boats, gas towers converted into condos, restaurants and the Central Saint Martins College of Art university campus. Productions that have shot in the Camden area include: Alfie (1966), Batman (1989), Backbeat (1994) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). (Photo, courtesy Claudia Eastman, LMGI)

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RIVER STREET, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA The Savannah area boasts a wealth of locations including the US’ largest historic district, an evergreen urban forest and unique coastal and rural settings. Savannah has retained its original layout with 22 public squares, brick streets, and an architectural timeline that dates back to 1733. In recent years the city has doubled as New York, Texas, New Orleans, Florida, Washington DC and Buenos Aires. Numerous productions have filmed here including feature films Savannah (2013), Live By Night (2016) and The Little Mermaid (2018). TV project Z: The Beginning Of Everything (2015-17) also shot here, as well as commercials for Pottery Barn, Louis Vuitton and Kohl’s. (Photo, courtesy Andy Young)

BATUMI, ADJARA, REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA Pictured is part of the industrial port city of Batumi, the capital of the Georgian republic of Adjara, on the sub-tropical eastern coast of the Black Sea, in the shadow of the Caucasus Mountains. The city also has a waterfront promenade with a park and beach, and is known for the 130-metre-high Alphabetic Tower, adorned with Georgian script, which has a seaside observation deck. The old-town district is lined with renovated 19th-century buildings. The latest feature to film here is Halo Of Stars (2018). (Photo, courtesy Robin Citrin, LMGI )

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CENTRAL MARKET, VALENCIA, SPAIN The Mercado Central or Central Market of Valencia is one of the oldest markets still in use in Europe and has been declared a Heritage Site of Cultural Interest by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. The modernist building is a beautiful example of 20th-century architecture. The impressive 8,160 sq m structure is home to 900 stands, selling some of the area's freshest and finest food. Local legend has it that there has actually been a market of some sort on this site since the 14th century. On entering the building, the striking feature is the sheer scale and size of the market hall itself, with ornate iron vaulted beams and hand-painted patterned tiles. Huge windows let in streams of bright sunlight, there are massive overhead fans and a beautifully intricate stained-glass dome depicting the richness of Valencia’s fruit — a staple of the area’s produce. Films shot here include Tirant Lo Blanc (2006) and Prometheus (2012). (Photo, courtesy Peter Gluck, LMGI)

SPITZ, WACHAU VALLEY, LOWER AUSTRIA The Wachau Valley is an Austrian region near the Danube, west of Vienna. Spitz is one of many historic villages in the Wachau Valley, which are situated among traditional vineyards and apricot orchards. This impressive section of the Danube valley has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, extending over 36 km. The region is characterised by centuries-old vineyards terraced with dry stone walls and is also home to old-growth forests and numerous ruins, castles, docking piers and ferries. With its unique natural landscapes and impressive architectural monuments it offers scenic views and picturesque countryside everywhere you look. Productions shot here include: The Three Musketeers (1993) and Season Of The Witch (2011). (Photo, courtesy Spitz, Wachau Valley@Donau Niederösterreich/ Michael Liebert)

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BRUGES, BELGIUM Bruges is a beautiful and well-preserved medieval town in the Flanders region of Belgium. The historic centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has many picturesque cobbled lanes and scenic canals with old bridges that connect to quaint market squares, historic churches with soaring towers and charming colourful and whitewashed buildings. By day the city is stunning and at night it sparkles with lights. Bruges is a fairy-tale city for filmmakers and photographers, and has hosted movies, TV shows and commercials. Film projects shot here include The Nun’s Story (1959), The Abyss (1988), In Bruges (2008), and The Verdict/Het Vonnis (2013). (Photo, courtesy Eric Druker)

CIRCEO PROMONTORY, LAZIO, ITALY Monte Circeo or Cape Circeo is a mountain marking the southwestern limit of the former Pontine Marshes, located on the southwest coast of Italy, about 100 km southeast of Rome. Wherever you are on the coast of Lazio, it is impossible to miss the impressive outline of the Circeo Promontory. With its peak at approximately 1,775 feet above sea level, it rises above the spectacular landscape of the surrounding natural park that is also filled with characteristic and picturesque towns and villages. Movies shot in the area include: Let’s Hope It’s A Girl (1986), Tea With Mussolini (1999) and The Wonders (2014). (Photo, courtesy Enrico Latella, LMGI)

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ASSOS VILLAGE, KEFALONIA ISLAND, GREECE Famous for its spectacular waters — for example at Myrtos Beach and Melissani Cave — Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands off the west coast of Greece. Situated on the northwest coast of the island, Assos village was founded under Venetian rule and it served as the administrative capital of northern Kefalonia from 1593 onwards. Sparsely built with traditional colour, it is set in an impressive landscape among pine trees and cypresses. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001) was shot entirely in Kefalonia. (Photo, courtesy Alexandros Maragos)

MOSTAR, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA The historic town of Mostar goes back to the Ottoman empire. It is best known for the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) a reconstructed medieval arched bridge which connects the cobblestoned streets and Turkish houses on both sides of the Neretva river. Rich in culture, the town is waiting to be discovered by larger productions. The documentary Mostar United was filmed here in 2008. (Photo, courtesy Rick Schuler, LMGI)

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HERI ES SOUANI, MEKNES, MOROCCO Heri es-Souani, the immense granaries and stables designed and built for sultan Moulay Ismail, whose mausoleum lies two kilometres away, feature tiny ceiling windows, massive walls and a system of underfloor water channels to keep temperature cool and air circulating. Incredibly the building provided stabling and food for 12,000 horses, and Moulay Ismail regarded it as one of his finest architectural projects. Now a museum, the location is vast and partly in ruins and is not a busy tourist destination, allowing the ministry of culture to close it if a production has the correct permit. The most famous movie shot here is the Michael Douglas film, The Jewel Of The Nile (1985). (Photo, courtesy Christian McWilliams, LMGI)

CHUNGHON TOWER, JUNGANG PARK, BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA Pictured is the base of Chunghon Tower, a war memorial situated in the heart of Jungang Park. Set on the crest of Daecheong Mountain, Jungang Park is south facing, commanding impressive views of Nampodong, and across the harbour to the new bridge to Yeongdo. Many productions have filmed in the city including: The Con Artists (2014) and Black Panther (2018). (Photo, courtesy Dow Griffiths, LMGI)

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GENERAL RODGERS SHIPWRECK, ST THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS The General Rodgers, a 120-foot vessel, was sunk by the Coast Guard in 1972 to form an artificial reef. She lies in 65 ft of water, and is a 20-minute boat ride off the northeast (Atlantic) side of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The diverse locations make filming in the U.S. Virgin Islands unique. There is an abundance of beautiful beaches and the ability to double for many other parts of the world. While nothing has shot around the vessel yet, filming is allowed. The location is stunning and dramatic — you can swim through passageways, look out of portholes and find her colourful, encrusted propeller. Movies shot in the U.S. Virgin Islands include: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008) and Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011). For TV, reality series Amazing Race (2001-) and The Bachelor (2002-) shot here as well as many commercials and travelogues. (Photo, courtesy Steve Simonsen Photography for Film U.S. Virgin Islands)

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MONUMENT VALLEY, UTAH Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterised by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 metres) above the valley floor. A classic symbol of the American West, this area is situated in the Navajo Nation Tribal Park on the border between Arizona and Utah. This location has appeared in many television programmes, commercials and Hollywood movies, particularly Westerns. It is perhaps most famous for its use in many John Ford films, including Stagecoach (1939). It has also featured in the films Easy Rider (1969), Back To The Future Part III (1990), Forrest Gump (1994) and The Lone Ranger (2013). (Photo, courtesy John Hutchinson, LMGI)

FJALLSÁRLÓN GLACIER LAKE, VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER, ICELAND The majestic Fjallsárlón is an iceberg lagoon at the south end of the Vatnajökull glacier. On the lagoon are floating icebergs that calve from the edge of the glacier and can be seen from Route 1 between Höfn and Skaftafell. A few of the movies that have filmed all over Iceland include: The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), The Fate Of The Furious (2017) and Justice League (2017). Game Of Thrones (2011-), Black Mirror (2011-) and Sense8 (2015-2018) have shot there for television. (Photo, courtesy Kei Rowan-Young, LMGI)

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BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA Bakersfield is the county seat of Kern County, California. It is situated near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. The Kern River Oil Field covers an area of 10,750 acres (43.5 km2) in a rough oval extending over the low hills northeast of Bakersfield, hills which are now almost completely barren except for oil rigs and drilling pads. The area is a good example of small-town architecture and streets, desert and apocalyptic oil fields. Movies that have filmed in the area include The Grapes Of Wrath (1940), Psycho (1960), Any Which Way You Can (1980), Thelma & Louise (1991) and San Andreas (2015). (Photo, courtesy Mark Indig, LMGI)

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON A stunning 25-metre-long blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling takes centre stage in this spectacular space, giving visitors the opportunity to walk underneath the largest creature ever to have lived. The skeleton now on display in Hintze Hall is from a whale that became stranded in 1891 in Wexford Harbour, Ireland. The Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall boasts a striking Romanesque entrance, a grand staircase, an intricate hand-painted ceiling and soaring arches. In contrast, the Museum’s Darwin Centre offers a cleaner more contemporary blank canvas for filming, its steel struts and reflective glass together with white limestone floor and curved concrete walls providing a modern set. Meanwhile its exterior amphitheatre provides parking for production vehicles. Recent projects filmed here include: Paddington (2014), Jupiter Ascending (2015) and The Mummy (2017). The Museum has been featured in a commercial for fashion brand Ted Baker and, most recently, in Charlie Brooker’s TV series Cunk On Britain (2018). (Picture, courtesy Film London)

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MAKING A SCENE GREECE

Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in the final dance sequence of Tiger Zinda Hai, shot on the Greek island of Naxos

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A dance that made MAKING A SCENE

history

The Greek island of Naxos provided the backdrop for a social-media sensation late last year, when the trailer for Bollywood blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai broke the internet with 29 million views in just 24 hours. Andy Fry looks at how Naxos choreographed a hit

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IGER Zinda Hai is a Bollywood action movie based loosely on the 2014 abduction of Indian nurses by ISIS. Starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, the film was released in December 2017 and quickly became one of the highest grossing Indian movies of all time. Explaining the appeal of the film, Aashish Singh, vice-president of production at Yash Raj Films, cites a number of factors. “The fact that it was a sequel helped build expectation,” he says. “And the storyline — which sees Indian and Pakistani agents working together — is pretty unusual. It was also a big-budget movie with lots of action and scale. And then of course you have Salman Khan, who is a superstar in India and internationally.” Tiger Zinda Hai is set in Syria and Iraq but was shot primarily in Abu Dhabi to take advantage of the emirate’s attractive film incentives and infrastructure, Singh says. Much of the rest of the film was shot in Morocco and Austria, though there is one sequence shot in Greece that has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide.

“Like many Bollywood films, a big part of Tiger Zinda Hai’s appeal is its song-and-dance routines,” Singh says. “The end number, which runs alongside the credits, was shot on the Greek island of Naxos. What we couldn't anticipate at the time was that the scene would prove so popular on YouTube. It was released on November 20 [just ahead of the film] and has had more than 300 million views.” The success of the Naxos shoot is all the more surprising given that it was pulled together at the 11th hour. “The director [Ali Abbas Zafar] made a last-minute request to shoot the number among architectural ruins,” Singh says. “But that’s not easy, because it’s tough to find somewhere where, (a), you can get permission and, (b), there aren’t holiday-makers wandering all over the location.” The producer decided to focus on Greece, a country in which they had shot before. “It was Christos Alex Giotis at production-services company Film Greece who suggested the island of Naxos,” Singh says. “He said it would be relatively quiet and that we’d be able to film undisturbed — and he was right. We managed to achieve a seamless four-day shoot

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without interruptions.” Picking up the story, Giotis says: “Not many Bollywood productions come to Greece, but we had done three before Tiger Zinda Hai, so we knew the kind of logistical issues involved in managing a big dance number. It meant looking after around 200 people, with some key talent coming in from India and experienced dancers and crew also being brought to the location from Athens and Paris.” Initially, Giotis says he had around four places on his location shortlist. “But it very quickly came down to Naxos because of the logistics. The very famous places were out because of the high volume of tourism in October. Likewise, we know many beautiful places in the Greek Islands that are yet to be discovered by producers, but the issue with this shoot was the tight schedule. We needed to bring a lot of vehicles, kit and talent in by sea, so the ferry schedules needed to fit in with the shoot dates. And we also needed somewhere that could accommodate this number of people within 500 metres,” he says. Fortunately, Naxos is an important agricultural hub, so it has regular boat services as well as a small runway that can accommodate a 40-seater aircraft. “It was great that we could make Naxos work, because it’s a beautiful place that hasn't been used for such a large-scale production before,” Giotis adds. While the preparation was last minute, Giotis says the shoot itself went like clockwork thanks to the input of experienced choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant. “She knows her craft so well that she made everything work extremely smoothly. When you have to deal with a lot of creative questions on set, it can be very time consuming, but she knew exactly what she wanted, which meant everything was just about execution.” Climate-wise, there was nothing about Greece that could faze the 70 or so visitors from India. And there was also good chemistry between the two communities. “The Greeks and Indians got on really well and were happy to try each other’s recipes and hang out with each other after shooting. Salman and Katrina were also very relaxed. It’s very rare for them to be able to walk more than 10 metres without forming crowds,” Giotis says. The shoot was incident free, with clear warm weather and good light. “The only issue we had was a strong wind for a few hours,” Giotis says. “That was quite amusing because it was when Katrina was doing some film work. When Salman turned up to do his shooting, the wind died down.” Anyone interested in watching the film may be wondering how Naxos fits into the plot. The answer is — it doesn’t, really. “The Naxos routine is a stand-alone sequence at the end of the film,” Singh says. “But it does have relevance in that the lead characters disappear at the end of the film. So the Naxos scene is saying they are safe and well in Greece. There used to be a tradition with Bollywood dance numbers that they would be woven into films without any connection to the plot at all. But the industry has moved towards a more logical approach — maybe because the audience is more used to watching Western movies.” An obvious question for Greece is whether the success of the Tiger Zinda Hai Naxos shoot will

encourage more Indian producers to come to Greece. “The shoot went very well,” Singh says, “so I wouldn’t be surprised if Greece benefits from wordof-mouth across India. You have to remember our industry isn’t just Hindi movies. There are also bigbudget movies in several local languages.” Giotis is optimistic — but not just because of the success of the shoot: “After a long wait, Greece is about to get its own 25% cash rebate, which is very exciting for us. We have cost-effective crews and great locations, but the lack of incentive has kept some producers away. Now, we’ll really be able to put Greece on the map.” It goes without saying that production crews cannot just pitch up in Greece and trample over monuments without permission and planning. Venia Vergou, director of the Hellenic Film Commission, says: “The majority of the dance scenes for the Tiger Zinda Hai shoot were filmed at the archaeological site of Portara [the lintel of Lygdamis’ Temple of Apollo, built in 530 BC]. It is one of the landmarks of Naxos, visible by distance when reaching the island by boat. Making sure

Aashish Singh “The shoot went very well, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Greece benefits from word-of-mouth across India” the monument would not be jeopardised was definitely a challenge, especially because this was a demanding modern dance scene.” As with all monuments, Vergou says, the crew had to be extremely careful and follow the instructions of the personnel from the Ephorate of Antiquities. “Fortunately, the filming of Tiger Zinda Hai on Naxos was wonderfully executed by the crew, with the support of Film Greece,” she adds. Vergou says the Greek authorities do their best to balance the needs of production with the protection of antiquities. She points to the explosion scene in Fatih Akin’s In The Fade, winner of the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, which was filmed in Marathonas, close to Athens, as an example of what is possible. “The general policy is that any audiovisual work can be produced in Greece as long as all the required filming permits are secured and all measures of safety and security are undertaken.” Vergou’s advice to international productions is to connect with Greek professionals as early as possible in pre-production: “They are the ones who know how to deal with the relevant authorities for the needs of demanding scenes.” She adds that

archaeological landmarks, such as the Acropolis, Delphi and Olympia, are not off limits as long as the content presented to the culture ministry is “not offensive to the monuments and their authenticity”. She also advises applying at least a month in advance of shooting, since there is great demand for filming in archaeological monuments and historical places. “The Hellenic Film Commission is the primary contact to receive guidance on all this,” she adds. Vergou says the Hellenic Film Commission receives requests from a wide range of projects, including TV series, documentaries, feature films and commercials. “Greece offers an infinity of choices to location managers,” she adds. “Athens is a multifaceted capital city privileged by its proximity to the Attica serpentine coastline. Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, boasts 23 centuries of fascinating history in its architecture.” Then there is the medieval city of Rhodes and literally thousands of islands, ranging from the breathtaking beauty of Crete to the underwater caves of Paxi. Islands might be the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Greece, but Vergou says her country has a lot more to offer. “From Athens and the mountainous hinterland to the gems of the Aegean and Ionian Sea, the whole of Greece provides a range of landscapes: picturesque villages, amazing beaches, forests, gorges, snow-capped mountains, hot springs, canyons, even volcanoes. Plus, we have architecture that spans the millennia, with examples from different eras — ancient temples and theatres, fortified Byzantine cities, monasteries, medieval fortresses, neoclassical mansions and sophisticated lofts in big cities. And let’s not forget we also have the most film-friendly light in the world.” While Greece is open to productions from any part of the world, Vergou shares Giotis’ ambition to increase the country’s share of Bollywood productions. “The Hellenic Film Commission is aiming to establish more systematic collaborations with Bollywood, as we strongly believe in the potential of a lot of film investments from India. In addition to Tiger Zinda Hai, we recently hosted the latest film by Bollywood actress Kashmera Shah, Die Tomorrow (2017), which completed filming in the northern Greek city of Kavala.” Like Giotis, Vergou is enthusiastic about the prospect of the new 25% cash-rebate incentive, which comes into effect in 2018 and covers the eligible costs of national and international productions, including films, documentaries, TV series, animation and video games. She sees two benefits: “The first is more employment opportunities for Greek crews, as well as a chance to develop new skills and create an infrastructure for innovation. We want to see Greek professionals flourishing within the crews of international productions.” The second benefit is film tourism. “Amorgos, a small Cycladic island, became a tourist attraction when Luc Besson chose it for Le Grand Bleu [1988],” Vergou says. “We definitely need to take advantage of the synergy between tourism and film production in order to develop new marketing strategies and audience engagement.”

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Ralph Fiennes on the set of The White Crow. Photo by Larry Horricks. Courtesy, Work in Progress

LOOK OUT, HOLLYWOOD

Two years into its successful film incentive programme, Serbia has pushed up its directcash rebate from 20% to 25%, making it one of the most competitive territories in Europe for foreign filmmakers. But it’s not just a good financial deal that Serbia has to offer, Marlene Edmunds discovers

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duction offices, dressing rooms, and make-up, wardrobe and storage facilities. There is also an extensive backlot and a 3,200 sq m sound stage is currently under construction. “Business virtually exploded in terms of the number of films being shot at PFI Studios following the launch of the first 20% rebate in 2016,” says head of studio Igor Turčinović. “It was the first real incentive in this part of Europe and the industry really worked hard to get it. At our studios, the number of movies doubled from four to eight.” These included The White Crow (2018) and Anna (2018). Meanwhile, the studio’s clients come from across the world, from the UK and Northern Europe to the US and India. “PFI is a one-stop shop where clients do not even have to leave the studio complex if they don’t want to,” Turčinović adds. While PFI is currently Serbia’s largest sound stage, Panonia Studios, another major complex 30 minutes from Belgrade, is also in the planning. This will consist of 15,600 sq m of purpose-built sound stages, at least 10,800 sq m of workshops, a serviced 24,900 sq m backlot, a water tank and an 11,000 sq m post-production facility. Also in the works is the renovation of Avala Studios, six kilometres from Belgrade and once the heart of the state-subsidised film industry. According to Ilić, Avala has recently been sold to private investors, who are redeveloping it into a world-class production and post-production complex.

ROMAN, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austrian — Serbia has seen it all when it comes to empires. A location at the heart of the Balkans and at the crossroads of history, coupled with innovative incentives, makes the country a prime terrain for filmmakers looking for ways to make their budgets go further. Serbia is now headed up by one of the more progressive governments in Europe and a prime minister, Ana Brnabić, who has put the full weight of her office behind creating a thriving film infrastructure and economy. The new incentive package doubles the annual budget available from the economy ministry to €6.7m for 2018. Since the introduction of the incentive programme in 2016, Serbia has seen feature-film production alone increase by 54%. Moreover, it is estimated that 2,000-plus jobs were created in the first 16 months of the scheme’s implementation. Ana Ilić, Brnabić’s advisor for the digital and creative industries, says that Serbia’s upgraded film incentive programme is not only generous and extremely well managed but, at 25%, it is on a par with the best in Europe. “The qualifying thresholds remain extremely low and thus highly competitive,” Ilić says. “Films shot using the Serbian incentive do not have to undergo a cultural test, unlike in some EU member countries. We want to create an environment that stimulates all kinds of production for all kinds of locally accrued benefits.” The new incentive also covers TV commercials, and VR and AR projects. “The earlier 20% rebate put Serbia on the map as an attractive filming destination,” says Boban Jevtić, head of Film Center Serbia, the agency that acts as a bridge between the government and the private sector, and through which all applications for the rebate must be channelled. “At the same time, it also created a need for Serbia to become even more competitive in drawing in foreign investors, which is one of the reasons why the government increased the rebate to 25% of qualified expenses incurred in Serbia.” Hiking the minimum spend per TV episode to €100,000 is also a sign that Serbia is boosting its ambitions. Adds Jevtić: “The aim of increasing the minimum amount spent per episode is to focus on high-budget series that require a developed infrastructure.”

ANA ILIC

“The qualifying thresholds remain extremely low and thus highly competitive. We want to create an environment that stimulates all kinds of production”

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ounded in 2007, Work in Progress (WIP), owned and run by Angie Vlaisavljević, was one of the early players on the Serbian scene and has since line-produced 35 projects in the country. A veteran of both film and television production, Vlaisavljević agrees that the introduction of incentives raised international interest in Serbia significantly, giving WIP the chance to work on such prestige projects as the Krypton (2016) pilot for Warner Bros., Ibiza (2017) for Netflix and James Watkins-directed McMafia (2017), for which Belgrade stood in for Moscow, among other cities. More recently, WIP line-produced Luc Besson’s thriller Anna and the Rudolf Nureyev drama The White Crow, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes. Anna is the first film that Besson has directed in Serbia but, over the last 10 years, WIP has worked on five projects for Besson’s TV operation, EuropaCorp. “We started prep on The White Crow in July 2017 and wrapped at the end of October, but we also shot a few extra scenes in January 2018,” Vlaisavljević says. The White Crow is the second project on which WIP has worked with Fiennes and producer Gabrielle Tana — in 2010, it was also involved in Coriolanus (2011), Fiennes’ directorial debut. “For The White Crow, we had to build Paris-Le Bourget Airport as it was in the 1960s, as well as a duplicate of St Petersburg’s Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet from the same period, and some interiors

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any of Serbia’s line-production and facilities companies make use of PFI Studios, the first purpose-built major studio complex to be built in the country. Located 28 kilometres from the centre of Belgrade, it has eight sound stages ranging from 600 sq m to 1,800 sq m, each featuring a multi-storey annex with fully serviced pro-

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De v e l o p me nt

P r o duc t i o n

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Co l o r i ng

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Sc h e dul i ng

E q ui p me ntRe nt a l

So undDe s i g n

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Benattar/Thomas Productions’ sci-fi thriller Incoming

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of Russian apartments,” Vlaisavljević adds. Rade Mihajlović, founder and CEO of CDPC, which did the set build for The White Crow, says the challenge was recreating stages and rehearsal rooms that looked authentic but were also useable for the ballet dancers and actors. “Recreating the rehearsal room — the Foyer de la Danse — at Paris’ Palais Garnier was especially interesting because of its unique shape,” he adds. Serbia contributed more than just line production and locations to The White Crow. “The Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra recorded some music pieces for the film and numerous members of the Belgrade National Theatre ballet took part in the project,” Vlaisavljević says.

mong the projects that Serbia successfully completed in 2017 was South Indian blockbuster Vivegam and Shaad Ali’s recently wrapped sports biopic Soorma (2018). Shot on location in Serbia for more than 70 days, Vivegam “was a game changer”, says Alek Conic, founder of four-year-old Clockwork Film Production. Conic is no newcomer, having spent a decade in Canada’s film-production industry before returning home to Serbia to launch Clockwork. Produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions' (SPNP) Chitrangda Singh and Deepak Singh, Soorma is based on the hockey legend Sandeep Singh’s two-year struggle to overcome injuries suffered in an accidental shooting. But neither working in Serbia nor working with Clockwork was new to the film’s creative team: SPNP had previously shot parts of Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai (2017) in Serbia, with Clockwork as service facilitator. Soorma shot in Serbia in late 2017 for eight days, during which time the territory doubled for the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The Leopold hotel in Novi Sad was used to duplicate a Swiss rehabilitation centre. The 18th-century castle turned hotel was the perfect double for “a very high-end Swiss facility of the sort that extreme athletes use to get back in the game quickly”, Conic says. Not surprisingly, Serbia has also tempted directors from the US. In December, Clockwork wrapped 25 days of shooting and production support for horror film Open 24 Hours (2018), helmed by Padraig Reynolds and starring Vanessa Grasse, Cole Vigue, Emily Tennant, Brendan Fletcher and Daniel O’Meara. The shoot took place just outside Belgrade. “Shooting there

IGOR TURCINOVIC

“Business virtually exploded following the launch of the first 20% rebate in 2016. It was the first real incentive in this part of Europe” 87

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Shooting Padraig Reynolds’ horror film Open 24 Hours

gave my film a unique look that resembled a lot of America,” Reynolds says. “And I couldn't have filmed Open 24 Hours without production designer Jelena Šopić and the Clockwork team. They completely recreated a US gas station in Serbia and made the set come to life.”

“The eclectic diversity of locations is Serbia’s main attraction,” says Milica Božanić, executive director of the Serbia Film Commission. “The fact that these locations have not been seen on screen that much is to our advantage when it comes to replicating other locations. For example, we have been very successful in portraying medieval fortresses and run-down industrial locations. And lately, Serbia’s Brutalist and Post-modern architecture has been a perfect fit for a new wave of futuristic scripts.”

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ed Production created a space station outside Belgrade for Benattar/Thomas Productions’ sci-fi thriller Incoming (2018). Red Production founder Miloš Đukelić called on designer Nikola Berček to help create the set. “Berček is a super-talented local who we’d worked with before on Bullet Head (2017) with Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich,” Djukelic says. “With limited time and budget, we created the entire space station from scratch on a stage in Belgrade. Berček designed the outside and the inside of the space station, as well as projected some of the parts we were not building in 3D to help the production team visualise the world that was being created.” The VFX was done by Belgrade-based Dreamdust, with which Red has previously worked on several US and UK projects. While Incoming was shot entirely on set, Đukelić says that Red Production regularly films in and around Belgrade: “The city government and location-owners are very film-friendly and Belgrade itself is an interesting mixture of styles, from Art Nouveau, Bauhaus and Modernist to Brutalist and Post-modern.” The city’s rich history is reflected in its neighbourhoods, Đukelić adds: “The Danube was the border of Austria for centuries, so we have an Austrian-looking area of the city. Belgrade centre has a strong French influence and we often use it to replicate Paris. And Belgrade fortress is a huge medieval citadel on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. That’s where we shot Ironclad 2: Battle For Blood (2014) and Sword Of Vengeance (2015).”

GETTING ACCESS SO HOW easy is it to access Serbia’s incentive programme? Not hard, according to Film Center Serbia’s chief Boban Jevtić “It’s quite simple with regards to procedures and documentation. Foreign investors can use the services of local providers, or they can register and open a company of their own in order to apply for the tax rebate. The Ministry of Economy provides an annual budget for incentives and handles the payments. The incentives commission determines whether the documentation is in order and whether all the requirements for the allocation and payment of funds have been fulfilled, while Film Center Serbia deals with the administrative issues. Applications are considered within a week of being submitted, and the funds are paid 45 days after the process ends, at the latest.”

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SCENES OF SERBIA The Blue Train, built in 1959 in the wagon factory in Maribor

St George's Church, on top of the Oplenac Hill in the town of Topola

Spicer Castle near the Fruška Gora Mountain, built by the industrialist Spicer family from 1890 to 1892

The canyon of Rosomača, a river in eastern Serbia, on the Stara Planina mountain

The Palace of Serbia, a government building in Novi Beograd, Belgrade

Rajko’s Cave through which the subterranean Rajkova river flows

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Noomi Rapace as evil elf Leilah in Bright

A FANTASTICAL PLACE

Two high-profile movies, Bright and A Wrinkle In Time, prove that California can do all kinds of fantasy; while another, A Star Is Born, shows it can also do real-life Americana. And then there are the commercials and high-end TV drama series too. Fuelled by a successful incentive programme, the state of California has once again become the natural home of the movies. Andy Fry, Julian Newby and Gary Smith report

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funds, each targeted at different kinds of production. At the same time, restrictions on films have been removed, so that projects of any budget may apply for tax credits. As a result, California was able to snare Disney’s fantasy feature film A Wrinkle In Time (2018). This has now been followed up by a remake of A Star Is Born (2018), starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, the latest in Paramount’s Transformers franchise — Bumblebee (2018) — and Midway, a Roland Emmerich-directed blockbuster about World War II’s decisive South Pacific sea battle. A Wrinkle In Time (2018), adapted from Madeleine L’Engle’s classic 1962 science-fantasy time-travel novel, follows 13-year-old Meg Murry (Storm Reid) and her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) as they travel through space and time in search of their missing scientist father. Joining them is Meg’s classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) and three very peculiar neighbours — Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit — known collectively as The Mrs and played respectively by Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon. Like the Narnia and Harry Potter movies, A Wrinkle In Time is a cinema adaptation that a couple of generations — particularly in the US — had been waiting for. In the words of Oprah Winfrey: “I felt like we were making the new Wizard Of Oz for another generation.” Where it may go further than Oz, Potter or Narnia — which themselves in their own way established young women characters as heroes — A Wrinkle In Time has a young woman of colour heading out on a seemingly impossible quest, and succeeding, something that was very important to director Ava DuVernay. “It was always Ava’s vision to tell the story of a young ‘brown girl’ as she described Meg, and that the parents would be of mixed race — and then it would be a story of her coming into being and owning her place in the universe,” says the film’s producer Jim Whitaker. “So the point-of-view of the casting was very clear from Ava, right from when she originally decided that she was interested in directing the film.” “She’s imperfect, she’s all of us, she’s in a package that’s different from

NOW IN its third year, California’s expanded Film & Television Tax Credit Program 2.0 has proved a success. TV series that had emigrated from California in search of a better deal are back, and new films and movies are queuing up to shoot in the Golden State. Which is good news for the world-class talent and crew that continued to make the state their home even in the years when the money and the producers deserted them. “Everyone understands why producers need to go in search of incentives,” says Eric Fierstein, location manager on HBO’s Ballers (2015-) and Showtime’s relaunch of Twin Peaks (2017-). “But what you get in California is the best crews, and the most comprehensive support systems and suppliers. Everything is a phone call away, which means the creative team doesn't lose any time on the shoot.” Fierstein believes California’s unparalleled infrastructure is more important than ever now that TV series have become so creatively-driven. “Networks are more willing these days to give the creative talent the support they need, so the emphasis is not so much on budget restraints as on what it will take to make a show distinctive. Take a project like Twin Peaks, which was one of the most wonderful and invigorating projects I’ve ever worked on. David Lynch’s ambitious vision needed the kind of flexibility and expertise you only find in California,” he says. The sustained global demand for high-end TV drama is an added bonus. While high-profile movies are prestigious and can bring big returns for short periods of time, many television series are set up to be returning franchises, which means guaranteed work for talent and crew, for a number of years, according to California Film Commission (CFC) CEO Amy Lemisch. By the end of 2017 no fewer than 12 TV series had relocated, including HBO’s Ballers from Miami, Showtime’s The Affair (2014-) from New York and MTV’s Scream Queens (2017-) from Louisiana. Of these 12, four series have moved from California’s arch-rival Vancouver, including Sony Pictures Television’s (SPT) Timeless (2016-), renewed for season two by NBC. That show alone is reckoned to employ 250 cast, 220 crew and 3,000 extras. “Veep (2012-) and American Horror Story (2011-), which have relocated to California, are both long-running series, meaning guaranteed work for a number of years,” Lemisch says, adding: “NBC’s This Is Us (2016-) and TNT’s Animal Kingdom (2016-), which both started in California with support from the tax-credit program, have commitments until at least season three.” Movies are also returning to California. One of the shrewdest things about Program 2.0, Lemisch argues, is that there are four different

OPRAH WINFREY

“I felt like we were making the new Wizard Of Oz for another generation” most cinematic heroes,” DuVernay says. “A black girl with curly hair and glasses. It’s the idea that any of us can be a hero.” DuVernay didn’t accept the film immediately when Disney first offered it to her in 2016. She had never read A Wrinkle In Time — she and her friend and collaborator Oprah Winfrey, who grew up in Compton and Milwaukee respectively, both say it “missed their neighbourhoods”. But when Disney executive Tendo Nagenda encouraged her to “imagine the worlds you can create… planets, and you get to decide what they look like”, DuVernay remembers thinking: “How many women hear that? How many people of colour hear that?” Once she had taken hold of the project, it became crucial to her — and to the movie — how Meg and her environment would be portrayed. “From Ava’s point of view, she grew up here in the Los Angeles area and so she really wanted to set the movie in Los Angeles,” says Whitaker. “In the early parts of the movie it was important to capture the emotional quality and connect it to Meg — the kind of schools that she went to, the kind of feeling of LA and the palm trees and the kind of grounded quality that you can feel in the city. It was really important to be in real-life California before we went on this fantastical journey. Then the mov-

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Chris Pine is Mr Murry in children’s fantasy A Wrinkle In Time

and Stagecoach festivals in April 2017. The 1976 version of A Star Is Born shot in Arizona, where much of the film is set. So why the move to California? Once again, money played a key role. “The main reason for shooting in California had to do with the state’s fairly recent tax incentive program,” Rick Schuler, supervising location manager on the film, says. “The project received a tax incentive months prior to pre-production, but I doubt very much that the director and producers would have considered shooting this movie anywhere else than in California. The main backdrop was meant to be Los Angeles. “Along with the producers, we met at Bradley Cooper’s residence to discuss the type and style of locations he envisioned for the movie,” Schuler says. “He had some definite interest in featuring well-known iconic Los Angeles locations, but was also wonderfully open to hear what we pictured in our minds about what the locations would add to the palette of the movie. With five houses, six concert venues, six bars, four hotels, two recording studios, and a Grammy venue among the 60 different locations we needed to find, there was lots of creative input that we could bring to ensure that every one of these locations told the story it needed to tell without seeming to be a repeat of just another venue or house or bar.”

ie becomes open to different opportunities, but we were also able to find a lot of those locations here in California as well. We shot almost all the movie here in California.” The story kicks off in LA but then moves to the rest of the universe — where Meg slowly finds her strength of character and, eventually, her father. But the production didn’t have to leave California even to find the out-of-this-world locations that were needed. “We were able to find everything we wanted almost entirely here. And for me it was even a personal revelation — I mean we went to Humboldt County, which I’d never been to,” Whitaker says. “And the first thing I did was pick up the phone and call my wife and say, ‘My God it’s beautiful up here, we should come up here more — because it’s so gorgeous!’. We went to a lot of other places around the state that were equally interesting — some of them I was more familiar with than others, but it was incredible what we were able to find. You know California offers a lot and it was nice to be able to travel around it, show it in the film and be able to travel to those places within the context of the story we were telling.” The Warner Bros. release A Star Is Born tells the story of Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a country music star whose career has taken a downturn, and talented unknown Ally (Stefani Germanotta/Lady Gaga). As they begin a passionate love affair, Jack encourages Ally in her career and soon a star is born. But Jack’s stardom is fading fast and he finds life hard to take as Ally continues to reach new heights. It’s the fourth time this compelling story has been told on the big screen. The original 1937 film starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March; a 1954 remake had Judy Garland and James Mason in the lead roles; and Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson headlined in the 1976 version. Cooper and the production went to great lengths to get an authentic look, not only by using real locations but also by incorporating real live musical performances. Some of the scenes were filmed at the Coachella

JIM WHITAKER

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Will Smith stars in Bright

The film shot primarily in metropolitan Los Angeles, but also in the Coachella Valley — mainly in Palm Springs and the city of Indio. The Palm Springs area substituted for Arizona and Memphis, Tennessee, while Indio — where the Coachella venue is located — was used to represent various concert venues around the country. The task of doubling the Palm Springs area for the Arizona countryside was not easy,” Schuler says. “But the interior locations are much easier to cheat. For instance, the Greek Theatre was able to pass as an exterior venue in the Bay area because of the redwoods surrounding the artists' entrance and by choosing not to shoot back at the stage in a way that would clearly identify the venue as a LA landmark. The interior architecture of a location is often the starting point that directs the audience to identify the setting. The Five Star bar and the Regent in downtown Los Angeles are cases in point. The former passed for the Juke Joint in Memphis, the latter for a club in New Orleans.” Netflix is investing big bucks in blockbuster movies to premiere on its own platform — and has established the majority of its movie production infrastructure in California. An early high-profile film to emerge from this new initiative is fantasy/action hybrid Bright (2017), starring

Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace. Directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad/2016) and written by Max Landis (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency/2016-17), the film imagines a modern-day LA in which orcs, elves, centaurs and fairies and other supernatural beings, live alongside humans. Smith, a human, and Edgerton, an orc, play LAPD cops — and in a clever twist, it is Edgerton’s orc cop who is subjected to discrimination. Ayer is no stranger to making movies in LA, the city that he has called home since his teens. And it was important that it looked as real as possible in order that everything else that was going on in the film was believable. “Bright takes place in this interesting heightened reality,” he says. “At the core, it’s about Los Angeles, and it’s important to shoot the city as the city. This movie is all about reality. These characters don’t know that orcs aren’t real, that fairies aren’t real. They don’t know that magic isn’t real. But at the same time, there are these fantasy elements. It was important to me to create that seamless environment.” However, he acknowledges that navigating his way through its rapidly changing cityscape was challenging. “We’d go to places to film, and the wrecking ball would be waiting. The warehouse district downtown, which used to be where you shoot machine guns, is now a high-end arts-loft district. Even Skid Row’s developing. Classic South LA neighbourhoods have evolved because there’s been so much invested and so much developed.” Ayer’s key collaborators on the film — as far as the look was concerned — included cinematographer Roman Vasyanov and production designer Andrew Menzies. “We crashed fantasy with the real world,” Menzies says. “We enhanced what LA has to offer with all its different cultures. We used all those, and then we had the elves and the orcs and mingled them together.” It was important to show the cultural effects that the supernatural creatures had on the city. “We tried to work out, what is the orc-ish impression that’s imprinted on LA?” Menzies says. “We developed a

DAVID AYER

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DAN COOLEY

language for the movie that’s a real language for orcs with an alphabet, and then added that orc layer with advertising posters and writing so that you really feel like they have been integrated into this world for centuries. Our signs actually say something in orc-ish. If someone wanted to translate it, they could.” He adds: “We added a lot of litter to our sets because we want to feel like this society of Bright is on the brink of breaking. Everything’s a little worn, a little tired. The police cars are beat up. There’s a lot of conflict among the species, and everything is just frayed around the edges.” “The first day driving through the orc neighbourhood — it’s modernday Los Angeles,” Will Smith says. “We’re cops, and we roll up on this outdoor orc barbecue, and there’s, like, an entire cow on a spit in the middle of a junkyard. It’s just this beautiful blend and collision of these fantastic worlds.” Eric Newman, who produced alongside Ayer and Bryan Unkeless, adds: “We were able to hit a couple of key locations that give our world scale and detail, and hopefully, make the audience think, 'Wow, down that alleyway there’s a whole other world!'” And Ayer went beyond locations to ensure authenticity, insisting that the cast underwent extensive preparations before the start of principal photography. All the actors who played cops in the film were required to work alongside real LAPD officers. “I like to bring authenticity to the screen, and part of that comes from having the actors understand what they’re doing,” Ayer says. “We had some fantastic technical advisors take them through a lot of tactical drills — including shooting so they know how to use a gun and move like LAPD police officers. It really helped them get that insight into what it means to be a cop these days.” Some of the night shoots took the production to parts of Los Angeles rarely seen on film, and included detailed action sequences that, in some cases, involved fight scenes and shoot-outs, and in others, huge explosions and towering walls of flame. In the case of one of the film’s final scenes, the crew had to cleverly stage a massive fire, filming the sequence partially on location and partially on a soundstage. “Since the majority of the exterior was a practical location, obviously we couldn’t really burn it,” says executive producer Adam Merims. “It was really complicated because that particular location is right next to the 101 Freeway, and we had to figure out how to keep flames and smoke and fire from flying up above the freeway. Then, to match, we had to build an interior set that we could set fully on fire.” The matching basement set and exterior corridor were built at Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, California — and as soon as construction was completed, the sets were burned to the ground. “We set it on

“California is home to an amazing array of architectural and geographic opportunities to double” fire one night and had Will and Joel come through that set as well as some stunt people,” Merims says. “Will is so experienced with action that he very rarely will refuse to do something. You have to actually tell him, ‘no, we’re not going to let you do that.’ And Joel’s Australian, so he’s always willing to take a shot.” The production used Los Angeles Center Studios as a base, but was mostly filmed around locations including MacArthur Park, LA’s famous Arts District and Echo Park, which hosted a noisy night-time chase scene. “We were mainly out on location,” LA locations expert Michael Haro says. “David used very little green screen, because he wanted to make sure the fantasy element didn’t affect the film’s realism. One of the key points was not to make too much of the fantasy elements, but to treat these characters like different ethnic groups.” Looking more widely around the state it fast becomes clear that California has a lot of what the world has to offer in terms of locations. Film commissions all around the world will tell you that they have great locations for doubling. But the truth is that recreating another part of the world in your backyard is about much more than offering a few familiar looking places. “California is home to an amazing array of architectural and geographic opportunities to double,” says location manager Dan Cooley. “But what really sets it apart is the infrastructure that supports it. If you want to recreate New York, for example, you don’t have to shoot every scene out on the street, because you can also cheat New York in studios and back lots. And for other looks, you can go to the movie ranches based near to LA.” One of Cooley’s favourite examples of California’s versatility is the 2016 movie The Sweet Life, which centres on a romantic road trip from Chicago to California. “Apart from one shot, we cheated all of the Chicago elements around LA. Even better, the movie sees the key characters travel through seven states — and we shot all of them within striking

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Angela Lewis in FX’s Snowfall, which took viewers back to the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s

Costa Mesa has also done a great job of doubling for Las Vegas, using locations such as a local Hilton. The southern part of California also has vast experience in cheating Florida hotspot Miami, with Orange County and Long Beach often sharing duties on high-profile TV franchises. Tasha Day, special events and filming co-ordinator for the city of Long Beach, 20 km from downtown LA, says: “If you want Miami, come to Long Beach. CSI Miami (2002-12), Dexter (2006-13), Rosewood (2015-17), and now Ballers have all shot here.” The main reason for this, Day says, is the geographic and architectural similarities between the Long Beach and Miami waterfront districts. But the real clincher is the professional support available to producers. “The city’s filming offer is set up so it all goes through my office, which means you don't have to communicate directly with the fire and police departments or businesses. We have police and fire personnel who are dedicated to special events and know all about shutting down roads, making explosions and dropping cars into water,” she says. Monica Harrison, who launched her location-services company L.A.

distance of LA.” Cooley says California’s ability to double for other locations is further enhanced by the quality of the state’s scene dressers and vendors. “You have a film heritage that goes back generations here. It doesn’t matter what you need, there will be a company that has been doing it for decades. Last year [2017] for the Amazon series Good Girls Revolt, we shot a 1970s New York winter in present day LA — during the summer. That’s California," he says. Orange County film commissioner Janice Arrington is another who talks up California’s ability to double. “In 2017, we welcomed George Clooney and the Coen Brothers, who were shooting the indie movie Suburbicon. The production, which starred Matt Damon, used a postWar housing estate in Fullerton to double for 1950s Levittown in Pennsylvania.” Arrington adds that Suburbicon included a huge race-riot scene, involving 250 extras, based on true-life events. “Also, the local authorities had recently pulled down some palm trees with a view to replanting them. We managed to persuade them to delay replanting by a few months, so that the production could shoot it as Pennsylvania,” she says. Because of its well-established craft base, the ability to double modernday LA for previous eras is a particular California talent, Arrington adds — whether that’s other US locations or LA itself. At the 2017 California On Location Awards, for example, two of the three finalists in the onehour television category were shows that had expertly recreated bygone eras. In Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here (2017-), the emphasis was on LA’s famous stand-up scene in the 1970s. FX’s Snowfall (2017-), meanwhile, took viewers back to the 1980s crack-cocaine epidemic. It’s not just old LA and cities like New York and Chicago that California can replicate. Location manager Mandi Dillin managed to recreate Texas in LA for Jill Soloway’s adaptation of the Chris Kraus novel I Love Dick (2016-17). And Orange County’s Arrington adds that the city of

TASHA DAY

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The Torrey Pines Bridge in San Diego, a popular area for commercials shoots

One even has a Clydesdale ranch, where these wonderful horses are bred. Being private property, there are no filming permits required and filming only needs an agreement with the owners.” Hosting 15 to 20 commercials a year accounts for about 20-25% of the county’s shoots, with the majority consisting of car commercials. “Recently, one of our local location managers won an agency award for his work on a commercial for GMC, and I hear they are looking to come back and shoot another commercial because of the beautiful country roads and ranches we have available,” Corliss adds. Location scout Mark Zekanis takes up the story: “The GMC shoot was an epic undertaking because they were filming every current model and needed 17 different locations over 12 days. Added to that, they wanted fresh places that hadn’t been used for car commercials before — and, given the location changes, they also had to be close together.” According to Brandy Shimabukuro, filming program manager at the City of San Diego special events and filming department, San Diego hosts around 100 commercials shoots each year. They include campaigns for VW, Ford, HP, Honda, Acura, Chrysler, Lululemon, Audi, Ford, Kia, Alfa Romeo, HP, and Qualcomm, and constitute approximately 10% of the filming days permitted by the San Diego Film Office. Shimabukuro says that one of her department’s biggest challenges is keeping up with technology: “Drones, 360-degree cameras and other new equipment are making for incredible shots and new perspectives in commercials — aerial shots that previously would have been too costly and resource-intensive to be feasible on a commercials shoot are now fairly common thanks to drones.” The San Diego Film Office works closely with production companies, the San Diego Police Department, and other city authorities to enable production companies to achieve the best shots possible. “Each commercials shoot’s needs are different,” Shimabukuro adds. “Some are looking for Anywhere, USA, and others are looking for a location

Film Locations in 2003, says: “California can double for almost any world landscape.” In addition to New York, Miami and Boston, it also has a good supply of Washington DC-style landscaping. “We help CBS with both NCIS (2003-), which is set in Washington, and NCIS: Los Angeles (2009-), which is set locally. One wants palms tree and the other doesn’t! There are plenty of houses with East Coast-type landscaping, but we can also avoid palm trees by covering them up if necessary.” Among more remote geographies, California has been used to double for Iraq, Afghanistan, France, Mexico, Asia and Russia. “We have a street with town houses that has been shot as Georgetown and also Paris, France,” Harrison says. “I also know of a house in Southern California that can easily be doubled as a house in Madrid, Spain, because the topography is so similar.” Good weather, varied landscapes and cityscapes, a great transport network and, again, talented crews, attract commercials to the state year-round. The state’s unparalleled choice of locations includes impossibly huge Redwood trees, ski runs, vineyards, deserts, wind farms, temperate fieldscapes, lagoons, tropical forests, other-worldly rock formations, pristine lakes and rivers, and thousands of miles of roads running through every kind of landscape imaginable. Alongside that, there is its dramatic, larger-than-life coastline, interrupted by intimate sandy beaches, iconic bridges, and architecture ranging from castles and ranches to abandoned towns and picture-perfect suburbs. And then there’s California’s largely stable and agreeable climate and legendary quality of light. The coastal county of San Luis Obispo is situated directly between Los Angeles and San Francisco. “Our region has a plethora of private ranches that have so many cool assets, from rock quarries to scary log cabins in the woods,” says Kylee Corliss, film commission liaison for San Luis Obispo County. “They have private lakes, rolling hills, and dirt roads.

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“The pristine waters of Lake Tahoe” in late spring

from 90 feet to 9,000 feet in 90 minutes, which means you get an astonishing variety of landscapes within a relatively short journey on the highway,” says Beverly Lewis, director of the Placer - Lake Tahoe Film Commission. Both Placer and Lake Tahoe counties can offer four seasons in one shoot, Lewis adds. “Especially around the months of April and May, you can really do it all. You still have plenty of snow on the mountains but, down below, it’s spring and there are lots of green shoots and flowers. You can then head to some of the private properties that we have available in the old Gold Rush area around Auburn and Newcastle, and make a summer scenario. And the autumn look can be done by adding some red and yellow leaves to the trees,” she says. Two world famous locations fall within the Monterey County boundaries, namely Big Sur and Bixby Bridge. The county also includes an 80-mile stretch of Highway 1 that has been designated a National Scenic Byway. “The scenery has been described as the most perfect meeting of land, sea and cliffs,” says Karen Nordstrand, director of marketing and film production at Monterey County Film Commission. “Then we have Bixby Bridge, which is one of the tallest concrete span bridges in the world, sitting 280 feet above Bixby Creek and spanning a 700-foot ravine. And there are several state parks dotted along the highway.” Thanks to these assets, Monterey is popular for car commercials and has recently hosted shoots by Audi, Lexus, Subaru and Michelin. “Some of them come for a simple image of a car on Bixby Bridge, others are looking for intermittent traffic control, and some prefer the north end of the bridge, where it is joined by the Old Coast Road,” Nordstrand says. Some less well-known Monterey locations are also much in demand, “Bentley filmed on Pebble Beach and Pacific Groves, a small city on the Monterey Peninsula that is also popular for car shoots. We regularly have crews making commercials for Visit California as well. But it’s not just about the coast here," she says. "We also have the Salinas

that’s distinctly San Diego. This region has no shortage of beautiful and unique locations, but two in particular are very popular with commercials shoots: Balboa Park and North Torrey Pines Road, just north of the Torrey Pines State Beach.” The 50 or so commercials productions filmed in Mono County each year represent about 90% of total film production, making them the area’s audiovisual staple. About a five-hour drive from Los Angeles, Mono County’s dramatic Sierra Nevada mountains serve as the ideal backdrop for productions requiring magnificent alpine settings. “Locations that are repeatedly requested for commercials include the Benton Crossing road, just south of Mammoth Lakes,” says Alicia Vennos, economic development director and film commissioner at the Mono County Film Commission. “It’s popular for vehicle commercials all year round, because it’s a wide open, quiet stretch of road with magnificent views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Another popular location for ethereal or other-worldly landscapes is the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve. The limestone formations, called ‘tufa’, give the vast lake a unique, almost haunted look and feel. Another beloved location is Minaret Vista — the jagged peaks of the minarets are truly iconic.” And then there’s the snow. “Last year’s ski season at Mammoth Mountain kicked off in early November and finished on August 16, which makes Mono County and Mammoth Lakes popular with productions needing snowy landscapes,” Vennos says. “Mammoth Mountain received 40 feet of snow in the month of January alone last year, which presented some challenges for a Jeep commercial. Fortunately, the California Department of Transportation [Caltrans] and the county-road crews are true professionals, as are the Mammoth Location Services, and the production was successful.” Northern California offers snow for six months of the year on the ski slopes above the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe, as well as on the Midwest/European-looking flatlands around Sacramento: “You can go

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FEATURE CALIFORNIA

though it might seem, the incentive program also seems to be encouraging productions to locate here even if they don’t benefit directly from an incentive,” says Hesseltine, who served as president of film commissioner industry body FLICS (the Film Liaisons In California Statewide) in 2016. And there are a couple of reasons why this might be the case. The first, Hesseltine suggests, is that non-incentive productions still get to benefit from the investments made on the back of incentive productions, such as studio and ranch improvements. The second is to do with quality of life. “Instead of working out of hotels for months, people can see their families at the end of each day,” Hesseltine says. “With the number and range of incentive programs shrinking across North America, it’s possible that non-incentive productions are now seeing the benefits and efficiencies that come with working closer to home and are also following suit.” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos made a similar point when discussing his company’s expansion in California. “When you think about productions chasing tax credits all over the world, it puts the onus on the cast and crew, who have to travel,” he said. “I hope you save enough money to put a $100m production at risk by having a lot of miserable people around.” Orange County’s Janice Arrington adds: “Having your shoot close to the studio HQ means better oversight, because studio executives and specialist production personnel can come down and visit any time they want. In an era when shows can cost $100m or more, that means it’s possible to keep a closer eye on the huge investment you’re making.

Valley, known as the lettuce bowl of the world, plus several private ranches that are easy to make over with a period look if needed. Salinas Valley, Carmel Valley and River Road also regularly double for Europe. And in Monterey itself, we have Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and streets of Victorian houses." Some 300 miles south of Big Sur lies Santa Clarita, close to but not part of Los Angeles. So far in 2017, Santa Clarita County has hosted 159 shoot days for commercials including Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Keurig, Pepsi, Nissan, Target, and the Samsung Galaxy. One of the most in-demand locations is the College of the Canyons, whose sprawling campus combines a clean, minimalist look with sports fields and nature. “The Nissan commercial was shot on one of the college’s playing fields,” says Evan Thomason, economic development associate at the Santa Clarita Film Commission. “It featured Heisman Trophy winners — college football’s most valuable players — tackling an obstacle course and playing football using the cars. The campus, which doesn’t have much signage, has also doubled as the CIA headquarters in Langley, and hosted shoots for the Ford F-150, Alfa Romeo, the NBA and Old Spice.” Given its year-round good weather and plethora of photogenic roads, Santa Clarita is also very popular with car shoots. “Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, and Subaru have all shot here,” Thomason adds. Commercials don’t benefit from Program 2.0, although Cassandra Hesseltine, film commissioner for Humboldt-Del Norte County says that it is not just the money that attracts productions to the state. “Odd

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LA JOLLA COVE , SAN DIEGO La Jolla Cove lies between dramatic sandstone cliffs and is part of the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve. Its clear turquoise waters and tide pools are full of diverse marine life and offer a dramatic backdrop for film, TV and still photography shoots. A number of feature films have shot here — including The Count Of Monte Cristo (1908), The Stunt Man (1980) — as well as the TV series Great American Railroad Journeys (2016-) and commercials for Sony, Skechers, Chase Bank, HP, New Balance and PacSun. (Photo, courtesy Mark Amancio)

CALIFORNIA IN PICTURES WITH THE HELP OF FILM COMMISSIONS, PHOTOGRAPHERS AND LOCATION MANAGERS, LOCATION INTERNATIONAL FEATURES STUNNING SHOTS OF LOCATIONS ON OFFER IN THE GOLDEN STATE

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JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, SAN BERNARDINO VALLEY This vast protected area in southern California is characterised by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes. Named for the region’s twisted, bristled Joshua trees, the park straddles the cactus– dotted Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. Productions shot in the area include movies Less Than Zero (1987) and Seven Psychopaths (2012); and the TV series Entourage (2004-2011). (Photo, courtesy Brenda Ferrell)

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LAETITIA VINEYARD AND WINERY, SAN LUIS OBISPO The Laetitia Estate Vineyards were first planted in 1982 when French viticulturists found ideal growing conditions in the Arroyo Grande Valley for producing wines of similar character to those of their homeland in Epernay, France. The area is popular for commercials and stills shoots. (Photo, courtesy Dan Holmes photography)

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FEATURE MOUNTAIN STATES

The stunning red-rock of Sedona, Arizona

WILD COUNTRY

The US’ Mountain States — Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — are naturals in front of the camera. What’s more, they have a lot more to offer than mountains, Andy Fry discovers 115 LOCATION 2018 INTERNATIONAL

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approved a rebate of $300,000 for Freak Power, a movie about writer Hunter S Thompson’s 1970 run for sheriff of Pitkin County, to be written and directed by Bobby Kennedy III. A film reinterpretation of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden — Walden: Life In The Woods (2017) — directed by Alex Harvey, was also approved for $210,000 in rebates and shot around Denver. Colorado is known for its spectacular mountain scenery, but it also boasts forests, rivers, sand dunes, hot springs and farmlands, as well as modern cities including Denver and Boulder. There are also 42 state parks, 26 ski resorts, seven military bases, several gold and diamond mines and 500 ghost towns.

ARIZONA WITH ITS STUNNING RED-ROCK CANYONS, vast deserts, lush forests, breathtaking lakes, rivers and mountains, and bustling cities, including Tucson, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona can undoubtedly serve most productions. The state currently has no film and TV incentives, but nonetheless has hosted more than 5,000 films and TV shows since 1913, with highlights including The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Raising Arizona (1987), Tombstone (1993), Forrest Gump (1994) and Jerry Maguire (1996). One of its most recent credits is Transformers: The Last Knight, which visited the state in 2016. According to local media reports the decision to do so was because the film needed to open up in a junkyard. The ideal junkyard location turned out to be just north of Phoenix-Deer Valley Airport. Other locations proved perfect for the film too and eventually the production filmed for around 10 days in the state. One sequence involved shutting a main highway to allow a scene with military vehicles. The film also visited Marble Canyon, Luke Air Force Base and a city training facility for firefighters to test the movie’s pyrotechnics. Transformers: The Last Knight brought around $15m into Arizona. Benefits to producers outlined by the Arizona Commerce Authority include over 300 days of sunshine, free use of state roads and parks, discounts from a range of vendors including hotels and restaurants, and cash rebates from equipment suppliers. The Authority also promises simple permitting processes as well as “experienced crews and talent”.

“Netflix's Our Souls At Night is estimated to have brought $17m into Colorado” IDAHO IDAHO IS ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL US STATE, blessed with quaint towns, craggy mountains, white-water rivers, forgotten back roads and rolling farmland. With long summer days, a fourseason climate and plenty of pristine snow in winter, Idaho is the kind of place that can accommodate film, TV and commercials productions throughout the year. The Idaho Film Office is a good first point of contact and can coordinate locations, crews and equipment. The state’s crews have a broad range of production skills and a friendly, can-do attitude, while most of its cities do not require film permits. In addition, Idaho legislators have just passed a bill that provides a 20% rebate on all goods and services purchased in the state. Among the movies that have shot in Idaho are Dante’s Peak (1997), Wild Wild West (1999) and Breakfast Of Champions (1999), based on the acclaimed Kurt Vonnegut Jr novel. In 2011, Magic Valley also shot in the state, a film that portrayed an unsettling story against the backdrop of a small Idaho town. Idaho is popular with independent filmmakers. At the end of 2017, director Benjamin Schile chose Idaho as the setting for his alienabduction movie Mischief Upon Mischief (2018) because of the volcanic and other-worldly landscapes to be found in parts of the state, notably Craters of the Moon and Black Magic Canyon. Other spectacular locations include Shoshone Falls, Hells Canyon and the Bruneau Dunes. Other indie features to have shot in Idaho in recent years include Among Ravens (2014). The comedy/drama tells the story of a group of dysfunctional friends who reunite for their annual Fourth of July weekend, only to be confronted by Chad, a strange and beautiful nature photographer who begins to change their lives one by one.

COLORADO THE COLORADO PRODUCTION BUSINESS IS THRIVING, thanks to its 20% industry incentive. The state reckons to have generated $151m in economic impact from incentivised production since 2012. High-profile credits include Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) and recent Netflix movie Our Souls At Night (2017), starring screen legends Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. “The Hateful Eight was a great tool to [make] Hollywood aware that we are open for business and, just as important, that we have crew. The two variables people want to know about are incentives and crew,” Colorado film commissioner Donald Zuckerman says. Netflix’s Our Souls At Night is estimated to have brought $17m into the state. Based on the novel by Kent Haruf, the movie was centred in the charming city of Florence. In addition, the film shot in Colorado Springs, Cañon City, Denver and Eleven Mile State Park, south of Lake George. Other projects to have visited the state include Hoax (2017), about a TV producer and a primate specialist whose search for Bigfoot goes horribly wrong; and Amateur (2018), the story of a young boy whose basketball skills are spotted by professional recruiters. Recently, Colorado’s Economic Development Commission

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FEATURE MOUNTAIN STATES

Idaho: plenty of pristine snow in winter

were shot in Livingston and the aptly named Paradise Valley. Paramount Television’s series Yellowstone (2018-) also filmed in Montana around Missoula and Hamilton. HBO mini-series Lewis And Clark was also expected to shoot in the state, but at press time the production had been put on hold.

MONTANA FROM RUGGED, SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAINS TO DRAMATIC, WINDING HIGHWAYS, Montana has over 140,000 square miles of all-American scenery for producers to choose from. If it’s the Wild West you want, then the Montana Film Office (MFO) says: “You’ll see it in homesteads on the plains and cabins in the hills. Standing sets, Western towns and ghost towns remain in tribute to a way of life gone by. The personality of the wild frontier still can be found in functioning communities, turn-of-the-century structures, withering town-sites and our old Territorial Prison.” In terms of financial support, the state offers the Montana Big Sky Film Grant. According to the MFO: “If a film or TV project meets grant criteria and the in-state spend exceeds $300,000 and shoots at least 50% of principal photography in Montana, a scale of funds on any expenditures while filming in the state can be eligible for allocation.” The state’s awe-inspiring scenery has been featured in iconic movies such as The Shining (1980), A River Runs Through It (1992) and Forrest Gump (1994). Recent projects to have enjoyed Montana hospitality include the 2015 Oscar-winner The Revenant and 2016’s Certain Women, which starred Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristin Stewart. The MFO reckons the latter spent “a couple of million dollars” during its six-week stay in the state. More recently, a movie called Wildlife (2018), starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, has shot in Montana. Based on a Richard Ford novel, the film was directed by Paul Dano and selected for the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. MFO helped Dano and his crew construct a 1960s-era fire camp at Luccock Park Camp. Other scenes

NEVADA ASK THE NEVADA FILM OFFICE (NFO) “WHY NEVADA?” and they’ll give you several compelling reasons — not least the fact that there is a transferable film tax incentive starting at 15%. In terms of locations, the obvious attraction is the neon wonderland of Las Vegas, but there are also “picturesque lakes, majestic mountains, ghost towns and scenic roads”, according to the NFO. Las Vegas has appeared in a wide range of films over the years, including Iron Man (2008), Race To Witch Mountain (2009), Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), The Other Guys (2010), The Hangover Part III (2013) and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013). It is a film-friendly city, where permits are free and can be turned around in five-to-seven days. The glitz and glamour of Vegas naturally lends itself to reality TV, but the city has also featured in numerous scripted series, including The Mentalist (2008-15), CSI (2000-15) and House Of Lies (2012-16). It is currently the subject of a new Fox sitcom called LA To Vegas (2018-), which started well in January. The story of an airline that shuttles people — primarily gamblers — back and forth between LA and Vegas at the weekend, the series was given a firstseason run of 15 episodes. While Vegas attracts a lot of attention, filmmakers also flock to the picturesque landscapes around Reno and Lake Tahoe. It was on

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FEATURE MOUNTAIN STATES

Only The Brave, a star-studded movie about a group of heroic firefighters, shot in New Mexico

a Lake Tahoe fishing trip that gangster Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) gave his brother Fredo the kiss of death in the legendary movie Godfather II (1974). Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush was shot in this area back in 1925, as was The Misfits in 1961. In one famous scene in the latter, Marilyn Monroe throws her wedding ring into the Truckee River, following a long-standing Nevada tradition. The Truckee River and the nearby Donner Lake and Donner Summit appear regularly in movies. One example is the 1990 film Misery, in which Donner Summit doubles for the Colorado Rockies.

and Waco (2018), a six-part mini-series about the infamous cult. But there has also been plenty of film production too. Albuquerque Studios has hosted Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), while Sante Fe Studios recently welcomed The Magnificent Seven (2016) and Only The Brave (2017). Worth noting is that Only The Brave, a star-studded title about a group of heroic firefighters, is based on a true story that happened in Arizona, while the Waco siege happened in Texas. The fact that both films shot in New Mexico underlines the pulling power of the state’s incentive. Only The Brave employed 190 New Mexico crew members, 40 New Mexico actors and 1,300 New Mexico extras. While Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul have taken viewers into New Mexico’s suburban cityscapes, Only The Brave does a great job of showcasing the state’s natural beauty. Filmed primarily around Santa Fe and Los Alamos, it is packed with great images of forests, mountains and deserts. The 2018 Western feature film Big Kill is likely to do the same. Other New Mexico-based projects include the Netflix series Godless (2017-).

NEW MEXICO NEW MEXICO’S RUGGED BEAUTY HAS BEEN THE BACKDROP FOR MANY MOVIES DOWN THE YEARS, including Easy Rider (1969), Silverado (1985), Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989), Natural Born Killers (1994), Independence Day (1996), and too many Westerns to name. More recently, however, the state is probably best known as the home of AMC’s TV series Breaking Bad, which filmed around Albuquerque from 2007 to 2013. Breaking Bad came to New Mexico to take advantage of the state’s tax incentives and others have followed its lead. There was a brief period between 2011 and 2014 when it looked like New Mexico might end its rebate and production slowed. But in the end, the state went the other way, increasing its incentive to an eye-catching 30%. As a result, it has seen a surge in production. According to the New Mexico Film Office, from 2014 to 2017, the state went from 18 projects with budgets of $1m or more to 52. Over the same period, the amount of direct in-state production spend soared from $162.1m to $505.9m. As of 2017, TV is still driving New Mexico’s success story thanks to shows including Longmire (2012-17), The Night Shift (2014-17), Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul (2015-), The Brave (2017-)

UTAH THE SPECTACULAR STATE OF UTAH HAS FEATURED PROMINENTLY IN MOVIES SINCE THE 1920S. The teams behind Stagecoach (1939), Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969), Thelma & Louise (1991) and Pirates Of The Caribbean: At Worlds End (2007) all spent time in the state. So did the producers of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989), shooting the film’s opening sequence in Arches National Park. More recently, Utah has seen an influx of high-end TV projects searching for a Wild West feel. Seasons one and two of HBO’s Westworld (2016-) both filmed in the state and now Paramount Television is in Utah shooting its biggest-ever drama, Yellowstone (2018). A 10-part series due out in mid-2018, Yellowstone stars Kevin Cost-

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FEATURE MOUNTAIN STATES

ner as a ranch-owner facing up to land developers, oil companies and logging firms desperate to get their hands on his land by fair means or foul. Local media reports that Yellowstone has filmed on more than 20 locations in Utah, including Park City, the Salt Flats, Ogden and Spanish Fork. Also worth noting is that Yellowstone used three soundstages at the Utah Film Studio in Park City. With offices, editing, wardrobe and construction also available on the Park City site, this is a notable asset for Utah’s production scene. Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission (UFC), says: “Supporting filmmakers in telling unique stories with compelling characters and breathtaking locations is key for us, and the much-anticipated Yellowstone ticks all the boxes.” Utah’s primary appeal to producers is its geography, which consists of stunning deserts, unusual rock formations, pristine lakes and awe-inspiring canyons. From the San Rafael Swell to the Bonneville Salt Flats to Monument Valley, Bighorn Canyon, part of Montana’s 140,000 square miles of all-American scenery there are few places that offer such a rich array of locations. However, Salt Lake City is also on producers’ radar. Disney Channel shot seaQUENTIN TARANTINO son two of Andi Mack (2017) here, employing over 200 Utah cast and crew, and spending $15m in the state. In addition to great locations, Utah has an attractive incentive worth 20% to productions that spend $500,000-$1m. This can rise to 25% for bigger productions if certain criteria are met. In December 2017, the UFC approved incentives for a film, documentary and children’s TV pilot, which it reckons will result in $1m in economic impact and over 150 local jobs.

“If you're doing a Western that requires you to be in beautiful, rugged terrain, Wyoming is a glorious place to go. It screams ‘America’. It’s gorgeous”

WYOMING

and Snowy Range, lend themselves to car commercials. Small towns like Sheridan and Cody provide a Main Street USA appeal, while any of a hundred working ranches epitomises the West. Films that have shot in Wyoming include Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977), which filmed in Black Hills National Forest and at the iconic Devils Tower National Monument. Back in the 1950s Western Shane shot at Jackson Hole and in Grand Teton back — as did Rocky IV (1985). Recent car commercials include a 30-second spot that was produced for Subaru in Grand Teton. Wyoming has a rebate programme worth between 12% and 15%, depending on certain criteria. For example, if the storyline is set in Wyoming, the producer can apply for the full 15%. Using Wyoming props and product placement, or mentioning the state in the credits, trigger slightly lower rebates.

WYOMING IS QUINTESSENTIAL AMERICA, evoking images of cowboys, pioneers, frontiersmen and Native American tribes. Quentin Tarantino shot Django Unchained (2012) in Wyoming and called it “a fantastic place to shoot. It's beautiful country. If you're doing a Western that requires you to be in beautiful, rugged terrain, it's a glorious place to go. It screams ‘America’. It’s gorgeous.” The Wyoming Film Office says the state has “thousands of usable locations and hundreds of unique looks”. Grand Teton National Park, with its picturesque mountains and film-friendly management, is perfect for a wilderness backdrop. Meanwhile, Wyoming’s highways and mountain passes, which include Togwotee, Beartooth

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MAKING A SCENE I CAN ONLY IMAGINE

MAKING A SCENE

I can only

imagine Released across the US in March 2018, star-studded feature film I Can Only Imagine brings to life the true story behind the most popular contemporary Christian song in history. Andy Fry reports

D

IRECTED by Jon and Andy Erwin, this film explores how MercyMe front-man Bart Millard was inspired to write his spiritual anthem — I Can Only Imagine — after overcoming an abusive Texas childhood. The role of Millard is played by J Michael Finlay, who was performing on Broadway in Les Miserables prior to the production. Supporting him are screen legend Cloris Leachman, platinum-selling country music star Trace Adkins and Golden-Globe nominee Dennis Quaid, who plays Millard’s abusive father Arthur. Explaining why he took the role, which sees Arthur undergo a religious awakening while dying of cancer, Quaid says: “I just thought it was a compelling, universal story. I’ve done a lot of father-son stories, and this was different in a way because it wasn’t so, should I say…Hollywood? What attracted me to Arthur was that he was a guy who has redemption in the end. But he starts from a very low place.” The song that inspired the film was written in 2001 and went on to be a crossover hit in the country and pop charts. The impetus for the movie came when the Erwin brothers invited

Millard to a screening of their film Woodlawn in 2015. “On a whim, we invited Bart to a screening,” Andy Erwin recalls. “Just kind of reached out to him and said, ‘Hey, we travel in the same circles, but we’ve never really hung out.’” When Millard met the brothers, he asked if they would consider directing the movie of his life story, which was then in early stages of development. The executive producer of I Can Only Imagine, Cindy Bond, developed the story for seven years before partnering with producer Kevin Downes and the Erwin brothers to get the film made. Bond believes the story will connect with everyone who sees the film — whether familiar with MercyMe’s music or not. “Audiences will love this movie because there’s so much more to the story than they know. Behind I Can Only Imagine is a powerful emotional journey. This kid from Texas didn’t have a chance in the world. And yet now he’s the lead singer for MercyMe with the best-selling Christian song.” The film shot in Oklahoma for 26 days, wrapping in January 2017. Producer Downes cites “long sunsets, unique landscapes and the experience of Oklahoma film crews” as key attractions. However it also helped that the film was able to take advantage of the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Programme, which is administered by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office. Other high-profile productions to have taken advantage of this attractive incentive recently include Starz TV series American Gods (2017-), which shot at a variety of locations across the state. One of the highlights of the I Can Only Imagine production was the final scene, shot in Oklahoma City's Civic Centre Music Hall —

which was standing in as Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. During shooting, the filmmakers announced they would need more than 1,000 extras to be the audience for the scene. The response was so overwhelming they had to draw up a waiting list for extras. Oklahoma Film + Music Office director Tava Maloy Sofsky says: “If there was ever a question about how a film enhances a state’s image, I Can Only Imagine is the perfect example of how talented filmmakers will globally showcase the beauty of Oklahoma on the big screen. The state’s rebate programme has allowed the film production both to employ the services of our skilled Oklahoma crew and film-friendly businesses as well as engage our local community leaders. It is our hope that those who benefit from the impact of this production will be able to share their experiences for years to come.” In August 2017, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquired the distribution rights to the film. Explaining why, Roadside Attractions co-presidents and co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff said: “This is an extraordinary movie about the power of faith, love, family, and music. The Erwins bring world-class storytelling and production values to faith-based films. It’s no surprise they have attracted such a phenomenal cast to their latest feature.” The distributors will not have been disappointed with the performance of the film. On its opening weekend in March 2018, it brought in $17.1m, well ahead of the $2m-$8 advance estimates. Only Tomb Raider and Black Panther did better, which is something a young Bart Millard would never have imagined possible.

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FEATURE GEORGIA

SWEET GEORGIA

Georgia’s film industry is on fire. The first quarter of 2018 has already seen dozens of productions flock to the southern US state, drawn by its generous incentives, wealth of locations and prime studio facilities. And many more film and TV projects are expected as peak filming season gets under way. Marlene Edmunds reports A diner at Tyler Perry Studios

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FEATURE GEORGIA

SINCE its state tax credit was signed into law in 2008, giving productions up to a 30% tax credit, Georgia’s film industry had spawned an infrastructure and an economy that continues to grow beyond all expectation. A few recent highlights give a flavour of the activity. Ang Lee’s Gemini Man (2019), starring Will Smith as an elite assassin, has been shooting in Savannah. “It is the biggest production ever to film in the Savannah area,” says Beth Nelson, executive director of the Savannah Film Office. Meanwhile, in and around Atlanta, Tyler Perry Studios has completed the move to its new 333-acre home, where a raft of big names, including AMC, CBS, BET, HBO, Disney, New Line Cinema, OWN, Paramount, Sony and Universal Studios, have already been in residence. And at time of writing, season two of Jason Bateman’s Netflix series Ozark (2017-), BET’s final season of Being Mary Jane (2013), CBS’ MacGyver (2016-), Director X's SuperFly, BET mini-series The Bobby Brown Story (2018-) and Sony Pictures’ Goosebumps 2 (2018) were either shooting in and around Atlanta, or had recently wrapped. Georgia-filmed feature and TV productions had contributed up to $9.5bn to the local economy by the end of June 2017, up from $2.7bn a year earlier. Feature film and TV projects rose from 245 to 320. The credit includes a 20% base transferable tax credit and another 10% uplift for including Georgia’s peach logo at the end of the credit roll. Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, lists the tax credit’s advantages: “Anybody that has an income-tax liability, whether individuals or companies, can use the incentives. Big companies may buy them directly or individuals may choose to buy smaller amounts through a broker."

BETH TALBERT

“The film industry in Georgia can’t count on the tax credits to carry it forever. It behoves us to think outside of the box”

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FEATURE GEORGIA

Tybee Island, one of the locations for Gemini Man, starring Will Smith

for all four stages. “Production cast members are a quick 30-second walk to the stage, protected from the elements and safe from any press and paparazzi trying to gain access,” she adds. And Norcross offers another benefit to the top talent that can spend months on end on location. “It’s very close to Buckhead, which is pretty much the Beverly Hills of Atlanta,” Talbert says. “Buckhead is a matrix of trendy restaurants, independent art galleries and upscale malls, while nearby Midtown, also a vibrant arts hub, is the major commercial and financial centre of Atlanta.” A short drive away from Norcross, Stone Mountain has two sound stages, both approximately 38,000 sq ft in size. These offer silent air, catering areas, fully furnished executive suites, paint shops and a greenhouse, as well as base-camp parking. Talbert says that keeping Eagle Rock ahead of the game is a top priority. “We are always looking at new technology and conducting research and development on our infrastructure to come up with the best approaches for expansion,” she adds. “The film industry in Georgia can’t count on the tax credits to carry it forever. It behoves us to think outside of the box and come up with ways to keep this facility operational for years to come.” There is no question that powerhouse writer, actor, comedian, director and studio-owner Tyler Perry plans to keep his expanding entertainment empire at the cutting edge. While the new studios are currently ensconced in the grounds of former army post Fort McPherson, Perry is taking an active role in the design and building of what is becoming the first major motion-picture studio on the US East Coast. Steve Mensch, president and general manager of studio operations at the studios, says: “Tyler’s vision as a creative is driving all of the

The incentive does not have a cap on the amount of tax credits that can be earned per project. In addition, there is no annual cap on the programme, and there is no ‘sunset clause’ stipulating the date of expiry. “You just need to shoot the project here and meet the $500,000 spend,” she says. Thomas points out that Georgia has come a long way in just a few years. Its combination of different types of facilities, including purpose-built, retrofitted and warehouse facilities, have been used and improved over time for specific industry needs. “When The Walking Dead [2010-] first came to Georgia, we had 45,000 sq ft [4,180 sq m] of sound stages,” she adds. “Now we have 1.1 million sq ft in purpose-built and 1.2 million sq ft in retrofitted facilities. That’s quite a change in six years.” While Ozark has shot in and around Atlanta, including Lake Allatoona, Druid Hills and Lawrenceville, its interior sequences were filmed at Eagle Rock Studios Atlanta, which opened three years ago. At press time, Eagle Rock was fully booked up, with Dynasty (2017), Ozark and Greenleaf (2016-) shooting at its Norcross facilities and Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (2017-) at its Stone Mountain facility. Fully operational year-round, the Norcross facility offers 470,000 sq ft of space and is the largest studio in the US to be built under one roof. It boasts three 30,000 sq ft sound stages, a fourth at 28,500 sq ft and three office hubs. Silent air keeps production outfits comfortable during the long hot summers and the occasional cold winter. Beth Talbert, Eagle Rock’s vice-president of studio operations, says that Norcross, located just 25 miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, also offers a breezeway that runs down the middle of the building, which provides basecamp parking

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PREMIUM FACILITIES IN THE WORLD’S TOP FILMING LOCATION 18 stages ranging from 15,000 sq ft to 40,000 sq ft Full on-site service offering Talk to us:

t: +1 678 369 5950 e: sales@pinewoodgroup.com For further information on our studio, please visit: www.pinewoodatlantastudios.com

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FEATURE GEORGIA

STEVE MENSCH

the highest quality and most advanced technological standards, with the focus always on efficiently creating content.” He adds that the infrastructure investment, supported by a 10-mile redundant fibre-optic ring, allows posting and transfer of data at high speed. The grounds of Tyler Perry Studios have a perimeter over three and a half miles, and include 200-acres of manicured green space, four lakes, a 30-acre historical district with 40 buildings on the United States National Register or Historic Places, dozens of backlot buildings and a variety of locations. Mensch says his favourite building is the post commanders’ house built in 1889, where both President Franklin D Roosevelt and former Secretary of State Colin Powell have resided. He also cites a newly-built farmhouse that looks more than 100 years old and a classic 1950s diner. Eleven stages are currently operational with another in the design phase. This will cover an area of 60,000 sq ft and include a water tank. The stages consist of more than 350,000 sq ft of under-roof space, and have over 150,000 sq ft of attached office space. Future plans include an on-lot highway. Located just 10 minutes south of downtown and 10 minutes north of the airport, Tyler Perry Studios’ location is also a major plus point, Mensch adds. “From my office, I can see the skyline of Atlanta and planes taking off and landing at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. However, because we are on a former military base, we benefit from a legacy no-fly zone. That means productions can shoot exteriors with sync sound, without hearing jets or seeing contrails in the sky. Also, there are never any sightseers overflying the studio in pri-

Because Tyler Perry Studios is on a former military base, we benefit from a legacy no-fly zone. Productions can shoot without hearing jets or seeing contrails in the sky” "

major decisions regarding the studio’s building and design. He is using his understanding of what creatives require to execute their craft as the foundation for design decisions. While Tyler will always listen to input and will take advantage of best practices, in the end it is his decision as a creative that drives the process.” Mensch makes the point that all the buildings on the backlot are complete structures, designed to facilitate production: “Features of the buildings include high ceilings, wide staircases and doors, power to support production requirements and air-conditioning to keep everyone comfortable. In short, these buildings are being built to

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FEATURE GEORGIA

Recent months have also seen indie film Backtrace (2018), starring Sylvester Stallone, shot on nearby Hutchinson Island and The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman (2018), in Savannah’s historic district, among other places. “Savannah can easily double for a lot of places, including Florida and Manhattan," Nelson says. She adds that Galveston (2018), which premiered at SXSW in March, shot on Tybee Island and in Savannah last year: “It’s the first time we’ve doubled as Texas. On the other hand, we also do very well being just what we are. In Savannah, it's very easy to go back in time. We just take out a few street signs and parking metres.” Nelson says that Savannah not only benefits from the state tax credit, but also from a local incentive that is managed by the Savannah Economic Development Authority. The latter includes cash rebates for feature films and TV series, as well as a crew-location incentive

vate planes. It’s a bit ironic, because we are so close to the airport, but it actually feels like we are in the countryside.” The entertainment industry contributed $137m in economic benefit to the Savannah region alone in 2017 and lured 12 feature films and 23 television projects into the area. Among them were a slew of indie productions and reality shows, as well as new Marvel feature Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018) and Hallmark TV feature Love At The Shore (2017). Savannah Film Office’s Nelson says: “If the first quarter of 2018 is any indication, this year is set to be even busier.” Gemini Man’s advance crew and producers were in Savannah as early as last October to gear up for filming. Shooting began in February (2018) and, by the end of March, was still going strong, with sequences filmed on Savannah’s Wright Square, Isle of Hope and Tybee Island.

KICKSTARTED BY PINEWOOD PINEWOOD ATLANTA STUDIOS, WHICH HAS RECENTLY HOSTED GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (2017), SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017) AND BLACK PANTHER (2018), HAS SIGNED ON AS A KICKSTARTER PATRON. Under the

Matt Kennedy. ©Marvel Studios 2018

pilot programme, which creates a bridge between institutions that champion creative projects and the creators who bring such projects to life, Pinewood has pledged $10,000 to films whose teams include at least one female filmmaker residing in the state of Georgia. Pinewood is also offering support, networking opportunities and access to its ecosystem of vendors as part of the initiative. Pinewood Atlanta has shown itself to be committed to helping to build Georgia’s film community. Since becoming president of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, Frank Patterson, has worked with the Georgia Film Academy (GFA) on several initiatives aimed at training up talent and helping local filmmakers. “We find that supporting the GFA directly supports our industry — it’s that simple. Because of the GFA, we in Georgia have and are continuing to build a well-trained workforce to support the booming film industry,” Patterson says. “And the proof is in the pudding — the GFA has produced outstanding results. I know of no

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler (left) on set with Chadwick Boseman who plays Black Panther/T'Challa

other workforce education initiative in the US that has produced results — both in terms of its training efficacy and its direct-to-the-workforce outcomes — as the GFA has produced for Georgia and its film industry.” The GFA has set up sites around the state to support the film and television production industry. Its first base, however, was at Pinewood Atlanta, where it provides independent filmmakers with the opportunity to work with certified below-the-line interns as well as production resources. Pinewood has also hosted events at Sundance Film Festival to encourage more indie talent to come to Atlanta to make films.

online payments to be made and facilitating the cross-borough transfer of data. Version three included messaging, reminders and advanced document management. The latest version is entirely cloud-based, allowing secure communication between the applicant and administrator throughout the permitting process. Pavord says FilmApp has proved especially helpful in forging good relationships with residents, who can easily shut a location down if they are unhappy: “But we’ve found that, if residents are informed in advance in the right way, they actually welcome the benefits that can accrue from filming.”

GEORGIA TAPS FILMAPP

A GOOD DEAL

FILMAPP STREAMLINES THE BUREAUCRACY OF PERMITTING AND MAKES IT EASIER FOR PRODUCTIONS TO LIAISE WITH RESIDENTS, THE POLICE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES. Produced by

the UK’s Apply4 Technology and subsidiary FilmFixer, Atlanta became the first city in Georgia to use FilmApp in 2014. Among the films shot recently in Georgia to have used the tool are Black Panther and Baby Driver (2017). FilmApp inventor Andrew Pavord, CEO of Apply4 Technology and joint founder of FilmFixer, was a location manager for many years. “There are always so many little things involved in getting permits,” he says. “The process can take an incredibly long time and, when you’re doing multiple-location shoots, it can be costly in both time and money.” The first edition of FilmApp was tested in London and environs in 2009. Filmmakers applied online to the relevant permitting agent, who issued a permit based on the data supplied. FilmApp version two raised the bar by allowing

GEORGIA HAS MORE THAN 91,000 PEOPLE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY EMPLOYED BY THE FILM AND TELEVISION INDUSTRIES. Governor

Nathan Deal is committed to growing the entertainment industry in Georgia, as are such regional groups as the DeKalb Entertainment Commission. Chair Andrew Greenberg says the commission focuses on film, TV, music, digital entertainment and the new streaming platforms. “For film and TV, we want outside productions to find many reasons to shoot in our county and hire the people who live here,” he adds. “We also want DeKalb residents to have the ability to create their own productions.” But while the production picture looks rosy across the state, an anti-LGBT bill is causing a slight flicker of trepidation. Disney and a number of Hollywood producers have threatened to boycott Georgia if the bill, which would forbid LGBT couples adopting a child, goes through. Governor Deal, who several years ago vetoed other anti-gay legislation, is expected to veto the new bill.

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FEATURE GEORGIA

LAURA BRYANT

of the 'at sea' scenes were really filmed out on the open waterways off the Wilmington River," she says. Backtrace, produced by EFO Films, was a 12-day shoot. “We were able to set up our base camp over on Hutchinson Island, across the river from downtown Savannah, on a defunct Indie race track in the pitand-paddock area. It was originally built in the early 1990s, but it was great for us because it was still hooked up to running water and electricity. We also used some of the track for our driving scenes with Sylvester Stallone," Bryant says. Another plus were the 10 silos of an abandoned cement factory on the southern side of Hutchinson Island. “It helped give a properly creepy atmosphere for the storyline about an amnesiac thief who’s the lone survivor of a violent armoured-car robbery,” Bryant adds. “He’s sprung from a high-security facility and taken back to the scene of the crime to try to remember where the money was stashed.” Aside from finding the perfect location, Bryant’s job also included liaising with the local film office, the island’s small residential community, the fire marshal and the stunt co-ordinator to clear the scenes that involved gunfire and explosions. A representative from the fire department and an off-duty police officer were on set at all times during the firearm and explosion scenes, she says.

“The homes are mainly single-family dwellings facing the gorgeous 200-year-old oak trees that form a canopy over 150-year-old brick-laid streets” that reimburses moving expenses for up to $2,000 per household. “We do provide a little bit more on top of what the state does to show potential prospects and productions that we’re serious about getting the business,” Nelson adds. “The relocation stipend is also an incentive to persuade qualified crew members to relocate.” The Savannah rebate of 10% is based on local spending caps of $150,000 for features and $250,000 for TV series. “We are the only county in Georgia offering this kind of incentive and it definitely gives us the edge,” Nelson says. The higher cap for series is also an indicator of how serious Savannah is about attracting more TV production. Savannah doubled for Big Talk Productions’ six-part comedy series for Sky One, Living The Dream (2017-), which follows a UK family, the Pembertons, who decide to swap rainy England for the sunshine state of Florida. The dearth of sound stages in Savannah, however, remains a challenge. “We definitely need and would love to have more sound stages,” Nelson says. “We now have converted warehouses, but they have a limitation on ceiling height.” At press time, two new TV productions were considering Savannah for series. Film industry veteran Laura Bryant was the location manager on both Backtrace and The Front Runner, which tells the story of the love affair that derailed Gary Hart’s presidential campaign. “The Front Runner producers were filming in Atlanta, but they also needed a three-storey walk-up home that could pass as Georgetown in the 1980s, so that sequence was shot in the historical district of Savannah,” Bryant says. “Savannah’s historical district is unique. It has a lot of green space and a dense population of trees that do not lose their leaves in the winter. In other words, it can appear to be summer even in the dead of winter.” The Front Runner shoot took place on Jones Street, “one of the most coveted streets when it comes to downtown Savannah”, Bryant adds. “The homes are mainly single-family dwellings facing the gorgeous 200-year-old oak trees that form a canopy over 150-year-old brick-laid streets.” Bryant’s brief was to co-ordinate the filming schedule with the city’s permitting office, residents and local businesses. “Some nights, we were shooting into the wee hours of the morning,” she says. “Since it was a period picture, we had to clear the streets of modern-day cars and have vehicles from the 1980s parked and travelling on the streets. We also had to wet down the street and sidewalks because it rained the first night of filming, so we had to match what everything looked like for the next four nights.” Bryant says the scene in which model Donna Rice is sitting on Gary Hart’s lap was recreated using a yacht brought up from south Florida. “We used a private dock to tie the boat up for some scenes, but most

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FEATURE QUEENSLAND

The beach at the Jumpinpin inlet on the Gold Coast

PURE GOLD

Think Queensland, think mile upon mile of pristine golden beaches. But 7,000 km of coastline is only the start of the north-west state’s attractions — world-class studios, award-winning crew and experienced film-service companies are also among Queensland’s USPs. Sandy George reports

IN THE process of filming Thor: Ragnarok in Queensland in 2016, Marvel built an outdoor foundation for the Sakaar and Asgard sets across the road from the Village Roadshow Studios, on land used by its sister theme-park division. Rather than being removed after filming, the concrete slab was re-used for Warner Bros.’ action-adventure movie Aquaman, which was booked into the studios from January to midNovember 2017. Other US films have left infrastructure for future projects at or near the 40-ha studio site, but a sporting event hadn’t, until the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which occupied the studios from January through April. The Queensland Government contributed A$11m for a A$16.5m squash facility — parent company Village Roadshow put up the rest — knowing it could also serve as a sound stage. In the event, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Aquaman (2018) got in before the Games. Table tennis and boxing competitions, plus badminton training, were also accommodated, in existing stages. Village Roadshow Studios president Lynne Benzie is accustomed to hosting up to 2,000 people on a big film, but survived a daily influx of up to 10,000 during the Games — and now proudly refers to the 3,716 sq m Stage 9, the biggest in Australia, as “the super-stage”. Village Roadshow Studios is now also the biggest in Australia by floor space. “The book rate is A$81,000 per week [for Stage 9], whereas Stage 1 is 451 sq m and costs A$10,500, excluding GST [Australia’s 10% goods and services tax],” Benzie says. “Once you work out what you’re doing, what you need, the length of the shoot, whether you need the tanks, whether you

want offices and workshops on top, we work out a complete package. The deposit is based on spend; the ball park for a large-scale project is $500,000.” Part of Village Roadshow Studios’ appeal is its three water tanks. “As soon as we got the [Aquaman] treatment, we thought Queensland was a frontrunner because of the studio facility, the tanks and the locations. The challenge was to get the financing to work,” says Danielle Dajani, senior vice-president of physical production at Warner Bros. Entertainment. Aquaman will access finance from federal, state and local government in the end: federally, via a grant and the Location Offset, a 16.5% rebate on expenditure; cash and rebates from Screen Queensland; and rebates via the Film Attraction Program of the City of Gold Coast, the only Australian local government authority that supports films in this way. “The first thing is that the host country has to work creatively. Once creative is on board, it has to work for production finance, production planning and so on,” Dajani says. It helped that Aquaman executive producer Rob Cowan enjoyed DANIELLE DAJANI

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FEATURE QUEENSLAND

Sydney’s Fox Studios. The uplift more or less brings the rebate up to 30%. But US studios have dedicated staff dealing with foreign governments, whereas others don’t. “Without certainty, some companies don’t look at Australia and that’s concerning. If we don’t all keep the pressure on, those crews that have worked on back-to-back productions in the last few years will be out of a job," Vieira says. An A$30m four-year windfall on top of usual funding gave Vieira the capacity to boost activity directly through various programmes. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was in Los Angeles recently to help drum up business, has promised a further A$20m from mid-2019. Screen Queensland invested in 37 local and international productions in the 2016/17 financial year. The City of Gold Coast is also keen to grow the industry, supplying up to A$100,000 in rebates to 28 productions since 2009. Says Mayor Tom Tate: “We also pride ourselves on supporting productions to access the built and natural environment, close down streets and provide local knowledge and contacts to enable any type of production to shoot in the city. This is one area that we believe we are a world leader in.” A strong local industry is needed to properly service blockbusters and Queensland is keen to foster more domestic television. The first original series commissioned from Australia by Netflix, Tidelands (2018-), is now being made in Queensland by production company Hoodlum Entertainment, which also made Harrow (2018-) for ABC Studios International and has a Los Angeles office. Queensland could win more international television with more such companies. Queensland is second to Western Australia by land mass, and third after New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria by population. NSW hosts the most drama production and post-production overall, with Victoria usually in second spot. However, federal government agency Screen Australia data shows that Queensland was runner up in 2016/17, with A$426m-worth of activity. It was a record A$1.3bn year for the nation, with A$610m spent on foreign production: A$557m on filming six features and three television projects — these modest numbers starkly illustrate Australia’s limited capacity — and the rest on VFX on 16 films and four TV dramas, principally not filmed in Australia. The recent performance of certain Australian service companies, including Melbourne-based XM2, is also a reflection of Queensland’s growing strength. XM2 custom designs and builds remote-controlled aircrafts and gimbal systems, is Panavision’s exclusive partner in the Asia-Pacific region and has just expanded to Queensland. “Queensland has become the home of motion pictures in Australia, in particular the home of Hollywood projects, because of its studios'

filming San Andreas (2015) in Queensland in 2014 and that director James Wan (Insidious/2010) is a US-based Australian — as is Dajani. About 80%, or 900 of the Australians on the Aquaman crew, were Queenslanders, as were about 800 vendors. The internationals either had worked in the US on planning, had specialised expertise or needed to continue into post. “Wherever possible, we look to hire locally and we knew we had depth of crew in Australia,” Dajani says. “Warner Bros. often invites Australians to work with them across the world.” And Australia is not short of A-list on-camera talent: Nicole Kidman was in Aquaman, which will be in US cinemas from December 2018. Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett and Chris Hemsworth worked on New Zealand director Taika Waitiki’s Thor: Ragnarok. “It was a smooth ride for such a big film,” Dajani says of Aquaman. “We were thrilled with the facility and it was a fantastic experience because we had so much local support. Queensland has done this [hosted big US blockbusters] for a long time and knows what we need and the time frame we need it in.” Italy, Canada and Morocco were in mind for certain sequences, even after the studio committed to Queensland, but all the main-unit work took place in Australia in the end, Dajani adds. Duncan Jones was location manager on both Aquaman and Thor. “Both films used a mixed set of locations to achieve earthly scenes, as well as other-worldly scenes,” he says. “For example, Brisbane [Queensland’s capital] was used to create downtown New York, elements of the Gold Coast were transformed into Canadian fishing villages, and North Stradbroke Island was used to form the backdrop to mythical islands.” All these locations are in the south-east corner of the state, as are the studios, two international airports and coastline where high-rise tower blocks appear to ascend from the beach. “Within a contained geographical area, we have stunning beaches and reef-fringed islands, rainforests and mountainous jungles, deserts and savannah, and urban settings and cityscapes,” Jones adds. “Not only that, but we’re Australians: resourceful, fun, dynamic and adaptive. We can take script ideas and often give them something never anticipated.” In the nearly 30 years of its existence, Village Roadshow Studios has accommodated 51 — including 31 non-Australian — features and 96 — 63 non-Australian — television shows. However, Screen Queensland CEO Tracey Vieira believes Disney’s fifth Pirates Of The Caribbean (Dead Men Tell No Tales/2017) was a major turning point for the state’s reputation on account of its scale and profile. “People know where Queensland is now,” she says. “Before that, there was a perception in some quarters that a production had to go to Sydney, and only if Sydney's Fox Studios was full would they look elsewhere. Now, when I walk into the US studios, I think Queensland is their first choice… and Village Roadshow Studios has a sound stage that enables filmmakers to do everything they’ve ever dreamed of doing.” After Pirates came Thor. Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art staged an exhibition of costumes, props and art from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that both extended Marvel’s brand and broke the record for a ticketed exhibition. The black spot is the Location Offset for projects with an expenditure of more than A$15m. A chorus of people, including Vieira, wants it enhanced because it is uncompetitive at 16.5%. The reluctance could be because it is uncapped. “We have a Location Offset that doesn’t work,” Vieira says. “Productions can get a one-off uplift, but there is no clear process — no application form — and this creates disparity.” An uplift is the bonus grant that the federal government has given to all major US blockbusters filmed in Australia recently, including Alien: Covenant (2017) and Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018), which were housed at

STEPHEN OH

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FEATURE QUEENSLAND

Director Taika Waititi with Chris Hemsworth on the set of Thor: Ragnorok

ian films, including Peter Rabbit (Animal Logic/2018), Winchester, starring Helen Mirren (Blacklab Entertainment/2018), Leigh Whannell's directorial debut Upgrade (Goalpost Pictures/2018) and two co-productions with China: action comedy At Last (2018) and the awash-with-spiders Guardians Of The Tomb (2018). Todd Fellman, who produced Guardians and At Last, is interested in making Australian films with international ambitions, bigger budgets and, where appropriate, international producers and co-production treaties. Eva Jin’s upcoming CGI-driven mythological love story Legend Of The Moon And The Sun is another Chinese project on his slate. “Smaller independent films don’t have much success accessing the Chinese market — one of the few growth markets — but co-productions can open up access not just to that market, but to Chinese-speaking audiences everywhere and also Chinese finance,” Fellman says. Using treaties gives Australian producers automatic access to the 40% Producer Offset (PO), the most generous offset of all. The PO can also be utilised on US/Australian joint ventures — say, if Queenslander and 2018 Oscar-nominated actor and producer Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) was to develop her own ideas and produce them in Australia. It is worth noting that LA is crawling with talented Australians. Screen Queensland’s Vieira, for one, wishes they would recognise that, as their stars rise, so does their power to influence where productions are filmed. US-born Fellman is also developing action-adventure The Portable Door with The Jim Henson Company and Second World War thriller The Castaway’s War with Gold Circle Films. He will film where it makes most sense but, after 25 years in Queensland, says it is one of the best places in the world for filmmaking: “It comes down to the crew — technically and in terms of attitude and their approach to working as a team. Their professionalism, work ethic, skills and experience all adds up to making the whole process as efficient and effective as possible.”

capacity, locations and crew, and it’s easy to get around,” says XM2’s founding director Stephen Oh, whose ambitions extend well beyond Australia. “We’ve worked in Croatia, the US, Singapore and Argentina, and our long-term goal is to be the number-one drone operator in the world for film. We need to be the leader in our own country if we are to be a leader everywhere else.” XM2 built an aircraft to carry the Alexa SXT for Pirates cinematographer Paul Cameron — it and the camera weighed 40 kilograms — and recently made one for the Alexa 65. “Typically, drone shots are high and wide, but we specialise in long lens, filling the screen with the subject,” Oh says. Queensland-based Cutting Edge has just expanded its existing theatre at Village Roadshow Studios to include a feature post offering 4K projection, 7.1 Dolby Digital and DI (digital intermediate). “It’s a first in Queensland and it’s big for us,” says Cutting Edge’s business development executive, Elle Croxford. Currently, 90% of the company’s post work is for Australian clients, and 90% of the VFX work is for international. Plans are afoot to boost capacity by growing the VFX crew, which has just moved into its own Brisbane building, to more than 100 artists. Most recently, Cutting Edge was sole vendor on Blumhouse Productions’ Halloween (2018), and provided VFX on its fifth Lakeshore feature, as well as Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams (2017), an anthology sci-fi series for Sony Pictures Television. Croxford says the 30% Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Offset, combined with Screen Queensland grants, helps Cutting Edge to be internationally competitive. Expenditure must top A$500,000 for a project to be eligible; where it filmed is irrelevant. “While the US clients are sleeping, their notes are acted on and the revised shots uploaded for review,” she explains. Closer to home Cutting Edge has worked on many ambitious Austral-

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MAKING A SCENE KURARA: THE DAZZLING LIFE OF HOKUSAI'S DAUGHTER

Aoi Miyazaki as Hokusai’s daughter O-Ei

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MAKING A SCENE KURARA: THE DAZZLING LIFE OF HOKUSAI'S DAUGHTER

The

MAKING A SCENE

woman behind the master The fine art of legendary Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai comes under the scrutiny of 4K technology in a film from Japanese state broadcaster NHK

K

URARA: The Dazzling Life Of Hokusai’s Daughter (2017) is a 90-minute drama special from Japanese state broadcaster NHK. Adapted by scriptwriter Mika Ohmori from a book by acclaimed Japanese novelist Makate Asai, it is set towards the end of the Edo period (1603 to 1868) when under the Tokugawa bakufu (or shogunate) feudal military government, the economy and the arts flourished. The film tells the story of O-Ei, the daughter of master-painter Katsushika Hokusai, who developed a passion for painting while watching her father at work. Marriage at an early age took her away from her family home for a short while, but missing her father, she divorced and returned to learn from her mentor. Home life was hard. Her mother was sick and O-Ei also had to care for her nephew Tokitaro, who her sister left behind to be cared for by the rest of the family. But as Hokusai’s health deteriorated, O-Ei turned her full attention to him and began to help with his work, developing her own style of painting at the same time. Hokusai is played by Kyozo Nagatsuka, and O-Ei by Aoi Miyazaki, one of Japan’s best-known actors. The film is shot in 4K, which means that every image is sharp and clear and extra attention has to be paid to detail. Key to Hokusai's art is in the intricacy and striking use of colour, both of which

are revealed vividly in the 4K format. For Miyazaki, who learned to paint for the role, the scrutiny of the technology didn’t affect the role too much “except when it came to my make-up. They had to work harder on that because of the clarity of the pictures.” More important to Miyazaki was the significance of the role in the context of Japanese history. “I knew Hokusai and his great works very well, but I had no knowledge about his daughter O-Ei,” she says. “I was surprised that such an amazing woman was behind Hokusai's works,” adding: “I felt a responsibility portraying a real historic figure.” “O-Ei watched her father from the closest range,” the film’s director Taku Kato says. “She was also

Aoi Miyazaki “I was surprised that such an amazing woman was behind Hokusai's works”

a very talented artist — and her artworks are surprising people 200 years after their creation.” O-Ei was passionate about improving as an artist, and even after her mother died and Tokitaro disappeared leaving the family with huge debts, she carried on working alongside her father. Then more tragedy: half of the city of Edo (now Tokyo) burned to the ground in the great fire of 1829, and Hokusai’s print seller, Nishimuraya, lost everything. But father and daughter carried on working and in the two years between 1830 and 1832 Hokusai completed his acclaimed Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fuji series, his aim to restore the family’s fortunes. The first print from the series, known as The Great Wave, became a success worldwide, and the series went on to sell well in Japan and around the world. While Hokusai’s health continued to deteriorate, O-Ei and his former apprentice Gosuke continued working alongside him and he was still creating great works of art at 90 years old — at which age he completed The Dragon Of Smoke Escaping From Mt. Fuji, his final masterpiece. To show early 19th-century Japan on film is no easy task, according to Kato. “There aren’t many locations in Japan today that are suitable for shooting period pieces. In this drama, given our limited resources, we particularly strove to create images that broke with convention. By combining locations with VFX, we were able to create simple

The Great Wave, the first print from Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fuji series. (Image courtesy Sumida Hokusai Museum)

but original images, the likes of which had rarely been seen before.” While over 60% of the film was shot in Midoriyama Studio, Yokohama, some actual locations were used — particularly in Ibaraki, a Japanese prefecture bordering the Pacific Ocean northeast of Tokyo and which includes the capital city Mito; and Chiba, on the east coast of Honshu, whose Kujūkuri Beach stretches some 60km along the Pacific. Another location was the British Museum in London, which held an exhibition of Hokusai’s work in 2017. Currently, filming in public places in Japan can be complicated with rules and regulations, and written permission from the police and municipality is always required, Kato says. “But local film commissions do their best to bring vitality to their towns through co-operation with visiting productions.”

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SERBIA................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................84 FILM FIJI................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 12 FILM LONDON.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 44 FILM MADRID............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 56 FORT LAUDERDALE OFFICE OF FILM, MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT........................................................OUTSIDE BACK COVER GLASGOW FILM OFFICE...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 43 GOLD COAST AUSTRALIA..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................130 GREEK FILM CENTRE....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................81 HERO PRODUCTION ICELAND............................................................................................................................................................... 64 AND INSIDE BACK COVER HUNTINGTON LIBRARY, ART COLLECTIONS AND BOTANICAL GARDENS...................................................................................................... 101 KENT FILM OFFICE..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................46 LOCATION MANAGERS GUILD INTERNATIONAL................................................................................................................................................................................................127 LOWER AUSTRIA FILM COMMISSION............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 11 MALTA FILM COMMISSION.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................6 AND 32 MARIN FILM COMMISSION............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 109 MONO COUNTY FILM COMMISSION........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 104 MONTANA FILM COMMISSION.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................114 MONTEREY FILM COMMISSION........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 107 NAVARRA FILM COMMISSION.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 58 NORTHWEST TERRITORIES FILM COMMISSION..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 22 NU BOYANA FILM STUDIOS........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 86 OAKWOOD WORLDWIDE............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 107 OKLAHOMA FILM & MUSIC............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 118 ONTARIO MEDIA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION...............................................................................................................................................................................................19 PACIFIC NATIONAL EXHIBITION............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 21 PALM BEACH COUNTY FILM AND TELEVISION COMMISSION..................................................................................................................................................... 14 PFI STUDIOS................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 88 PINEWOOD STUDIOS GROUP......................................................................................................................................................................................................................20, 38 AND 126 PORTUGUESE FILM AND AUDIOVISUAL INSTITUTE....................................................................................................................................................................................... 34 RED PRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 90 RIVERSIDE COUNTY FILM COMMISSION............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 102 SAN DIEGO FILM COMMISSION............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 98 SAN FRANCISCO FILM COMMISSION..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................96 SANTA CLARITA FILM OFFICE..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................94 SAVANNAH AREA FILM OFFICE......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 129 SHASTA COUNTY FILM COMMISSION......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................108 THEATERKUNST....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................50 TULARE COUNTY FILM COMMISSION..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 100 UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS...................................................................................................... INSIDE FRONT COVER AND PAGE FACING VILLAGE ROADSHOW STUDIOS....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2 AND 3 VISIT SAVANNAH ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 124

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA The Grand Canyon is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Seen here at sunrise, the stratified layers of rock change colour during the course of the day. As the sun moves and the light changes it gives breathtaking panoramas of vivid reds, ochres and yellows. Feature films, television series and commercials continue to visit this majestic location. It has featured in numerous films including Thelma & Louise (1991), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) and Transformers (2007). Some of the park's recent projects include a Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial, a Travel Channel pilot and a segment for TV series Rock The Park (2014-). (Photo, courtesy www.MadisonKirkman.com)

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THE FURTHEST REACHES OF YOUR IMAGINATION ARE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.

With versatile landscapes, experienced film crews and incentivized tax breaks, the only limit to filming in the U.S. Virgin Islands is your imagination. Enjoy up to a 29% tax rebate and up to a 17% transferable tax credit when you film in the USVI. For more opportunities in St.Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, call 340.774.8784 ext. 2243.

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2018 INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

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COVER LOCATION INT 2018.indd 1 CVB3372_The Location Mag FPFC Film_Mech.indd 1

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Location International 2018  

The world's leading magazine focusing on global location and studio production.

Location International 2018  

The world's leading magazine focusing on global location and studio production.