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2015 International SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL FILM & TV PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

PUBLISHED BY BOUTIQUE EDITIONS


1000’s of locations, 8 Sound Stages, 3 Water Tanks... 1 choice for your next Production.

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With 10,844m 2 (116,727sq ft) of stage space

Past Productions include:

plus 3 heated and filtered water tanks totalling

• Nim’s Island - Walden Media

9.4 million litres (2.48 million gallons), full

• Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader -

support facilities and a comprehensive network of service companies to provide valuable experience and equipment for your Production, Village Roadshow Studios is Australia’s premier facility for water themed film and television production.

20th Century Fox / Walden Media • Railway Man - Pictures in Paradise/ Archer Street/Lionsgate • Unbroken - Universal Pictures/ Legendary Pictures • San Andreas - New Line Cinema/ Village Roadshow Pictures/ Ratpac-Dune Entertainment

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Take the Plunge Downunder


Recent movies created using the Village Roadshow Studios’ tank facilities

NIM’S ISLAND

Warner Bros.

Walden Media

Directed by: Andy Tennant

Directed by: Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER

SANCTUM 3D

UNBROKEN

Twentieth Century Fox and Walden Media

A Great Wight Production and Universal Studios

Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Director: Alister Grierson

Director: Angelina Jolie

Director: Michael Apted

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FOOL’S GOLD

Queensland: Entertainment Road, Oxenford, Gold Coast, QLD Australia 4210. Tel +61 7 5585 9666 Fax +61 7 5573 3698 USA: Village Roadshow Pictures, 10100 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 200, Los Angeles CA 90067 USA. Tel +1 310 385 4300 Fax +1 310 385 4301

1411958

www.villageroadshowstudios.com.au


CO N T E N TS

2015

International

SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL FILM & TV PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

EDITOR JULIAN NEWBY MANAGING EDITOR DEBBIE LINCOLN CONTRIBUTORS MARLENE EDMUNDS, ANDY FRY 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 - F: +44 20 3006 8796 - 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. information in this publication is edited from submissions provided by the individual commissions and organisations. Although a reasonable effort has been made in compiling this information, Boutique Editions Ltd assumes no responsibility for accuracy. The publisher assumes no liability for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and artwork. Copyright ©2015 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


International

2015

CO N T E N TS

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CALIFORNIA

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The Golden State is still home to the silver screen

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CALIFORNIA IN PICTURES Striking locations across the Golden State

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SHOOTING CARS Automotive advertising gets creative

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BOND IS BACK ...and this time he’s on skis. Daniel Craig takes to the slopes of Austria

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IN PICTURES A collection of images of stunning locations around the world — some famous on the big screen, some yet to be discovered

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QUEENSLAND If it’s good enough for Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp it’s probably good enough for anyone

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GERMANY This vibrant industry continues to lure international production

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TEXAS RISING Roland Joffé takes the helm of this cinematic TV series

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SURF ON SCREEN Surprisingly surfing films are shot all around the world

STAR WARS

International

2015

SHOWCASING THE GLOBAL FILM & TV PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

The seventh film in the series chooses Abu Dhabi as its desert base

84 ITALY

History and a wealth of locations make Italy ever-popular with filmmakers

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NEW YORK The state of New York is keen to welcome new production

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FORTITUDE Sky Atlantic’s drama series films in London and Iceland

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FEATURE CALIFORNIA

HOME OF THE SILVER

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While it will always remain the film capital of the world, California, home of Hollywood, has suffered in recent years from competition at home and abroad. But as Marlene Edmunds reports, things are starting to get back to normal

T

HE PASSAGE of California’s new tax credit has created a surge of hope in Hollywood and around the state, that the industry will get the boost that many have been waiting for. The bill, which takes effect from July 1, 2015, more than triples the amount of state tax credit to $330m annually. “Today, we remind the world that the Golden State is the home of the silver screen,” California governor Jerry Brown said at the bill’s signing in September 2014. Industry veteran Mark Horowitz, executive producer of the long-running NCIS, said the new tax credit “gives California a fighting chance in competition with other states and Canada. I very much want the film industry I grew up with to remain intact and it has been sad that so many productions and talent have had to leave.”


FEATURE CALIFORNIA

FE AT U R E

ER SCREEN 11

Horowitz says that the runaway production “is a consequence of our having not realised the gravity of the situation soon enough. The California state legislator simply didn’t believe it would happen, that we’d lose as much work as we did.” He adds: “It’s a little too soon to tell but I think that when all is said and done, people will be able to see the overall advantage of shooting in California versus some of the other states. There may be tax credits available to productions in other states but the depth of skilled crews and other assets that California has had for many years, are simply not available.” The California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, now known as the California Film & TV Tax Credit Programme 2.0, expands eligibility left out in California’s 2009 tax credit scheme to include big-budget feature films and new one-hour drama series, both categories that have suffered in recent years. California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch says: “Under the old system, in place since 2009, there was a finite amount of funding at $100m a year. If you had a few big tentpoles, that would have exhausted the credits. That limit has now been lifted and there is no limit on the budget size of a feature, but there is a limit to the credit that will apply to a maximum of $100m of qualified spend.”

The new system also replaces the 2009 lottery system with a ratings schedule based on applicants’ abilities to employ a significant number of workers. “We are getting incredible interest from studios and producers who are anxious to film in California,” Lemisch says. “Our goal is really about economic development, to increase the level of production and to get more film crews working, so this means that we can have three times as many projects participating in our programme.” Lemisch says the new increase makes California competitive with Louisiana, Georgia and other states. “Ours is, on the face of it, more modest because of the way their programmes are structured,” she says, adding: “Our tax credit is only applied to below-the-line spend but that is fairly significant since there are competitive advantages and cost savings in working in California. We don’t have to offer the same level of tax credits as some of the other states. “Many producers tell us that there are efficiencies and cost-savings by simply staying in California, due to our plentiful crew base, availability of equipment and production facilities. In that sense, the tax credit is more about retention. It is about keeping the industry here,” she says. The $330m pool breaks down to new TV series, pilots, movies of the week and recurring TV series getting 40%; features 35%; relocating TV series 20%; and independent films 5%. Beyond visual effects and music scoring, the bill also provides extra incentives, including a 5% uplift for producers who shoot in parts of the state outside of the LA region.

VASQUEZ ROCKS, a popular filming area in Santa Clarita


FEATURE CALIFORNIA A COMMERCIAL for Sony Blu Ray shot on the snowy peaks in Placer County, north of Lake Tahoe

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Few have been more active about campaigning for the new tax incentive or more ebullient when it passed than Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who predicted at the bill’s signing that 10,000 jobs would return to the LA area in 2015 and that the tax credit would “level the playing field” with other states like Louisiana and Georgia. Garcetti had been at the helm of efforts to turn runaway production around ever since he took office in mid-2013 and if anything, has stepped up efforts to bring work back to his city since the tax credit’s passage. In February of this year, he launched a campaign called Greenlight Hollywood to convince studio decision-makers to shoot in the city. The campaign targets the greenlight committees of major studios, along with talent agencies, managers and financiers, to promote Los Angeles as a film destination. In announcing Greenlight Hollywood, Garcetti said the campaign was about the artisans, the craftspeople and the tradespeople, the people who you never see on the screen but are “the heart and soul of the industry”. In early March Garcetti named former entertainment attorney Kevin James to the post of chief film liaison for the city, reporting to LA film czar Ken Ziffren. At the same time, he also signed an executive directive calling for all departments within the city government to appoint a film liaison to cut red tape. Those liaisons will be required to attend quarterly film task force meetings, as well as make sure that there is co-operation with FilmL.A., the private non-profit organisation charged with co-ordinating and processing permits for on-location film, television and commercial production throughout much of the Los Angeles region. FilmL.A. is a regional office, covering the city and county of

California governor Jerry Brown

“Today, we remind the world that the Golden State is the home of the silver screen”

Los Angeles, including the Angeles National Forest. Some cities in LA County have their own permit offices, for example Pasadena, Long Beach and Beverly Hills. Permits can be issued for the most part in two to three days, according to FilmL.A. president Paul Audley. He adds, however, that for complex special effects and helicopter shoots, it can take up to a couple of weeks. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) issues all permits for flyovers in the US but FilmL.A. helps co-ordinate by notifying all the permitting agencies that are needed. Series that have shot in LA in 2014 under the 2009 tax incentive include Pretty Little Liars, Teen Wolf, Major Crimes, Murder In The First, and Night Crawler. “The current limited programme that California has had in place from 2009 stemmed the flood of loss, mainly for TV drama, but the new programme is three times the size of the old tax credit and offers funding to an array of different productions,” Audley says. He predicts that the new tax credit could result in an additional $3bn in spending for wages and purchases of goods in LA alone. Audley adds: “Before, the new TV shows would have to leave California. Now they can stay. A couple of years ago there were 25 TV dramas and 23 left for out-of-state because they weren’t eligible for the 2009 tax credit. We are now beginning to reverse that situation.” Audley says that although, like San Francisco, LA does not have a tax rebate, it does everything it can to encourage production inside its borders. In 2013, LA put in a pilot free-year permit waiver, with some 85 permits issued that year, representing $17,500 per permit. He says that there are numerous local incentives, including city parking and no rental fees on city property, including warehouses and City Hall. “If you shot for three or four days at City Hall, you could save as much as $60,000 from just choosing to film in LA,” Audley says. Sitting right next door to Los Angeles, Orange County boasts many of the same advantages that shooting in LA can provide, including a solid infrastructure for production, year-round good weather, quaint towns, modern buildings and 42 miles of coastline.


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FEATURE CALIFORNIA CLARION ALLEY in San Francisco

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Orange County film commissioner Janice Arrington is also the president of Film Liaisons in California State-wide (FLICS), a group of film commissions that fought hard for the passage of the new tax credit. Though right next door to LA, Orange County [OC] benefits from the 5% uplift provision for counties outside the LA area. “Our community supported the campaign to bolster California’s film industry on many levels,” she says. “Elected officials, tourism advocates, small business owners whether they work in media or not, and many residents who enjoy productions in their neighbourhoods all joined in the campaign.” She adds: “We saw fewer projects after other states instituted big rebates so the programme will prove a boon. Orange County sites are already being scouted by features and television pilots which are applying for the tax credit.” The advantages of being right next door to LA are significant, she says: “When LA has more production, OC gets more production. As more scripted dramas and major features stay in LA, they will also use locations here, and these large projects have the biggest spending impact.” Orange County does see shoots that come from outside the US, mainly in the area of independent film, documentaries, reality shows and magazine spreads. “As a county, we embrace production that can keep us centre stage worldwide,” Arrington says. The city of San Francisco’s Scene In San Francisco Rebate programme provides up to $600,000 of production costs to shoots within its 49-square-mile area, including rentals, street closures, permit fees, payroll taxes and police officers. Susannah Greason Robbins, executive director of the San Francisco Film Commission (Film SF), says: “The rebate programme has been very successful in bringing produc-

Janice Arrington

“When LA has more production, OC gets more production”

tion to San Francisco, and the number of productions using it has increased dramatically. In the first seven years of the programme, we had 11 productions apply for and receive a rebate. Last year, in our eighth fiscal year, we had seven productions take advantage of it.” Among the films and series that have used the rebate over the years are: Milk (2008), Trauma (2009-2010), Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012), Knife Fight (2012), About Cherry (2012), Blue Jasmine (2013), Diary Of A Teenage Girl (2015), and TV series Sense8 (2015-). Greason Robbins says she expects to see a major surge in production as a result of the expansion of the tax credit. “I don’t know who will be shooting here and we won’t really know until the first applications are in, but the fact that productions could tap into both the state film tax credit and our rebate programme, and because they get a 5% bump in the amount of the state tax credit if they shoot outside the LA zone, I expect to see more production here.” Recent San Francisco shoots include the second season of HBO’s Looking, portions of Warner Bros.’ San Andreas (2015), Marvel Comics’ Ant Man (2015) and Paramount’s Terminator Genisys (2015). At press time, Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle was on location in San Francisco shooting his latest film, Steve Jobs (2015). Lana Wachowski-directed Sense8 for Netflix was a 13-day shoot that took place in and around the city last year, including Dolores Park, Castro and 17th, and Clarion Alley, a small street in the historic Mission District of San Francisco made famous by its street-artist murals. “Preparation included consultation with the Gay Pride associations because our shoot would involve the Dykes on Bikes march, an important part of the Gay Pride parade. Since it was in the motorcycle part of the march, we needed to help ensure safety so we connected the production to all of the city agencies, including the police and transit authorities, that would help bring this together,” Greason Robbins says. “There were a lot of meetings ahead of time and co-ordination with all of the city departments to make sure the shoot would take place smoothly and safely.” Sense8 line producer Dean Jones, who had previously worked with Lana and Andy Wachowski on The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003), says that as a San Francisco resi-


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Jason Crawford

“It is not uncommon to see three or four different productions a day shoot on location in Santa Clarita”

property, with the exception of the parks, which is handled by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department. Film SF also doesn’t handle permits for the Golden Gate Bridge; the Presidio, a park and former military base that is on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula; or the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an 80,000acre area of ecological and historically protected areas in the city. And while it depends on the complexity of the shoot, most permits can be processed in four business days, Greason Robbins adds. Santa Clarita’s growth from a collection of small towns on the outskirts of LA — including Newhall and Valencia — to become a major movie production centre is the stuff dreams are made of. Located just 35 miles from downtown LA, Santa Clarita is awash with movie ranches that range in size from 100-1,000 acres, each with standing sets. “One has a Western town, another a 1950s street scene, and yet another, a New York downtown business district,” says Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager for the city. “These are the standing sets but all of the ranches also are open to clients who wish to build the sets that their productions need as well.” Crawford points to the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch, which has a Middle-Eastern set where American Sniper was shot. “It originally started as a Mexican town set and then was rebuilt to accommodate some of the many shoots with storylines that involved Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East,” he says. Another favoured location is Vasquez Rocks, a geological phenomenon of jagged rocks where many shoots take place. One prominent rock formation has been nicknamed Kirk’s Rock after it appeared in several episodes of Star Trek representing different planets. “Many TV shows and feature films have shot there, including The X-Files (1993-2002) and The Flintstones (1994),” Crawford adds. While Santa Clarita has always attracted film crews, over the last 10 years or so, filming has grown exponentially. “Part of that has to do with the 2009 State Tax Incentive and part with the city being very proactive in reducing our fees and coming up with the rebate programme,” Crawford says, adding: “We view ourselves on the same team as the production and that is the difference, I think, between us and some film commissions.” Santa Clarita does not charge production taxes and is very proactive in creating its own incentive programmes that refund permit fees. “Some productions have received as much as $20,000 in refund cheques and that can make quite a difference to their budget.” Santa Clarita’s creative zoning flexibility with its Movie Ranch Overlay Zone is also an attraction. “Any filming that takes place at a movie ranch within Santa Clarita’s overlay zone is allowed to have its own set of more flexible rules,” Crawford says. “We work out the rules with the movie ranches before the shoot. This flexibility helps us as

FEATURE CALIFORNIA

dent Lana Wachowski had no need for a locations co-ordinator. “She knew where she wanted to shoot.” Jones adds: “In the Dykes on Bikes segment, the script calls for an actor to fall from a motorcyle on the parade route. It was our task to film as the actual parade as was taking place.” Jones says that the stunt itself was relatively simple but the production crew’s aim was to try to avoid disrupting the Gay Pride parade that was going on around the shoot. “With Rocky Capella as stunt co-ordinator, we pre-planned the entire sequence for cameras and equipment. The motorcycle was not going at much more than idling speed so there were sequences in which the real actor was on the motorcycle, and then we would switch to the stunt double, all the while the real parade was going on around the shoot.” While Brad Peyton’s San Andreas shot some 22 days in San Francisco in 2014, it became a poignant example of runaway production and a rallying point in the industry’s efforts to persuade California state legislators to act before it was too late. In the story, a helicopter pilot played by Dwayne Johnson rescues his daughter in San Francisco after a 10.0 quake. The $100m movie was granted a portion of Australia’s $20m film fund that has been established specifically to attract overseas movies and is now expected to pump $30m into the Queensland state economy. Back in San Francisco, San Andreas had 14 days of first-unit and another eight days of second-unit photography and plate shots. Greason Robbins says: “There were large street closures needed so the co-ordination required was the biggest aspect of the shoot.” Filming took place on location at Pier 43, Fort Baker, AT&T Park — the home of the San Francisco Giants — Hyde and Lombard Street, Chinatown and the Financial District. “We needed to co-ordinate with the police department and the transit authorities in order to make this happen smoothly, as well as assist the production in reaching out to the neighbourhood and merchant groups who would be affected by this filming,” Greason Robbins adds. San Andreas also did not qualify for a rebate. “Their budget was more than $3m so they would have needed to shoot 65% of it in San Francisco in order to qualify.” Film SF helps productions with permitting for all city-owned

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FEATURE CALIFORNIA SHOOTING Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch

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other communities might have stricter zoning regulations.” Santa Clarita is home to six TV series, including NCIS (2003), Operation Rep (2007-), Justified (2010-), Franklin & Bash (2011-), Switched At Birth (2011-) and Chasing Life (2014-). They film all over town, in addition to filming every day at local sound stages. “It is not uncommon to see three or four different productions a day shoot on location in Santa Clarita, at someone’s house, at a local park or at the mall,” Crawford says. The Mentalist (2008-) is one example, a series that has shot numerous times on location. “In one episode of the Mentalist, the production needed to close down a street for a big fireball explosion. Our job was to help them figure out the logistics ahead of time, liaise with special effects and explosives experts, co-ordinate with the sheriff and fire departments, traffic, transit authority, and neighbouring businesses.” James McClafferty, supervising location manager for NCIS, says the production shoots about 50% of its episodes in Santa Clarita. “They have a reputation for making things happen and being very film-friendly, much more so than other cities. Our requests are handled expeditiously and they are very helpful in getting permission and co-ordinating with the various authorities.” McClafferty says that NCIS’ biggest challenge is always the same, putting together often very complex episodes in a very short period of time — usually in less than a week. “It is a daunting task at times and it doesn’t happen without having a great team of people,” he says. “Our show often works with the military and our producers, Gary Glasberg, Mark Horowitz and Charles Johnson, have a great relationship with the Navy that permits us to film at bases including Naval Air Station Point Mugu and Naval Base Ventura County, Port Huen-

James McClafferty

“Our requests are handled expeditiously and they are very helpful in getting permission”

eme. These bases are outside the 30-mile zone but we do shoot there several times during a typical season.” One recent shoot involved pirates overtaking a container ship at sea, killing some of its crew before NCIS was able to board and capture them. “We needed two ships, one a Navy destroyer and the other a cargo ship. The Navy provided the destroyer and we found the cargo ship, which belonged to the Maritime Administration, in Long Beach,” says McClafferty. He adds: “What normally requires a 90-day permit process, we were able to get done in a week with the incredible efforts of our production team, city officials, and the director of congressional affairs Michael Novak from the Maritime Administration in Washington DC.” NCIS’ Horowitz says that many of the original contacts made with the Navy, Marine Corps and Department of Defence [DOD] originated on the JAG show (Judge Advocate General), a TV series running from 1995-2005. “We originally came up to Santa Clarita with the JAG show as an antidote to the high cost of studio rental in Hollywood. We wanted to put more of the money on the screen,” he adds. Because the JAG show lasted for 10 years, there were standing warehouses that had been converted for studio work. “For two seasons, JAG filmed show side-by-side with NCIS,” he says. Both JAG and NCIS have filmed a number of times at Point Mugu and at Port Hueneme. “Over time, we have developed a relationship with NavInfoWest [Navy Office of Information West] and that office handles all issues related to TV shows, motion pictures and documentaries for the Navy,” Horowitz says. The Marine Corps also has its own information office. “When the script requires the kind of scale and reality of an actual base we request permission, through NavInfo and the DOD, to film at one of them.” The production also uses off-duty personnel from the bases as extras. CGI plays an important part in helping the NCIS team keep up its hectic schedule. One recent shoot involved a Navy destroyer in a horrific storm. “Computer graphic effects were used for the wide shots, making the docked ship appear as if at sea, with simulated giant waves crashing onto the deck. A combination of CGI waves


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FEATURE CALIFORNIA POINT PINOS LIGHTHOUSE at the edge of Monterey Bay PHOTO: KAREN SEPPA NORDSTRAND

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and a special effect water ‘dump tank’ were used to create the illusion,” Horowitz says. Both Santa Clarita and Orange County benefit from LA’s 30 Mile Studio Zone (TMZ), a radius used by union film projects to determine per diem rates and driving distances for crew members. The centre of the studio zone is located at the southeast corner of Beverly and La Cienega in LA. If outside the zone, the production must pay extra to workers for mileage, costs of living, and hotels, as an example. Scenes from more than 200 films have been shot in Monterey County, including Rebecca (1940), National Velvet (1944) and Play Misty For Me (1971), and more recently, The Forger (2012) and Big Sur (2013), based on the Jack Kerouac book of the same name. “Monterey County has a long history of filmmaking, with its locations used in some of Thomas Edison’s early 20-second travelogues including Hotel Del Monte and Surf At Monterey,” says

Monterey County film commissioner Karen Seppa Nordstrand. Monterey County film productions will often start out in San Francisco and move down the coast, or vice-versa, she adds. In 2014’s Brazilian telenovela Generation Brazil, the shoot took place first in San Francisco and then moved down to shoot for six days along Big Sur’s Highway One, the world-famous Bixby Bridge, as well as at the Carmel mansion Tres Paraguas. “The production was complex,” Nordstrand says. “It involved a big wedding reception that required 50 local talent, crew and extras at Tres Paraguas, dressed in elegant gowns and sophisticated suits for the wedding party scene full of Silicon Valley executives.” She adds: “There were helicopter flyovers above Bixby Bridge along Highway One, and even the dropping of two batwinged-suit skydivers to land at an ocean-view meadow near Rocky Point in Big Sur.” Monterey County has also attracted BBC Television documentaries and UK travelogues, Chinese television travel shows,

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FEATURE CALIFORNIA

A WEDDING SCENE shot at a mansion outside Carmel, for Brazilian telenovela Generation Brazil

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independent filmmakers from around the world, and car commercial shoots destined for Japan and other Asian markets. Nordstrand says: “In Monterey County you can find locations that look like a million bucks — and for next to nothing. Last year’s California Film Commission records show Monterey County was the number two in film days state-wide with many productions using Monterey County’s California state parks and beaches for their shoots, all locations that remain quite affordable.” The California Film Commission handles all permits for California state properties, such as the recent Generation Brazil’s shoot on Highway One and on Bixby Bridge in Monterey County. As Monterey County is an environmentally-sensitive area, low flies below 1,000 feet over areas inhabited by marine animals in that area requires a waiver from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as well. Biology monitors are also required on-set to observe any disturbance to wildlife. Other popular destinations in this part of the state include Kern, Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara — which has a film industry as old as that of Hollywood. Films shot there over the years include Mike Nichols’ The Graduate (1967), Alexander Payne’s Sideways (2004), Gore Verbinski’s Pirates Of The Caribbean III: At World’s

Karen Seppa Nordstrand

“In Monterey County you can find locations that look like a million bucks — and for next to nothing”

End (2007) and Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated (2009). Santa Barbara has its own incentive programme, created by the Santa Barbara County Film Commission, which provides a cash rebate for eligible productions that book a minimum number of room nights in specified areas of the county. Further north, and the California landscapes change again – for example there are the snowy peaks of Placer County; the giant redwoods of Humboldt and Del Norte; and the spectacular coastlines around San Mateo, Mendocino and Sonoma. A key strength of Placer is that it offers a cross-section of American looks in a very close area. In 90 minutes, you can go from Midwestern roads and farmlands to snow-covered mountains. Placer is located along Interstate-80, north of Lake Tahoe, with airports servicing both ends of the county. San Mateo County and the Silicon Valley region, just south of San Francisco, has a buzz about it, in part because it is home to companies including Facebook, GoPro, You Tube, Apple, HP, Google, Pinterest, and Oracle. The area is film-friendly and has state-of-theart studios as well as diverse filming locations and an active film commission — and is popular for TV commercial shoots. In Memoirs Of A Geisha (2005), a Japanese fishing village was replicated on Moss Beach’s Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in San Mateo; and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (2012), with Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, used San Mateo’s Filoli mansion and gardens to double as the English countryside. Back down at the southern end of the state, the city of San Diego has a long history of hosting productions. Films to have shot in-and-around the city include Adam McKay’s Anchorman and Anchorman 2 (2004/13), Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars (2014) and Tony Scott’s Top Gun (1986) – the bar where Tom Cruise sang Great Balls Of Fire is still a tourist attraction.


Film in Marin County, California

visitMarin.org

415 925 2060

deborah@visitMarin.org

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FEATURE CALIFORNIA

CALIFORNIA IN PICTURES SANTA BARBARA SANTA BARBARA COUNTY The picture was taken from Television Hill, and shows downtown Santa Barbara and Stearns Wharf with Montecito and the hills of Carpinteria in the background. Special features include the second-longest wooden wharf in California, in-tact Spanish architecture and red-tiled roofs, a working harbour with fishing fleet, huge estates in Montecito, many with extensive gardens or agricultural operations. (Photo, courtesy Jim Corwin/ Santa Barbara County Film Commission)

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NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY MONTEREY This view looks toward the waters of the pristine and dramatic Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This is a popular spot to film the breaking waves as it is a simple process either from the road or from several turnouts along the area that make parking easy. A Nexium commercial shot on the rocks nearby, and the location has also featured in numerous car commercials. (Photo, courtesy Karen Seppa Nordstrand/Monterey County Film Commission)


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CONWAY SUMMIT MONO COUNTY This shot was taken on the north side of the Conway Summit, from the State-designated Scenic Byway, US Highway 395. The summit is 8,900 feet and is located between the small towns of Lee Vining and Bridgeport in Mono County, California. Numerous commercials have shot here. The Conway Summit is one of the most photographed vistas in Mono County in the autumn season — this view of layered colours and tones can be captured from late September through October just south of the town of Bridgeport. (Photo, courtesy Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management)


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REDWOODS STATE PARK DEL NORTE COUNTY These trees in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park are the tallest in the world and the Park has the largest global collection of old-growth redwoods. The property also includes eight miles of wild Pacific coastline. Films shot close by in Del Norte include Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi (1983) and ET (1982). (Photo, courtesy Andrew Rydzewski)


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RENEE AND HENRY SEGERSTROM CONCERT HALL ORANGE COUNTY The Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California, has a glassed-in lobby which features three-storeys of balconies with views. The spacious outdoor plaza in front of the Concert Hall is accessible to production companies, and the interior features high-glossed wood with seating for 2,000. The NBC television series Chuck (2007-2012) filmed on the stage and throughout the building for one of its action-comedy episodes. The Concert Hall and its plaza are also popular for commercials. (Photo, courtesy Ken Haber, LMGA)


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SAN DIEGO SKYLINE CITY OF SAN DIEGO San Diego, viewed from Harbor Island, a man-made peninsula between Shelter Island and downtown San Diego. San Diego is a thriving city with a deep harbour that is home to a naval fleet. Recent productions include films Scorpion King (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), Anchorman (2004), Lords Of Dogtown (2005) and Into The Wild (2007); TV series The X-Files (1993-2002), 24 (2001-2010) and Veronica Mars (2004-2007); and numerous commercials. (Photo, courtesy Geoff Juckes, LMGA)


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PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER WEST HOLLYWOOD The Pacific Design Center is a 1,200,000-square feet multi-use facility for the design community located in West Hollywood, LA. One of the buildings is often described as The Blue Whale because it dwarfs surrounding buildings and has brilliant blue-glass cladding. The Pacific Design Center hosts many screenings, exhibitions, lectures, meetings, special events and receptions for the design, entertainment and arts communities, and has all the advantages of being in Los Angeles with film and TV credits too numerous to mention. (Photo, courtesy www.MarkIndigPhotography.com)


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SHOOTING CARS The motor industry is a competitive market and manufacturers want their vehicles seen in the best light, whether in traditional advertising or playing a role in some kind of extended branded content. Debbie Lincoln takes a look at where in the world some of the big automotive bucks are spent

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ARS ARE big business. And since the dawn of advertising, securing the lucrative car account has been the goal for all agencies. And the way to keep the account is to make a dazzling commercial. Get it right and sales soar; get it wrong and market share plummets. That’s a lot of pressure on production companies and agencies, but also an opportunity for creative filmmaking. One way that car manufacturers get their products seen is by placing them in front of a cinema audience. Product placement in cinema and on TV is not a new idea, however the model is diversifying as the competition for eyeballs across devices hots-up and manufacturers have identified this as a viable add-on to their advertising strategy. A good example is the case of Jaguar Land Rover which has placed vehicles in many films over the years, including the James Bond movie Skyfall in 2012. Chris Wilde, Jaguar Land Rover MENA brand director, says: “We have continued our successful involvement with the Bond franchise, with our Jaguar C-X75, Range Rover Sport SVR and Land Rover Defender Big Foot cars, all provided by our Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations division, and featuring in the latest Bond movie, Spectre,” — which shot in Austria, Mexico, Morocco, Italy and the UK. Abu Dhabi was the location for From A To B (2014), another film featuring the Range Rover. In this case the car became a principal character in a road movie, carrying three friends from Abu Dhabi to Beirut. Ali F Mostafa, a British-Emirati director (City Of Life, 2009), began working with

Range Rover back in 2011 when he became a regional ambassador for the Range Rover Evoque. “In 2012, we announced the extension of this partnership for a further three years, culminating in an announcement at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival revealing that the Evoque would be featured in From A To B,” Wilde says, adding: “At Land Rover, we have always looked beyond traditional product placement — we look for opportunities that allow us to associate with genuinely compelling and highly relevant content that engages our target audience here in the region. We see this as a long-term partnership and are proud of the positive reception From A To B has received since its debut at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October 2014.” As with all advertising, reaching the target audience is everything. “We are looking to drive familiarity, appeal and consideration among younger, affluent GCC Arab males, many of whom are avid film fans,” Wilde says. “So when Ali told us about the storyline in the film involving three friends from the region bonding on a regional road trip, we felt it was a natural fit.” Wilde hails this strategy as a success: “From the way Ali has cleverly woven the Range Rover Evoque into the film, to the impressive reviews the film has


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since received from not only regional but also global media — I think the final result surpassed our expectations. The film’s producer, Image Nation, has also received a huge amount of positive feedback from regional audiences who praised the way it has pushed boundaries for an Emirati film. We have also been informed that Studio Canal has picked it up and the film is hitting cinemas in the UK, which is very exciting for all of us.” Jaguar also demonstrated ambition for cinema stardom with the short film Desire, which premiered at the Sundance Festival in London in 2013. The film opens with the new Jaguar’s F-Type two-seater being driven at speed in Chile’s Atacama Desert, nearly colliding with a mysterious motorcyclist. The British actor Damian Lewis is behind the wheel, seemingly a stylish delivery driver. At a petrol station a glamourous woman, played by Shannyn Sossamon, tries to steal the car, then reluctantly allows Lewis back in as they take flight pursued by gun-firing enemies. The intriguing tonguein-cheek film places the car at the very centre of the action, while conjuring a credible narrative around it. The other performer in the film is the Chilean landscape itself. After the film’s premiere in London

THE MOODY BUDAPEST shoot for Audi from Hungary’s Pioneer Productions


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and by noon the temperature can climb to plus-18, so that made Alberta a good contender for the storyboards.” The production company was Supply and Demand.tv and the director/DP was Sean Thonson. The locations they chose were in the National Parks, so some restrictions applied. “When filming snowy locations it is always a challenge to find just the right amount of snow. Too much and you need to hire snow ploughs to clear areas to film and not enough and you need to supplement with real and/or fake snow,” Toews says. “As jobs are typically bid weeks in advance it is difficult to guess what the weather has in store for us. We experienced a crazy blizzard in the glacier ice fields area of Jasper National Parks. Luckily we where able to continue filming as it fitted in with the storyline perfectly... just not exactly where we had planned.” Go south over the border and Montana in the US is another region often picked for its snow, among other natural attractions. “As an office we get a lot of requests for snowy, tree-lined mountain roads with dramatic peaks in the background; long, open highways; and ranch settings,” Nikolas Griffith, from the Montana Film Office, says. “In 2014, we had shoots with Ford, GMC, KIA, Polaris, Hyundai and Toyota. We saw these commercials shoot

FEATURE CAR COMMERCIALS

the producer, Ridley Scott Associates’ Caspar Delaney, described the San Pedro de Atacama desert location as being perfect for the film — “one of the most spectacular landscapes and locations in the world”. Deserts are classic car-commercial backdrops, but this location is not without its risks. An old car used in the shoot had mechanical problems. “One day it decided not to start, so we had to push it into the frame five times to finish shooting the scene. The spare part we needed would have been hard to find anywhere, let alone San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert. But a local mechanic saved us with the spare part from an old tractor,” says Cristobal Sotomayor Diaz of local production company Goodgate. The film made a great job of showcasing both the car and the Chilean locations, and gained worldwide attention with a Sundance premiere and the kudos of Lana Del Rey’s title song. At the premiere Ian Armstrong, global marketing communications director at Jaguar, described the film as “a British-led, world-class artistic project. We believe, alongside Ridley Scott Associates, that we have a great platform for our most important product launch in 50 years.” While in Chile, Jaguar shot a traditional commercial for the F-Type. The challenge for the spot was to find a number of locations in and around Santiago, and timing was an issue. “We are very familiar with finding variety within two to three hours from Santiago,” says Axel Brinck, partner and producer at the local production company La Casa Films. “We shot in a desert with freshly paved roads, and perfect sunshine, on a road that no one had ever shot before.” The Chilean Film Commission is a comparatively young organisation but already has considerable experience helping crews and clients to find the right locations, including recent shoots for Mercedes Benz and Nissan. The Mercedes project was significant as the only shoot ever to work with traffic control on the Libertadores Pass international highway across the Andes. The requests for locations were specific, including a cavern carved straight into the natural rock, in the middle of a mountain range. “The road to the cavern we found was not even fit for goats,” says the Film Commission’s Joyce Sylberberg Serman. “We had to bring in heavy road-building equipment, and worked six days just to get it fit for the 4x4s we had on the shoot. The locals were pretty happy about that!” For the Nissan shoot, filmed on a magnificent road leading to the Valle Nevado ski centre, co-ordination with police was required in order to close some of the roads around the location. La Casa’s Brinck says: “We really want to highlight the contribution by the Commission’s Raimundo Alemparte. He helped us with rerouting public transportation around a large section of downtown Santiago for the five-hour shutdown, a rare feat.” Another country well-used to provide diverse locations for car commercials is South Africa, as the recent ‘You B’ute’ shoot for Chevrolet proves. The brief asked for locations that could be recognised as different provinces and cities in South Africa and local production company Velocity was able to do this within a 50km radius of Cape Town. “We had a two-day shoot so had to fit six locations into each day,” producer Cat Lindsay says. “We had a clear idea of where we wanted to film and what kind of textures and backgrounds we wanted for each scene so there was no doubt that Cape Town was the right city to shoot in,” adds director Rob Malpage. The weather was a key feature in a 2013 shoot in Alberta, Canada for Mercedes. “It required all four seasons to show the vehicle’s ability to handle any weather challenges. We were filming in midMarch, typically one of our heaviest snowfall months in the mountains, yet it can be quite sunny and warm in the prairies,” Sharron Toews, commercial production manager and line producer, says. “But being in the flux of the season changes could go any direction on us. On the east side of the Rocky Mountains, we experience warm Pacific winds which bring crazy temperature changes. It can be minus-25 overnight

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in a variety of locations including the Hyalite Canyon Reservoir, a reservoir at the end of a natural stone canyon in south-west Montana; Gallatin Preserve, a new development in the Gallatin Mountain Range valley; and the New Moon Ranch, a private ranch in Paradise Valley.” Montana is film-friendly and permits are not an issue with the proper amount of lead time. The film office is also experienced at sorting out any issues. “Forest service roads require permitting through the regional ranger office, often these federal offices are under-staffed and on one occasion recently a commercial came in with three days to permit. So we suggested a private road. The cost of using a private road can vary greatly depending on how many homes the road serves and how amenable the owners are to the disruption. With the location as specific as it was, options were limited, the production and Home Owners Association needed to agree on fees, parking, and how heavily the production plans to ‘own’ the road. In the end, with our assistance they reached an agreement.” Griffiths says that shooting in deep country can have its quirks. “As the scout went to the [ranch] door and began talking to the owner, a large turkey came up on the porch and went into a full tail fan. This took the scout back a step. The owner said ‘Don’t worry, that’s just Julio. He thinks you’re after his hens.’ This is what happens when you film in Montana.” The west coast of the US has long been a favourite location for car commercial shoots, with a mix of spectacular coastal roads and landscape. Marin County in northern California was the location for a recent film for YouTube channel MotorTrend. For the episode of Head2Head, host Jonny Lieberman takes two powerful American cars for

a fast drive and comparison test featuring fantastic views of Marin’s back-country roads. “MotorTrend was looking for three locations for three different types of road test: one straight for tandem speed checks, one location for burnouts and a third for doughnut spins,” says Deborah Jean Albre, creative serivices director and film liaison for Marin County. “The Marin Film Resource Office scouted all locations for this shoot because MotorTrend had contacted us directly.” The shoot required road closures for periods of time and co-operation from law enforcement. “This was to compare two muscle cars, and a permit was OK’d for a simulated course race up to 60 mph under controlled conditions. One of the supervising ranger monitors was a bit strict about the speed limit. Each time one of the cars would drive out of the staging area 10 miles over the allotted speed limit, she’d take off after the car to tell them to slow down. At one point she even interrupted part of the shoot to remind them of the speed limit. It was funny at the time.” Although California is prized for its coastal views, Albre has some other suggestions for car shoots. “Marin County has a number of beautiful driving roads, especially in the spring when the hills are green and full of wildflowers. There are a couple


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of back roads which I have not seen filming on, and maybe that is because the permitting is a bit tricky for soft road closures. But if the planning is done far enough in advance and if one can work around the restrictions, it would be well worth it. My two favourites are the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road and the Marshall-Petaluma Road,” she says. Rolling hills are also on the menu further south in Monterey County, “what we call Steinbeck country”, Karen Seppa Nordstrand, film commissioner at the Monterey Country Film Commission, says. Specifically these are the hills overlooking Salinas Valley which writer John Steinbeck referred to as “pastures of heaven”. “Several of our location ranches have acres of open land, grazing cattle, no power lines, just winding dirt roads. I’d like to see some off-road vehicles and truck brands come for our ranch-style looks too,” she adds. Seppa Nordstrand admits that the coastline gets most of the attention. “Over the years we’ve had just about every car model come here to shoot along Big Sur’s dramatic coastline, with its famous concrete arch Bixby Bridge as a centerpiece location. Range Rover Pursuit filmed in the hills at a Big Sur ranch called Calera. We’ve had Lincoln, Corvette, Mini Cooper, Lexus and many more,” she says, adding: “And when the Concours d’Elegance car show comes to Pebble Beach, the cameras are all rolling for new commercial footage and TV shows about cars. A recent Jeep shoot utilised Carmel Mission and Bixby Bridge, as well as an open meadow near Rocky Point in Big Sur.” Occasionally car commercials will turn away from sweeping landscapes and look for urban or gritty locations instead. This was the case for a shoot for the Audi A7 Sportback in Hungary. Local producer at Pioneer Productions, Eszter Repassy says that the client was

Chris Wilde

ON LOCATION with director Ali Mostafa in Abu Dhabi for From A To B, a feature film that puts Jaguar Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque in front of the camera

“At Land Rover, we have always looked beyond traditional product placement”

looking for an older, industrial warehouse-type location. “It was a challenge to find the right place in Budapest, but we made it,” she says, with the help of their location library, location managers and “great” location scouts. The result is an atmospheric spot that captures the up-to-date and classic looks of the car. Repassy says that Hungary can offer car clients all the traditional locations “picturesque landscapes, forest roads, rivers and lakes” — as well as “16 state-of-the-art studios”. Sometimes locations are chosen precisely because they mimic other areas of the world and the Spanish island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, off the north-west coast of Africa, has recently done just that when local production company Volcano Films was asked to find a rocky desert that would resemble Arizona in the US but would not automatically be recognised as Arizona. This shoot was also for Audi: “We did find what our client was looking for.,” says director and Volcano founder Sebastián Alvarez. “In Tenerife we have one National Park called Teide National Park that offers a desert, as well as forests and a lunar landscape, all within a short distance. Tenerife also has impressive coastal roads and many different kinds of forests and mountains, the result of the big array of microclimates we have.” Bizarrely though, the desert shoot was held up for two days because of snow, a perfect example of those microclimates. But snow doesn’t last long here. “We had to drop some secondary shoot locations and only work on the south side of the mountain, where snow-melting was advancing quicker,” Alvarez says.


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Bond is back… on skis Spectre, the 24th Bond movie, is the sixth film in the series to take to the ski slopes. Julian Newby reports

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EVEN years on from Quantum Of Solace (2008), Bond is back in Austria. The plot of Quantum Of Solace developed in and around the striking Festspielhaus Bregenz opera house on the shores of Lake Constance; for Spectre, Bond has taken to the mountains of the Tirol. The chosen location is Sölden, the largest ski resort in the Ötztal valley — and we can expect action-packed snow scenes to match those of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), For Your Eyes Only (1981), A View To A Kill (1985) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). “This is going to be one of the major action sequences of the movie — the jewel in the crown,” says associate producer Gregg Wilson. “It’s going to be spectacular and Austria seemed to offer everything that we needed to pull it off.” Sölden spans two glaciers, Rettenbach and Tiefenbachferner, and three wellconnected mountains, but it took the Spectre team some time to find what turned out to be the perfect location for the ski scenes. The Sölden ski station is dominated by a striking building, which houses the luxury IceQ restaurant — built at an altitude of 3,048 metres and whose


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DANIEL CRAIG in action in Austria


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THE ICEQ restaurant on the Wildspitze mountain, Sölden

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SPECTRE director sam Mendes with Léa Seydoux who plays Madeleine Swann

name and appearance are both very Bond. “It was a long journey for me, through many countries, to try and find the unique, modern facility that we were looking for,” production designer Dennis Cassner says. “It’s absolutely amazing. The thing that [director] Sam [Mendes] and I talked about was how we were going to top Skyfall … and so far it’s a good start. I think we’re going to continue the history of the Bond films in making things exciting for the audience to look at. What could be more exciting for the audience than to be on top of the world?” Johannes Koeck, head of Cine Tirol Film Commission, first heard that “a huge international production was searching for stunning alpine locations” back in early 2014. “We were extremely excited about the news and offered everything we could

in order to bring Tirol into the competition,” Koeck says. “We collaborated very closely with Arie Bohrer from Location Austria and decision-makers in Sölden. We all desperately wanted the new James Bond film to be shot here.” The production team was looking for typical Bond locations — a combination of alpine wilderness and unique architecture, but with easy access for cast and crew. “Tirol offers many staggering locations of that kind, thanks to the efficient, state-ofthe-art infrastructure developed for tourism, which is the economic backbone of our country,” Koeck says. But even with such a well-developed infrastructure, production designer Martin Joy says mountains are always a challenge. “There are all the difficulties of filming somewhere that is so cut off, coupled with

the weather possibilties, the altitude, all those things,” Joy says. “It’s a real challenge to be up here. But the payoff is stunning scenery, and an incredible location.” Another payoff was the incentives on offer. The Tirolean government was able to offer financial assistance in the form of its production incentive to Spectre, which in combination with the Austrian federal incentive programme FISA, “was essential to realise this huge production in our country”, Koeck says. “And we gave original Tirol winter caps and bandanas to the entire crew of more than 500 filmmakers to keep them warm during the shoot.” And in a gesture that demonstrates just how happy the local people were to host the film, a mountain farmer named two calves born on the first day of shooting Daniel and Léa.


SHOWCASE LOCATION IN PICTURES

IN PICTURES LOCATION HAS TEAMED UP WITH FILM AND TOURIST OFFICES, LOCATION SCOUTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS TO BRING YOU IMAGES OF STUNNING LOCATIONS AROUND THE WORLD. SOME ARE WELL USED BY FILM CREWS, OTHERS ARE STILL TO BE MADE FAMOUS ON THE BIG OR SMALL SCREEN

SHOWCASE

LOUISIANA US This is the Long-Allen Bridge that connects Berwick to Morgan City across the Atchafalaya River. This area, close to both New Orleans and Baton Rouge is popular for filming, going all the way back to the silent version of Tarzan Of The Apes in 1918. Recent productions include Deja Vu (2006), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008) and The Best Of Me (2014) Photo, courtesy Mark Indig, LMGA

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BANKS PENINSULA CANTERBURY, NEW ZEALAND Banks Peninsula, which owes its origin to volcanic activity, lies on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It encompasses two large harbours and many smaller, picturesque bays and coves. The South Island’s largest city, Christchurch, is immediately north of the peninsula. Recent productions include Z For Zachariah (2015) Photo, courtesy Joseph Kelly


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MATERA ITALY Matera is a town and province in the southern region of Italy, a five-hour drive from Rome. Close to the town are caves dating back to the Paleolithic era with many dwellings cut into the rock. The first inhabitants were Benedictine and Basilian monks and some churches boast Byzantine decorations and frescoes. In the past the location has doubled for Jerusalem. Recent productions include The Passion Of The Christ (2004) and Nativity! (2009) Photo, courtesy Michael John Meehan, LMGA


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AVEIRO PORTUGAL This image depicts a moliceiro, or a traditional Portuguese fishing boat, on one of the many canals that has earned Aveiro the title The Venice of Portugal. The busy Atlantic-coast city has many other attractions, including cathedrals, a university and the beaches of Barra, Costa Nova do Prado and Gafanha da NazarĂŠ Recent productions include The Dancer Upstairs (2002) Photo, courtesy Ken Matsuoka, LMGA


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YELLOWKNIFE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, CANADA Situated on the shores of Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife has the atmosphere of a coastal city and is a hub for winter and summer activities. Back Bay is home to houseboat dwellers who have been anchoring in the bay since 1978. This houseboat is home to ‘Snowking Tony’ who builds a snowcastle in the bay every March. In the winter months, Yellowknife Bay resembles arctic tundra. However, it is accessible by vehicles from December to April via Dettah Ice Road, and is located just a short five-minute drive from downtown Yellowknife. Recent productions include TV series Ice Pilots NWT (2009-2014), Arctic Air (2012-) and Ice Lake Rebels (2014-) Photo, courtesy Fran Hurcomb


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OLD HAVANA CUBA This photo was taken from the roof-top observation deck on the Bacardi Building and looks out across the neighbourhood of old Havana. Most shoots here in the past have been European or South American although this is likely to change in the future. Cuba is well-known for its pristine beaches, incredible architectural influences as well as vestiges of a bygone era. Recent productions include The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and Three Days In Havana (2013) Photo, courtesy Claudia Eastman, LMGA


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VALLEY OF THE MOON CHILE El Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) is located 13 kilometres (eight miles) west of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile’s Atacama desert. It has stone and sand formations of many colours which have been carved by wind and water, giving the landscape a lunar feel. There are also dry lakes — the valley is one of the driest places on earth — and a prototype for a Mars rover machine was tested here. Recent productions include Quantum Of Solace (2008) Photo, courtesy Robin Citrin, LMGA


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JIUFEN TAIWAN Jiufen (also Jioufen or Chiufen) is a historic town dating back at least to the 17th century in the mountainous area in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City near Keelung, Taiwan. The town’s downtown area was used as a model in Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 anime movie Spirited Away. Photo , courtesy www.MarkIndigPhotography.com, LMGA

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MYSTERY BAY NSW, AUSTRALIA Located 360 kilometres (223 miles) south of Sydney, Mystery Bay is part of the Dromedary Conservation Area which includes a town, seven coastal lakes, a number of beaches and Montague Island, and is located between the towns of Narooma and Bermagui, the latter of which hosted a shoots for The Man Who Sued God (2001) and Unbroken (2014) Photo, courtesy Kevin McGrath.


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KATZ’S DELICATESSEN NEW YORK CITY, US Katz’s Delicatessen, also known as Katz’s of New York City, is a restaurant in Houston Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Founded in 1888, and famous for its pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs, it also has notoriety for a scene in the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally… starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The table where they sat is now marked with a sign saying ‘Where Harry met Sally...hope you have what she had! Enjoy!’. Recent productions include Across The Universe (2007), Enchanted (2007) and We Own The Night (2007) Photo, courtesy John Hutchinson, LMGA


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TENERIFE SPAIN The picture was taken in Parque Rural de Teno, in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. From the Punta de Teno, the most westerly point of the island which is marked by an old lighthouse, there are spectacular panoramic views of the Gigantes Cliffs, which drop straight down to the sea from a height of almost 600 metres. Recent productions include Wrath Of The Titans (2012) Photo, courtesy Tenerife Film Commission


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LUPU BRIDGE SHANGHAI, CHINA The Lupu Bridge crosses Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, connecting the city’s Luwan and Pudong districts. It is the world’s second-longest steel arch bridge, after the Chaotianmen Bridge in Chongqing. At press time this location is scheduled to be used in the upcoming live-action film based on the anime Ghost In The Shell Photo, courtesy Dow Griffith, LMGA


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DEATH VALLEY CALIFORNIA, US This photo shows the intersection of route 190 East and Route 190 West in Death Valley National Park, in California’s Mojave Desert. The stark desert landscape of Death Valley, one of the hottest places on earth, once reaching the highest temperature ever recorded, 134º F. in 1913. Death Valley was named by gold-seekers, some of whom died crossing the valley during the 1849 California Gold Rush. Death Valley National Park has attracted many productions over the years including Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 movie Zabriskie Point, named after an area of Death Valley. Recent productions include The Tree Of Life (2011) and Knight Of Cups (2015) Photo, courtesy Eric Drucker


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TOULON FRANCE This picture was taken at the Villa Rocabella near Toulon in the Var region of Provence in the south of France. The building has the charm of La Belle Epoque and is convenient for filming as it is a private property and has direct access to a private beach. The villa is also close to the Toulon Hyères Airport. Recent productions include Un Homme IdÊal (2015) Photo, courtesy Michel Brussol - South of France Film Commission - Var


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ANGKOR THOM CAMBODIA Angkor Thom was the last capital city of the Khmer empire in the late12th century. It is surrounded by a moat with causeways and gates in four directions leading to the Bayon, a Buddhist shrine near the resort town of Siem Reap in north west Cambodia. The gates, as well as the towers of the Bayon, are topped by faces whose identities are still disputed. Recent productions include Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon (2011) Photo courtesy Barbara Miller, LMGA


KENT, UK On the top of the White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Castle has much historical significance, amazing sea views and secret wartime tunnels. The traditional brick castle has frequently doubled as the Tower of London as well as appealing to productions needing traditional fortification. It is also ideally located with France and mainland Europe half-an-hour away across the English Channel, and trains to and from London in just over one hour. Recent productions include The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), BBC TV series Hollow Crown (2012-) and Wolf Hall (2015), Into The Woods (2014) and Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

SHOWCASE LOCATION IN PICTURES

DOVER CASTLE

Photo, courtesy English Heritage

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GOING FOR GOLD If it’s good enough for Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, it’s probably good enough for anyone. Queensland’s Gold Coast is attracting productions from thousands of miles away. Location magazine found out why

MAKO MERMAIDS – and one merman

I

T WAS St Vincent and the Grenadines that, back in 2003, hosted the first of the incredibly successful Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003). The setting was where it should be: in the Caribbean. For the second, Dead Man’s Chest (2006), it was a dream story for the Bahama’s Film And Television Commission. The Disney team attended a trade show in Los Angeles, met the Bahamas people at their booth and subsequently decided to make the film there. It doesn’t always work like that, but it did that time. For the third, At World’s End (2007), Dominica and Hawaii were key locations, and for the fourth, On Stranger Tides (2011), Puerto Rico and Hawaii did the job. All roughly in the same area, give or take 4,000 miles. But for the

fifth it’s all change. Captain Jack Sparrow and his men journeyed to the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia for 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales. And why? Well it’s beautiful, it doubles perfectly for the real Caribbean that has featured in the previous four movies and, state and federal governments there have offered Walt Disney Studios $21.6m and payroll tax exemptions to sweeten the deal. The production has shot in the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast — making use of its eight sound stages and three water tanks — and on location in the north of Queensland, for example Port


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Douglas, with its stunning four-mile beach of golden sand and deepblue sea. So, you have the money, the stunning locations and then there’s the third reason for flying around the world to shoot there: Village Roadshow Studios. While there’s plenty of sea for everyone, the Village Roadshow facility houses water tanks that offer controlled filming on and underwater, a facility so close to some wonderful coastal scenery that the two work perfectly together. Directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning, the making of Dead Men Tell No Tales was reportedly interrupted at press time, while its star Johnny Depp had treatment for an injured hand. Also at press time, season three of of Netflix’s first-ever original live-action children’s series Mako Mermaids, the follow-up series to H20 - Just Add Water, was shooting at the studios. Filming started in midApril 2014 for three months, both on-set and on-location, around the Gold Coast, including Southport Parklands, Currumbin Beach, and Sea World. Mako Mermaids streams on Netflix in over 51 countries and is produced by Jonathan M. Shiff Productions in partnership with ZDF Germany and The Ten Network in Australia, where it appears under the title Mako – Island Of Secrets.The series is financed with production investment from Screen Australia and Screen Queensland. “H20 – Just Add Water was a huge success around the world, and we knew there were a lot of fans who loved mermaids, but we wanted to do it slightly differently this time,” says creator and executive producer Jonathan M Shiff. “So the idea was, instead of having real girls who become mermaids, what would happen if we had real mermaids, who had to become real girls?” A merman was also introduced into the mix and the result is a series as successful around the world as H20. Before any scenes were shot, the four mermaids Ondina, Mimmi, Evie, Weilan and merman Zac had to be trained to be able to swim like

the mythical creatures — this was done in a local outdoor swimming pool — then had to be fitted with their prosthetic tails, which out of water weigh some 12 kilos. “Shooting Mako Mermaids is like any other production that’s shot underwater — it’s very ambitious,” Shiff says. “It involves a huge crew of divers, underwater lighting, and communicating with actors while they are underwater holding their breath, with a loudspeaker and an underwater microphone,” one of the series directors Evan Clarry adds. “It’s very challenging in a limited tank environment.” The Magical Moon Pool has supernatural powers to transform ordinary people into mermaids and mermen whenever there’s a full moon. It’s located is a secret cave on Mako Island and is home to all the mermaids in the Mako pod. The Mako Mermaids crew constructed the Magical Moon Pool on Village Roadshow Studios’ Sound Stage Three. “In this case it’s an above-ground tank,” says production designer Eugene Intas. “It’s made basically out of steel and ply and it’s all been fibreglassed and resin-coated so that it holds the water. We then built a big platform around it which is our work area, and then we built the walls of rock.” The series goes outside the studios too as, in Shiff’s words, “it showcases and celebrates the wonderful Queensland backdrop”. Locations around the Gold Coast include: Broadwater Parklands, with its rock pools, fountains and waterfalls; Currumbin


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MAKO MERMAID’S Magical Moon Pool

Beach, popular with surfers; and the Sea World theme park. Financed with production investment from Screen Australia and Screen Queensland. The show screens on The Ten Network Australia, ZDF Germany, Netflix, and Disney Australia, with international distribution by ZDF Enterprises. The Angelina Jolie film Unbroken (2014) also shot in both Village Roadshow Studios and surrounding areas. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Unbroken tells the true story of Louis Zamperini — played by Jack O’Connell — an Olympic runner who served in the US Air Force during World War II. While on a mission over the Pacific Ocean in 1943, his plane went down and what follows is an account of human struggle and survival in the face of seemingly unbeatable odds. Unbroken is a Universal Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Jolie Pas production, with 3 Arts Entertainment, starring — alongside O’Connell — Domhnall Gleeson, Takamasa Ishihara, Garrett Hedlund, and Finn Wittrock. The story called for numerous locations: small-town America in the late Twenties, Berlin in 1936, Hawaii, the Pacific Ocean and two Japanese internment camps. “We could hardly travel to all those places and stay within our means,” says line producer Clayton Townsend. “So we put our heads together trying to figure out a way to make the most of the pie we were served. Several places were considered, including Hawaii and North Carolina. In the end, Australia seemed like the logical choice. The terrain is varied and could meet our needs, there was an experienced film community upon which we could draw and a tax incentive programme existed.” He added: “At the same time, we could set up a production base and shoot at the large studios available there.” Production of Unbroken began on October 16, 2013, off the coast

Clayton Townsend

“Several places were considered, including Hawaii and North Carolina. In the end, Australia seemed like the logical choice”

FEATURE QUEENSLAND

of Queensland. Early scenes included one in which Louie, along with Capt. Russell Allen ‘Phil’ Phillips and Sgt. Francis ‘Mac’ McNamara are adrift on a raft in the Pacific, an ordeal that, in real life, lasted 47 days. “Trying to capture the isolation and desperation of being on a raft in the ocean for 47 days, wanting to show the helplessness those men must have felt, meant that we wanted to do it in an organic manner and so we decided to shoot these scenes in the ocean,” Townsend says. Filming at sea entailed moving more than 150 people from the safety of the shore of the Queensland town of Redland Bay to many miles out to sea in the waters of Raby Bay — where only the horizon is visible. “Our first requirement was having a mother ship docked at sea — along with several other vessels nearby, floating pontoons and shuttle boats,” Townsend says. “Not for the faint of heart, this. Throughout the day, [the actors] had to be fished out of the raft, which was buffeted by winds and bobbing in the sea, and returned to the mother ship while cameras were being repositioned,” Townsend says. “Then they’d be placed back in the raft.” Once the work at sea was complete, the unit moved an hour south to Village Roadshow Studios for scenes set on the raft to be filmed in the studio’s tanks. From there, the company set up camp in a rain forest on Queensland’s Mount Tamborine for scenes that took place on Kwajalein island, the notorious Japanese prison camp known as Execution Island. “The island prison of Kwajalein is about pouring rain and the dense green of the jungle,” says production designer Jon Hutman. “Omori [Camp] is ‘dust’— pure and simple. We were on this arid spit of land surrounded by water, but dust prevails. The bleached-out dust of the earth, the faded wood, the khaki uniforms the prisoners wear were all natural but lifeless.” Among other locations, the film also traveled to Sydney for scenes including a sequence in which Louie runs in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and makes an big impression on all the spectators, including Adolf Hitler. This was shot at a sports complex in suburban Blacktown. Townsend says there were many reasons for choosing Queensland for the film, including “the availability of sound stages and tanks. A large portion of the movie takes place on water so having the tank at your stage facility was a key component in our filming.” It was also a “practical location”, he says. “Fort Lytton in Brisbane — the look and feel of that location was perfect for the Omori Camp in the film.” He adds: “Queensland also has good jungle looks — it offered multiple options for the prisoner camp scenes in jungles.” And Hawaii too: “Again, we had multiple options in the Queensland area to replicate the military base look in Hawaii used in the film.” The City Of Gold Coast Council has a film development division which offers an incentive to all productions and is the only local council in Australia that offers this. Combined with the incentives that film commission Screen Queensland can offer, this is another reason why so many productions will travel around the world to visit the Gold Coast and Queensland.¥

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THE BEACH AT SYLT, an island off the coast of northern Germany


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FE AT U R E

HOLLYWOOD, GERMANY With a wealth of locations and a rich cinema history, combined with state-of-the-art studios and worldclass cinema talent, Germany is regularly competing internationally to host major productions. Andy Fry reports

G

ERMANY is world-renowned for designing and making products that combine quality and efficiency with creativity and style. Whether it is sportswear, cars, beer or washing machines, you know you’re in safe hands when you buy German goods. Similar attributes have made Germany an increasingly popular destination for international film and TV producers. Despite competition from around the world, a mix of attractive tax incentives, world-class studios and crew, spectacular locations and a stress-free road and hotel infrastructure, have made Germany the most dynamic film hub in continental Europe. The bedrock of the German success story is the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF). Launched in 2007, the DFFF offers grants of up to 20% of approved costs to producers who spend at least 25% of their budget in Germany. Since its formation, the DFFF is reckoned to have supported more than 800 projects with grants approaching €500m. The result of that investment has been a total film-making expenditure of around €3bn. Among recent international productions to WES ANDERSON DIRECTS THE GRAND have benefited from DFFF support are The BUDAPEST HOTEL Book Thief (2013), The Physician (2013), Beauty And The Beast (2014) and a new spy thriller from Steven Spielberg, Bridge Of Spies (2015), which at press time had just finished shooting in Berlin. Perhaps the biggest coup of all, however, was the DFFF’s decision to back Wes Anderson’s sumptuous Oscar-winning movie The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). The significance of the DFFF is that it gives the rest of the German film and TV industry the confidence to make investments of their own. For a brief period in 2014, this confidence was shaken when Germany’s federal government announced that it was cutting the size of the DFFF’s annual budget from €60m to €50m for 2015. But there was good news at the end of

2014 when the government announced it would restore the €60m level from 2016 onwards. “The DFFF stimulates film production and Germany’s international competitiveness,” says Alexander Thies, German Producers Association chairman, in response to that announcement. “The (incentive system) doesn’t cost tax money, it increases it.” The attraction of shooting in Germany doesn’t end with the DFFF. Alongside this central fund, a number of Germany’s regional governments offer sizeable financial incentives designed to bring work into their own areas. For filmmakers, this means it is possible to structure their productions in a way that pulls down multiple tiers of support. The biggest of these funds is the Film und Medienstiftung NRW, which operates out of North Rhine-Westphalia (the region around Cologne). Explaining how it works, the Fund’s CEO Petra Müller says: “The Fund has been operating since 1991 with a focus on European and international co-production. Over the course of 23 years, it has supported around 1,800 films with a total of €580m.”

GÖRLITZ ONE TOWN that attracts a lot of production activity is Görlitz, in Saxony. Situated 60 miles east of Dresden on the German-Polish border, Görlitz has been used in a number of recent films including The Reader (2008), Inglourious Basterds (2009), The Book Thief (2013) and The Monuments Men (2014). Arguably its biggest coup to date, however, is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), which used an art nouveau department store called Görlitzer Warenhaus to double as the hotel’s luxurious interior. In addition to Görlitz, Anderson’s award-winning film used a number of Saxony locations including Osterstein, Waldenburg and Hainewalde.

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Image credits from top to bottom, left to right: © Düsseldorf Marketing GmbH; © filmlocationMV; © opm Fotografie Christina Stihler & Oliver Michel; © Sylt Marketing GmbH / Dominik Träuber; © BBFC / Foto: David Marschalsky; © MDM/Sven Claus; © Film Commission Hessen; © opm Fotografie Christina Stihler & Oliver Michel; © Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte / Gerhard Kassner; © Film Commission Bayern; © Klimahaus Bremerhaven 8° Ost/BTZ; © Jan Meier; © MDM/Bertram Bölkow; © BBFC / Foto: David Marschalsky; © MDM/Sven Claus; FFHSH / M.O. Schulz.

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FEATURE GERMANY THE TEAM: producer Malte Grunert (left); Eva Hubert of FFHSH; actor Philip Seymour Hoffman; Governing Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz; A Most Wanted Man director Anton Corbijn; and producers Gail Egan and Stephen Cornwall

At present, the Fund has an annual budget of €35m, which is used for backing feature films, documentaries, international co-productions, arthouse movies, young German cinema, high-quality TV projects and digital projects. “Some examples of internationally-recognised films supported by the Fund, co-produced and shot in the region, on location or studio, are Amélie (2001), Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer (2006), The Reader (2008), Antichrist (2009), A Dangerous Method (2011), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and The Physician (2013),” Müller says. Semih Kaplanoğlu’s futuristic thriller Grain is a 2015 production that will benefit, she adds. In 2014 alone, the NRW Fund backed 130 cinema and TV productions with a total investment of €29.5m. Of this, €12.9m was allocated to international co-productions, with the rest spread among the NRW’s other priority areas. A total of 70 NRW-backed films were invited to the leading international film festivals. Among these, the quirky Swedish film A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (2014) won a Golden Lion in Venice. According to Müller, the appeal of working with NRW is not just its Fund, but its industrial infrastructure: “34,000 people work in NRW’s film and TV industry, offering highly professional personnel, first-class infrastructure from production to post production, and one of Europe’s biggest film studios, MMC in Cologne, producing one third of all German TV production minutes. In addition, the NRW Film Commission — a department of the Fund — provides all kinds of information on production support and various locations. Its website shows more than 4,400 locations including contemporary and historic cityscapes, private and public buildings and a variety of landscapes.” While NRW is a key player in the German audiovisual industry, it’s not the only region with an attractive framework for filmmakers. Also

Alexander Thies

“The DFFF stimulates film production and Germany’s international competitiveness”

HAMBURG HAMBURG has a wonderful history as a trading port. The legacy of this is some beautiful traders’ houses and a dockland warehouse and canal district called Speicherstadt, which was used as a backdrop for Jerry Cotton (2010) and A Most Wanted Man (2014). Less salubrious but no less interesting from a filmproduction perspective is Hamburg’s red-light district, the Reeperbahn, which featured recently in Filth (2013), a film version of Irvine Welsh’s novel directed and written by Jon S Baird and starring James McAvoy. The film was supported by Pinewood Studio Berlin Film Services.

FRANKFURT FRANKFURT hosted the movie Iron Sky (2012), a crazy cult fantasy adventure about Nazis on the moon. A Finnish-German co-production, it received funding from Hessen Film Fund and shot some New York street scenes and White House scenes in the state’s major city. Since then, Frankfurt has upped its game, creating a comprehensive new website that promotes the city as a filming location under the banner Film In Frankfurt. Explaining why, Markus Frank, deputy mayor and head of the department of economy, said: “Frankfurt as a location offers backdrops for scenes of any genre and with its film and servicing companies forms an exciting production site. With our new services, we want to make it clear that the city council is flexible and primarily modern-movieoriented. We are happy about every film project realised in Frankfurt because every movie produced in Frankfurt promotes the city and local industry.”

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L O V E LY I F T H E B R E A K F A S T I S T H E F I R S T H I G H L I G H T O F T H E DAY.

O R E N J O Y A N O V E RW H E L M I N G V I E W AT YO U R F U N C T I O N . Led by the French design studio Jouin Manku the breakfast and function room, Roofgarden features a comprehensive re-design and was transformed into a new meeting hot spot: the breakfast buffet will offer an even wider range of products as well as an à-la-carte breakfast area. The addition of a modern lounge and bar area with an open fireplace offers also a large new event space merging with the Blue Spa designed by André Putman to form a new unit.

Promenadeplatz 2 - 6 80333 Munich, Germany

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important is The Bavarian Film and Television Fund (FFF Bayern) which provides around €30m a year to support theatrical and television films, screenplay, project development, sales and distribution, films by up-andcoming filmmakers as well as games and film theatres, says Bavaria (Bayern) film commissioner Anja Metzger. “In addition to this,” she adds, “the Bavarian Government recently approved a programme for financing international film co-productions which has an annual budget of €3m. One useful thing about this Fund is that there is no set deadline. Producers can apply at any time of the year. The Fund will also consider applications where the producer only wants to do visual effects in Bavaria.” The dedicated film co-production fund has already been a big hit with producers, Metzger says. One of the first projects to take advantage was Jalmari Helander’s Big Game (2014), which tells the story of a young teenager camping in the woods who helps rescue the US President when his plane is shot down. “Other projects that have been attracted by the new fund include Kalinka (2015), which stars French actor Daniel Auteuil; The Happy Prince (2015), an Oscar Wilde biopic which will be Rupert Everett’s directorial debut; upcoming Bruce Willis project The Postcard Killings; and Oliver Stone’s political thriller about the American secret service whistleblower Edward Snowden.” As with NRW, Bavaria is also able to offer filmmakers great crews, a good filming infrastructure and film commission support. “In addition we have a wonderful array of locations,” Metzger says. “These can either

Anja Metzger

“The Bavarian Government recently approved a programme for financing international film co-productions”

TAXI 2015, A feature film by Kerstin Ahlrichs starring Peter Dinklage and Rosalie Thomas, used the backdrop of the harbour in Hamburg

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FEATURE GERMANY

be used as German backdrops or can double for other locations in other parts of the world.” A good example of the latter, Metzger says, is the as-yet-untitled Oliver Stone project. Supported with €1.6m from the co-production programme, it will use Bavaria and its capital city Munich to double for locations including Hong Kong and parts of the US. It’s not the first time Bavaria has been used to double on a big-budget film, she adds. In 2010, Constantin Film’s movie version of The Three Musketeers (2011) used the Würzburg Residenz, near Bamberg, to double as The Louvre. Even more ambitious, Herrenchiemsee — a complex of royal buildings on Herreninsel, an island in the Chiemsee, Bavaria’s largest lake — was used to double for Versailles. Like NRW, Bavaria has a studio complex in the shape of Bavaria Film. Located in Munich, the 74-acre lot has 12 sound stages of up to 32,000 sq ft as well as standard sets including a WW2 submarine, a wide-body airplane and various backlot streets. While it is primarily kept busy with domestic film and TV production, it has been used on a number of international movies including 2014’s Samuel L Jackson-starrer Big Game. Bavaria Film has also expanded its reach across the country, supplying camera, lighting and grip to locations as far afield as Berlin, Cologne, Vienna and Prague, in addition to Munich. Alongside NRW and Bavaria, the other major production hubs in Germany are northern Germany, centred on Hamburg, southwest Germany, centred around Stuttgart and the region of Berlin-Brandenburg. Alexandra Luetkens, who heads the Hamburg bureau of the Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein Film Commission, says: “Northern Germany has an abundance of locations. Whether they are looking for historical backdrops, modern architecture, lively urbanity or lonely beaches — filmmakers are spoilt for choice between the North Sea islands, Baltic Sea, Danish border and Hamburg Harbour. The only thing missing is snowy mountains.” As for Hamburg itself, she says it is “a traditional Hanseatic City, boasting Europe’s second-largest container harbour, old-standing wealth, the world’s most notorious red-light district and a vibrant, young

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mondo Stuttgart, and €400,000 for two children’s animated films entitled The Rabbit School and Ritter Rost 2. In addition to the MFG fund, Hasenmayer says the film commission “can provide competitive offers with our services combined with the regional film infrastructure. In addition to location and production services, training and workshops, we organise special events such as a yearly location tour in order to show filmmakers the most interesting (and sometimes hidden and highly surprising) locations in our region. Furthermore we established the BW Lions team — a delegation of filmmakers who represent Baden-Württemberg at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity — which brings back the new trends that they come across in Cannes.” In terms of the talent base, “the region produces not only firstclass movies and serials for cinema and TV, but also highly innovative commercials and business videos”, says Hasenmayer. “Thanks to the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and a range of other media and film schools there are highly professional filmmakers, authors, producers and cameramen in our region. Animation and VFX is a field of expertise that gets more and more worldwide attention. Films such as the new version of Biene Maja in 3D [2014‘s Maya The Bee Movie] or The Grand Budapest Hotel involved animated post-production services from the

Charlie Woebcken

“We are competing with film production hubs throughout the world”

region of Stuttgart. Another VFX company contributed their skills to HBO’s production of Game Of Thrones (2011-).” Of course, no survey of the German production scene would be complete without reference to Berlin-Brandenburg, which is home to the highly-cinematic capital city Berlin and the world-famous Babelsberg Studio in Potsdam (35km outside Berlin). Projects to have been based in the region in recent years include The Reader (2008), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Anonymous (2011), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and Beauty And The Beast (2014). As mentioned earlier, the region has also just played host to Bridge Of Spies, a Steven Spielberg thriller starring Tom Hanks. The project, which is backed by Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks and Participant Media, is a good example of the complex and multi-tiered support Germany can now offer. The film secured funds from the DFFF, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg (referenced earlier). In terms of physical production, both Studio Babelsberg and Pixomondo were involved. Berlin-Brandenburg also shut down the Glienicke Bridge, which connects the Wannsee district of Berlin with Brandenburg capital Potsdam. The location was then dressed as it would have appeared during the Cold War.

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cultural scene. More generally, Schleswig-Holstein provides a large variety of maritime settings and historical buildings, for example the historic city of Lübeck. “Hamburg provides an outstanding infrastructure for film production and a broad range of film-technical companies,” Luetkens says. “We have many experienced co-production partners for international feature films, prestigious studios, post-production companies as well as service providers. In addition to this, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein is one of Germany’s major regional film-funding institutions. It supports cinema and television productions with an annual budget of €11m.” The city of Hamburg has made a concerted effort to attract filmmakers. “In 2014 we launched Hamburg Loves Film, an initiative in co-operation with the Hamburg Tourism Board that is designed to make film professionals’ work in Hamburg as pleasant as possible,” Luetkens says. “Our first step was to assemble about 35 film-friendly hotels providing special film rates, WiFi, storage facilities, parking spaces, laundry and other services. In addition, filming in Hamburg and SchleswigHolstein requires comparatively little regulatory expenditure. In contrast to other federal states a general shooting permit is not required. Our authorities have a reputation for managing permits comparatively quickly.” Talent that has come to the region includes: Wim Wenders, Arthur Penn, Roger Spottiswoode, Roman Polanski, Joe Wright, Jim Jarmusch, Anton Corbijn and Fatih Akin. Corbijn was in town recently for several weeks, doing post-production for his new feature film Life (2015). A recent international production was Land Of Mine (2015), a German/Danish co-production directed by Martin Zandvliet.” Down at the other end of the country, the region of Baden-Württemberg is also a key supporter of audiovisual production. Valérie Hasenmayer who works for the film commission in Baden-Württemberg’s capital city Stuttgart says: “The 179 local authorities of the Stuttgart Region offer an unparalleled choice of settings including picturesque villages as well as romantic castles and magnificent chateaus. Two of the most significant specialties of the region are the vineyards and their estates and the industrial history. The city itself offers a great variety of inspiring locations that can be viewed using our online guide.” In terms of financial support, Hasenmayer points to Baden-Württemberg’s Film Fund, aka the MFG Filmförderung. “With a total annual budget of €15m, the MFG promotes cinema and TV productions as well as script development and the distribution of games, documentaries and animated movies. The animation and VFX industry, in particular, as well as the promotion of young talent, are important parts of our work.” The latest round of awards, announced in January 2015, saw MFG allocate €3.2m to 16 projects. This included €600,000 for Iron Sky 2 – The Coming Race (2016), which will put its VFX work through Pixo-

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COLOGNE EMMA RIGBY in the hit movie The Physician, shot mostly in Cologne’s MMC Studios

HIT MOVIE The Physician was mostly shot in Cologne’s MMC Studios, which created sets for the Shah’s palace and a hospital in Isfahan. The film also used Cologne-based VFX studio Pixomondo to digitally create 11th-century Isfahan, landscapes and crowd scenes. “The shoot was quite sensational,” says NRW’s Petra Müller. “Magnificent sets, lavish costumes and an international cast showed what is possible.” In addition, though, the city has been used for its locations. Ron Howard’s 1970s Formula One movie Rush (2013) shot scenes on location in Cologne, Mönchengladbach, Bergisch Gladbach, Hürth and Königswinter, all within an hour of Cologne. Controversial film director Lars Von Trier is also a regular visitor to the city with films including Antichrist (2009) and Nymphomaniac (2013). Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive, 2013) and ZDF used the hospital for a TV movie called Blood Money (2012), about a 1980s scandal when hundreds of people were infected with HIV by contaminated blood products.

BERLIN BERLIN is a city of such rich history that it offers filmmakers an array of locations ranging from classical to contemporary via the Cold War. One interesting location that was used recently is Berlin’s disused Templehof airport, taken over by Lionsgate during the production of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2014). Tempelhof, opened in 1923, was chosen because of its distinctive architecture, which was felt to be ideal for Panem, the capital city in the Hunger Games saga. Berlin’s mix of art deco buildings, historical castles, relaxing gardens, communist-era housing complexes and contemporary architecture are a big draw for film, TV and commercials.


FEATURE GERMANY 70

KALINKA, SHOOTING ON LAKE CONSTANCE

Berlin-Brandenburg’s funding offer consists of a soft loan of up to €1m to productions that spend at least 100% of the allocated amount in the region. There are five application deadlines a year with decisions announced six weeks after each deadline. In practical terms, this means a film that spends €15m in Germany could get €3m back from the DFFF and a further €1m back from Berlin-Brandenburg. This doesn’t take account of any additional regional funds that may be available. Another film to have taken advantage of Berlin-Brandenburg’s fund is Alcon Entertainment’s Point Break (2015), an action thriller about a young FBI agent who infiltrates a team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of sophisticated heists. The film involves an ambitious shooting schedule that will see daring stunts performed and filmed in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. Based out of Studio Babelsberg, with some scenes shot in Berlin, the Warner Bros. film managed to secure €500,000 support from the BerlinBrandenburg fund. Studio Babelsberg tends to be involved in most films that come to the region, either by providing studios, lots, production offices or rental equipment and crews for location-based shoots. Other films it has been involved with include The Book Thief (2013), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The Voices (2014), The Monuments Men (2014) and Beauty And The Beast (2014), a big-budget remake of the fairytale classic that was shot entirely at the Babelsberg site. In terms of its set-up, Babelsberg has 20 sound stages running to a total of 300,000 sq ft. These range from the 80,000 sq ft Neue Film 2 and the 60,000 sq ft Marlene Dietrich Halle (aimed at feature films) to a state-of-the-art television studio complex, designed for long-running formats such as daily soaps. In addition to this, there is Germany’s largest indoor water tank and a 4.2-acre back lot for exterior filming. In 2014, work started on a new exterior set called Neue Berliner Straße that will have streets in various architectural styles. The new €12m set is being designed so that façades can be easily removed or deployed as modules in combination with moving image backgrounds for green screen. Explaining the rationale for the investment, the studio’s CEO Charlie Woebcken says: “We are competing with film production hubs throughout the world. A permanent exterior set was always an important element in Babelsberg’s attractiveness as a location. We will meet current demands with the Neue Berliner Straße and hope that the new offer will enable us to continue to acquire both German and international TV, advertising and feature film productions.” Babelsberg’s success is part of a regional transformation in the audiovisual industry’s fortunes. According to the most recent data in The Media Index Berlin-Brandenburg, more than 12,500 Berlin-Brandenburg companies are currently active in the audiovisual industry, with an annual turnover of €6bn. In terms of employment, the region has seen the number of people working in the sector rise from 43,000 to 62,000 in the last 10 years. Elmar Giglinger, managing director of the BerlinBrandenburg Medienboard (which administers the Fund) says: “We can’t help but conclude that our targeted funding, networking and support is having a positive effect and playing an important role in the region’s successful business development. There’s no doubt that the variety of innovative companies, projects and events in Berlin-Brandenburg makes a major contribution to the strong magnetic appeal of the entire business region.” This fact isn’t lost on foreign companies either. Over and above the dozens of productions that pass through Germany’s revolving doors, recent years have also seen Pinewood Studios form a joint venture with

Elmar Giglinger

LINDAU, LAKE CONSTANCE BAVARIA is like a country within a country, offering a wide array of locations including castles, lakes, forests, mountains, historic villages and contemporary cityscapes. It can either play itself or double for other locations. One interesting spot is Lindau, a pretty town on an island in Lake Constance. In November 2014, Lindau played host to Kalinka, a gripping drama starring French actor Daniel Auteuil and German actor Sebastian Koch. The film is based on the real-life story of Andre Bamberski, who spent 30 years trying to bring to justice the German doctor he claimed killed his daughter. Speaking to RP Online, the digital version of The Rheinische Post, producer Philipp Kreuzer said: “It’s not a lurid thriller or docudrama, but an exciting and entertaining movie based on a real story.”

“We can’t help but conclude that our targeted funding, networking and support is having a positive effect”

Studio Hamburg to provide international filmmakers with a full range of services. There are two final points to note about the German audiovisual industry. The first is the growing importance of TV production, a development in line with global trends. According to NRW’s Müller, “around 20-30% of NRW’s funding goes to TV productions every year. At the moment, we are seeing a kind of hype surrounding TV series in Germany. Motivated and inspired by the success of international series such as House Of Cards, Game Of Thrones, Borgen and others. German production companies and broadcasters have re-discovered the genre, so we are expecting an increase in [TV] applications. In order to enable NRW producers to take advantage of this overall development, we introduced a funding programme for the development of TV formats and TV series for NRW producers in 2012. And more than that: as Germany’s leading media region and creative TV hub, NRW was a partner of the European Film Market’s new Drama Series Days initiative at Berlinale 2015.” The other point to note, adds Bavaria’s Anja Metzger, is the strong spirit of collaboration that exists between the different regions: “At one level, the German regions are competing to bring work to their own area,” she says. “But our real competition is Canada, the UK, Eastern Europe, Luxembourg… any place that offers good facilities, competitive tax incentives or cheaper studios. For this reason we have a network of film commissioners who discuss where would be the perfect place for a producer to shoot. Alongside catering effectively for domestic producers, the most important thing we are all trying to do is attract international production to Germany.”


Physical Address: 1st Floor, Marine Building, 22 Dorothy Nyembe Street, Durban , 4001 Tel: +2731 325 0200 // Web: www.kwazulunatalďŹ lm.co.za


MAKING A SCENE TEXAS RISING

MAKING A SCENE

What happened after The Alamo... Shot in 6K and cinemascope, the eight-part series Texas Rising is yet another example of the blurring of the lines between the movies and TV. Julian Newby spoke to executive producer Leslie Greif and director Roland Joffé 72

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O WHAT happened after The Alamo? The 1960 movie directed by and starring John Wayne as Davey Crockett — alongside Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey, Frankie Avalon and many others — culminated in the battle between Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and a group of Texan and Tejano men who were tasked with defending the Alamo, a former mission just outside San Antonio, and the Mexican tyrant, general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. The brave Texans fighting against all odds were defeated; Santa Anna was victorious. Texas Rising tells the story of the real Wild West beyond The Alamo, back in 1836 after Mexico had lost its grip on Texas, the land west of the Mississippi was there to be fought over and the Texas border was truly a wild frontier. The series’ producer Leslie Greif was able to apply his experience as executive producer of the 2012 mini-series Hatfields & McCoys when approaching this period of American history. “What I learned from Hatfields & McCoys that applied to this, is that you are taking very familiar stories and historical

Kris Kristofferson

“I was in this room, like, 40 years ago. I shot Billy The Kid here with Bob Dylan”

references that everybody knows about, but in truth knows nothing about,” Greif says. “So, for example, with Hatfields & McCoys everybody knew there was a famous feuding Hillbilly group shooting each other for years, but no one knew why or how it started. Likewise everybody knows the historic story of the defeat of the Alamo, but nobody really knew what happened afterwards, or what it meant or what the significance was. So I thought, ‘Wow! Wouldn’t it be great to tell a story where the Alamo isn’t the end, but the beginning.” Bigger screens, high-resolution and knowledgeable audiences with more choices than ever before, mean that a historical work such as this needs to be accurate and true to the period. Greif says this was down to the series’ director. “Roland Joffé, he’s just a visionary,” he said. “He wanted to make sure that every bit was accurate. We replicated saddles and uniforms and military weapons to the best of our ability — to be as spot-on as possible. We had Texan historians review this and we spent a great deal of time doing our best to get it right.” The multi-Oscar-nominated director of highly acclaimed movies including The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986), Joffé, brought the mind of a moviemaker to the series. Texas Rising is shot in 6K, and is the first such series ever to be filmed in Cinemascope. “It’s shot so wide,” Greif says. “Roland shot three, and sometimes four or five different levels of action. And we used very little CGI. So through the genius of Roland Joffé, if you

RAY LIOTTA as Lorca, a survivor of the Alamo OLIVIER MARTINEZ as General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

see a battle of 500 people on the screen, that’s because we have 500 people there on the battle field. We didn’t have the time or money to multiply it and do these CGI-style battles, we did it the old fashioned way — put men on horses and ride. I think it gives this production a real visceral emotion that will separate it from the new CGI battles that are expected today.” And at last it was an opportunity for Joffé to


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MAKING A SCENE TEXAS RISING 74

BILL PAXTON as General Sam Houston.

walk in the footsteps of some of his heroes — the men who made the Western movies he loved as a child, going every Saturday morning to watch them at his local cinema. “John Ford was a great filmmaker and Sam Peckinpah — and all the rest of them,” Joffé says. “Of course the big problem I had was that my guns only shoot once. There were no colt revolvers back then and that means you have to do all the fight scenes completely differently. I realise how lucky those other guys were in that they could build whole sequences around the fact that you could pull off from a Winchester probably 30 shots.” The locations were also important to Joffé. “I wanted to make the landscape shine,” he says. “This is a saga of a people and a fierce landscape and I wanted to show what they were putting up with in a very un-clichéd way. And I think this is very un-clichéd, this story; it’s about seeing the birth of a country in all its rawness. The birth of a country is raw and certainly that’s what you

feel in this production.” Texas Rising shot in Durango, Mexico, the location for Wayne’s The Alamo and many other movie milestones including The Naked Spur (1953), How The West Was Won (1962) and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969). “The governor of Durango wants to bring back filmmaking to the area,” Greif says. “For 60 years it was a Mecca for American Westerns. They shot The Wild Bunch (1969) there; John Wayne had his ranch there… it was funny, there was a scene we were doing with Kris Kristofferson where he looked up and he

Roland Joffé

“The big problem I had was that my guns only shoot once. There were no colt revolvers back then”

said: ‘I was in this room, like, 40 years ago. I shot Billy The Kid here with Bob Dylan.’” He adds: “We would go anywhere from a 45-minutes to a two-hour radius outside Durango, and the hill and the waters and deserts were remarkable. Roland designed sequences around the locations and designed camera moves and blocking to enhance the locations. We shot off cliff sides, off river banks and we were lowering equipment down into ravines and waterfalls. We would rig cameras onto pulleys and bungee chords — Roland would do anything to shoot some of those locations. It was like going back to the David Lean days. We wanted to capture how difficult life is on the prairie.” Joffé had recce’d the area ahead of Greif. “He came out to do this kind of producers tour and I took him around the area and we had already marked out every scene,” he says. “We had markers all over the landscape, all over the countryside and up the side of mountains — sticks with red tops with scene numbers and camera positions written on them. We had 200-odd pages of script and probably 500 markers littered over the countryside. To do something this size you had to have this detail in the pre-planning, or we’d never have made it.” Joffé has praise for the film commission in Durango. “It’s totally film-friendly,” he says. “They have a tradition of film of course, and they do everything they can to facilitate things. The countryside is absolutely staggering in its variety – 40 km out of Durango and you get every kind of scenery. It’s ferocious and fierce and beautiful. It’s not quite Texas but it’s our Texas; the backup is wonderful and it’s safe.” Much of the crew was from Mexico City and a lot of the extras were Durango locals. “Some of them had to do really difficult things,” Joffé says. “It was cold and we had to shoot a massacre in a lake and those guys just went in and out and in and out, into the mud and the cold and when we finished, everyone hugged each other and laughed.” Joffé shot for 111 days on location, with a second unit shooting a further 120 days. “I think I’m probably the only director who’s done eight hours of television in one block.” Texas Rising is produced by A+E Studios and ITV Studios America in association with Thinkfactory Media for History. The cast includes Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta and Kris Kristofferson. Leslie Greif is executive producer for Thinkfactory Media. Dirk Hoogstra, Elaine Frontain Bryant and Julian P. Hobbs serve as executives in charge of production for History. Roland Joffé directs, and the series is distributed worldwide by ITVS GE.


WE ARE THE

WORLD’S

STUNT DOUBLE. IT’S AFRICA. IT’S ARIZONA. IT’S AFGHANISTAN. IT’S ANTARCTICA. ACTUALLY, IT’S ALBERTA.

ALBERTA IS 255,000 SQUARE KM OF UNEXPECTED FILMMAKING GLORY WITH CREWS AND INCENTIVES TO MATCH. To learn more about filming in Alberta, please visit www.albertafilm.ca.

ALBERTA FILM, A PART OF ALBERTA CULTURE, IS A PROUD SUPPORTER OF ALBERTA’S SCREEN-BASED PRODUCTION INDUSTRY.


FEATURE SURF

FE AT U R E

SURF ON SCREEN Not all surf movies feature tanned, athletic bodies cutting through turquoise seas that roll onto sun-drenched beaches. Surfers can also be found on stormy lakes, fiercely cold Alaskan waters and muddy Atlantic rollers, searching for everything from extreme thrills to the meaning of life. Debbie Lincoln takes a look where in the world surfers roll

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OR SURFERS, riding the perfect wave, perfectly, is not just a thrill, it also involves a great deal of practice, preparation, discomfort, disappointment and courage. So it’s surprising how many of them are also prepared to pick up a camera to share their experiences in documentaries that explore their passion, emotional quests and travels. The surfing culture also makes a great backdrop for drama and a number of feature films over the years have based their action in this community. California was the location for 2012’s Chasing Mavericks (Michael Apted, Curtis Hanson), the story of surf legend Jay Moriarty who found fame riding the Mavericks waves near Santa Cruz, before his untimely death in a diving accident. Kathleen Courtney, an associate producer on the project, says that although they found exactly what they were looking for in San Mateo County and Santa Cruz, it was challenging to find locations that were affordable, with sufficient parking, that could fit in to the schedule. “We were quite fortunate to be able to shoot in the original city and places around Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, where Jay Moriarty actually grew up. Plus, we were able to find a block of apartments in Half Moon Bay that were of a similar style to Jay’s and Frosty’s [Moriarty’s mentor] home,” Courtney says. The production needed permission from Pillar Point Airforce Station, which took months of negotiation, with the help of Brena Bailey at the San Mateo film commission. “It was the only true vantage point for the waves that would work for our film — located smack dab in the middle of their radar base,” Courtney says. The film was shot entirely in California, with one scene requiring 1,000 volunteer surfers in Santa Cruz to recreate the funeral tribute “paddle out” for Moriarty. “Not only did we get more than the required 1,000

Ben Weiland

“One thing that is often overlooked is how rare the ideal conditions for good waves come together”

people, but they lined up for hours before the sun came up, thrilled to pay this tribute to Jay and his widow, Kim. It was a moving experience.” Another classic location for surf filming is Hawaii, arguably surfing’s birthplace. All types of productions make their way to these Pacific islands, according to local location scout and manager Angela Tillson of A Whale Of A Time Productions. “I’ve worked on many surfing feature films, profiles of world-class big-wave surfers, MTV reality shows, print ads, international travel shows, surf clothing lines and national and international commercials,” she says. One big advantage of filming in Hawaii is the availability of some of the world’s best surfers, male and female. But Paul Ehman, of local company Ehman Productions, adds a word of warning: “It’s important to understand the cultural dynamic. Surfing is a way of life on the islands and you want to avoid interfering with the local surfing community.” It’s therefore important, he says, to have local experts on the crew, to advise on locations, weather, staff and the surf culture. ”There are many logistical issues you need to be aware of when going into that environment. Weather conditions, water-safety, back-up plans, equipment and back-up equipment. Also there are some shoots that you don’t actually want to do in popular surf breaks because they can be done elsewhere; you don’t need to add an activity in what may be an already busy location.” Ehman was marine co-ordinator and his company provided logistical support and rigged the boats for Point Break 2, a remake of the 1991 movie which is due in 2015. Directed by Ericson Core, it’s about an FBI agent who infiltrates a gang of extreme sports athletes suspected of a number of corporate heists. The film features the huge waves in an area called Jaws, a break on Maui’s north shore.


FEATURE SURF 77

A SCENE from Out In The Line-Up (2014)


FEATURE SURF 78

“Before you can even go in the water there are hours of paperwork to do: film permits, watercraft insurance questionnaires, special crew/stunt/hazard/cast insurance documents, safety plans, maps and diagrams, float plans, manifests and vessel load calculations,” Ehman says. “The day begins in a production office, where dozens of crew and vans and coolers and cases of equipment are zooming around in all directions. Then you have a base camp at the harbour where all of the vessels are being prepared, loaded and rigged, inspected and launched. Then there are safety meetings… and finally, the journey up the coast to the surfing locations. In addition to the large team on the water, there were several camera positions on the cliffs.” Drift (2013) tells the story of two brothers building a surfing business in a remote coastal Australian town. Fighting to stay afloat amid suspicious locals, killer waves and ruthless bikers, they claw their way to success. Starring Sam Worthington, Xavier Samuel and Myles Pollard, the film was shot in the south west of Western Australia, including the world-class surfing beaches around Margaret River. ScreenWest provided assistance to the producers, including funding the services of ScreenWest location and film services manager, Vikki Bar, to search the region’s 100-kilometre coastline. “They were looking for versatile locations with sweeping ocean views, killer surf breaks and infrastructure for an early 1970s period town,” Bar says. “Using the town of Margaret River as a base, every town and beach within a two-hour driving radius was visited by the scouts.” Myles Pollard was a producer on the film, and also took a leading role. “I started surfing when I was about 14. My friends and I would escape to the south west of Western Australia any chance we got and by the time Drift came around I was a confident surfer and very much in love with the region... where I now live,” he says. The Margaret River region was perfect, Pollard says, offering un-crowded surf, as well as dramatic cliffs and old-growth forests. “It’s still relatively untouched, wild and beautiful. You can still find a beach at certain times of the year with no-one in sight,” he says. It was not all plain sailing however as not all the actors in Drift were experienced surfers, and though stunt doubles were used, the actors had to spend time in the water for establishing shots. “Some hairy moments were had with actors nursing cut feet on shallow reefs and some significant wipeouts in big surf. We also had a shark fatality in the region during the shoot which spooked everyone and slowed our water shooting down,” Pollard says. The cold was also an issue. “Many of the water scenes were written with my character not having a wetsuit and it’s fair to say it was bloody freezing! As one of the producers, I knew the nature of our budget and tight shooting schedule so had to suck it up for the good of the production,” he says. A recent movie to have chosen Indonesia as a location is The Perfect Wave (Bruce Macdonald, 2014), starring Scott Eastwood, Rachel Hendrix and Cheryl Ladd, and filmed on and around the island of Bali, with other shoots in South Africa and Mauritius. Bali has been the location for many other surfing projects over the years, including commercials, TV shows and travelogues, as well as feature films. A recent documentary was Oney Anwar Chasing The Dream (2014), the inspiring story of a young man from Sumbawa, an island in the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, who rose from humble beginnings to compete on surfing’s world stage. The 2014 documentary Hangs Upon Nothing follows a number of passionate surfers, including: Chuck Corbett who at 18 travelled to the remote atolls of Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean, and stayed for 30 years; the Hawaiian Jones brothers who explore Kiri-

Ian W Thomson

CHASING MAVERICKS, the 2012 film shot in California, home of surf legend Jay Moriaty

“GoPros can shoot HD in slow motion, you can be under the board, on it, over it, behind it”

bati and Indonesia in search of the perfect wave; and a group of young local surfers in Bali. The island was also the location for a classic early Australian surf film, Morning Of The Earth (1971), which follows a group of surfers searching for harmony with nature. A recent film that connects the surfing community of Australia with that of California is documentary Out In The Line-Up (2014), which tackles head-on the problems faced by gay surfers. Director Ian W Thomson met producer Thomas Castets surfing in Byron Bay in Australia. Over the next six months they developed the project, and then took 12 months travelling to San Diego, Mexico, Ecuador, China and Hawaii to shoot interviews and other material. “Our first shoot was an interview with former state surfing champion David Wakefield,” says Thomson – Wakefield came out at the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, receiving unexpected media attention. Castets says: ”For a long time I thought I was the only gay surfer in the world. I started a blog called GaySurfers.net and in the first week 500 people signed up. I realised many others existed and, like me, they did not fit in the gay culture and did not fit in the surfing culture. I thought we should give gay surfers a voice.” The film was produced on a low budget, “so we didn’t use a lot of formal locations that would require approval or fees,” Thomson says. “We filmed a lot at people’s homes, backyards and local surf breaks.” Thomson cut his teeth on commercials, and


FEATURE SURF

HOT SHOTS SERGIO Villalba is DOP and water camera operator at WE Visual Studio in Tenerife, the Spanish island off the north west coast of Africa. “Water photography is all about being at the right place at the right moment. If you are one metre away from the spot, then you are in the wrong place, and that means one out of two things — or both: you are missing the shot or you’re about to get pounded. You get beaten-up by waves every now and then. We normally shoot in shallow waters over sharp volcanic reefs, which makes it even more intense. “We work a lot for the surfing industry, specially for surfing related brands like O’Neill or Volcom. We create imagery they use for catalogues, magazine ads or internet. But lately we’ve been hired by other companies that are interested in using surfing to present their products to the world, or Tourist Boards who are paying more attention to water sports as a tourism magnet than they used to.”

learned a lot about filming underwater from DOP Peter Krause while shooting two successive campaigns for the Olympics for German television. He directed his first surfing footage for a commercial in Byron Bay. “There was a lot to learn – like always shooting diagonally into the barrel of a wave, shooting with a deep depth of field and anticipating a surfer’s trajectory on a wave,” he says. Watching footage from other filmmakers can also help. “Jack McCoy’s [Storm Riders, 1982; Blue Horizon, 2004; A Deeper Shade Of Blue, 2011] footage has been an inspiration. He created some great underwater filming from his aqua sub, some of which we were lucky enough to include in our film,” he says. “We worked almost exclusively with a Cannon 5D and GoPros which were extremely portable, easy and affordable to travel with, and meant we could shoot with a small team and be insignificant in public spaces. We created beautiful cinematic HD images. I cannot imagine how guys like Alby Falzon shot such great surfing films like Morning Of The Earth [1971] on a 16mm film camera. The medium of the film itself was so fragile — and then you have the whole water-proofing issue. Respect! GoPros can shoot HD in slow motion, you can be under the board, on it, over it, behind it — and now with the new extension sticks behind the surfer while he or she is in a tube,” Thomson says. The film launched at the Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival where it won the Audience Award For Best Documentary, and has since toured the world garnering eight further awards. Producer Castets says he wanted the film to feel like it was drenched in golden sunshine, “so I chose locations and shooting times that reflected this,” he says. A completely different story is told by Ben Weiland in his film The Cradle Of Storms (2014), which he directed with Bryce Lowe-White. The Surfer Magazine project follows three professional surfers — Alex Gray, Josh Mulcoy, and Peter Devries — as they travel to the Aleutian

Islands in Alaska in search of perfect waves. The Aleutians are known for some of the world’s most violent storms, which produce giant waves. But because the islands are remote, surfers have hardly ventured there. “I had gone in thinking that if even one mediocre wave is successfully surfed, then the trip would be a success,” Weiland says. “But by the end of our time there, we had found incredible waves, even a world-class reef break. The local people said it was some of the best weather conditions they had seen in many years, so I think we were very fortunate,” he adds. The crew was helped by locals who run a hunting lodge — the main reason people go there is to hunt reindeer. “After hunting season we were able to set up at the lodge and use their quads to access some of the remote coastlines. There’s not a single paved road on the island, so getting around is an adventure in itself,” Weiland says. “Setting up shots involved hiking up the sides of cliffs and around bays. Most of [the equipment] collapsed and fitted into a large backpack.” So often surf documentaries take on the tone of expedition, whether philosophically, technologically, anthropologically or geograpically. And some of the best and most successful combine all aspects. The Cradle Of Storms fits into this category, and so does Gauchos Del Mar, featuring the extraordinary journeys taken by brothers Julian and Joaquin Azulay. Filmed in 2010, it follows the brothers as they travel from LA, with little money or planning, to follow their dream of surfing the American Pacific and experiencing the continent through its different cultures while camping and surfing on their way back home to Argentina. The trip took them through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru and Chile where they spent time with locals, even teaching children how to surf. “We thought that it would be nice to film the trip since it would be a once-in-a-lifetime journey. So when we arrived back home in Argentina we sat down

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FEATURE SURF 80

with two more friends and produced Gauchos Del Mar.” After the brothers had taken breath from their mammoth trip, they decided they had not sufficiently explored Argentina, and so went in search of challenging waves south in Patagonia, resulting in the documentary Tierra De Patagones. In the 2010 film Dark Fall, director Alex DePhilipo follows a group of hardy surfers in his home state of New Jersey. “We started to shoot back in 2008, with no particular time frame or script, and completed it in 2010. I wanted to make a film about the people I grew up surfing with. I thought there was a great little story, the friends they make and the common bond of brotherhood in the surfing community,” DePhilipo says. This is an area where big weather can go along with big waves. “I think the cold powerful waves in the winter are something that most aren’t too familiar with, outside the surf world. People don’t really associate New Jersey as a place holding good waves, especially in the dead of winter. But there has been a big surf scene here for decades and the cold is something that keeps people away — which is nice,” DePhilipo says. DePhilipo is also grateful for new advances in equipment. “I think the technology in wetsuits has made everyone’s lives a little easier. I would say there is nothing harder and more challenging than swimming in the frigid waters of the Atlantic trying to film someone surfing with a large camera attached to your body.” Unsalted: A Great Lakes Experience (2005) has surfing in a location where 40-knot winds mix with 15-foot waves in a storm-whipped inland freshwater sea. Filmmaker and surfer Vince Deur took a trip

around five Great Lakes for this film, from the headwaters of Lake Superior to the Thousands Islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway, meeting pro-surfers and others who have been involved in a scene which goes back 40 years. Deur explains what makes this location so unusual and compelling for surfing. “The waves are closer together, since the storms that create them can only push them for hundreds of miles, versus thousands of miles on the ocean. This shorter wave period, as it’s called, can often be more dangerous for vessels as is evidenced by the hundreds of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes,” Deur says. “The most obvious difference Great Lakes surfers experience is the howling wind. The storms that create them often are still in full force as we get to surf them, this is because the “fetch” — the distance waves travel over open water — is shorter than the ocean, 300 miles end-to-end on Lake Michigan, nearly 600 on Superior.” Deur started making surfing films while at high school, taking it in turns with a friend — one films, one surfs. But new technology has made the process easier. “Now everyone is their own filmmaker, with GoPros mounted on their boards,” Deur says. And that is one reason we can look forward to a productive future for surfers with a desire to create films and share their passion. Š


MAKING A SCENE STAR WARS

JOHN BOYEGA as Stormtrooper Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved

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MAKING A SCENE

The Force Awakens in Abu Dhabi The highly anticipated seventh live-action film in the Star Wars saga chose Abu Dhabi as its desert base. Debbie Lincoln reports

S

TAR WARS is back, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, from director JJ Abrams and with an extensive star cast that includes Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Max Von Sydow, John Boyega, and notably the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. A substantial amount of location shooting took place in the deserts of Abu Dhabi, a country that sells itself as a crossroads location between Asia, Africa and the Middle East, with generous financial incentives and a variety of resources available for filmmakers and

production companies. Luring the production to Abu Dhabi was an easy sell according to Paul Baker, executive director of film and TV services at twofour54, a media hub that brings together professionals to promote the production opportunities in the Emirate. Together with the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) they were able to offer the production the ADFC’s 30% cash rebate on all qualifying production spend; free scouting assistance for a diverse range of locations; and access to highly skilled crew and suppliers.

THE DISNEY YEARS DISNEY bought George Lucas’ production company Lucasfilm — originally launched in 1971 — in 2012 and at the time Lucas said that the sale was a way to “pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers”. In the deal Disney announced the new trilogy schedule, of which The Force Awakens is the first. Lucas remains a creative consultant and his long-time colleague Kathleen Kennedy is executive producer on the new film. An interesting Disney twist is that once this movie is released Princess Leia will indeed become a Disney Princess. TRIPLE PLAY THE STAR Wars live-action films follow a triple trilogy pattern. The original trilogy: Star Wars, 1977 (George Lucas); The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 (Irvin Kershner); and Return Of The Jedi, 1983 (Richard Marquand). The prequel trilogy: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999 (George Lucas); Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones, 2002 (George Lucas); and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith, 2005 (George Lucas). The new trilogy: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015 (JJ Abrams); Star Wars Episode VIII, due 2017; and Star Wars Episode IX, due 2019.


to improve the experience of local filmmakers and creatives. “Through twofour54’s talent development department, six Emiratis were provided with an opportunity to work on the Star Wars set. Two of them were then able to follow the production to Pinewood Studios

[in the UK]. We are confident that the process of involving local talents in world-class production projects is crucial to ensure a well equipped and highly skilled pool of local talent that is competent and ready to produce great work for great projects,” Baker says.

MAKING A SCENE STAR WARS

“We worked on offering advice on script clearances, content approvals, scouting for potential filming locations, government liaison, obtaining shooting permits, visas, approvals and customs clearances,” Baker says. “ADFC and twofour54 also played a major role in making sure that the visiting production team was provided with a hassle-free visa process and superb accommodation at affordable rates,” he adds. Abu Dhabi has plenty of desert to offer, but the logistics of shooting in this location require some experience, and the country is building a creditable history of assisting filmmakers including, recently, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Deliver Us From Evil (2014) and 2015’s Fast And Furious 7. “[For the Star Wars shoot] the government provided us with an extremely large area of pristine desert which was serviced by first-class infrastructure and hotels,” Baker says. “We were able to finalise the process of liaising with the government for approvals through a dedicated officer at ADFC which helped speed up the process and in turn allowed us to dedicate our time to filming and producing the Abu Dhabi scenes. “Twofour54’s travel and government services were also an essential part of our success equation. They provided the assistance needed to secure accommodation and flights that were conveniently located in proximity to our filming locations and so the process of transporting equipment and crew was very manageable.” Abu Dhabi’s geographical position also served the film well as construction crews came from Bollywood to service the production. Twofour54 had the facilities and experience to provide pre- and post-production services. A key part of the media hub’s mission is

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DAISY RIDLEY in action as Rey. © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved.


FEATURE ITALY

LEONA LEWIS AND HANNAH ARTERTON in Walking On Sunshine, a 2014 British romantic musical comedydrama film directed by Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini, shot in Puglia

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FROM ITALY WITH LOVE It was composer Guiseppe Verdi who said: “You may have the universe, if I may have Italy.” Andy Fry explains why

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ROM the lakes and mountains to the spectacular coastal scenery of Amalfi and Sicily, Italy is a geographic marvel. It’s also an artistic and cultural treasure box, boasting breathtaking sights such as Rome, Florence, Milan, Naples and Venice. However, unless the script has a specific geographic backdrop in mind, the first thing most hard-headed producers want to know is whether there is a tax incentive that will help them control the cost of production. After this, they need to be convinced that their project isn’t going to be derailed by permitting problems or a shortage of quality local crew. Starting with the financial question, the good news is that Italy has a 25% national tax credit for foreign productions that is currently operational until the end of 2015. High-profile films that have taken advantage of this set-up in recent times include Woody Allen’s To Rome

With Love (2012), Paul Haggis’ Third Person (2013) and Carlo Carlei’s Romeo And Juliet (2013), which visited a number of sites including Rome, Verona, Padua and Mantua. The incentive was nearly axed as part of an effort to control Italy’s debt. But an outcry from the industry persuaded the government to renew the incentive, extending it to cover some TV productions. Commenting at the time, Riccardo Tozzi, president of Italy’s producer association ANICA, said it was “a life-or-death situation so we are very relieved. Now we have to build on this dialogue to make the cultural industry a driver for Italy.” Tozzi also welcomed the fact that the cap on the amount an international production could claim


FEATURE ITALY

had been raised from €5m to €10m. “The increase in the cap will bring back big international productions to Italy, thus promoting our country abroad. This measure, in addition to the Oscar won by La Grande Bellezza (Best Foreign Language Film 2014), will encourage co-operation with operators in other countries.” While feature films tend to be the big prize, it’s worth noting that Italy is also a popular location for international TV and commercials. New Netflix drama Marco Polo shot scenes in and around the canals of Venice. Recent high-profile commercial shoots included producer Park Picture’s spot for Range Rover in Milan and Lake Como; Milan again for Smuggler’s commercial for Mini; and Canon’s digital cameras were shown to advantage in a commercial set in Venice. Alongside the national tax incentive, some of Italy’s 17 regional film commissions have film funds on offer. Most significant of all is the fund provided by the Lazio Region, which includes the capital Rome. Launched in 2011, it is worth a total of €15m a year and is aimed at preventing runaway production and encouraging international producers to the region. To be eligible, producers need to spend at least 40% of their budget in Lazio. Rome is blessed with a strong crew base and one of the world’s best-known studios, Cinecittà Studios, aka The Dream Factory. Founded in 1937 by Benito Mussolini, the 99-acre studio is known for having hosted classic productions including Ben Hur (1959), La Dolce Vita (1960), Cleopatra (1963), The Last Emperor (1987) and Gangs Of New York (2002). Today it provides full production and post-production facilities for films, TV, commercials, music videos and photo shoots. It reckons to have 5,000 professionals on call ranging from period costume makers to visual effects specialists. Cinecittà’s recent history has been quite troubled, partly as a result of local labour disputes and partly because the UK and Germany have such high-quality studio facilities. But there’s no question that the Italian tax incentive has helped revive Cinnecità’s fortunes. In the last couple of years it has been used for Romeo And Juliet, Third Person (2013) and, in 2014 Everest, due 2015. Based on the tragic events of 1996 when eight climbers lost their lives on the mountain, Everest features a star-studded cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Keira Knightley. Cinecittà Studios’ outdoor tank set was used to create Everest’s base camp. To achieve a realistic replica, Cinecittà creatives used 60,000 tons of stones to reproduce Himalayan terrain, including ice walls. For added authenticity, there were even five Tibetan yaks. Going forward, Cinecittà’s management shares ANICA’s belief that the increased tax incentive cap will work in the Italian film industry’s favour: “Cinecitta can now be attractive to American productions — both for medium and large budgets,” says Luigi Abete, president of Italian Entertainment Group, which controls Cinecittà Studios. Proof of this claim is the slate of new projects coming through Cinecittà’s doors in 2015. First up is Paramount/MGM’s reboot of Ben Hur, which will see pre-Roman empire Jerusalem built on the backlot for a planned four-month shoot. At the same time, Cinecittà acts as production HQ for the new James Bond movie, Spectre, for a series of scenes is shot in Rome. Ben Stiller’s Zoolander 2 is also lined up to move into the backlot. All of this activity is not just good for Cinecittà, it’s good for the Italian audiovisual sector — because it has been noticed by the politician who authorised the tax incentive renewal and its increased cap. In late 2014, Minister for Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini said investments by international productions were in line to hit €150m. “Big international productions have returned to Cinecittà bringing jobs and spin-off activities,” he says. Against this backdrop, it would be a major surprise if the tax incentive didn’t get renewed beyond 2015. Another regional incentive is the Tuscany Film Commission’s (TFC) “incoming fund”. Speaking to Location, TFC manager Raffaella

Conti says the fund can help reduce costs incurred in the territory, such as accommodation, catering, space rental and car rental. Subject to various criteria, film and TV productions can secure up to €40,000 and €15,000 for documentaries and short films. Tuscany is not only home to gorgeous landscapes, it also boasts cities including Florence, Pisa and Siena, making it a tempting backdrop for moviemakers. Recent films shot here include The Face Of An Angel (Sienna, Florence, 2014) and the TV series Hannibal (Florence, 2013-). There were also incoming productions from India, China, Brazil, Iran, France and Germany as well as a steady stream of car commercials on Tuscany’s roads. “Our film commission offers free assistance with administrative procedures for the issue of permits and authorisations for shooting on public property or inside public buildings. We can offer assistance in negotiations with utility companies,

SICILY was the backdrop for Michael Radford’s Il Postino (1994)

SICILY: PAST AND FUTURE THE ISLAND of Sicily has a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, spectacular mountains — including volcano Mount Etna — idyllic fields and pastures, antiquated villages and archaeological marvels. These elements, combined with its cosmopolitan population, have made Sicily hugely appealing to filmmakers — Cinema Paradiso (1988), Il Postino (1994), Mighty Aphrodite (1995) and Ocean’s Twelve (2004) — and high-profile filmmakers seduced by Sicily’s charms include Wim Wenders and Giuseppe Tornatore. Among recent projects to be shot on the island are Piero Messina’s The Wait (2015), which features Juliette Binoche and showcases the island’s rugged countryside. One interesting piece of news coming out of the region is that Sicily is to offer financial grants for web-format series shot or set in Sicily. With a fund of Ð100,000, the aim is to promote the area, generate economic impact and support the development of young writers, directors and producers — grants are for 18-35 year-olds. To be eligible, projects need to include cultural aspects (for instance, food and wine, landscape or history) that are specifically recognisable as Sicilian. Projects must provide at least one full season of seven episodes, with a duration per episode of five to 15 minutes.

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FEATURE ITALY 87

ALICIA VIKANDER, Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill on location in Rome for Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

have a rich database of locations and a list of artistic and technical personnel and companies available,” Conti says. Apulia is the heel of Italy’s boot in the south, and the region’s aggressive expansion into the film business has seen it invest €12m in audiovisual support since 2007, says Francesca Limongelli of the Apulia Film Commission (AFC). Looking specifically at 2014, she says: “There were four funds dedicated to: national and international production (€2.4m); hospitality drawn on community resources (€1.8m); projects or creative producers from Apulia (€160,000); and development (€80,000). That’s a total of €4.4m invested.” The area offers 800km of coast with rocky and white sandy beaches, luxurious buildings, areas of historical and archaeological interest and wooded areas such as the forest in Gargano. “We have had Bollywood blockbuster Housefull (2010) in Vieste, Paul Haggis’ Third Person (2013) in Taranto and the remake of Point Break (2015) by Ericson Core in Brindisi. A lot of documentaries and commercials have also been shot in the region including a Japanese ad for Orangina starring Richard Gere in Salento.” For 2015, productions from Germany, the Netherlands and France are scheduled. The AFC’s headquarters in Bari boasts production offices, casting rooms, makeup and hairdressing studios, a costume department, a props storage area and a 95-seat cinema, Limongelli says. Bordering Apulia is Basilicata, a small region with ambition to build up a local film industry that can employ young talent and raise the region’s profile. Its activities are managed by the Lucana Film Commission (LFC), which has so far used a €3m fund to attract 19 productions, including Mexican telenovela Maratea and Blue Lips (2014), a movie set in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Pamplona and the Basilicata city of Matera. At the time of writing, LFC head Paride Leporace said the fund was poised to provide backing to an additional 21 productions. He hopes to expand the fund by an extra €1.4m. At the other end of the country in Trentino there is €1.2m investment a year, says Trentino Film Commission’s Luca Ferrario: “For film and TV productions, the fund offers up to €200,000, as long as the funding doesn’t exceed 50% of the production costs and at least 150% of the

fund’s allocated amount is spent within Trentino territory.” Coming into 2014 it hosted six projects, including La Felicità è Un Sistema Complesso, Anna e Yusuf and Yama Leela 2, an Indian production. In December 2014, the TFC announced that it would be funding six more projects (three fiction, three documentary). Among these are Giuseppe Tornatore’s La Corrispondenza (2015), a love story set between Italy and England that stars Olga Kurylenko and Jeremy Irons; and Mi Chiedo Quando Ti Mancherò (2015), which is an Italian, Hungarian, Croatian movie co-production. Aside from its fund, key attractions of Trentino are its castles, lakes, the city of Trento and the Dolomite mountains. Torino-Piemonte in northwestern Italy is also well set-up for production. Torino-Piemonte Film Commission’s Donatella Tosetti says: “A large range of professionals are available in the region, we also have studios, in particular three sites with at least four stages each. As far as post-production is concerned, there are about 30 companies involved in computer graphics, special effects and editing. We also have a huge variety of locations on our database.” The beautiful and historic city of Turin is also very film-friendly. “Piemonte is well-known as one of the regions where it is easier to obtain permission,” says Tosetti, “both in Turin (where permissions are free) and in other cities or in the countryside. That said, it is best to avoid May/June and September/October which is when there are many tourists.” The region, which offers mountain scenery, charming villages, castles and vineyards as well as Turin, has “many kinds of incentives for feature films and TV series. There are funds linked to the produc-


FEATURE ITALY

tion’s commitment to the territory, measured in terms of the local artistic and technical work force involved in the production crew. There are also dedicated funds to support the production of documentary and short film,” Tosetti says, adding that ongoing international marketing activity and presence at key festivals and markets like Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Locarno has been rewarded with international productions. Another area that is often high on filmmakers’ agenda is Campania, a coastal region in southern Italy that is home to Naples, Amalfi, Sorrento, the island of Capri, the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Vesuvius. Productions to have visited Campania down the years include Eat Pray Love (2010), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009), which used the palace of Caserta to double as the Vatican. The region also played host to the acclaimed Italian TV production Gomorrah and Luca Mineiro’s breakout hit comedy fillm Benvenuti al Sud (2010). Most recently, the area around Naples was heavily used by director Guy Ritchie for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015) — one of the most high-profile locations being used is the Castle of Baia, a Roman fortress that perches on a rocky spur above the sea of Pozzuoli. Other locations in the area include Castle dell’Ovo, Villa Ferretti, Bacoli, Molo Caligoliano, Valjone, Borgo Marinari of Naples, and Marina di Corricella. Campania’s film commission ran into some financial problems a couple of years ago, but in terms of film production support it continues

to be a valuable partner for simplifying permit procedures, sourcing locations, working out the logistics of production and accommodation, identifying funding opportunities and promoting projects after production. Another Hollywood movie to visit Italy in recent times was The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015), which shot in the Aosta Valley in northern Italy. A number of locations were used for the Marvel production, including the forbidding Fort Bard, which acted as the backdrop to a number of large-scale battle scenes. Aosta has a film fund that is designed to stimulate and support local employment, with a maximum award of €180,000 available for production. Of course, Italy has such a stunning array of locations that anywhere is a potential production base. Venice has long been a popular location, underlining the point that anywhere in Italy is accessible with sufficient pre-planning. Films to have taken advantage of the city’s unique attributes include The English Patient (1996), Casino Royale (2006), Brideshead Revisited (2008) and The Tourist (2010). James Walker, a Rome-based production services provider, has been living and working in Italy for 36 years and has a wealth of experience working in the country. Having started out in the news business his work these days involves a lot of documentary projects for clients including the BBC and indie producer Nutopia. Among his more colourful recent

CARLO CARLEI’S Romeo & Juliet (2013), which visited a number of sites including Rome, Verona, Padua and Mantua

assignments was a Sicily-based job with the production services department of the Mormon Church from Salt Lake City, which was profiling Mormon families. Having worked in a range of locations including Sicily, Naples, Rome, Venice, Milan, Turin and the Alps, he endorses Torino-Piemonte Film Commission’s Tosetti when she claims that Turin is a film-friendly city. Rome, by contrast, is more complicated: “I’ve just completed a couple of days of aerial filming in Rome,” he says, “but it can take longer for permission to come through. The Vatican in particular is selective about who it allows to film because it receives so many requests. On the whole, I’d say that most of the major cities are quite bureaucractic, which means you need to spend more time on production pre-planning.” In terms of the overall logistics of filming in Italy, Walker said there is a good motorway system but that traffic congestion and controls can be a challenge in city centres. While the quality of crew is generally good, he advises that there is sometimes a shortage of up-todate equipment and specific types of personnel, so it’s worth being sure in advance. He also advises against filming in August, when everything grinds to a halt for the holidays. Walker makes the point that Italy is a young country consisting of regions with strong local identities. So how well do these quasi-autonomous regions work together when it comes to winning international work for Italy? Stefania Ippoliti, recently appointed as president of The Association of Italian Film Commissions (AIFC), says: “We compete a lot, but, we never forget the team we play for!” Ippoliti, who works for the Tuscany Film Commission, says the AIFC represents the shared interests of Italy’s 17 film commissions. Among its major activities are organising joint initiatives, lobbying the government and participating in festivals and film markets to promote the growth of international co-productions. For anyone wanting to work in Italy, she says: “The best way to get started is to contact one of the film commissions through the Italian Film Commissions Association website: you can get all the information and the assistance you need for free.” Ippoliti says the tax incentive “has made a huge difference. In the last two years, more than 40 foreign productions have selected Italy as a suitable country for their project. In addition, we have top locations, highly professional film commissions, skilled human resources and welcoming cities all over the country.” In terms of Italy’s prospects for the future, she says the next step for the country must be to build on the opportunity created by the incentive. “We must trust in our talent. We can’t compete with less expensive countries, so our challenge if we want to stay competitive is to be exceptionally creative and extraordinarily well-prepared.”

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FEATURE NEW YORK

FE AT U R E

WELCOME TO NEW YORK New York has to be one of the world’s most filmed cities. But the state of New York is keen to welcome more production, and is offering incentives to prove it. Marlene Edmunds reports

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EW YORK City has always been a major filming hub but the recently renewed New York State Film Tax Credit Programme has fuelled a production gold rush not just to the city but the state as a whole. Capped at $420m, the Tax Credit Programme now runs from 2015-2019 and provides a refundable credit of 30%, with an additional 10% on labour for communities in upstate New York. It’s a serious commitment in both size and duration, says Gigi Semone, executive director, New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development. “It shows New York understands that producers need a sense of stability and security in the funding of projects, especially when making what can be long-term decisions, like where to place a television series which may be shooting and running for years.” Hundreds of films are shot each year in New York, but since the early days of television, the state has been important location for television. Some 29 shows filmed in the state walked away with a Primetime Emmy last year. Among them, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, The Good Wife, Orange Is The New Black, Boardwalk Empire and The Blacklist all participated in the tax credit programme. But film and television have, and will continue to function side-by-side. The 2014 action movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, shot in the Big Apple, meant serious dollars. And Paramount announced in mid-March, 2015, that the heroic turtles were coming back for more. New York City and Buffalo, the northern New York State city close to Canada, are host cities for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. The New York shoot is expected to bring in some $67m in spending, with another $7m likely going to Buffalo. It’s no surprise, with its iconic locations, historic neighbourhoods and up-tempo ambience that New York City is and always has been a Mecca for producers. But there’s no question that the tax credit is an enormous boost to those who live and work there. “To shoot on location in New York would have been difficult if not for the tax incen-

tive programme,” says Daughter Of God (2015) producer Robin Gurland. The thriller starring Keanu Reeves — also a producer on the film — and Ana de Armas and Mira Sorvino, was shot mainly in the Washington Heights area of the city and also in and around Times Square. “Washington Heights is an ornate part of the city with an amazing amount of history and architectural treasures,” says Michael L Mizrahi, who was born in New York City and has been working as a location manager and production supervisor for seven years. “I like to think that I know New York, but I can often be pleasantly surprised because you look at the city in a different way when you are scouting,” says Mizrahi, who guards some of his finds as if they were gold, and with good reason. “There are a lot of undiscovered treasures I’ve found in my line of work and a lot of old New York that is still hidden. The City is also constantly changing, so when I’m scouting for locations I never make assumptions. Buildings are torn down, built, remodelled, and ownership changes.” As location production manager for Daughter Of God, Mizrahi tapped into his secret cache of locations for a subway shoot that proved significant to the ambience and central message of the film. “The subway scene is an integral plot point to the story, both at the beginning and the ending of the film,” Gurland says. The shoot took place just blocks from Times Square but its location remains one of Mizrahi’s trade secrets. “This is a live train station, unique to the city and it took all of my years of experience and resources as a location scout to find and permit this subway.” He adds: “Multiple site visits were required with production department heads and property management to solve safety and logistical issues. Legal terms with the property owners were non-negotiable but in the end we met the requirements of safety and insurance and got our shots.” Mizrahi has also been working on cutting-edge television series Person Of Interest [POI] for several years. “The priority for POI is to use both recognisable and unique locations,” he says, adding: “We want to see iconic locations, like the downtown courthouses, the financial district, server farms and the seedier side of abandoned warehouses — some of the sites that make it uniquely NYC. “As an


FEATURE NEW YORK 91

example, for an interior warehouse, the POI team doesn’t want to see just four walls. They want to see infrastructure, something that tells a story — a place to run or to hide, something broken or dilapidated or in distress.” In one recent POI shoot, again a carefully guarded secret, “we did an interior abandoned bank that was in the financial district and wasn’t open to the public. What was great about it is that it was right in the middle of everything. People walk by it everyday. They see it from the outside and it looks like just another old bank on Wall Street. But for us, it was exactly what we needed.” New York State has taken pains to make sure that the bounty reaped from the Tax Incentive Programme is felt everywhere. “There is already a lot of activity in many regions from independent filmmakers in the Hudson Valley, in Rochester, Buffalo and Albany,” Semone says. “We’re also seeing increased interest from very large studio productions like Spider-Man 2 (Rochester) in bringing large, complicated second-unit stunt work and similar scenes that are just too difficult to film on the streets of New York City.” POI did a three-day shoot in the region of Warwick in Orange County, New York. “The job for POI was to find a secluded setting where a shoot-out could be staged,” Mizrahi says. “I scouted twice with Dawn Ansbro, executive director of the Orange County Arts Council and the founder of the Orange County New York Film Office

Robin Gurland

THE NEW YORK CITY SKYLINE behind the Brooklyn Navy Yard, used regularly for movies, commercials, TV shows, video games and fashion shoots. Photo by John Hutchinson

“To shoot on location in New York would have been difficult if not for the Tax Incentive Programme”

who showed us two secluded cabins in the woods. Both were great choices.” Ansbro says: “This is a shoot that happened very quickly. I got an email from POI on February 12 of this year [2015]. We were able to scout locations by February 14, we approved the permit by February 17 and they were filming on February 26 and 27 and March 2.” Located just 60 miles north of New York City, Orange County is clearly poised to reap the benefits of increased filming coming into the state. “Not only do we have great locations but we are less expensive” than the Big Apple, Ansbro says. Recently used as a backdrop for a science fiction movie, an HBO documentary and a drama by independent filmmaker Robert Fontaine, places such as the City of Newburgh’s waterfront sites, historic architecture, even abandoned factories, are a draw for producers. Likewise the Umbra of Newburgh Sound Stage. The studio, founded by Motorcyclopedia impresario Ted Doering, boasts a 16,000 square foot sound stage, 6,000 square feet of scenic and construction space, and a 1,500 square-foot cyclorama used for shoots needing white or green/blue screen. It also offers 4,000 square foot of office space. “The great thing about having a studio like Umbra is that productions can come here and save a significant amount of money because they are not paying New York City sound stage prices,” Ansbro says. The stage also permanently houses one of Aero Mock-ups airline interior sets. Aero Mock-ups has sup-


FEATURE NEW YORK 92 NIAGARA FALLS, one of the much-filmed attractions of Buffalo, in the north of New York State

plied camera-ready cockpits and aircraft cabin interiors to the entertainment industry since 1988. Ansbro calls Umbra’s permanent housing of the set “a brilliant move. Housing one of the airplane interior sets at Umbra allows Aero Mock-ups to eliminate the cost of shipping this kind of set to another sound stage and that translates into more savings for the production. And since Umbra is close to Orange County’s Stewart International Airport, both interior and exterior plane scenes can be shot in very close proximity.” Orange County’s jail facilities have also helped attract producers and provided a location for TV series The Following. “It is quite uncommon to have a jail facility that is so willing to have a film crew on the premises,” Ansbro says. “The sheriff and undersheriff are very willing to open up space and are great to work with.” Among recent shoots in Orange County, My First Christmas (2015), filmed in Monroe, Warwick and Cornwall; and at press time scouts

NEW YORK POST SOME $25m of New York’s $420m cap is now set aside in an enhanced post-production programme that is drawing a new migration of bigpocketed companies to New York. The programme provides 30% credit for post-production work in downstate New York and 35% for post outside the greater NYC region. There is also an additional 10% credit on qualified labour in numerous upstate counties. “In those counties, the total post-production credit now reaches 45% on qualified labour,” says Gigi Semone, executive director, New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development. “At the same time, the threshold for VFX and animation work was lowered to 20% of VFX/animation costs, making the credit more accessible for that kind of work.” So what does it all mean? To start with, post and VFX/animation companies have been expanding and hiring new workers both upstate and downstate while new companies are opening up or relocating to New York from other states. Attracted by the postproduction incentive, Nickelodeon’s Dora And Friends: Into The City! series brought in $1m in post-production costs, generated $5m in spending and also hired 80 residents.

were busy with locations work for the HBO series Girls, upcoming CBS pilot Sneaky Pete, and The Seagull, a film inspired by the Anton Chekhov play. HBO documentary The Newburgh Sting (2014) and Robert Fontaine’s movie Mi America (2015 ) were both shot in Newburgh, while the gritty tale of dirty cops and outlaw bikers, Michael Almereyda’s Cymbeline (2014), was partially shot in Warwick and at the Salisbury Mills quarry. Rupert Goold’s True Story (2015) was partially shot at the Orange County Jail and in Warwick. “Newburgh can look like a big city without some of the big city hassles. It has a diverse population and its leadership is very willing to work with the film industry,” Ansbro says. She adds: “Goshen, Cornwall, Middletown, Greenwood Lake and Port Jervis are also frequently used for shooting and all are equally film-friendly. Each town boasts a different and unique locations opportunity.” Suffolk County also benefits from its proximity to New York, although The Hamptons has clearly an iconic lure of its own for producers around the globe. “We offer fabulous parks, beautiful downtown villages that abut the ocean or Long Island Sound beaches or Peconic Bay,” says Diana Cherryholmes, director of the Suffolk County Office of Film and Cultural Affairs. She adds, “There is also a lot of clamming for oysters and lobster so we have sandy beaches harbour-side and rocky beaches and cliffs on the North Shore that can’t be found in other areas near New York City. Montauk Point Light, located on the easternmost point of Long Island in the hamlet of Montauk is also a big draw.” HBO’s The Affair (2014-) shot in and around Long Island and much of it in The Hamptons, she says. Sisters, set to be released in December 2015, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, was also filmed


Tim Clark

“Merchants brought out all their Christmas decorations and redecorated the town for Christmas in late February”

da’s tightrope walk in 2012,” says Tim Clark, film commissioner for the Buffalo/Niagara Film Commission. The Falls and the Buffalo area clearly attract not only big studio shoots but also indies and a raft of international film, TV and commercials productions, including Bollywood films. So aside from spectacular scenery, what’s the draw? “The mayors of the Buffalo Niagara area communities recognise the enormous economic impact filming has on their community,” Clark says. “As such, bureaucracy is kept to a minimum and reasonable use of city property is often free for shoots that don’t require a lot of assistance.” The communities themselves are very enthusiastic, he adds. In one very recent Christmas-themed film, “a Christmas set was needed. As it was during the cold snap in late February, snow was clearly not the problem. But we went to the local town of East Aurora and talked to the mayor and the Chamber of Commerce and as a result, merchants brought out all their Christmas decorations and redecorated the town for Christmas in late February. The two-week shoot wrapped in early March. Clark points to the fact that filming also attracts tourism. “You can never buy the kind of advertising that a movie like Tammy might bring in. Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014) was filmed by Asylum for the Syfy channel at Lockport Caves, a historic area located on the Erie Canal. The shoot gave Lockport a lot of free publicity.¥

FEATURE NEW YORK

in Suffolk County. “It was shot here just before the major cold snap in January so we transformed part of Huntington Village into a Floridabased Christmas for this story about two sisters who try to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home. A lot of exterior shots were filmed for this party scene,” Cherryholmes says. One big draw for Suffolk County is the decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, where scenes from the 2012 film The Dictator were shot. The Shoreham plant had generated only a small amount of electricity in the testing phase before it was closed in 1989 following protests, so was a virtually unused nuclear power plant that had stood empty for two decades. The production used the facility’s control room for the shoot. With spectacular assets including Niagara Falls and historic locations on Lake Erie, the Buffalo/Niagara Film Commission is pulling in its share of productions. The estimated spend of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 in Buffalo, at $7m, will bring an enormous economic boost to the City of Buffalo. “The movie crew will be staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and hiring local people to be part of the production team. We look forward to seeing the Queen City highlighted in this sequel to the original blockbuster,” says Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Recent shoots at Niagara Falls included Tammy (2014), a threeday shoot starring Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy and a spectacular Red Bull commercial featuring prominent Canadian ice climber Will Gadd. “It was the biggest TV event here since Nik Wallen-

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MAKING A SCENE FORTITUDE 94

MICHAEL GAMBON on location in Iceland for Fortitude


MAKING A SCENE FORTITUDE MAKING A SCENE

Hot and cold… In Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude, Arctic scenes were shot in the chill of Iceland, while the interiors were shot in the comparative warmth of London. Julian Newby met cast and crew

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ORTITUDE is a mystery thriller series in the Nordic Noir mould — think the Killing or The Bridge — but produced out of the UK. It is UK pay-TV channel Sky Atlantic most-expensive-ever original series, and the extraordinary publicity campaign that took place in the UK prior to its February launch — including a Hollywood-style premiere in Central London with A-list cast including Sir Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) and Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing) —demonstrated how important the series is to the company. And all the money is up there on the screen. The series is set in the Arctic, in the fictitious town of Fortitude, based on Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, a base for Arctic exploration. A suitable Arctic double was found in less-hostile Iceland and cast and crew hauled themselves up there to get the most realistic portrayal of fictitious Fortitude that was possible. “I was keen to find a place where I could set a dark, twisted thriller that was unlike any location we’d seen recently — and that took us right up into the Arctic Circle,” creator Simon Donald says. “I wanted something that moved into a different thematic area from a traditional police procedural; I wanted to go into some dark, urgent, real-world science, and all of that ended up being Fortitude.” “Simon and I spent time at the top of the world, very near the North Pole, researching how people lived up there,” says Fifty Fathoms Productions’ Patrick Spence. “Life in the Arctic is not for the fainthearted, these are frontier towns where the rules of life are quite unlike anywhere else on earth.” It took a long time to find somewhere that could double as the Arctic, “without

feeling noticeably like another country”, Spence says. They eventually found their town, Reyðarfjörður, on the east coast of Iceland, “where the crews are superb and the sense of absolute isolation was perfect”. Except, that for the first time since records began, there was no snowfall — or even snow on the ground, for all of the six winter weeks they shot there. “So we had to bring snow to Iceland with us, from London, and re-lay it across our town and mountainsides for take after take. This was not how we had hoped to be working. But the crew — British and Icelandic — were tireless as well as talented.” “They had to make snow, yes, which nobody expected,” says Hollywood actor Stanley Tucci, who plays DCI Eugene Morton in the series. “It was still beautiful

Stanley Tucci “They had to make snow, which nobody expected”

though, and when it did snow, it was gorgeous. I happen to like the winter so it was great.” Interiors were shot back in West London on 45,000 square feet of sets built in a disused warehouse. “Pretty much our entire world was built from scratch by Gemma Jackson, the production designer who had also created the world of Game Of Thrones,” Spence says. “We had a strong desire to base the shoot in London,” line producer Charles Hubbard adds. “It allowed us easier access to Iceland. The capital’s world-class facilities and crew, along with the UK tax relief for high-end television drama, make

London a perfect fit for a production of this scale.” A twist in the tale came during an early recce in Reykjavik during which producer Matthew Bird visited a venue where a heavy-metal group was playing. “In one of the episodes there is scene where a heavymetal group is playing at a bar,” says line producer Snorri Bórisson of Iceland’s Pegasus Productions. “Later, Matthew asked if someone could find out the name of the group. The music scene is lively in Reykjavik so it was not easy to find out who they were. Much later this was discussed at the set. One of the SFX guys, Gunnar Gunnarsson said: ‘You are talking about my band! Their name is Moldun.’ The deal was signed on the spot and the band went to London to play in the studio scene.” Michael Gambon, who plays Fortitudebased photographer Henry Tyson in the series, says he was very happy shooting in two very different locations. “I went back and forwards maybe six times, and every time I got there it was new again. I liked the weather there, it wasn’t too cold.” “I live in London now so the UK-based shoot has been very convenient for me,” Tucci says. “They’ve built some incredible sets, they’re beautifully imagined by a brilliant designer.” Like all the cast, Gråbøl, who plays Fortitude governor Hildur Odegard, has praise for the people behind the scenes: “The special effects were so well done that it was truly scary sometimes. There was a dead body so realistic that I was relieved to see the actor it was modelled on alive the next day.”ª • Fortitude is created and written by Simon Donald and produced for Sky Atlantic by Fifty Fathoms and Tiger Aspect Productions

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(Photo, courtesy Rebecca Puck Stair, LMGA)

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Location International 2015  

The leading magazine and online resource for the world's film, TV and commercial locations. Published by Boutique Editions Ltd.

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