makers First Issue

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JOURNEY TO THE FUTURE Behind the scenes at Netflix and Amazon

MAPPING THE WORLD The world’s most film friendly countries


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elcome to the very first issue of makers magazine. makers is a new biannual magazine for the global production industry. That sounds like an ambitious claim, but it’s one based on the reality of life for everyone working in the increasingly borderless world of film, TV and commercials production. This issue, for example, has interviews with the heads of production at Netflix and Amazon, two tech companies which think in truly global terms. Netflix alone shot its films and dramas in more than 80 countries last year.

Today’s conTenT creaTors aren’T jusT crossing physical borders, They’re jumping beTween disciplines Too.

editor Tim Dams

location editor Tom Deehan

art direction Les éditions du bois Marquis

head oF Production David Lewis

researcher Kanyitochukwu J Onuora

international sales consultants Anthony Wildman, Rodrigo Carrasco

coMMercial director Clara Lé

research & deVeloPMent director Chloe Lai

Elsewhere in the magazine, we report on how a recce to Africa inspired box office hit Black Panther; the producer of Oscar-winner The Shape of Water talks filming in Ontario; showrunner Dominic Minghella describes how he overcame a devastating fire on the Knightfall set in Prague; and the producer of Game of Thrones offers his tips for shooting in Iceland.

accounts / Finance Desmond Kroats, Sarah Shahsavan consultants Sue Hayes, Kate Hughes

contributors Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE, Henri Cole, Chris Cobb-Smith ManaGinG director Jean-Frédéric Garcia Founder Murray Ashton

coVer artWorK Les éditions du bois Marquis

Printers Barley Print, UK

Today’s content creators aren’t just crossing physical borders, however, they’re jumping between disciplines too. makers also shines a light on how the worlds of film, TV and commercials are converging and producing ever more ambitious work as a result. Television drama has been supercharged by some of the world’s greatest filmmakers embracing the genre. Commercials producers, meanwhile, are diversifying away from the 30-second spot. For a great example, see our feature about the making of a big budget series of branded content films inspired by Game of Thrones – all paid for by US kitchen work surface producer Cambria. We hope you enjoy this first issue. makers will be back again in the autumn. Tim Dams, Editor

Please address all enquiries to the Publishers The Location Guide Unit 6A, Oakwood House 414-422 Hackney Road London E2 7SY United Kingdom T (44 20) 7036 0020 E E W 2018 © The Location Guide Limited All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced in any form whatsoever, by photocopying, electronic or mechanical means without prior written consent of the publisher. The publisher has taken all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information presented is accurate and correct, but cannot take responsibility for any omissions or errors, nor take any liability for any misuse of images or of the information.

research ManaGer Constantin Ursachi


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008 News in Brief

Production news from around the world

012 The World at a Glance Mapping global production trends

053 Festival Spotlight

cAnneS Film New directors in the spotlight at the world's greatest ďŹ lm festival

103 Festival Spotlight

cAnneS liOnS How will an overhaul of ad land's biggest event go down with attendees this year?

132 Tech & Facilities News From cameras to studios, the latest in production technology news


010 Making of

DAS BOOT The big budget submarine series follows in the wake of 1981 classic


>AROUND THE WORLD From incentives to location highlights, makers presents a series of in-depth guides to some of the world's most ďŹ lm friendly countries

014 Argentina 017 Brazil 022 Canada 028 Chile 034 China


020 Interview with

DOminic minghellA How the showrunner coped when his Knightfall set burned down in Prague

042 Around the World

AmAZing ROADS Chosen by Henry Cole, presenter of World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides

050 Making of

legenD OF cAmBRiA A Game of Thrones-style epic all paid for by a kitchen counter top company

069 Contributor

DAWn mccARThYSimPSOn mBe What changes in the Chinese media landscape mean for international producers

038 France 044 Greece 046 Hungary 054 Iceland 060 India 064 Italy 072 Japan 077 Kenya 082 Malaysia 086 Malta

094 Romania 098 Russia

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030 Inside Netflix and Amazon How execs at the streaming giants are delivering all their films and TV shows

078 The Incentive Gurus

Which are the top countries to shoot in? makers asks the leading incentives experts

090 Shooting Strains


Can London and Georgia, two of the world's top production centres, cope with rising demand?

116 Expanding Ad Producers Why commercials producers are applying their talents in an array of new genres

070 Industry Profile

BiRTh TV A spotlight on the up and coming French commercials and music producer

093 Briefing

FOcUS On TV ADVeRTiSing Thinkbox's Lindsey Clay on TV advertising

105 Prepping for

BlAcK PAnTheR A scouting trip to South Africa was the big inspiration for the Marvel blockbuster

140 131 #FOCUS London

139 Contributor

chRiS cOBB-SmiTh The security precautions you need to take when travelling abroad

146 Winter Wonderland

The Location Guide’s Tom Deehan reflects on his (very cold) press trip to Finnish Lapland

A review of the annual show for the creative screen industries

106 South Africa 111 Spain 120 Thailand 126 UK 134 Ukraine 137 Uruguay 140 USA: Florida


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NEWS in brief Production

news from


the world


resident Trump’s decision to launch a trade war against China has already rattled stock markets around the world.

Now, it’s worrying US studios and filmmakers who fear that they will become caught up in a tit-for-tat series of tariffs on trade between the two countries. Recent figures from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) confirmed the importance of the Chinese market to US producers. China is now the biggest international territory by box office by far, with takings up 21% to USD7.9bn in 2017, ahead of Japan (USD2bn) and the UK (USD1.6bn). The country has more cinemas than the US - 41,056 screens in 2016 compared to 40,928 in America, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers,

Cinema is finally coming back to Saudi Arabia. The oil rich country will make its Cannes Film Festival debut this year, with the newly-launched Saudi Film Council hosting a pavilion. The move comes after the country’s 35-year ban on cinemas was lifted. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther (pictured above) was the first film to screen there. Meanwhile, AMC and its local partner in Saudi Arabia have been granted the first cinema operating license by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information. They plan to open between 30 and 40 cinemas in around 15 Saudi cities over the next five years.


he beautiful Croatian island of Vis is likely to see a surge in holiday bookings after the July 20th release of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (pictured right).

The sequel to the 2008 box office hit shot on the island rather than return to Greece. The decision caused consternation in Greece, which just announced its own production incentive to make the country more attractive to filmmakers. Mamma Mia 2 almost took over Vis when it filmed there last autumn. One of the big challenges for set decorator Dominic Capon and his team was to sensitively make the location and its buildings seem as Greek as possible. The Vis town square, a taverna, a hilltop shack and a concrete jetty were also extensively redressed for the production, which alternates between 1979 and


underlining the growing popularity of cinema among Chinese audiences of different ages and demographics – and especially among middle-class cinemagoers with disposable incomes. Trump’s trade war comes as officials from the two nations work on a new film trade agreement, with the US side pushing for greater market access and a fairer playing field, and the Chinese looking to safeguard the development of their still-nascent domestic industry. MPAA chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said: “We’re very excited about the Chinese marketplace. We have ongoing negotiations and we’re hopeful that they’ll have a positive outcome.”

playinG host to dinosaurs You’ll see a lot of Hawaii in this summer’s big tentpole movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The fifth Jurassic feature was filmed in spots across Oahu, including Kualoa Ranch, Heeia and Halona Blowhole. Gender pay Gap revealed With the #MeToo trend rocking the entertainment industry, the UK arms of major film studios have revealed large pay gaps in favour of male employees. Warner Bros. Entertainment UK (which released Tomb Raider, pictured) said men there earn 30.9% more on average, while Columbia Pictures unveiled a gap of 23.5%. Disney’s gender pay gap stands at 22% in favour of men, while NBCUniversal disclosed a gap of 3.2%.

the present day. The film relied on construction crew from Zagreb as well as local islanders. A buying trip in Greece filled two articulated lorries with props and accessories for the film. Temporary marquees were put up in nearby Komiza village to house the props and costumes. Capon says shooting on an island rather than the mainland made production more complex because of the logistics of ferrying goods and people. But it also had huge advantages. It meant the production could go ahead in relative privacy, away from the paparazzi. “We were in a bit of bubble,” he says. “And Croatia and its people are just wonderful.” Directed by Ol Parker, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is produced by Universal. Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan have all returned to reprise their roles. Newcomers to the cast include Lily James and pop-superstar Cher.

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unscripTed formaTs

are enjoying a surge

in inTeresT from digiTal

Making it easier to track down funding

players, bucking a

Trend which has long seen drama as The

pre-eminenT genre.

netflix surGes amonG younG vieWers The appeal of Netflix to younger viewers, with shows like Lost in Space (pictured above) was underlined by recent BBC research that said 16-24-year-olds spend more time with the streaming platform in a week than with all of BBC TV combined. facebook hunts for social entertainment formats Facebook may have been rocked by privacy scandals in recent weeks, but it is still pressing ahead with plans to invest more in original content. However, the social media giant will not focus on reproducing television-style programming, according to the company' new head of content strategy and planning, Matthew Henick.

WindinG refn livestreams production Nicolas Winding Refn has been live streaming on Facebook the production of his Amazon series, thriller Too Old To Die Young, giving fans an insight into the process of shooting on location while simultaneously promoting the project. The 10-part series is Refn’s first foray into TV after directing films such as Drive and The Neon Demon. The project stars Miles Teller, Jenna Malone and William Baldwin.

Instead, Henick said Facebook wants to create “social entertainment” by combining entertainment formats with social interaction between Facebook users. By way of example, he picked out to shows like RelationsShipped, an interactive dating format which BuzzFeed produced for Facebook Watch; and the company's adaptation of hit Norwegian interactive drama series Skam (pictured above). Speaking at MIPTV, Henick explained that Facebook would be “leaning in to ad-supported content” and not focusing on developing a pay subscription service like Netflix. “We want to be as open and accessible as possible.” He added that unscripted shows would probably suit Facebook better than drama. “Unscripted in general feels more interactive.” Unscripted formats are currently enjoying a surge in interest from digital players, bucking a trend which has long seen drama declared the pre-eminent genre. Netflix and Amazon Prime have fully embraced the unscripted genre. Netflix has ordered second seasons of five of its new unscripted series, including comedy baking show Nailed It! and makeover show Queer Eye. Amazon’s most successful original show to date is motoring series The Grand Tour.

Wpp faces raft of challenGes The share price of the world’s biggest advertising group WPP has fallen over 40% in the past 12 months. The departure of chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell after 33 years has added to challenges WPP faces in adapting to a changing advertising landscape. Leading advertisers are cutting spending and taking work in house, while Google and Facebook accounted for about 60% of US spending on digital advertising in 2017, according to research from eMarketer. Ads by WPP agencies include Ogilvy & Mather’s spot for Vodafone (pictured above).

The new olffi projecT allows a producer To enTer The financial, creaTive and legal parameTers of Their projecT. The sysTem will Then lisT The funding programmes and incenTives ThaT The projecT is eligible for.

Funding database service Olffi Explore is to launch a new tool which will allow producers to find out automatically which funding programmes and incentives their project qualifies for. The Olffi Explore database currently lists all types of public funding available for audiovisual productions on a country-by-country basis. The new Olffi Project allows a producer to enter the financial, creative and legal parameters of their project. The system will then list the funding programmes and incentives that the project is eligible for. Olffi has worked with a team of mathematicians and data scientists to model the funding process, and the various sets of financial and cultural rules for each country, funding institution and programme. Olffi CEO Ilann Girard “The increasing said the increasing complexiTy of The complexity of the funding landscape funding landscape meant that such a tool means ThaT such was much needed by a Tool is much producers. “We can needed by now translate each producers.” funding rule into a ‘formula’ enabling us to evaluate the eligibility of a specific project to a set of rules and to simulate different funding scenarios,” said Girard. A prototype of Olffi Project will be unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival, based on the national support programmes for France, UK, Belgium and Germany. The prototype will progressively incorporate AI tools, taking in changes from the Olffi database as well as the financing scenarios of existing films. “Our aim is to streamline the application process for producers but also to offer to the funds a system that can analyse the eligibility of the applications they receive,” said Girard.


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Making of Das Boot

Das Boot is Back

Big Budget suBmarine series follows in wake of 1981 classic


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olfgang Petersen’s Das Boot is regarded as one of the finest German films of all time. So, understandably, there is a lot of pressure for the producers of upcoming TV series Das Boot to deliver a worthy successor to the 1981 war film.

The USD32m eight-part submarine drama is set in autumn 1942, months after Petersen’s movie ended, just as the tide is turning against the German war effort. The star of the show is undoubtedly the U-Boat itself. The one used for external scenes took two

months to refurbish and weighed 240 tons (it was previously used in the 2000 film U-571), and the internal U-Boat set took 15 weeks to build. The drama shot over 105 days in four locations: Prague, La Rochelle, Munich and Malta. The pictures below are from the Malta leg of the shoot. The open water scenes were shot around the island and at the huge water tank at Malta Film Studios.

turn to paGe 87 for a Q&a With the shoW’s producer moritz polter.

The series is a co-production between Bavaria Fiction, Sky Deutschland and Sonar Entertainment, and will air across Sky’s five European territories this autumn.

Images: ©Nik Konietzny / Bavaria Fiction GmbH


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The world

at a glance uniTed kingdom

4 california, usa

porTugal 8


9 serbia

jordan 7

chile 5 souTh africa 6


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2 china



ausTralia 3

5 reBates douBling


united kinGdom Steven Spielberg has confirmed that he is to shoot Indiana Jones 5 in the UK in April 2019. Spielberg recently shot Ready Player One in the UK, using locations in Birmingham and London. Spielberg said: “It’s always worth the trip when I get to work with this deep bench of talent coming out of the UK.” china Asia’s two biggest film markets, China and Japan, are set to sign a bilateral film co-production treaty in May. China and Japan have the world's second- and thirdlargest box offices respectively, behind North America. Co-production treaties typically entail mutual access to national incentives and also ease the permissions process. australia Australia is experiencing a drought in foreign film and TV production. Stars and senior industry execs have been lobbying politicians for a 30% location rebate, up from 16.5%. Producer Bill Mechanic told Financial Review: "The only reason you'd do something in Australia right now was if the content was Australian or the storyline featured Sydney, for example.” california, usa Amazon Studios’ crime drama, Sneaky Pete, is relocating from New York to make use of California’s tax credit incentive. California provides a special 25% tax credit for TV shows that relocate from out-of-state, with Sneaky Pete being the 13th series to tap into the relocation incentive. chile Chile’s reputation as an affordable hub for commercials was on show recently in five commercials shot in Santiago for Experian’s new identity theft protection

campaign. Directed by Benjamin Quinn, the spots are produced by Superprime and serviced by Jacaranda Films. The country has also recently hosted ads for Carvana, Tuborg and Maxwell House. south africa Cape Town doubled as Rome and areas of the Middle East for Neil Gaiman’s new TV series, Good Omens, which has just wrapped. Additional scenes were filmed in the UK, in Oxfordshire and London. The series is a US/UK co-production between Amazon Studios and BBC Studios.


Jordan Netflix has commissioned its first Arabic original series, Jinn, which will film in locations throughout Jordan. Directed by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya and penned by Bassel Ghandour, the title of the series refers to a supernatural creature that appears in Islamic mythology.


portuGal In an effort to attract foreign productions, the Portuguese Government has launched a new cash rebate incentive with a rate of 25-30%. Portugal’s previous film incentive, unveiled just over two years ago, had failed to compete with similar programmes offered in other European countries.


serbia Serbia now offers a 25% cash rebate with an expanded annual budget of EUR6.7 million, double the previous amount that was afforded to the incentive. Serbia’s production incentive is one of the few worldwide that also extends to commercials, making it a popular destination for international production companies.



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ARGENTINA limitless variety

even without a film incentive, very few countries can match argentina’s location variety – securing its place as a fantastic production hub that can fit an array of project types. commercial producers will be hard pushed to find better value for money.

s the second largest country in Latin America, the variety of Argentina’s locations cannot be understated. You only need to look at the recent influx of Hollywood productions heading to Argentina to see just how versatile the country is in matching different narratives. The most obvious of these productions is Alejandro González Iñárritu's dramatic exploration of the early-American landscape, The Revenant.

The fact that the production had to relocate from Alberta Canada due to lack of snow is now something of filmmaking legend and yet The Revenant was able to highlight just how Argentina could compete with one of the world’s biggest production hubs. In search of more wintry locales, the “argenTina’s production descended upon the hoTel indusTry country’s southernmost tip (near is no sTranger Ushuaia) which allowed them to To The needs of complete production.

producTions and so film-friendly hoTels can be found wiTh relaTive ease.”

Snow is just one component of the immense location variety found throughout Argentina. While the production didn’t film in the country, Marvel’s record-breaking blockbuster Black Panther did use several plate shots of the iconic Iguazú Falls (pictured on next page) from Argentina to construct part of the fictional world of Wakanda.

Argentina’s production industry does, however, lack a dedicated film incentive. In previous years, not having an incentive hasn’t been a major issue but with neighbouring Chile having just installed its own cash rebate, the clock is ticking for Argentina to provide something similar or risk losing out on some major projects down the line.

location hiGhliGht

Salinas Grandes

Last year, audiences worldwide were wowed by the use of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but did you know that you can also find salt flats right here in Argentina? Much like its Bolivian counterpart, the Salinas Grandes in Northern Argentina (pictured above) is an expansive landscape (6,000 km2) encrusted in salts and minerals that really does give the impression of being on an alien planet. Unlike Salar de Uyuni, however, which had small bodies of water scattered about the place, Salinas Grandes has several carefully constructed trenches of water that seem as though they were built by an ancient civilisation. It’s also worth noting that the water within those trenches is crystal clear, providing a huge contrast with the salt’s off-white complexion.


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The lack of an incentive may affect Argentina’s film and TV industry, but it has had little effect on the country’s healthy commercial industry. The rates on Argentina’s local goods and services are noticeably lower that in most American states and European countries, making it a great destination for producers looking to meet their bottom line.


While there isn’t a dedicated film incentive programme at present, there is an ongoing push for the local production community to install one down the line. ATA CARNET


Ministro Pistarini is one of Argentina’s busiest international airports with inbound flights from New York, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Texas. RECENT PRODUCTIONS

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman, Zachary Heinzerling's Dream Adventures. TIME ZONE


Argentina is good for filming all year round but if you don’t fancy the summer heat then stay away during December, January and February. The best time to visit is in the Argentine winter between June and August. CURRENCY


Ana Aizenberg at the Argentina Film Commission (+54) 114 383 6933 Images: Dmitry Pichugin, Anibal Trejo & Elna Vegante.


Just take a look at some of the major brands that have utilised Argentina as a destination for their recent advertising campaigns (Visa, L'Oréal, BMW). One of Chivas Regal’s more recent spots, produced by RSA London and serviced by WeSouth Films, is of particular note as it stands as a great visual tour of the various location types that can be found in Argentina. In just 60 seconds, we are treated to bustling city streets, seemingly endless beaches and an exquisite ballroom that seems as though it was made for royalty. The variety of these locations, however, does lead to an extra layer of logistics as far as the Argentinian climate is concerned. For example, the far north of the country features a subtropical climate whereas the south (as exhibited in The Revenant) leans more towards subpolar temperatures. If you don’t fancy filming in the scorching heat then stay away from the north during summer (December – February), with the best time to visit the region being the Argentine winter ( June – August). As one would expect, the majority of Argentina’s studio facilities are located in Buenos Aires. Camaras y Luces is one of Buenos Aires’ largest film studios and is best equipped for high-scale shoots. The site is also one of the largest rental houses in South America, meaning that there’s no need for you to import equipment from abroad. In the case of photo shoots, we recommend checking out Alvaro Ras Studios (also in Buenos Aires). The studio regularly produces high-quality photographs for magazines all over the world in a range of industries. Argentina’s hotel industry is no stranger to the needs of productions and so film-friendly hotels can be found with relative ease. Glu Hotel in Buenos Aires is just one example, having already hosted teams from MTV and Cartoon Network. While being a small hotel with 11 suites, the manager of the establishment is more than happy to discuss ways in which the rooms can be adapted to suit production purposes.



Unless you were aware of the Buenos Aires restaurant hidden behind a façade of graffiti and a seemingly abandoned building then you would completely miss Tegui (below) – touted as one of the best restaurants in the world, let alone Argentina. The meals at Tegui don’t come cheap but for sumptuous cooking and carefully chosen wine pairings, it’s well worth the expense. After a long day’s work however, we can’t think of a better way to relax than to soak ourselves in Cacheuta’s hot springs, which also provide a stunning view of the Mendoza mountains.

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BRAZIL advertising heaven

as the largest country in south america, brazil offers so much location variety that it’s almost unfair to the competition. modern cityscapes, luscious rainforests, sand dunes and amazing beaches – you’d be hard pushed not to find your desired location somewhere in brazil.

s far as commercial producers are concerned, Brazil’s production capabilities are no big secret. For years, South America’s largest country has been a go-to destination for brands such as Heineken, Samsung, Fiat, Visa and Coca-Cola. Even The Pokémon Company celebrated its 20th anniversary with a commercial spot filmed exclusively in Rio de Janeiro – making use of the Curicica favela and Rio de Janeiro State University.

When it comes to some of these bigger brands, São Paulo is often the preferred choice of locale for shooting a commercial. As a business hub and the wealthiest city in Brazil, São Paulo features an array of modern architecture and plenty of high-rise buildings that exude its status of wealth. Brigadeiro Faria Lima Avenue for instance holds a great deal of potential for car commercials due to its wide road encompassed “for years, souTh by luscious trees and imposing america’s largesT skyscrapers.

counTry has been a go-To desTinaTion for brands such as heineken, samsung, fiaT, visa and coca-cola.”

For all its attention on the commercial scene however, Brazil’s relationship with the international film and television industry has been sporadic at best. The country has hosted several notable projects such as Fast & Furious 5 and The Incredible Hulk but there’s no denying that Brazil’s international profile has benefited greatly from the 2016 Summer Olympics.

location hiGhliGht

Fernando de Noronha

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha (above) might be a bit out of the way for some people (220 miles from the Brazilian coast), but history’s greatest productions are remembered for how they braved largely unseen locations to add an extra layer of depth to their story. Consisting of 21 islands, only one of which is inhabited, Fernando de Noronha would be the ultimate location for either a shipwrecked narrative or for conveying isolation in a paradisiacal setting. There’s also a great deal of history to be discovered on the islands, with the ruins of several forts scattered across them that wouldn’t look out of place in the next Indiana Jones feature. For any documentarians, the clean ocean water provides an excellent chance to capture a whole series worth of marine life.

From 2016 onwards, São Paulo has been used as the main location for two Spanish-language Netflix series, 3% (following page) and The Mechanism. The country is sure to have an even bigger profile


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boost with the release of Marvel’s cinematic blockbuster, Avengers: Infinity War. While the nature of the scenes is currently unknown, shooting did take place at Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (Pictured opposite) – an incredible location for its striking contrast between golden sand dunes and flooded land. Infinity War is sure to shine a spotlight on the location in same way the Star Wars films did for Skellig Michael in Ireland, and Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.

while There is no naTional film commission To oversee filming acTiviTy, The brazilian film commission neTwork (rebfrafic) does acT as a firsT poinT of conTacT for inTernaTional producers.


Brazil’s cuisine is known for taking inspiration from European and African styles of cooking, but we’re sure that you’ve never seen a mashup quite like what’s on offer at A Casa do Porco. Definitely one for the meat-lovers in the audience, A Casa do Porco’s menu consists largely of pork based dishes that are served in tapas style offerings but with a presentation reminiscent of Japanese sushi. We all know that Christ the Redeemer is Brazil’s most sought after attraction for tourists but have you taken a trip to Salvador's Pelourinho (below) where colourful colonial buildings still stand? If not, then what are you waiting for?

At present, there is no incentive programme in place for foreign producers to tap into. Nearby Colombia already has a 20-40% rebate available and Brazil’s competition is only set to increase with Chile having recently installed their own cash rebate to the tune of 25-30%. It’s hard to imagine Brazil going for much longer without an incentive programme but for now, producers can appreciate that the country has an infrastructure in place that accommodates filmmaking. While there is no national film commission to oversee filming activity in the country, the Brazilian Film Commission Network (REBFRAFIC) does act as a first point of contact for international producers. Steve Solot, its executive director explains: “REBRAFIC is the national non-profit film commission association whose objectives include: ensuring a standardised, high level of support for national and international producers, promoting all regions of Brazil as premier locations for national and international productions, and providing information on film commissions from all regions of the country.” The members of REBRAFIC include nine existing film commissions, as well as 17 film commissions in the process of formation. REBRAFIC also operates an international referral service which channels requests from international producers to all member film commissions for individual follow-up. For anyone hoping to use some local soundstages in addition to on location shooting, we recommend booking studio space as early as possible. Brazil only has a handful of film studios available which can be tricky if the country is hosting more than one major international production at a time. Of the studios that are available, however, you can expect the same sense of professionalism that you can find anywhere else, with standout companies including Estudio Vertical and Estudios Quanta São Paulo. Wintertime in Brazil is not as you might usually know the season. Lasting from May to September, the winter brings cooler temperatures of around 20°C which makes for a far more comfortable shoot as opposed to the temperatures of above 40°C that one can expect in the summertime.

essential facts incentives

There is no incentive for international productions filming in Brazil. The Government does provide aid to domestic productions, however, leaving hope that they might also cater to the international crowd someday. ata carnet

YES travel

Several international airports are available including Guarulhos in São Paulo and Galeão in Rio de Janeiro. Direct flights are available from Miami, Frankfurt, Madrid and Zurich. recent productions

José Padilha’s The Mechanism, Pedro Aguilera’s 3%, Martín Escriche’s Heineken Headphone. time zone

GMT -3 best time to shoot

April to November offers the driest time of the year and at a cooler temperature than the soaring heat of Brazil’s summer between December and March. currency

REAL contact

Steve Solot at the Brazilian Film Commission Network (+55) 212 557 9219 / Images: 3% - Photo Pedro Saad ©Netflix, e Mechanism - Photo Karima Shehata, ©Netflix, Jens Hilberger, Jan Tima.


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interview dominic withderspici minghella roduction had only just got underway on A&E Studios drama Knightfall, when disaster struck - its huge set recreating 14th century Paris at Prague’s Barrandov Studios burned to the ground.

Here Knightfall’s showrunner Dominic Minghella explains what happened, and how the production overcame such a formidable challenge. Minghella is a writer, creator and producer of internationally successful drama such as Doc Martin and Robin Hood. An A&E Studios production, Knightfall tells the story of the Knights Templar and their quest to retrieve Christianity’s most prized relic: The Holy Grail. Knightfall debuted in the US in December, and launches on The History Channel in the UK in the summer. Preparations have already begun for season two. makers maG

Why did you choose to recreate medieval France in Prague, and film Knightfall there? dominic minGhella

For several reasons. Prague offers a great package. There’s a tax deal, so it is viable and economical to go there. The crews are also very experienced, and there is a depth of crew there. It also offers a lot physically in terms of studios and backlots as well as locations that could double up for France. Before I joined the project, A&E Studios had penciled in a booking for the stages in Barrandov. But I didn’t know Prague. I know the teams in


Budapest and trust them, so I called my friends in Budapest. But they recommended that if the stages were booked in Prague I should go there and grab them quick because everywhere else was busy in Budapest. Of course, when I got to Prague, I was really happy there. We had a fantastic production services team [Stillking Films]. They give people on the ground what they want - they give you options and let you choose. makers maG

Tell us about the Knightfall set and the scale of the project? dominic minGhella

We had an effective spend of USD5m an episode. We had a very large crew, with many units. Sometimes it wasn’t unusual to have 300 extras. For our set, we built medieval Paris with a high street, several squares, city walls, markets and shops, the exteriors of Royal Palaces, a courtyard of the Knights Templar and first six meters of a tower, which was an improbable Disney-esque tower in the middle of Paris. There was a lot of money invested there on basis that the ambition for the show is that it is long running – and that we would make our money back over several years. Barrandov has a huge backlot; the set cost us around USD5m and took 18 weeks to build.

makers maG

makers maG

dominic minGhella

dominic minGhella

How did you find out about the fire?

We were shooting the second block in August - we hadn’t even finished first block. I was in the cutting room, when I was suddenly interrupted and told the set was burning down. At first I thought it was a joke. But it really was burning down - it was total inferno. makers maG

What caused the fire? dominic minGhella

Nobody knows. It had been very hot and dry for the previous two weeks. It could have been a bit of glass in the sun or a cigarette. One thing I am confident about is that there was nothing malicious about it – it was like an act of God. makers maG

What was your reaction? dominic minGhella

It was absolutely awful to see how the art department took it. They were rightly very proud of the set, and not long before had been showing people around it. There were grown men in tears - it was a horrible thing. I also became immediately aware of how much harder my job would become. The reality of it all sank in. We had all the cast and production crew there, so we had to keep going. So we got to work straightaway on rebuilding the set.

How did you reschedule the production?

We went to shoot on location so we could carry on filming. We also filmed the interior scenes such as the king’s bedroom or the hallways, the ones that hadn’t burned down, on stages. The rebuild took 14 weeks. As soon as some bits of it were ready, we would film there. We saved up all the exterior shots, then filmed them all the way into December. By and large, we got away with it. I don’t think anyone watching it would notice. By the time we got away from the production on the 21st December, no-one was able to stand - we were absolutely exhausted. makers maG

Was the production insured? dominic minGhella

As hard a day I had, it wasn’t nearly as hard a day as someone had at Lloyd’s of London when they got the call about the fire. It was probably one of the bigger claims in TV history. It wasn’t just the rebuild, but we had to extend contracts too.


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CANADA hollywood-north

canada still presents itself as one of the main competitors to the american film market with several provinces all trying to best each other and international locations by offering large tax incentives on top of dedicated crew and advanced studio facilities.

ONTARIO Just like Florida last year, Ontario has been given a huge profile boost after hosting this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture. While The Shape of Water is partially inspired by director Guillermo del Toro’s love of the fantasy genre and classic monster movies, its decor is firmly set in early 1960s America. Given how the film indulges itself in classic Americana, it’s hard to believe that it was shot entirely within Ontario. Locations such as Elgin Hall, which portrayed the interior of a grand cinema, required little dressing to achieve the film’s desired period.

It’s worth noting however that The Shape of Water is just one of many projects that make up Ontario’s vast backlog of content. The province is also a major hub for television content, with recent credits including “did you know ThaT ABC’s Designated Survivor yukon has a deserT (pictured above), Starz’s The locaTion? The Girlfriend Experience, Netflix’s carcross deserT Anne With an E and Hulu’s is considered To The Handmaid’s Tale. be The smallesT of iTs kind in The world.”

For Netflix’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s celebrated novel, Alias Grace, the production found its hero location in Kingston Penitentiary. Located in eastern Ontario, the now abandoned 19th century prison has been maintained by the local authorities with regular tours of the premises. As plenty of location managers will know, trying to find an abandoned location that is still attended to is no easy feat. A 35% tax credit can be awarded to domestic productions that film within the province, increasing to 40% in the event of first-time producers. Foreign



Given Canada’s gargantuan size, we could never expect to cover the country’s full range of dining opportunities in one small section. There’s something to be said, however, about the simplicity of a great bar with delicious food and a place to catch some good old fashioned Canadian sports. If you agree with that sentiment then The Badali Bar and Cucina in Toronto should be just the place for you. The kitchen’s Italian-American inspired menu boasts some fantastic dishes including the house’s famous Badali Burger. Taking a trip further east to the magical city of Montreal, there are few places that truly live up to that description but Notre Dame Basilica (pictured above) is definitely one of them. Sourcing obvious inspiration from its namesake, the Basilica takes things one step further with colourful decorations and unique lighting that make the location come alive in the night-time.

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seemingly favouring documentary filmmaking, local crew do have the capacity to take on serious scripted content. The NWT hosted three seasons of CBC’s drama series Arctic Air, which made great use of the locations available to tell the story about an unconventional family trying to run an independent airline in the province.

productions receive a smaller rate of 21.5% when shooting locally. An 18% tax credit can also be obtained via the use of local post-production facilities. There are film studios aplenty in Ontario thanks to a consistent flow of productions, just be sure to book well in advance to avoid losing your spot to another production. Pinewood Toronto Studios is the best available space for high-budget projects with 10 fully-equipped soundstages to choose from and nine acres of backlot. The facility will also be receiving a major upgrade in May with a new soundstage of roughly 11,000 sq ft. Contact: Justin Cutler at the Ontario Media Development Corporation - (+1) 416 642 6628.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES It is a true shame that unlike some of its neighbouring provinces, the Northwest Territories (NWT) has yet to strike up a keen rapport with the international film industry. Producers who do decide to take the plunge however will be wowed by the panoramic views they can find there and its surprisingly affordable rates. NWT first introduced its film incentive in 2015 in a bid to compete on both the domestic and international market. Productions can receive a 25% cash rebate on eligible expenses and with no cap on the amount that can be claimed. Eligible expenditure includes money spent on local NWT labour and specific goods and services that are sourced entirely within the province. An additional 15% can be added to the rebate if NWT residents receive on-set training or if shooting occurs outside of Yellowknife. For those who are unaware, Yellowknife is the capital and only city of the NWT. Surrounded by several bodies of water and part of the Great Slave Lake, Yellowknife is unlike most Canadian cities but the locals have adapted magnificently to its topography as houseboats are a common sight. Outside of Yellowknife is where the real fun begins, after all it is the third-largest province in Canada and is mostly covered in uninhabited wildlife that has yet to be explored by international productions. To date, the NWT has only had popularity with documentary projects. The BBC’s Frozen Planet filmed at Hay River and Ice Road Truckers still continues to film at locations including Snap Lake Diamond Mine and Diavik Diamond Mine. Despite the province


Unfortunately there are no international flights paths that land in Yellowknife, so any producers hoping to make the trip to the NWT must do so from another province.


Contact: Camilla MacEachern at the Northwest Territories Film Commission - (+1) 867 767 9205.

The Shape of Water

J miles dale producer

QUEBEC Even with some of the world’s biggest competing production hubs on its doorstep, Québec has made a name for itself with some spectacular credentials in filmmaking. For a number of years now Québec has been a favourite location of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men feature films, having appeared in the last two entries in the series and set to appear yet again in Simon Kingberg’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Keen to move into new areas of production however, Québec recently opened up its first dedicated motion capture studio under the name of MOOV. Launched as a division of Squeeze Studio Animation, the new facility will allow Québec to attract high-end video game and feature film productions that rely heavily on motion capture technology. As of yet, Québec’s production incentive does not extend to video games but if MOOV becomes a successful endeavour then it could attract the attention of local lawmakers. The incentive in question is a 20% cash-back rate on all expenses incurred within the province, with no minimum spend or per-project cap set. With this structure in place, Québec’s film incentive is one of the most accessible on the market and a huge benefit to smaller projects that are usually shunned by minimum spend rates. What’s even better is that an additional 16% is afforded to producers that utilise local post-production facilities. The only downside is that the incentive only applies to feature films and television shows but not commercials productions.

Q: How does it feel to see The Shape of Water receive such high-praise throughout awards season? A: Obviously it feels incredible! It’s always

nice when a wide audience gets to see the film and then responds favourably. Q: Why was Ontario chosen to host The Shape of Water? A: Three reasons. Firstly, we planned to shoot the film between seasons of our TV series The Strain and wanted to make use of those stages and resources. Second, the film is set in early 1960s Baltimore, and Toronto and Hamilton were a good match for that. Third, Guillermo and I have made many movies here and have a great crew base and comfort in shooting here. Q: What makes the province such a popular filming location?

One of Québec’s best attributes, as far as locations are concerned, are its ties to classic French architecture. Often described as Canada’s most beautifully built city, Québec City can double for various European territories thanks to structures including Rue de Petit Champlain – one of the oldest streets in North America. Other standout locations include the Château Frontenac, a grand railway hotel which dates back to 1893 and is a true sight to behold.

A: A well-developed infrastructure of crews and support services, a populace that is used to co-existing with the industry and a familiarity with the city amongst studios, actors and filmmakers that make it a comfortable place to shoot.

Québec has quite a few international airports so making your way to the province is never difficult. Direct flights are available from most American hubs including New York, Detroit and Boston.

A: That depends. It’s hard to do a desert, a Pacific island or the Forbidden City here but for many parts of the world (particularly American cities and towns) Ontario is very rich in options.

Contact: Pierre Olivier at the Québec Film and Television Council - (+1) 514 499 7070.

Q: How well can Ontario double for other parts of the world?

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essential facts incentives

Ontario – 21.5% tax credit. Northwest Territories – 25-40% cash rebate. Quebec – 20% cashback. British Columbia – 28% tax credit. Yukon – 25% rebate. cash rebate

40% travel

Canada is extremely well connected with the rest of the world and direct flights are available from most American states, Latin America and Western Europe. ata carnet


recent productions

Bruce Miller’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Simon Kinberg’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Martin de Thurah’s The Sermon. time zone

GMT -8 to -4 best time to shoot

BRITISH COLUMBIA Things are certainly looking up for the often titled “Hollywood of the North” after a string of successful blockbusters have injected a serious amount of money into British Columbia’s (BC) economy. War for the Planet of the Apes alone, which filmed in Vancouver and Tofino, brought an inward investment of USD81 million. While the incentive doesn’t extend to commercial productions, it has in no way stunted BC’s popularity with the industry. Well-trained crews and a film-friendly atmosphere have led to the province hosting advertising campaigns for Chivas, Hyundai, LG and Nissan. These major brands have been attracted to the location variety available in British Columbia. For instance, downtown Vancouver has a plethora of skyscrapers and can easily cheat as one of the many industrial cities throughout the United States. Bordering downtown Vancouver however is Stanley Park, which encompasses just over 1,000 acres of land and is surrounded by water on almost all sides. The Park features dense forestation to the point where you can become completely cut off the from the modern world surrounding it, making it a perfect place for productions to utilise two very different locations in the same day.

Pinewood Toronto Studios, Cinespace Film Studios, Vancouver Film Studios and North Shore Studios.

While feature films and commercials are certainly a key part of BC’s production industry, the province has become a go-to hub for television series. Riverdale (pictured on previous page), Altered Carbon (pictured right), The Flash and Arrow these are just a handful of BC’s television credits that make up an impressive body of work. Competition is certainly heating up from California, however, which has managed to snag two television productions (Legion and Lucifer) away from the province with its relocating tax incentive. California’s incentive is definitely gaining traction but BC’s native locations and proven track record will still be a tough act to beat as producers decide where to base their next project.

Images: Riverdale & Altered Carbon ©Netflix. Designated Survivor ©e Mark Gordon Company. Photo Golfer.

With regards to BC’s studio facilities, the 75,000 sqft Skydance Studios in Surrey recently hosted production on Netflix’s sci-fi series, Altered Carbon. The production relied heavily on soundstages to create an ambitious world set in 2384.

Mid-December through to February is the best time to visit if you’re after snow but for better weather, we recommend visiting from April to June. currency

DOLLAR soundstaGes

Contact: Sandi Richter Cooper at Creative BC (+1) 604 730 2241.

YUKON Of all the states and provinces in North America, Yukon remains one of the least visited by the international film industry but it is for that reason that it remains a location full of untapped potential. As the least populous of all the Canadian provinces,

Yukon has only one city (Whitehorse) and a handful of towns which means local crew numbers are limited when compared to elsewhere. Thanks to the Yukon Film & Sound Commission (part of Yukon Media Development) however, finding local crew for your project is no hassle. The organisation’s website even has a detailed production guide which is an essential read before you navigate Yukon’s vast and varied natural landscape. For instance, did you know that Yukon has a desert location? The Carcross Desert is considered to be the smallest of its kind in the world but given that it’s just a walk away from snow-capped mountains, its value is unparalleled for being able to save you time and money from having to travel to a different country entirely. Feature films, television shows and documentaries

can receive a 25% rebate on any eligible expenditure incurred whilst filming in Yukon. Alternatively, the same rate can be afforded on wages paid to individuals providing on-set training to local labour. Yukon isn’t the easiest province to get to but there are several options for flying. Daily flights are available from Vancouver, which in itself has connections with Los Angeles, Dallas and New York. More intriguing however is the twice-weekly direct flight from Frankfurt, Germany courtesy of Condor Airlines. This flight path makes it extremely easy for producers in Europe to make use of all that Yukon has to offer but be aware that it only runs from early May to early October. Recent films in the Star Wars series have made great use of previously unfilmed locations in the Maldives and Bolivia, one can only imagine how a production might utilise Yukon to the same effect – turning the landscape into the backdrop for a climactic battle. Contact: Iris Merritt at Reel Yukon - (+1) 867 667 5678.


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CHILE commercial country On a different spot, American car dealership Carvana also utilised Chile to great effect. A spokesperson for Carvana’s creative team explained: “It's always a big step to convince your clients to film out of the country. However, deciding to shoot the biggest campaign in the history of the Carvana brand in Santiago was the best decision we could've made. Bob Industries, in collaboration with The Roots, were incredible creative production partners.” Location-wise you can anticipate the incredible natural vistas that are synonymous with Latin America but during the Chilean winter ( June – August) the landscape takes on a whole new state as it becomes blanketed in heavy snow. While it might seem like a perilous time, local crew know how to navigate a snow-laden Chile and make it work for your production.

With a new dedicated production incentive in place, feature film and tv producers can now see why chile has always been such a popular location for the commercials industry – and it’s not just the weather.

he last 12 months have been incredibly kind to Chile. Not only did the country’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film (A Fantastic Woman) win at the 90th Academy Awards but it also introduced its first dedicated financial incentive for productions. As of right now, producers looking to film in Chile have the potential to access a 25-30% cash rebate on eligible local expenditures.

With these two major developments, there has never been a better time for feature film and television producers to find out what commercial producers have known for years, that Chile has low-cost location variety and a “producers hardworking labour pool to back looking To film it up. It’s difficult to think of a in chile have The major brand that hasn’t utilised poTenTial To Chilean locations in some way – it access a 25-30% really is that popular. cash rebaTe on eligible local expendiTures.”

Take Experian’s recent campaign for its identity theft protection as an example. With Superprime leading the production and Jacaranda Films providing local servicing, a total of five spots were shot in just four days – each with their own distinct style and location. Results such as these speak volumes to the sheer value for money that you can expect to find in Chile.



The colourful seaside towns of Valparaiso (above) and Viña del Mar are an easy day trip from Santiago. Valparaiso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an artistic feel and beautiful colonial architecture, while Vina del Mar is a popular summer beach resort. A quick visit to Santiago may leave the impression that food is limited to steak sandwiches and completos, the ever-present hot dogs smeared with avocado. For an alternative taste of the country’s ancestral cuisine, why not try Peumayen. It’s a stylish dining room but some of the ingredients — horse meat or monkey-puzzle tree nuts — will probably be unfamiliar to most palates. Image: La Casa Films and Stills, Chile & LBS Photography.

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Behind the scenes at Netix and Amazon

Filming of Netflix hit drama Stranger Things


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The SPenDing SPlURge BY neTFlix AnD AmAZOn On ORiginAl cOnTenT hAS mAjOR imPlicATiOnS FOR The BehinD-The-SceneS execS chARgeD WiTh DeliVeRing All TheiR neW FilmS AnD TV ShOWS. makers TAlKS TO The heADS OF PhYSicAl PRODUcTiOn AT BOTh cOmPAnieS TO FinD OUT hOW TheY jUggle The DemAnDS OF TheiR jOB.


he rush to create swathes of original content at streaming players such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu has placed enormous demands behind the scenes at the companies. Netflix’s plans to spend USD8bn on content in 2018 means that its physical production team has had to scale up considerably. The production pressures are also being felt at Amazon, which has earmarked USD4.5bn for original content in 2018. It is reportedly shifting strategy from focusing on independent films to backing more commercial projects with a higher price tag, such as a five-season Lord of the Rings series. Hulu also increased how much it would spend on original programming to USD2.5 billion in 2017. Each streaming service is spending heavily partly to outdo each other in attracting subscribers, but also because they want to be match-fit for big battles to come. Disney is readying its own major OTT launch next year, while Apple is starting to spend more on content. Of course, this spending splurge has major implications for those charged with managing the production of so many new projects, specifically the physical production departments responsible for delivering them on time and on budget. Amazon Studios’ Original Movies head of physical production Mary Ann Marino says her team has delivered 42 films (a combination of acquired and fully financed) since she started in the job in January 2016, including Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck and Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. Over at Netflix, VP of worldwide physical production Ty Warren and his team are working on projects as diverse as Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and The Coen brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs through to season three of Stranger Things and season two of The OA. Warren says that working at Netflix is unlike any production job he has ever had (and he stresses that he means that in the best possible way). A veteran production exec who has held senior roles at DreamWorks and Legendary, Warren says his department is structured very differently to most

studios and networks. It handles production for all the different types of content Netflix makes, from drama series through to films, documentaries, comedy specials and non-English language series. His department also oversees the visual effects and post-production of all that content, including international dubbing, as well as studio technology and studio operations. “I get to look across this entire organisation and try to find ways for us to be more efficient. I am constantly asking how can we communicate better between teams and how can we leverage the experience and knowledge of the “in This overall collective team to ensure producTion boom, we support the creative we as a Team need vision in the best way To innovaTe To noT possible.” only keep up wiTh

Like most production scale, buT also To execs, much of Ty bring The besT Warren’s time used to crew and TalenT be spent reviewing To neTflix.” budgets, working on production schedules and production plans. Now, he has less day-to-day interaction with Netflix shows - his role is all about managing and scaling up the Netflix production team and working on larger strategy and innovation. “In this overall production boom, we as a team need to innovate to not only keep up with scale, but also to bring the best crew and talent to Netflix” At Amazon, the company ethos is to keep teams lean and to avoid top-heavy management structures. This certainly applies to Marino’s department which consists of two senior physical production execs, one physical production manager, one coordinator and a production finance executive. Then there is a head of post-production with five direct reports. Amazon and Netflix both have a reputation among producers for being hands-off, and allowing the talent to get on and make their shows – as much out of necessity as out of design. The Crown producer Andy Harries recently said that the streaming services have a “much more refreshing, much simpler, much more dramatically direct and less interfering approach... and that is what talent wants.”


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Images: Netflix’s Lost in Space (above). Amazon’s Wonderstruck (below).

Marino says her team is neither hands-on, nor hands-off. “We’re filmmaker friendly. We work with people because we believe in them and their vision.” We’Re FilmmAKeR FRienDlY. We WORK WiTh PeOPle BecAUSe We BelieVe in Them AnD TheiR ViSiOn…We ARe nOT inTeReSTeD in BRinging FilmmAKeRS in AnD Then SUPeRimPOSing OUR ViSiOn On TheiRS.

She says her team gets very involved at the inception of a project, helping to plan and budget, stressing that the most successful films are usually the ones ‘where we get it right at the beginning’. “Once we are on the same page, we prefer to let them have the agency to set out and to make their film. We are not interested in bringing filmmakers in and then superimposing our vision on theirs.” As such she’s sought to staff up her team with people who “have been in the trenches” and know well how production works. This certainly applies to Marino herself, who rose through the ranks at Tim Burton Productions, Anonymous Content and Park Pictures. In her own words, she has “toggled” between high profile TV commercials and feature films, handling projects such as the worldwide campaign launch of the iPad 3. “Because Amazon is a disruptor at heart, they wanted someone with a big scope of experience and the ability to pivot easily between a variety of productions.” Reflecting on the skills needed by a head of physical production juggling so many projects, Ty Warren picks out three qualities. First, he cites listening and empathy, joking that he would have been better served if he had earned a degree in psychology. “So much of my time is spent with people trying to help them solve problems, guiding them in ways which empower them to make the right decisions in support of the company and our projects.” Next, he cites a holistic view of the entire production process. Warren started out in post-production before moving into production. It gave him, he says, a great understanding of how everything interconnects and is interdependent. “That holistic view is imperative to smooth communication and collaboration. The project will suffer if you are focused on just one part.” Last but not least, he says a lack of ego is vital. “Focusing on what is best for a project and for the company should be the true north for your executive compass.”

netfliX Production 32


Arguably, another factor is key too – the ability to work on projects being made all over the world. Amazon and Netflix are both producing a swathe of international projects. Warren’s slate includes O Mecanismo, an original series produced in Brazil, as well as David Mackenzie’s Scottish set The Outlaw King. At Amazon, Marino is working on upcoming films such as Mike Leigh’s Peterloo and Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts, both shooting in the UK, and Marjane Satrapi’s Radioactive, a biopic of Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie that stars Rosamund Pike and is filming in Budapest (which is doubling for period Paris). As such, tracking incentives around the world is crucial to help maximize budgets. Marino picks out the UK as a very good place to shoot. “We’ve really enjoyed the experience on Peterloo. The crews are so talented, and the tax incentive is quite attractive.” Closer to home, Marino “focusing on whaT says she is pleased that is besT for a the Louisiana credit is projecT and for back. “It’s really good The company for us, because it can be an alternative to Georgia. should be The True Georgia is so good norTh for your that everyone is going execuTive compass.” there.” She also cites Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania – and California too. “I wish California had a post only credit like New York does – we’d see a real spike in post.” She stresses, however, that Amazon hasn’t pushed a production into a location that isn’t well aligned with the creative goals of the movie. In words that seem to sum up how Netflix and Amazon both approach their huge bets on production, Marino says: “Everything follows the creative.”

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CHINA going east

china’s densely populated cities provide some unique architectural variety. any production with serious money to spend will get on really well with china and the efficiency of local crew.

s it any wonder why China seems to be on an unstoppable road to success? China will soon overtake the USA for having the biggest box office in the world, the country’s large population translates to a massive labour pool and it also boasts sone of the most advanced film studios around. American producers are dying to ‘break China’ in the same vein of how The Beatles ‘broke America’.

In 2017 alone, China’s box office grew by 14% which equated to a 30% gain in US dollars. By the end of the year, its value was estimated at USD8.6 billion, an incredible growth of USD2 billion over the previous year. “in 2017 alone, china’s box office grew by 14% which equaTed To a 30% gain in us dollars.”

Recent success stories such as Marvel’s Black Panther, which took USD66 million in its Chinese opening weekend, have the major studios foaming at the mouth to see how they can best target their content to make use of Chinese locations and appeal to the Chinese market.

Shooting in China can be a wonderful experience but there’s still a fair amount of red tape to navigate in order to do so. The biggest crux for any producer hoping to shoot in China is the requirement to enter into a co-production agreement with a Chinese entity beforehand. Until such an agreement can be reached, principal photography cannot take place. This can be a tricky situation, particularly for commercial producers who work with shorter lead-times. 34


Much like Russia, China’s huge surface area means that there are plenty of sites to see, so many in fact that the sheer number of landmarks can seem rather daunting. Moving away from typical suggestions, Yueya Spring in Dunhuang (pictured above) is a sight to behold – a stunning oasis that seems unreal against the sprawling desert planes that surround it. China’s cuisine is world-famous but we’d argue that you haven’t had a true Chinese meal until you visit somewhere like Black Sesame Kitchen in Beijing. Definitely book ahead of time if you want to be one of the many other people who have fallen in love with this restaurant’s black sesame ice cream. For something a little more upmarket, Choy’s Seafood Restaurant in Beijing’s Marriott Hotel is sure to impress. The food is presented with style and the dim sum comes highly recommended.

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Joel Wilson creative director

Eleven Film

Q: What was it like shooting in China? A: There’s nowhere else that has the

geography, architecture and feel of China. It is an amazing experience to travel there and one which has enriched my life. Q: What were the key difficulties? A: Most TV shows are in a hurry and need permissions quickly. That doesn’t happen in China. You need permission and that can take months and months to arrange. It took us a year to get the final permission [for Channel 4 and Hulu comedy drama Gap Year]. It should come as no surprise to discover that China is an immensely bureaucratic country. Q: What about security? A: I had expected it to be like North Korea with a minder checking on us all the time. But we might have well been somewhere like France. We just got on with it and were left to our own devices. Q: And the cost? A: It is not cheap to film there. It’s not like they’ve got tax rebates, and crews and equipment are expensive. Q: Any specific tips for producers thinking

of shooting in China?

Efraim Smits of Contra Productions, who have serviced multiple international commercials in China, explains: “Foreign producers should choose a good local service production company to work with but bear in mind that the credibility this company has in China is what will ensure quick production flow as they will bear all responsibilities from negotiation, securing locations, putting together a great crew, payment structures, accounting and so forth. Be transparent with what you have for the job, especially if you’re on a tight schedule because the company will be your boots on the ground and it might just make a world of difference.” One of Contra’s recent commercials is an impressive long-form spot for Nike Jordan with a unique take on the classic Groundhog Day scenario. Directed by Alastair McKevitt, the commercial features an array of locations including a professional basketball court and various city streets in Beijing. Efraim continues: “SARFT or SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Radio, Film, and Television) is the main ruling government department and office that administrates the radio, film and TV related industries. However, recent decisions made during the congress meeting in March 2018 have stated that films are no longer subject to SARFT but rather to the Publicity Department. The specific guidelines on this are still being drafted, although they will come into effect in June 2018. This will change the process for foreign film imports, Chinese-foreign co-productions, branded content films, documentaries and shows wanting to shoot in China, so it is important that foreign producers work with a local production company that has the SARFT certification, is in good standing and who will streamline the production process with ease.” China has already established co-production treaties with several countries including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan to name a few. Notably, the United States currently has no co-production treaty signed with China. If you do decide to shoot in China then be aware that your content also has to adhere to local standards regarding censorship. It can be difficult to know the exact parameters of China’s censorship protocol but the best thing you can do is converse with your co-production partner early to highlight any aspects of your project that could be flagged later down the line. Budget can also be an issue when deciding whether or not China is a viable location for your next project. As of yet, China still remains better suited for high-end productions due to the cost of film permits and having to navigate through red tape. Goods and services won’t set you back too much

A: Shop around for a production service company. You should work with a local production services company that you really trust because you are beholden to them in terms of the deals they make.


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essential facts incentives

There is no national incentive to be found in China, which can be a deal breaker for some as costs can add up quite quickly. If you’re planning a studio shoot however, then a 40% cash rebate can be afforded to productions that make use of Wanda Studios in Qingdao. travel

As a major destination for tourists and businesses alike, China benefits from having direct connections with countries around the world. China’s main airlines are Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.

but their rates leave a lot to be desired in comparison to more cost-effective filming hubs worldwide. Adding to this, China is currently without a nationwide production incentive to stimulate international filmmaking – a hard sell given just how many countries now have their own tax incentive. A private 40% cash rebate is available to productions that film at Wanda Studios. While considered a box office bomb, Rupert Sanders’ cinematic adaptation of Ghost in the Shell presents an impressive example of a US-China co-production that works on a technical level. Ghost in the Shell is set in a highly futuristic world where technology has evolved to allow humans to become seamlessly enhanced with robotic abilities – it is here that China provided the perfect opportunity to make this setting a reality. Des Voeux Road Central, with its wide surface and several high-rise buildings provided the filmmakers with a lot of a freedom to dress the location to best suit their needs. Both the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (pictured above) and Lippo Centre star in the film but due to their already futuristic appearance, neither building required significant dressing in order to fit Ghost in the Shell’s world design. The film also unearths the seedier underbelly of such a world by considering the potential impact of growing poverty and overpopulation. Luckily for the filmmakers, there are several locations available in Hong Kong that already depict this atmosphere. The Tsuen Wan Cemetery is just one of these spots visited by the production which presents such a stark contrast between the traditional connotations of a burial site and the modern backdrop of skyscrapers surrounding it. One of the most striking locations in this context however is Montane Mansion – a chaotic high-rise that follows an almost claustrophobic structural plan with a whole rainbow’s worth of colours decorating its many flats.


ata carnet

YES location hiGhliGht

Montane Mansion (as seen in Ghost in the Shell) Tucked away in Hong Kong’s Quarry Bay (north-east from the central district), Montane Mansion (pictured above) is one part an eclectic mix of colours and windows, and another part a terrifying visual representation of overpopulation. As part of a large residential area, Montane Mansion is laid out like a cul-de-sac comprised of apartments. To look up from its central courtyard is to feel as though you are completely boxed in on all sides by a concrete jungle. The apartments appear to have some colour consistency in a vertical sense but they jut out at various lengths, indicating very different interiors from one another. To really understand its design, a viewer would have to spend several minutes analysing the building which is exactly why its immediate appearance is so valuable as something that can bombard the senses. If you’re after something that provides the same sense of scale but with a bit more finesse then the Choi Hung Estate should meet your needs. As one of the oldest public housing estates in Hong Kong, the building is significant in its own right but its vibrant colour palette looks as if it was pulled from a Wes Anderson project.

recent productions

Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising, Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell, Dante Lam’s Operation Red Sea. time zone

GMT +8 best time to shoot

April – June/September – October soundstaGes

There are several major film studios that you can utilise in China, including Hengdian World Studios and Zhuozhou World Studios, but Wanda Studios is the most technologically advanced. currency

RENMINBI contact

China is currently without a central film commission and so foreign producers must rely on a local production company of their choosing to help them navigate the country’s red tape. Images: Beboy, Wilding & Wang.

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FRANCE animation king

france is a global leader in modern animation and vfx work, infusing a certain je ne sais quoi that leads to new and exciting ideas. producers of on location content, meanwhile, are spoilt for choice with france’s 22 diverse regions.

uch like the UK, France has become one of the main production powerhouses of Europe. While its British neighbour is popular for doubling and attracting high-end television shows, France leads the way on modern animation and offers huge variety in terms of locations.

Paris is synonymous with the concept of what it means to be stylish and rightly so, after all the capital has housed some of history’s greatest artists, writers and fashion designers. For feature films, television shows and commercials, Paris is one of those rare but highly sought-after locations that offers an instant “wow” factor.

Exterior shots of the Louvre Museum were recently used in the opening scenes of DC’s smash-hit, Wonder Woman, helping to set “The key behind the tone for what would become a very different superhero movie france’s success from the many that came before it. is undoubTedly In the upcoming action sequel, iTs Tax rebaTe Mission: Impossible – Fallout, for inTernaTional Paris will star as the backdrop for producTion an adrenaline-pumping car chase. scheme which provides a highly compeTiTive 30% raTe.”

Outside of feature films, Paris has always enjoyed a certain popularity in the commercial industry. BETC Luxe’s recent commercials for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté showcases exactly why Paris is so favoured by the industry as it features sweeping shots of the city’s skyline amidst a breath-taking sunset. The iconic



Despite never being completed, the Château de Chambord (pictured above) is a must-see for anyone visiting France. The building, which was constructed in the reign of King Francis I, is notable for being one of the best examples of French Renaissance architecture in the country. You can reach the Château in just over an hour from Paris Austerlitz train station, or in two hours from Paris by car. Sightseeing might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s hard to argue with the allure of French cuisine. With that in mind, why not take a trip to one of Paris’ greatest contributions to restaurant dining – the bistro. There’s one bistro in fact that we highly recommend, the Il Etait Un Square on Rue Corvisart which serves up some mighty mouth-watering burgers.

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patrick miGnano associate producer

The 15:17 to Paris

Q: Your production filmed at Arras

Station; how important was it for you to maintain authenticity in the story? A: Yes, we filmed the scene where the train pulls

into the Arras Station and the first responders board the train (pictured on following page). The city of Arras was very accommodating and was fully behind the project. The ability to use the actual locations lends itself to the realism of the film. We always try when practical to make use of them. Q: What other locations were used in France? A: We filmed several other scenes in and around Paris. We doubled the countryside for the German countryside for some driving work. We used Charles DeGaulle Airport for Alex’s arrival in Frankfurt and we even utilised a Parisian neighbourhood and doubled a street in Rome for a youth hostel scene. Q: How did the TRIP rebate help? A: The French incentive was the primary reason why we doubled all the Germany locations in France. Q: Do you have any advice for other


landmarks that flitter across the screen are instantly recognisable to an international audience, increasing the commercial’s value as one that can be shipped abroad. The key behind France’s success is undoubtedly its Tax Rebate for International Production (TRIP) scheme, which provides a highly competitive 30% rate. To access the incentive, a relatively minor minimum spend of EUR250,000 must be met. While there is a per-project cap of EUR30 million, there is no annual cap on the amount that can be allocated through the scheme, allowing France to consistently attract new projects without worry. The incentive is available to feature films, television shows, virtual reality and the work of locally sourced VFX houses – the last of which is France’s secret weapon, so to speak. Some of the highest-grossing animated films of the last few years have emanated from French animation companies. Among these recent credits are the Despicable Me trilogy, Sing, Secret Life of Pets, Captain Underpants and The Lorax. What you might not realise is that French VFX companies have also worked on such recent projects as James Cameron’s Avatar, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival. VFX work is being exported to France at an increasing rate due to the country’s vast number of highly skilled animators. Unlike some countries, however, France’s production talent and crew aren’t centralised in one location thanks to regional funding. Several film funds are available throughout France in regions such as Réunion, Alsace, Brittany and Nouvelle-Aquitaine, just to name a few. These regional funds can be combined with the TRIP rebate, giving you more of an incentive to explore the variety that France has to offer as opposed to exclusively visiting France’s more popular filming locations. A total of 52 co-production treaties have also been signed with countries around the world in order to ease the process of applying for these incentives. Included in these agreements are ties with Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom. The Côte d’Azur is one such region that has seen a huge increase in popularity over the last few years with 1,542 shoot days recorded in 2016 across 376 projects and an inward spend of EUR127 million. Television projects accounted for 423 of those shoot days, an amazing increase on the 240 that were recorded the previous year.

A: There are subtle differences in the way the French crew operate compared to the American process but they have enough experience that they know what works and you have to trust that.


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Stéphanie Gac of the Alpes-Maritimes-Côte d’Azur Film Commission explains: “In the Alpes-Maritimes department, we are lucky to have many types of locations; pebble and sand beaches, mountains, big cities, small villages, roads and forests, all of which you can get to within an hour. We have a location database that location managers can use to do some recce-ing on and some of locations that we keep in our files, such as prestigious locations. We advise all productions to work with local technicians as we have a data base of 230 professional technicians, 90 actors/actresses and 250 extras.”

location hiGhliGht

Château de Ravel (as seen in Les Choristes) Dating all the way back to 1141 and having had several renovations since then, the Château de Ravel (pictured above) can stand in for a myriad of period settings. Located in the Auvergne region of Central France, the Château boasts a medieval exterior but after being purchased by King Phillip III in 1283, the interior was transformed to accommodate a royal resident and became a stately home. In the heart of the French countryside, there are no discernible odes to modern life around the Château, making it incredibly easy to use the location for a period project without the need to hide aspects of modern life. To date, the only major production to use the Château is Christophe Barratier’s Les Choristes (The Chorus). For Barratier’s feature film, Château de Ravel was portrayed as a halfway dilapidated boarding school – utilising its imposing structure to convey the despair of a post-war France. Fog machines and artificial snow were used to adapt the location for the film’s wintry setting, providing the exterior with a whole new aesthetic and serving as a great example of how it might be used to suit different themes.

Aside from its dazzling locations, part of the Côte d’Azur region’s popularity can be owed to its local film fund that is designed to entice international feature films and television shows (such as Riviera) to film locally. Projects that do decide to shoot within the region can receive up to EUR100,000 in funding but this amount can be capped at EUR50,000 if other regional funds have also been utilised. Film France, the national film commission, has an extensive location library that can be viewed online, giving you the chance to scout the country from the comfort of your own office (or home, this is the modern age after all). Going one step further, the locations are organised by theme so you can instantly identify the locations that are best suited for your project. Deciding when to shoot in France will depend entirely on the region/location you desire – this is a big country after all. If you want to film in Paris for instance, May and June offer spectacular weather and without the hassle of the tourist season which follows soon after. Similar rules apply to the North of France but for different reasons as the locals themselves will flock to other countries during the summer period, meaning that certain services will shut down. Finding a great hotel to host your cast and crew in France is rarely ever an issue but some hotels are more understanding of the needs of productions than others. Hotel Sezz in Paris boasts two fully-equipped meeting rooms that can very easily be adapted into production offices, alongside spacious deluxe rooms that will please even the most demanding of cast members. For a more affordable experience in the capital, we recommend checking either Hotel Ekta or the YOOMA Urban Lodge.

essential facts incentives

A 30% tax rebate is available via the TRIP incentive scheme. To access the incentive, production must either meet a minimum spend of EUR250,000 or spend 50% of their total budget in France – the latter of which can be quite handy for independent projects. cash rebate

30% travel

With several international airports scattered across the country, travelling to France couldn’t be easier. The Charles de Gaulle is the second largest airport in Europe and it connects with most major hubs around the world. Direct flights are available from Japan, Ljubljana, Bangkok and Tel Aviv. ata carnet


recent productions

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, Ricky Saiz’s Mon Paris Couture. time zone

GMT +1 soundstaGes

Les Studios de Paris is still France’s crowning jewel with nine soundstages and workshops on site. Further south the recently established Provence Studios boasts a massive 280,000 sq ft premises that can host ambitious projects. currency

EURO contact

Valérie Lepine Karnik at Film France (+33) 153 839 898 Images: Mission: Impossible – Fallout ©Paramount Pictures & Skydance. 15-17 to Paris ©Warner Bros. Pictures. Punto Studio Foto AG & Agnés Pion,


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Around the world Amazing roads FiLMic RoUtEs

chosen By henry cole, Presenter of world's greatest motorcycle rides 1 - nullarbor Plain, australia Nullarbor means ‘no trees’ in Latin. The Eyre Highway, crossing the vast, semi-arid Nullarbor Plain in south western Australia, boasts one of the world’s longest stretches of straight road – the famous 90 Mile Straight. “There’s not even a slight kink in the road,” says Cole. “It’s the most remarkable place.” 2 - salt laKes, australia “People think the Bonneville Salt Flats are the only place to ride a bike at crazy speeds, but there are salt flats all over Australia,” says Cole. This one is near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. “The red roads give you a really different kind of imagery.”

3 - laKe WaKatiPu, neW Zealand “New Zealand is the finest place in the world to ride a motorcycle,” says Cole. This stretch is on the South Island, on the way to Queenstown along Lake Wakatipu.

4 - south island, neW Zealand “There’s not one straight road in New Zealand,” says Cole. “But the bends are so beautiful and Images courtesy of Henry Cole & Taras Vyshnya


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ere’s a selection of amazing roads with filmic potential as chosen especially for makers by Henry Cole, the presenter and producer of Travel Channel’s long-running television series World’s Greatest Motorcyle Rides. Cole is well placed to give his views on the best stretches of road in the world, having ridden his bikes across Australia, America, New Zealand, Europe, Russia and the Balkans. He’s just got back from South Africa filming the latest series of World’s Greatest Motorcyle Rides, which airs later this year.

predictable.” The South Island, he says, is totally unspoilt with a 1950s feel and very few vehicles on the road – perfect for filmmakers.

5 - shaMrocK, teXas, usa This undulating stretch of Route 66 is in Shamrock, Texas, which was turned into a ghost town when the road was superseded by the I-40. You can film long stretches of Route 66 here with virtually no cars on them as a result.

6 - aMboY, caliFornia, usa “If you want to shoot anything Americana, then you need to go on Route 66,” says Cole who has travelled the famous road three times on his bike. This is Roy’s Motel and Café in the Mojave Desert town of Amboy, California.


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GREECE perfect summer To finally have an incentive in place will be welldeserved for Greece’s hardworking labour pool who, when given the opportunity, can produce some exemplary work. Markenfilm Berlin’s recent spot for Beck’s was able to capture the sense of a wild and wonderful summer in a range of locations throughout Greece with servicing provided by Avion Films. Frederik Poppenk, producer at Markenfilm Berlin explained: “The challenge was to find the right country where we could find a beautiful rooftop with an urban feel as well as stunning sea and nature scenery. We wanted to shoot somewhere that felt special and that hasn’t been seen as a film location a hundred times before like Barcelona. In Greece we found the perfect mix of urban and natural scenery that was needed for our commercial.”

With its first production incentive finally here, Greece will soon become one of the most affordable locations in southeast europe. What better time to scout its islands and urban areas for your next project?

t’s been a tough time for Greece’s production industry. In late 2017, the country lost out on hosting the sequel for Phillippa Loyd’s now cult-classic, Mamma Mia, with the production opting for Croatia instead. Losing the production to Croatia, a decision fuelled by tax incentives, was a huge setback given that the narrative for Mamma Mia has become synonymous with the Greek island of Skopelos and it has had a major effect on film tourism in the country.

Not one to be beaten by such events however, Greece’s government has invested in a dedicated film incentive scheme which offers a “To finally have 25% cash rebate. The incentive has an incenTive been allocated EUR450 million in place is for the next six years, translating to an annual fund of EUR75 million. well deserved Eligible productions include for greece’s feature films, documentaries, hardworking television series, animated projects labour pool.” and video games. In order to access the incentive, productions must meet a minimum spend of EUR100,000. Anything above EUR5 million will be ineligible but there is no minimum budget required for feature films and TV series.


Chances are if you’re in Greece, you’ll be passing through Athens – and if you are in Athens with some time on your hands, you’ll automatically head to the Acropolis. If so, a highly recommended companion trip is a visit to the Acropolis Museum – a truly world class, modern exhibition space that tells the story of Ancient Greece through its archaeological remains. The air-conditioned building is also a very welcome respite from the summer heat, while there are fabulous views of the Parthenon (featured above in The Two Faces of January) too. You can continue basking in the views over dinner as well. GB Roof Garden’s dining terrace overlooks the Acropolis, which is lit up at night – and the food is highly rated too. Images: LoCCCations -, © Studiocanal & © James Gardiner.


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HUNGARY budget brilliance

hungary continues to be one of the best locations for producers hoping to make their budget stretch as far as possible. having hosted several major blockbusters, hungary’s affordable price does not come at the cost of quality.

t’s a true testament to Hungary’s popularity on the international market that despite being in proximity to some of the world’s biggest production hubs, it still manages to attract a steady flow of high-end projects. Red Sparrow, Atomic Blonde and The Martian are just some of the many feature films to have made use of Hungary in recent years but arguably none are as prolific as Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 (pictured above).

Villeneuve and his production team had initially planned to shoot locations in the UK and use Hungary solely for studio shoots but due to the challenging logistics of such an idea, Hungary was chosen to be the main location for the film. Origo Film Studios and Korda Studios in Budapest played host to the USD150 million “a 25% Tax rebaTe is budget sci-fi epic, where physical sets were built to bring the densely awarded To foreign populated world of America 2049 producTions ThaT to life. All six soundstages (and meeT a minimum a backlot) were used at Origo required spend while just three of Korda’s six by hiring local soundstages were filmed in. producTion services.”

Outside of the studios, supervising location manager Emma Pill was able to find a variety of locations in Budapest that fitted the more dilapidated style of this expansive world. The exterior shots of K’s (Ryan Gosling) grimy apartment complex were sourced at the junction of Szalay street and Honvéd street. A crucial location was the old Magyar Televízió



As many a tourist will tell you, Budapest is best explored on foot but even the most seasoned traveller is sure to appreciate a chance to sit back and watch the city unfold before them. Take a trip to the Városliget Café & Restaurant and perch yourself on the terrace overlooking Heroes’ Square, order a slice of cake and a cappuccino and enjoy a hard earned rest. After you’re feeling comfortably (or uncomfortably) full, then head on down to Heroes’ Square to see the magnificent sculptures up close and appreciate the rich history of the location.

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(MTV) building which was heavily dressed to become the ruins of an abandoned Las Vegas casino. The grand décor of the building helped to sell the illusion of the location’s previous wealth.

essential facts incentives

A 25% tax rebate is awarded to foreign productions that meet a minimum required spend by hiring local production services while filming in Hungary. tax rebate

25% travel

Budapest Ferenc Liszt is Hungary’s largest and busiest international airport by far, with arrivals from Doha, Moscow, London and Toronto. ata carnet


recent productions

Francis Lawrence’s Red Sparrow, David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde, Philippe Andre’s Green Man. time zone

GMT +1 best time to shoot

May and September present the best opportunity to score some warm weather without having to deal with tourists, just be aware of the potential for random showers in the former month. currency

FORINT contact

Hungarian National Film Fund-Film Commission, (+36) 146 113 20 Images: Blade Runner 2049 ©Alcon Entertainment. Slavko Sered, Yvann K & Boule1301.


If space and time permitted, one could spend the whole of this section talking solely about Blade Runner 2049 but it would be unfair to neglect Hungary’s contribution to other production types. The streets of Budapest are a welcoming environment for producers and have often been the setting for a whole host of commercial productions. Independent Films and Pioneer Productions’ recent spot for E.ON takes viewers on a literal tour of the city as a green man leaps from his post at a traffic stop and embarks on a jovial journey to various different locations. Elsewhere, the Hungarian State Opera House provided the perfect backdrop for Keystone Paris’ commercial for Hyundai as the Genesis G80 drives by its neo-Renaissance architecture. Budapest has even begun to grab the attention of Bollywood producers, with Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal incurring an extensive shoot at locations including Liberty Bridge, the Royal Palace district and the Nyugati Railway Station. Aside from the incredible locations available throughout the country, Hungary’s popularity can largely be attributed to just how cost-effective it can be for productions of all sizes. At the basic level, Hungary’s goods and services come at a lower cost than in other European countries. As if that weren’t enough, however, the country does have a dedicated film incentive programme set up. A 25% tax rebate is awarded to foreign productions that meet a minimum required spend by hiring local production services while filming in Hungary. The programme is easy to access and has allowed Hungary’s local crew to develop strong ties with the international production industry and understand the usual demands of an international team. Budapest remains a popular hotspot for international tourism which means you can find a direct flight path from most European countries. Further afield, direct flights can also be boarded from Doha and Tel Aviv. For American producers, the easiest method of travel would be to get a connecting flight from London, of which there are several on any given day. Due to Hungary’s landlocked position, the country never sees excessively humid temperatures. May and September present the best opportunity to score some warm weather without having to deal with tourists, just be aware of the potential for random showers in the former month.

budapesT has even begun To grab The aTTenTion of bollywood producers, wiTh imTiaz ali’s JAB HARRY MET SEJAL filming exTensively aT locaTions including liberTy bridge.

location hiGhliGht

The Széchenyi Baths

Arguably the grandaddy of all outdoor pools (in Europe at least), the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath (below) features an elaborate design that was made in the Neo-Baroque style. The pool was opened to the public in 1913 and despite a recent reformation of the site from 1999 to 2008, it has retained its original style and can easily be used for any period projects. The bath house itself is coated in a beautiful yellow paint that can add delightful splash of colour to any scene. The pool, however, takes on a whole new atmosphere at night as the steam radiating from the water offers a striking contrast against the surrounding darkness. During downtime, you might even want to try the pool out for yourself and feel the curative properties that emerge from the minerals in the water.

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Making of Legend of Cambria

a GaME oF thRonEs-styLE Epic

all Paid for By a kitchen counter toP comPany


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t’s a piece of branded content like no other. Legend of Cambria is a big budget film narrated by Colin Farrell featuring state-of-the-art CGI, fantastical beasts, epic battles, a cast and crew of 200, and a mythical Celtic setting. And it’s all paid for by a US kitchen counter top company, Cambria.

Inspired by Game of Thrones, the 42 minute film (which divides into seven chapters for easy online and viral viewing) was produced by Minneapolisbased agency space150.

space150 CEO Billy Jurewicz describes the film as an ‘origins’ story for Cambria, a company with a Welsh heritage and a gold dragon logo. He pitched the idea of a ‘massive, epic production’ to explain where the Legend of Cambria, and the gold dragon, came from. Cambria’s target demographic is 35-55 year old women, and studies showed they were heavily into original content programming, especially period pieces like Game of Thrones.

“We went for it with gusto,” says Jurewicz. Visual effects director Alexei Tylevich was brought in as director. The production team first scouted Wales, but finally settled on Ireland as the location for a 21 day shoot. A 30 second commercial to promote the film played during the Academy Awards in March, which has so far led to 100k visits to the Legend of Cambria website. Just as impressively, Jurewicz says he is now in negotiations for Legend of Cambria to be picked up as possible series.

Images courtesy of Cambria and space150


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CANNES FILM Press coverage of this year’s Cannes Film Festival line-up was dominated not by the films vying for the Palme D’Or but by Netflix’s announcement that it was boycotting the festival because titles must be released in French movie theatres. The Netflix spat is a shame, not only because the streaming giant is now one of the biggest backers of film but also because it diverted attention from what looks to be a very different line-up this year. Traditionally, the Cannes line-up is dominated by well-known auteurs – but this year’s competition brims with fresher faces from all over the world.


Unveiling the selection, Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux explained that his programming

cannes in numbers

year of the first full lenGth festival

team deliberately selected work by lesser-known and in some cases unheard-of directors. Eight directors have their work playing in Competition for the first time. They include Egyptian filmmaker AB Shawky, who makes his feature debut with Yomeddine, while It Follows director David Robert Mitchell debuts in Competition with Under the Silver Lake. There are only three women in the official competition: Eva Husson, with Girls of the Sun; Alice Rohrwacher, with Lazzaro Felice; and the Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, whose Capharnaüm depicts the everyday life of street kids and migrants in the Beirut of today.

countries represented in 2017

PercentaGe oF annual reVenues that hoTels in cannes earn durinG the FestiVal


The festival opens with Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish language Everybody Knows, starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will close the festival.


the nuMber oF female direcTors With FilMs in this Year’s coMPetition


Familiar names include Jean-Luc Godard, the pioneering filmmaker of the French new wave who is premiering Le Livre d’Image (The Image Book) and Spike Lee, whose BlacKkKlansman is about an African-American police officer who breaks into the Ku Klux Klan. Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War tells the story of a romance set across multiple countries in the 1950s.


2018 will also be first edition of Cannes in recent memory that won’t feature one of its most dominant names: Harvey Weinstein.

lenGth of red carpet replaced before screeninGs

2hrs 30mins

the lenGth oF the tWo longesT FilMs in coMPetition coMPetition jurY MeMbers under the PresidencY oF caTe blancheTT

the duration oF the FestiVal, FroM 8-19 may

the nuMber oF FilMs bY French director jean-luc godard that haVe been selected For coMPetition, the First in 1980


FilMs in official compeTiTion


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ICELAND fantasy land

iceland’s impressive resume of recent productions should be enough to sell the country to any producer that has yet to make the journey to this incredible location. Just be sure to pack your favourite scarf when scouting its wintry depths.

hanks to a truly unique topography, Iceland has long had an enviable relationship with the international production community. Major film productions such as Die Another Day and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider proved that the local crew could compete with the best of them. Commercials producers were also quick to embrace Iceland, as it lent a much desired “wow” factor effortlessly. All this, however, was before the new incentive and the current content boom.

Justice League, Rogue One (pictured above), Sense8, Jason Bourne and The Fate of The Furious – big titles with even “The sTark bigger budgets. What they all have conTrasT beTween in common is their use of Iceland as a filming location. The sheer volcanic rock volume of productions now and mounds of travelling to Iceland is certainly whiTe snow owed to several economic factors creaTes an almosT including exchange rates and tax oTherworldly incentives, but it’s hard to ignore the unique locations that drove presence ThaT productions there in the first place. can’T be found The stark contrast between elsewhere.” volcanic rock and mounds of white snow create an almost otherworldly presence that can’t be found elsewhere, even in other snow-laden countries. For many viewers, these attributes have come to embody the treacherous ‘land beyond the wall’ in HBO’s Game of Thrones. HBO’s powerhouse show is certainly not the first series to tackle the medieval era or even a fantasy 54


Iceland’s landscape has a certain “go big or go home” quality that is a goldmine for filmmakers, and we feel it’s only fair that a proper Icelandic meal should reflect that same sense of ambition. With that in mind, you’d be hard pressed to find a menu more filling than the one at Grillmarkaðurinn. Boasting a fusion of traditional and modern cuisine, Grillmarkaðurinn specialises in preparing locally sourced, meat-based dishes. The more adventurous among you are welcome to try the reindeer, puffin and whale, but given that this is a grill house, we highly recommend the steak! If you’re still struggling to decide then fear not, there’s an option to sample a range of dishes on the menu. All of this can be washed down with local craft beers or a glass of fine wine.

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setting, but one of the show’s greatest assets (aside from a trio of dragons) is its ability to stray from typical period locations and delve into Iceland’s barren wilderness. Given Iceland’s use as a major location, it’s easy to understand why the country’s popularity has grown in tandem with Game of Thrones. What might surprise viewers of the show, however, are the instances when Iceland is used during the summer months, as the landscape changes from a snowy white to a luscious green that could fool anyone into thinking you were in a different country entirely. Many assume, for example, that the brutal fight between Lady Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and the Hound (Rory McCann) was shot in Northern Ireland, another well publicised filming location for Game of Thrones. In truth, the scene was filmed near Hengill volcano which was chosen for its panoramic views that complement the bold nature of the show. As we sprint towards the show’s final season, Game of Thrones’ absence from Iceland’s production schedule will no doubt leave a highly opportunistic gap in the market. Without the iconic series to fall back on, Iceland’s local crew members will be eager to welcome new clients and go the extra mile to retain their business. For producers who are after something a little more modern, Iceland benefits from the same sense of architectural innovation that has made Scandinavia a world-leader in design. To fully appreciate the type of ultra-modern buildings that are available in Iceland, and how they can combine with the country’s natural landscape, look no further than the episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror entitled Crocodile (pictured on page 58). As one of six episodes in the fourth season of the popular anthology series, the production was tasked with finding a suitable location to parallel a narrative of invasive technology and the resulting sense of isolation. Karl Sigurðarson of Truenorth Iceland says that during the Black Mirror shoot in Reykjavik city centre (where the hotel and automated pizza delivery vehicle scenes were filmed), the production witnessed the most snowfall Reykjavik had seen for over 70 years. “This limited us somewhat and we wrapped early that day. Other than that, everything went really well.” While such drastic levels of snowfall are unlikely to strike during filming, it is telling that Iceland’s climate can drop to incredibly harsh temperatures that might catch international crew off-guard. Be sure to pack at least four or five layers if you’re filming during the winter season. As if the ability to attract White Walkers, Storm Troopers and Vin Diesel wasn’t enough, Iceland also boasts one of the more robust film incentive



christopher neWman producer

Game of Thrones

Q: How did Iceland come to be featured in Game of Thrones? A: In season one we created snow landscapes

in the woods of Northern Ireland. Considering the longer dramatic story lines North of the Wall that we needed in season two, a wider mountainous snowy landscape became a clear demand. We needed wide vistas of dramatic landscape that would become the character of North of the Wall. Q: For shoots in Iceland, are the crew

imported from abroad or hired locally? A: Game of Thrones shoots with two units most of the time and it falls to one unit or the other to shoot the distant locations (i.e. Iceland, Spain and Croatia). For that reason, we use a key personal crew to travel to those locations. Having said that, the support from Production Service Company, Pegasus, was essential. Q: For other producers who are

considering filming in Iceland, what advice would you give them? A: Embrace the challenge. You cannot be

half hearted about it. If your production can benefit visually from the country, then explore it. You just have to think: ‘large landscape, keep it a small crew’. Always consider how to get the best from the landscape, that’s the reason you came.

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programmes on the market. Having had a cash rebate incentive since 2007, Iceland has not only beaten the rest of Scandinavia to the punch but also other countries around the world that have since introduced their own programmes under mounting pressure to attract international productions.

essential facts incentives

Productions can receive a 25% reimbursement on locally incurred expenditures in Iceland. The scheme only applies to feature films and television shows, and applications for the incentive must be sent to the Icelandic Film Centre prior to the start of production. reimbursement

25% travel

Iceland has several airports that fly domestically but just one that operates on an international scale (Keflavík International Airport). Keflavík can be reached directly from New York and Copenhagen, which has allowed Iceland to become hugely popular with producers in these territories. ata carnet


recent productions

F. Gary Gray’s The Fate of the Furious, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049. time zone


best time to shoot

This depends entirely on the type of landscape you want to capture. February through to April is best for snow while May to October offers beautiful shades of green. currency

KRONA contact

Einar Hansen Tomasson at Film in Iceland (+354) 511 4000 Images: Arnaldur Halldórsson, Rogue One © 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd, Crocodile ©Netflix.


The programme has received several increases to the rate afforded to productions, with the most recent version being established at the start of 2017. The clear enthusiasm from the Icelandic Government to invest in its production industry should be a clear sign to producers that the country will be a safe bet as a cost-effective filming location for many years to come, something that will be of particular note to those working in high-end television. With regards to commercial productions however, things can get a bit tricky. Given that the incentive programme doesn’t extend to commercials and Iceland (as is the case with most of Scandinavia) has a higher than average cost of goods and services, Iceland is best suited for commercial producers with large budgets to play around with. Despite this, it has to be said that Iceland and car commercials go together like nobody’s business. Iceland’s long, winding roads are rarely without jaw-dropping scenery in the distance. Iceland’s many years of hosting productions has resulted in several hotels that are stylish, production friendly and won’t cost several limbs to stay at. Centerhotel Thingholt is one such establishment that comes highly recommended. While the building only has 52 rooms, which is certain to be too little for some productions, it does have fully equipped meeting rooms on-site that can be used as production offices. For the more austere among you, Hlemmur Square Hotel and Hostel combines the affordability of hostel accommodation with the luxury of a hotel and places you in the centre of downtown Reykjavik – a combination that’s hard to beat.

location hiGhliGht

Hallgrímskirkja í Saurbæ (as seen in Sense8) It might not be as imposing as the church of Hallgrímur in Reykjavik but this quaint church (pictured above) packs an atmospheric punch when appearing onscreen. Built in 1957 and designed by Sigurður Guðmundsson and Eiríkur Einarsson, the church is surrounded by a large expanse of land which includes rolling hills and a large body of water. While the location is perfect for a period project, fans of the short-lived Netflix series, Sense8, will recognise it as the spot where Riley (Tuppence Middleton) comes to pay her respects to the graves of her husband and child. The sense of isolation brought about by the backdrop only highlights Riley’s turmoil. The Wachowski sisters might have beaten everyone else to the punch with their use of the church’s exterior, but the same can’t be said for what lies within the building. The church’s high ceiling and narrow length create a unique design that is only made all the more interesting by a strikingly modern stained-glass window at one end of the nave, all of which is just waiting to be filmed. With so many options at hand over how to shoot this location, it might be best suited for a commercial production looking to maximise their budget.

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INDIA golden opportunity

all the right steps are being taken to dispel any concerns the international production community might have about filming in india. local incentives and a national single-window service have made it easier than ever to film at india’s stunning locations.

ndia as a filming location has long been a point of contention between producers and it’s not difficult to understand why – the previous lack of a centralised film office and the complications of securing necessary film permits have made the country a tough sell on the international scene. Times have changed, however, and the necessary adjustments are being made to instil trust with producers once more and streamline the process of filming on location.

One of the major changes is the introduction of a visa designed specifically for filmmakers. The new film (F) visa will allow for stays of up to one year and facilitate multiple entries into the country. The introduction of the film visa came not too long after the Film Facilitation Office was established, which seeks to remedy India’s previous “The sTaTe of assam lack of a national film commission by offering a single-window service has also jumped on for international producers to The bandwagon approach when hoping to film in by expanding iTs the country. infrasTrucTure To become far more accommodaTing To filmmakers.”

Commenting on the new visa, Tony Cordeaux of Goa Film Services says: “Multiple entry long term visas will be extremely useful on longer productions. This along with the streamlined single window permit application process via the new Film Facilitation Office represents a clear positive signal from the Indian Government to the global film industry.”

The Northeast state of Assam has also jumped on the bandwagon by expanding its infrastructure to become far more accommodating to filmmakers. Recognising the potential economic benefits of film tourism, Assam Tourism has introduced a 60

location hiGhliGht

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station (as seen in Slumdog Millionaire). Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station (above) in Mumbai really comes into its own when the sun goes down. Built in 1887 under the High Victorian Gothic style of architecture, the station is known for its detailed design and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. To date, the station has been hardly touched by the production industry outside of a brief appearance in Slumdog Millionaire as the setting for a Bollywood dance number. At night-time the station’s exterior is lit up by a rainbow’s worth of colours in a scene that is sure to captivate any audience. It is worth noting, however, that Chhatrapati Shivaji is one of India’s busiest railway stations but by utilising a reliable local fixer, foreign producers can expect to film at the location with relative ease.

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single-window clearance system to allow for quick access to film permits. In addition, a local production incentive has been introduced, providing a 25% grant to filmmakers with five previous feature films under their belt and who ensure that 25% of their crew is sourced locally.

essential facts incentives

There is no nationwide incentive available to productions but there are local schemes in place. The state of Assam for instance can offer a grant of up to 45% for producers. ata carnet

YES travel

India has more connecting airports than you might think, making domestic travel easier than ever. International flights can be sourced in Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Toronto and Paris. recent productions

Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul, James Watkins’ McMafia, Zachary Assemakis’s Jaguar Land Rover. time zone

GMT +5.30 best time to shoot

Visiting India between October and May will allow you to avoid the rainy season and get the longest days possible when shooting on location. currency

RUPEE contact

Sunita Rawat - India Film Facilitation Office (+91) 112 436 7338 Images: Sense8 - Photo Murray Close ©Netflix. Victoria & Abdul ©Focus Features. Coco Cinemacom & Boggy.


This is all just part of the basic incentive however – a total grant of 45% can be accessed if more than half of a production’s principal photography takes place within Assam and if the script relates to the state in some way. For producers who have worked on more than 10 feature films, accommodation and travel fees for key cast members will be waived. With all these improvements to India’s infrastructure, it’s no wonder that an increasing amount of international feature films are traveling to the country. Stephen Frears’ period drama, Victoria & Abdul (pictured opposite), combined UK locations with scenes shot in the Indian city of Agra, complementing the production’s international narrative and showcasing some of India’s most iconic architectural feats. On the television scene, Netflix’s science fiction series, Sense8, used One Indiabulls Centre in Mumbai for several scenes. Mumbai also starred in the BBC’s hit crime-drama, McMafia. Due to the breadth of India’s locations, the country has never had an issue with attracting advertising campaigns for some of the world’s major brands. The streets of New Delhi (and a local racetrack) offered the perfect opportunity for Jaguar and Land Rover to show off the capabilities of their F-Type R Coupe and Range Rover Sport cars respectively. That same breadth of locations does factor into India’s climate which can vary greatly depending on which part of the country you’re in. For the most part – monsoon season adheres to a four-month period ( June to September). Beware soaring temperatures in the South-West area of the country, with an average temperature of above 27.5°C that can seriously harm a crew if proper precautions aren’t taken. Tony Cordeaux adds: “India has a different range of daylight hours from North to South. If you’re traveling then you mustn’t get caught out by this. The variation can be as much as two hours. When working in the mountains, usable light can occur later and finish sooner than published sunrise and sunset times if the sun has to climb above high peaks in the morning or disappear behind them in the evening.”

due To The breadTh of india’s locaTions, The counTry has never had an issue wiTh aTTracTing adverTising campaigns for some of The world’s major brands.


India is so vast that picking any single attraction is difficult but a trip to the historic Meenakshi Temple in Madurai (below) is hard to beat. With 14 extravagantly carved gopurams (gateway towers) packed full of idols and gods, as well as many sculpted pillared halls, its scale and size is breath-taking. Vegetarian food in the south is good, particularly the thalis at Sree Sabarees in Madurai – all served fresh on a banana leaf. It’s far better than what you’ll find in most high-end restaurants. With that said, New Dehli’s Indian Accent is very impressive and it’s the number one restaurant in India according to Conde Nast Traveller magazine.

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ITALY wow factor

italy showed itself to be a cinematic gem in 2017 with two major productions under its belt. the grand locations of Wonder Woman and the subtly romantic locales of call Me by your name show the versatility of the country.

n 2017, the production spotlight was set firmly on Italy. The country was lucky enough (and skilled enough) to host two major feature films that have broken box office records and cultural barriers, all because of the stunning locations that Italy could offer. Wonder Woman and Call Me by Your Name now stand as a testament to the production prowess of Italy and how its locations can be used in different ways according to the budget at hand.

When looking for a location to bring Wonder Woman's homeland of Themyscira to life, the production settled on various Italian locales including Castel del Monte (Andria, Puglia), Vieste and Mattinata (Foggia, Puglia), Matera and Miglionico (Basilicata), Ravello, Marina di Camerota and Palinuro (Salerno, Campania).

“as if Those locaTions weren’T enough of a selling poinT, iTaly does have a dedicaTed financial incenTive in place.”

Explaining the shoot, Daniele Basilio of the Apulia Film Commission said: "During the production's stay in Castel del Monte only three shoot days were incurred but the organisation effort was a real challenge since the crew was composed by 450 people which included several international stars."

Castel del Monte is an incredible location and it's easy to see why the production team chose to film there. As a 13th century castle and citadel, the site 64

location hiGhliGht

Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park Located in the region of Campania, Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park is a sprawling natural reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. One of the park’s most intriguing locations is the ancient Greek city of Paestum (pictured above), which has been preserved beautifully and boasts several structures that have remained intact. Utilising the location for filming might require some discussion with the local authorities due to the historical value of the site. The park also spreads out to the Tyrrhenian Sea at multiple points including Cape Palinuro. It is here that producers can find the amazing blue grotto in one of Cape Palinuro’s many caves. This body of water emanates a luminous glow that, with the right lighting, can jump out of the screen.

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was built during the reign of Emperor Frederick II and has since been labeled as a World Heritage Site. The castle overlooks a huge forest and boasts eight turrets that give it a unique shape that simply can't be found anywhere else.

lake como provided The perfecT backdrop for one of asTon marTin’s mosT recenT commercials as The vanquish zagaTo speeds by breaTh-Taking scenery – Turning The car inTo a musT-have iTem.


If taking your next production to Italy is simply a ruse for you to get your hands on some authentic Italian food then we completely understand. If you’re likely to stop by Rome during your stay in the country then definitely check out RIONE XIV – a moderately priced bistro with an exquisite carbonara dish to boot. Just before your meal however, we recommend swinging by the Vatican Museums (pictured below). Within their walls you’ll find tens of thousands of the world’s best examples of renaissance art and sculptures. The incredible work found in the museums attracts millions of people every year.

Moving away from its mythical capabilities, Italy becomes something far more relatable in Call Me by Your Name. As a romantic tale between a young adult living in Italy and his father’s American assistant, director Luca Guadagnino uses the idyllic region of Lombardy in Northern Italy as a mechanism to draw the film’s two main characters closer together. Villa Albergoni in Moscazanno, which dates back to the 16th century, was chosen as the film’s hero location. Even though the rich nature of Italy’s various locations demands a longer stay, quick commercial shoots are always welcome. Lake Como provided the perfect backdrop for one of Aston Martin’s most recent commercials (pictured on previous page) as the Vanquish Zagato speeds by breath-taking scenery – turning the car into a must-have item. There are 16 different film commissions located throughout Italy, each specialising in a particular region. Helpfully for foreign producers, however, the Italian Film Commissions Association has been set up to streamline the service of deciding which commissions to get in contact with and which location can best suit your next project. As if those locations weren’t enough of a selling point, Italy does have a dedicated financial incentive in place to help you make the most of your budget within the country. Feature films and television shows can receive a 25% tax credit on qualified local expenditures. There is no cap on the amount that can be claimed per-project but the incentive’s annual fund amounts to USD10.7 million. When it comes to finding studio facilities in Italy, Cinecittá Studios still remains ahead of the competition as the largest film studio in Europe. Spanning 100 acres, the studio boasts 19 soundstages, 300 production offices and 21 makeup areas. Cinecittá has hosted production on many Hollywood classics such as Ben Hur but has more recently opened its doors to such productions as HBO’s The Young Pope. A Government investment of EUR37 million will help to expand Cinecittá over the next three years. Due to its Mediterranean climate, producers can enjoy warm temperatures and avoid tourists in Italy if they film from April to June or in September/October. If you must film during the winter period then we recommend heading south where the environment can be far more temperate.

Images: Mark Fagelson, Roman Sigaev, Nida Foto & Claudio Zacc.

essential facts incentives

A 25% tax credit is available with a per-project cap of EUR10 million. All productions must pass a cultural test to qualify and expenditures occurred within Italy must not exceed 60% of your overall budget. tax credit

25% travel

Italy’s centralised location make it an easy country to travel to from all over Europe. Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino is Italy’s major airport and services direct flights from Los Angeles and London. ata carnet


recent productions

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Danny Boyle’s Trust. soundstaGes

Cinecittá Studios still remains ahead of the competition as the largest film studio in Europe time zone

GMT +1 best time to shoot

Producers can enjoy warm temperatures and avoid tourists in Italy if they film from April to June or in September/October. contact

The Italian Film Commissions association (+39) 552 719 035,


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Dawn McCarthy -Simpson MBE Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE is the director of international strategy at UK producers’ alliance Pact, where she is responsible for developing and implementing policy to support independent producers. This includes negotiating overseas trade agreements and MOUs and helping members to access international markets. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Exports.

The WeSTeRn DeSiRe TO geT mOneY OUT OF chinA RATheR ThAn See The cOUnTRY AS A cReATiVe hUB hAS Been A Big miSTAKe. DAWn mccARThY-SimPSOn WeighS UP WhAT chAngeS in The chineSe meDiA lAnDScAPe meAn FOR inTeRnATiOnAl PRODUceRS.

he stampede to engage and trade with China is slowing. The promise of a land offering scale and investment, that dangled its worth like a carrot to the outside world, now appears too complex for producers to engage with.

Equally, China is also retreating from buying its way to become a global media superpower. Hollywood, which enjoyed cash rich years with the injection of multi-billion dollar investments in studio slates and independent film companies, is no longer a focus for Chinese ambitions. It was announced in March that the already tough regulator, SAPPRFT, is being dissolved and a new body established directly under the State Council, confirming closer control from the Party. If you are unsure about the impact of these changes, a clue about the future direction of Chinese media policy perhaps comes from the approval to create a new broadcaster, ‘Voice Of China’. The channel will be designed to boost China’s ‘soft power’. It will launch around the world to be a window into China’s social issues and to tell great Chinese stories. Despite all of the turmoil I remain optimistic. I think the motivation and desire to get money out of China

has been our downfall. Many have looked to the East as a ‘cash cow’ and not as a creative hub. The Chinese government’s ambition has been to move away from ‘made in China’ to ‘created in China’. The regulator has continuously made statements about the West exploiting minds, and western style programming has been the focus of knee-jerk regulatory changes. We didn’t listen to their message and now we are paying the consequences. We have to treat China differently to how we trade with the rest of the world. We need to think of more creative ways to work with our Chinese counterparts. If we really want to achieve ‘guanxi’ we should look more at co-production and co-creation deals, creating a cultural blend of East meets West tastes. In the future I think it will be the distribution companies who will be the ones losing out. Licensing programmes and formats will continue to become more difficult with the introduction of stiffer quotas. The future opportunities are with production companies. A China strategy needs to be led by creative collaboration rather than chasing the Chinese dollar.


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birth tv is an up and coming french commercials and music video production company, a great example of the new generation of producers coming out of france. the company made waves with its high profile, vfx heavy campaign for inG direct, and shot cannes lions winning music video for the blaze in algeria.

PROFILE Birth TV irth began life four years ago in the small apartment of founder Hugo LegrandNathan, in the northern suburbs of Paris. It’s his second production company – he launched his first aged 25 but, in his own words, “I failed hard.”

Algeria, says Legrand-Nathan, is my second home. “Shooting there is always very special to me. The team is composed with warriors and ultra-passionate people. There is always a lot of emotion when we shoot over there.”

He took the lessons from that experience to build his new commercials production company. Since then Birth TV has developed quickly, growing its reputation with music videos such as the Cannes Lions prizewinner The Blaze’s Territory (left) and impressive campaigns for McDonalds, Thalys and particularly ING Direct (below).

Looking ahead, his ambition is to expand Birth TV’s client base outside France. Birth director Nalle Sjöblad’s recent work for ING should help this. “We now have a film in our reel that shows everyone that we are able to work on big productions.”

Legrand-Nathan says Birth is not, however, defined by its productions but by its attitude. “No matter what the budget looks like, we will try to scale it up in order to create something strong and clean. We also look for meaning in what we do and try to avoid creating anything that looks clean but makes no sense.” founder and producer Hugo Legrand-natHan

He says there are plenty of opportunities to work on ads in the French market, despite budgets being very difficult. “The digital age provides us with a lot projects – they are small but numerous.”

producers and partners tristan Beraud, artHur emorine

“We have our own Alexa, so we shoot with it most of the time. However, each director usually chooses their own optics.” Where do you do post production?

“Birth: When we don’t have enough money and when we are able to do it.”



favourite camera?

“84: Young guns from Barcelona, they are excellent, and their post-production is huge and futuristic.”

country FranCe

directors aLex nazari, Benjamin LaCour, david greenwood, david tessier, emma & marC, Hugues de La Brosse, martin jaLFen, naLLe sjoBLad, niCk sawyer, oH yeaH wow, sergio granados, vinCent rodeLLa, yoHan ungar

“Serbia, Chile, Algeria and Cuba.”

“Mathematic: They are great. They have a huge office and a great ability to do good work very quickly.”

address 231 rue saint Honore, Paris

production hiGhliGhts tHaLys sound direCtor: vinCent rodeLLa amor Ben amor direCtors: Fred & Farid ing direCt direCtor: naLLe sjöBLad

Which countries have you shot in recently?

Which rivals do you admire?

Birth TV's revenues have grown by over 20% a year since it launched, and Legrand-Nathan admits “there is a pretty big stepping stone” before it becomes one of the top production companies in Paris. The company is just moving offices, and now has a 20 strong team with departments across communications, sales, production, artistic direction and accounting. Legrand-Nathan has also co-founded Algeria-based 2Horloges. The company serves the local Algerian market, and Birth also does a lot of shooting there. 2Horloges has produced more than 50 commercials in Algeria, as well as The Blaze’s Territory music video.

“Obviously, Iconoclast (France) is a model of success. We are not rivals though, we work together and they are also too high up to be considered as rivals! They have just exploded the French frontiers and they are on top of the world. Also, Camp David (Sweden), Sonny London (UK), Toolofna (US). What is the state of the french advertisinG market at the moment?

“Budgets are difficult, very difficult. But there are still quite a lot of project opportunities. The digital age provides us with a lot projects – they are small but numerous, so I think every production company in Paris has still been able to find work in the past two years.”

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JAPAN unique experiences

With a history and style that is entirely its own, Japan is one of the most unique countries in the world. tokyo alone should be enough of a reason to visit but talented local crew and a film-friendly atmosphere will keep you coming back.

ever underestimate the allure of Japan to an international audience. While it’s true that as a filmmaking hub, Japan isn’t the most affordable option when compared to some Asian countries, if you have the right budget at hand, there are so many ways that you can use the Land of the Rising Sun to your advantage.

Tokyo presents itself as the obvious choice for filming. The iconic metropolis has almost come to symbolise the concept of a truly modern city. For a science fiction script, the city needs little dressing to convey an other-worldly atmosphere. Reports have it that the currently untitled Avengers 4 shot a number of scenes in the city, which is sure to have a major impact on Japan’s production profile upon its release.

“japan’s naTural sense of creaTiviTy has solidified The counTry’s repuTaTion as one of The major producers of animaTed conTenT.”

Airbnb’s recent commercial, Don’t Go to Tokyo, Live There is a great way to see just how versatile the city can be as a filming location. Serviced by Twenty First City, the commercial takes a tour through several hotspots including Shinigawa and Ebisu, the latter of which is known for its trendy atmosphere and locales such as Yebisu Garden Place – a beautiful combination of luscious greenery and innovative design. Stepping away from the city however, you’ll find several locations that were recently used for Netflix’s international co-production, The Outsider (pictured above). Directed by Martin Pieter Zandvliet, this tale about the attempt of an American soldier to join the ranks of the Yakuza filmed at several Japanese temples including the Juko-Ji Temple and Fukujuji Temple.


location hiGhliGht

Hachijo-kojima island (as seen in Battle Royale) Kinji Fukasaku’s film about a class of students who are forced to fight to the death on a remote island has now become something of a cult classic but Battle Royale remains one of the only productions to make use of Hachijokojima island (above). Located 178 miles south of Tokyo and right next to the larger island of Hachijo-jima, Hachijo-kojima is entirely deserted. Without the interruption of civilisation to worry about, it is a filmmaker’s paradise where the island’s cinematic potential can be adapted to countless different ideas. In the case of Battle Royale, the island was exploited for its use as a battleground but the island could just as easily be adapted for a period project as a shoot would require no green screen effects in order to hide examples of modernity.

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essential facts incentives

While there’s no nationwide production incentive in Japan, film funds are available from organisations such as the Matsumoto, Nagoya and Kyushu Island area film commissions ata carnet

YES travel

Narita and Kansai are the two largest international airports in Japan, with direct flights inbound from Los Angeles, Auckland, Seoul and Dubai. recent productions

Martin Zandvliet’s The Outsider, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Anna & Ewan’s Don’t go to Tokyo, live there. time zone

GMT +9 best time to shoot

Springtime (March to May) offers a chance for filmmakers to capture the blooming cherry blossoms and to avoid large spells of rain. currency

YEN soundstaGes

Toho Studios boasts 10 soundstages and two post-production centres on site. contact

Ruriko Sekine at the Japan Film Commission (+81) 335 531 251 Images: e Outsider ©Netflix. Sean Pavone Photo.


Japan’s natural sense of creativity has solidified the country’s reputation as one of the major producers of animated content, with Studio Ghibli being a household name. That same sense of creativity was recently showcased in OK Go’s Obsession music video, which was produced by AOI Pro and features an ensemble of crazy visual effects that are dealt out by carefully timed printers – yes, printers. As previously mentioned, the high price of filming in Japan is not helped by the country’s lack of a national film incentive programme. In the absence of such a scheme however, local film commissions have taken it upon themselves to help international productions in any way they can. Several film funds are available from organisations such as the Matsumoto, Nagoya and Kyushu Island area film commissions. Alternative incentives are available, with the Osaka and Kobe film commissions offering to cover expenses incurred during a location scout, while the Aichi Prefecture Film Commission waives fees on street permits. As the tech capital of the world, Japan has plenty of the latest filmmaking equipment that can be rented locally, negating the need to import. Japanese innovation has also influenced the country’s train services, which are renowned for their ability to traverse the landscape in short periods of time. The Shinakansen (or bullet trains as we might call them) can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and rail passes are available for people who plan to spend no more than 90 days within the country. Most of Japan adheres to the humid subtropical climate which results in four distinct seasons and summers that can exceed 35°C, which can lead to severe discomfort for on location filming. Springtime (March to May) offers a chance for filmmakers to capture the blooming cherry blossoms and to avoid large spells of rain.

Japan’s hotel industry is quirky to say the least. Book and Bed Tokyo is an intriguing convergence between a library and a hostel but it’s clean and ultra-simplistic style make it incredibly affordable and an easy way to avoid heavy accommodation costs. On the other side of the equation, the Four Seasons Hotel in Kyoto has been designed with the intent of making every aspect of its expansive grounds exude luxury. There’s even an 800-year-old pond garden on the premises.

airbnb’s recenT spoT, DON’T GO TO TOKYO, LIVE THERE is a greaT way To see jusT how versaTile The ciTy can be as a filming locaTion.


For a contrast to the ultra-modernity of Tokyo, there’s nothing better for calming the soul than paying a visit to Japan’s temples and shrines. You could try Tosho-gu in Nikko (below), a brilliantly decorative Shinto shrine in a beautiful natural setting, Todai-ji, a Buddhist grand temple in Nara on the UNESCO World Heritage List, or maybe Senso-ji, Tokyo’s most visited temple. For a fine dining treat in Tokyo, you could hardly beat eating at Sekihotei. Its chef is one of the city’s finest practitioners of kaiseki – Japanese haute cuisine with a focus on artful, seasonal, and perfectly balanced food. The restaurant now boasts two Michelin stars.

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KENYA untapped brilliance of coffee products, BLM (Germany) sought out some of the best examples of the Kenyan landscape, including a local coffee farm which just seems to jump out of the screen when viewed on a high-definition system. Kenya currently lacks a formal production incentive programme, but with locations like these the rewards clearly outweigh any sense of risk. Plus there’s the consideration that because Kenya hasn’t become overrun with production activity, such as in South Africa, you could very well be one of the first international producers to bring some of these locations to a global audience.

kenya might lack a formal incentive programme, but it can provide a cinematic quality that some countries could only dream of. one look at the savannah will tell you everything you need to know.

Heading towards the centre of the country will decrease your chances of encountering any rainfall whilst on location but be sure to prepare for temperatures that can swing wildly as the day goes on. emember the striking imagery of Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa? There’s a reason why the Universal Pictures classic has stood the test of time and it’s not just Robert Redford’s devilishly good looks. The Kenyan landscape is a cinematic playground that can be used to add an extra layer of depth to any narrative you can think of.

Bringing things back to the present day, you can see this concept put to the test with Netflix’s science fiction series, Sense8 (pictured above). Kenya was one of several locations chosen for the high-end show but it stands out for having “you could some of Sense8’s most memorable very well be scenes. One particular spectacle is a death-defying car chase that one of The firsT takes place along one of Nairobi’s inTernaTional freeways, involving one of the lead producers cast members navigating a large To bring some van down the wrong side of the of These road. These impressive action sequences, which wouldn’t seem locaTions To out of place in the next Mission: a global Impossible film, were serviced by audience.” Ginger Ink Films. Kenya’s locations can also seamlessly transition to the needs of commercial producers. When tasked with constructing a commercial for Tchibo’s range


For Out of Africa fans, a trip to Karen Blixen’s House and Museum (above) is a must. The lovely colonial house where she lived between 1914 and 1931 has been preserved as a museum and is set in expansive gardens. The movie was actually shot at a nearby location so don’t be surprised if things don’t look entirely as you would expect. Carnivore is perhaps Kenya’s most famous and controversial restaurant. At the entrance is a huge barbecue pit laden with real swords of beef, pork, lamb, chicken – as well as farmed game meats such as crocodile, camel and ostrich. Strict new hunting laws mean that, thankfully, zebra, hartebeest and kudu are now off the menu. Image: Sense8 ©Murray Close & Netflix. Deborah Benbrook.


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The Incentive Gurus

Which aRE thE top coUntRiEs to shoot in? makers asks the world’s leading incentives eXPerts

Between them, Warner Bros.’ Karen Fouts and Entertainment Partners Joe Chianese advise some of Hollywood’s biggest films on where they should shoot to maximise their budget. But how do they arrive at their decisions, and which countries and US states are at the top of their incentives list?


n recent years, a whole new breed of executive has grown up in and around Hollywood – the location incentives expert.


budget. On average, most productions aim to secure 25-30% of their net budget via tax credits and incentives.

There’s no surprise why this is so: international competition to lure US productions is more intense than ever, with countries and states vying with each other to land high spending projects.

Whole departments have sprung into being at the Hollywood studios with the sole purpose of tracking and maximising incentives, while an array of consulting businesses are on hand to advise independents on where to shoot their films.

Weighing through the competing location incentives and selecting where to film is a complex and time consuming job. It’s also a vital one. As the value of these production incentives has grown, they have become a crucial cornerstone of any film or TV

Warner Bros. Pictures (WB), for example, shoots a significant number of its big films outside the US, including Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, Tomb

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Raider and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Last year, WB produced its films in 15 different countries. Karen Fouts, SVP of production planning at WB, is the executive responsible for helping to choose where the studio’s films shoot.

iT’S SUch A cOmPeTiTiVe glOBAl mARKeTPlAce FOR PRODUcTiOn nOW. The leVel OF exPeRTiSe AnD SOPhiSTicATiOn ReqUiReD nOW VeRSUS 20 YeARS AgO iS exPOnenTiAllY mORe DiFFicUlT.

In many ways, her career has blossomed in parallel with the rise of location incentives. She started in the film business in 1986 as a staff accountant at WB. It was while working on the 1997 film Murder at 1600, which filmed in Toronto, that she became known as the go to ‘tax credit’ person at WB. Fouts says she took to tax credits ‘like a duck to water’ and her career evolved from there. During those early days of tax credits, she realised there was a need for what she calls a “translator,” someone who could coordinate information between the attorneys and advisors who were laying out the requirements to obtain them and the production accountants working on the shows. As more and more tax credits, both foreign and domestic, became available, she spent an increasing amount of her time focusing on tax credits. Eventually, six years ago, she was asked to head up her own WB division called Production Planning. “It’s such a competitive global marketplace for production now,” says Fouts, pointing out that her department must be prepared to do five to seven budgets for various locations in both the US and abroad. “The level of expertise and sophistication required now versus 20 years ago is exponentially more difficult.” Her team oversees production incentives on WB produced TV and features from cradle to grave. Part of their role is to keep all WB production executives and line producers informed on the latest incentives, changes in rules, regulations and legislation. They also prepare and submit all initial and final incentive applications. “At any one time, we are tracking 250 plus applications that are in various stages of completion,” says Fouts. “Some projects are more complicated as they have multiple incentives, as an example say a feature film in New York and Massachusetts with VFX services provided in Australia and Canada and for good measure let’s throw in some additional photography in Georgia. Now, that is a lot of juggling!”

Images: Tomb Raider, Fantastic Beasts: e Crimes of Grindelwald & Crazy Rich Asians - Warner Bros. Pics.


It’s an ever-changing business too, she says. Last year, for example, WB filmed Crazy Rich Asians in Malaysia and Singapore, and it was the first time she’d worked on incentives from the two countries. Fouts likes to get involved early in a project’s life, starting conversations with production executives and producers to work out what is best for it financially and creatively. Even though incentives “The reason [some are at the top of the list, counTries] are notes Fouts, they aren’t being used more the only point to is because of consider. It depends on the script, plus other consisTency. if you key factors such as have a jurisdicTion infrastructure, crew ThaT has availability, safety, ease consisTency in of film permits and law, funding and visas, and a prior history of success. process – ThaT is whaT producers

It’s then that her team wanT To see.” will research possible locations’ incentives and availability, providing feedback with her recommendations and advising which costs qualify in each jurisdiction. “Our budgeting division will prepare three to five budgets for different locations,” she explains. “It is these net numbers which are used for greenlight purposes.”

At any one time, her team can be working on 90-100 projects across WB’s feature, television, DVD and streaming divisions. However, the number is much higher as her team is actively involved in a project until the incentive is received, which is usually longer after release or air dates. Fouts won’t be drawn on which countries are at the top of her list in terms of incentives. “It’s a matter of aligning each project with the right location, she says diplomatically. As for US states, she says there isn’t a one size fits all. WB, she says, frequently films in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York and California. What she is clear on is how the global incentive landscape is constantly changing.

taX credits

toP countries 79

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“I’m constantly amazed at the new incentives that seem to just pop up.” If Fouts is a perfect exemplar of the rise of the inhouse studio incentives expert, then Joe Chianese, executive VP of Entertainment Partners Financial Solutions (EP), fulfils a similar role on an independent basis. A recent Variety profile described Chianese as being “on the speed dial of many Hollywood producers” given the importance of incentives and tax credits to virtually every film and TV project. Chianese joined payroll and accounting specialists EP in 2006 from Sony Pictures, where he was director of tax. “Mark Goldstein, our CEO, saw that incentives were going to be a crucial part of production planning for our clients,” says Chianese.

OUR BUDgeTing DiViSiOn Will PRePARe ThRee TO FiVe BUDgeTS FOR DiFFeRenT lOcATiOnS. iT iS TheSe neT nUmBeRS Which ARe USeD FOR gReenlighT PURPOSeS.

His team not only tracks incentives legislation, but also spends hours every week advising clients and prospective customers on where to shoot their productions. EP manages the application process for incentives and will also finance tax credits so productions can receive their cash up front. Chianese reckons EP speaks to up to 8,000 clients a year, from the studios to the major independents and the new generation of content producers such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple. “We basically do 70-75% of the market for film and television.” Not only can Chianese advise on the best incentives, but because of the breadth of EP’s work he can tell producers how busy a jurisdiction is. That’s crucial, because if all the top crews are booked up, a production will have to ship in their own crew. As so many incentives are tied to the use of local crew, it may mean the production can’t actually access the incentives it came for. Incentives, he says, have created a new generation of producers who aren’t afraid to go anywhere in the world. Until recently, producers might have run budgets for California, New York, Canada and the UK. Now they might run 15 budgets based on locations and their programmes. So which are his top recommendations? There’s no popularity list, he says, it’s more about which locations are used more. “The reason they are being used more is because of consistency. If you have a jurisdiction that has consistency in law, funding and process – that is what producers want to see.” And that is why so many go to places like Canada, the UK, Georgia in the US, California as its programme continues to improve, and New York State. Consistency, he adds, is the most ingenious way to attract productions. “Everyone is touting the success of Georgia as if it happened overnight.” Georgia, he explains, launched their incentive back in 2006. “It has only been the last two or three years that all of a sudden they have experienced great success.” Infrastructure has followed the productions too; Pinewood built its first and only studio in the US in Atlanta, Georgia. reBates locations



If a country is thinking of launching an incentive, it shouldn’t expect to see a return on its investment in one or two years. “It’s a five to ten year investment,” says Chianese. He cites Louisiana as an example of what happens when states amend their incentives for the worse. After tweaking their legislation in 2105, “they had a bit of a tailspin.” He adds that Louisiana has come back strong after passing new legislation in July. He says about 35 jurisdictions in the US offer incentives. 15 are very popular, the other 20 are viable options. He picks out Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York. He notes there are three types of incentive in the US: refundable tax credits, transferable credits and rebates. The money all flows back to the producer at different times. “If you are a producer who “if producers need needs that money quick, The money quick, I steer them towards i sTeer Them rebate states,” says Towards rebaTe Chianese. Rebate states, like Oklahoma, South sTaTes.” Carolina and Minnesota, will typically return the money between 45-60 days after the start of principal photography. Of course, though, the percentages offered aren’t usually as large as the credit states. Chianese notes that when he started in 2006, 45 US jurisdictions offered incentives – but now just 35 do. “Programmes come and go. One programme I was sorry to see go was Florida.” Local programmes have stepped in to fill the gap, such as the one offered by Miami-Dade County in Florida. Likewise, Texas doesn’t have an incentive, but several cities in the state do. Casting his eye further afield, he reiterates the popularity of the UK and Canada, mainly because of the ‘certainty’ of their programmes and a long track record of successfully delivering projects. Ireland, he adds, has become very popular lately (the country offers a generous 32% rebate). “What they are lacking is infrastructure in terms of stages and crews, but as they get continuous work that will improve.” Chianese also points to Germany, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Hungary and the Czech Republic. He also picks out the country of Georgia. “I was invited to go there with a group of producers on a FAM tour. While there we sat in a room and discussed the possibility of an incentive. Less than three months later, there was an incentive on the books.” Of the up and coming countries, Chianese cites Thailand, Morocco and Jordan. One thing he also is clear about is that incentives are here to stay. “When they all came out, everyone thought it was a timing game – that they would all go away eventually. But incentives are never going to go away.”

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MALAYSIA beaches galore

malaysia is a wonderful destination for paradise locations but the country can also easily be used for doubling. throw in a 30% cash rebate and there isn’t much that malaysia can’t do.

he time has finally come – Malaysia is no longer the only country within Southeast Asia to tote a traditional film incentive programme. In 2017, Thailand introduced its own cash rebate to compete with Malaysia and attract more foreign producers. Given the growing popularity of film incentives as a staple of any major production hub, it was only a matter of time until serious competition turned up on Malaysia’s doorstep.

Having had a film incentive since 2013 however, Malaysia has had a massive head start and still boasts some world class production facilities to cement its credentials. It offers a 30% cash rebate on all eligible expenditures incurred whilst filming in the country – these expenditures must exceed MYR5 million. Eligibility is also granted by entering into a co-production agreement with a Malaysian entity. “redang island could easily be misTaken for bora bora, Thanks To The crysTal-clear waTer ThaT surrounds iT.”

Keen to expand its VFX capabilities, Malaysia’s incentive also extends to post-production work. A minimum postproduction spend of MYR1.5 million is required to access the cash rebate. In all cases, applications must be submitted at least three months before production begins.

While the incentive is a crucial component of Malaysia’s production hub, it is not the only aspect of the country that has attracted the attention of so many foreign producers – a great deal of that can be owed to Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios. The Pinewood brand has become synonymous with quality, and with five state-of-the-art soundstages, two HD equipped television studios and a 14-acre 82

location hiGhliGht

Pahang National Park

Pahang National Park is a vast rainforest which boasts an overall size 4,343 km2. As the oldest deciduous rainforest in the world, there’s no denying that Pahang will appeal mostly to documentarians. One of the park’s best locations is a long canopy walkway which provides a fantastic opportunity to gain a panoramic shot of the jungle that lies below – it’s not for those with a fear of heights. Be aware however that before visiting the park you must obtain a permit from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. With that said, a regular bus service runs from Kuala Lampur to the National Park, saving you the need to seek out a private company to transport equipment to the site.

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backlot (with 30-acres of forestation), the Malaysia branch is no exception. The studio also has Southeast Asia’s largest indoor water tank and an exterior tank with green-screen capabilities.

essential facts incentives

Malaysia offers a 30% cash rebate on all eligible expenditures incurred while filming in the country – these expenditures must exceed MYR5 million. cash rebate

30% travel

Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s main international airport and connects directly with Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo and Seoul. ata carnet


recent productions

Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians (pictured on previous page), Shivan Nair’s Naam Shabana, John Hillcoat’s Expedia/Train. time zone

GMT +8 best time to shoot

The country undergoes two monsoon seasons, one in the Southwest from April to September and the other in the Northeast from October to March. Avoid these periods to prevent having your shoot derailed by harsh wind and rain. currency

RINGGIT soundstaGes

Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios has five soundstages, two HD equipped television studios, a 14-acre backlot (with 30-acres of forestation) and Southeast Asia’s largest indoor water tank. contact

Fauzi Ayob at the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (+60) 341 041 300 / Images: Crazy Rich Asians ©Warner Bros. Pics. Rizal Zawawi98.


Outside of the studio system, Malaysia features a surprising array of locations considering just how small the country is. Given that Malaysia is surrounded by water on almost all sides, the country specialises in stunning beach locations that are desired by filmmakers and tourists alike. Redang Island could easily be mistaken for Bora Bora, thanks to the crystal-clear water that surrounds it – a perfect spot for any underwater shoots. Due to its film-friendly and cost-effective nature, Malaysia is often used as a double for similar locations. Channel 4’s period drama, Indian Summers (pictured left), was actually shot in Penang despite its seemingly conclusive title. Not only was Penang able to convincingly cheat for the foothills of the Himalayas but it was also able to portray the show’s 1930s setting with little dressing. As executive producer Charlie Pattinson explained: “These properties were in a time warp.” In an even stranger case of doubling, Kuala Lumpur was used as a cheat for Manchester in the BBC’s Our Girl. By using a local café and obscuring the frontage with heavy use of a rain machine, the production was able to achieve the illusion of filming in the British city. Just like their film and TV counterparts, commercial producers have also fallen for the opportunities offered by Malaysia’s diverse landscape. Expedia’s latest commercial, entitled Train, is an ode to the joy of traveling around the world and yet the production was able to capture this theme by using locations found solely in Malaysia and Uruguay. It’s an outstanding commercial that production company Blink Films can be truly proud of. Malaysia’s proximity to the equator has bestowed the country with a climate comprised of hot temperatures and consistent humidity. The country undergoes two monsoon seasons, one in the Southwest from April to September and the other in the Northeast from October to March. Avoid these periods to prevent having your shoot derailed by harsh wind and rain. The impact of the tourism industry on Malaysia’s economy is profound and as such, you can expect to find some of the finest hotels in the world. The surprisingly affordable Gaya Island Resort has some incredible seaside views across its private beach, which are made even better if witnessed from one of the resort’s infinity pools.

The impacT of The Tourism indusTry on malaysia’s economy is profound and as such, you can expecT To find some of The finesT hoTels in The world.”


If you really want to get away from it all in Malaysia then head to the Taman Negara National Park – an ancient tropical rainforest in the heart of the country. You can spend up to 10 days hiking through the forest (watch out for the leeches though) and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot wild elephants. Kuala Lumpur’s capital is paved with food – street food, in fact, which can be found on every corner. Head to Jalan Alor, a street that is more like an extended outdoor restaurant, or Taman Connaught, a 2km long night market with over 700 stalls selling cheap goods and food from all over the continent.

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MALTA easy doubling

malta is already an industry favourite among producers who are looking to double middle eastern and mediterranean locations at a cost-effective rate, with experienced crew and above all, in a safe environment.

alta ranks as one of the great emerging production hubs of the last few years, and a key reason is that it looks like so many places that film and TV shows fear they can’t safely film in. If you are making a show that is set against a backdrop of the political tensions and ongoing wars in the Middle East, then Malta might just be the perfect location.

Located between Sicily and Tunisia, this island country boasts an eclectic history that has bestowed it with an architectural style that is incredibly similar to that of the Middle East, making it a prime location for doubling. Malta has already “Two of The hosted several major projects largesT waTer including Murder on the Orient Express (pictured above) 13 Tanks in The Hours (doubling for Libya), world can be World War Z (doubling for found aT malTa Jerusalem) and Munich (doubling film sTudios.” for Cyprus, Tel Aviv and Rome). In addition, Malta has also been used several times for HBO’s Game of Thrones, prominently combined with locations in Croatia to portray King’s Landing. One of the more intriguing instances of doubling comes from Justin Kurzel’s video game adaptation of Assassin’s Creed, which doubled Valletta (Malta’s capital) for 15th century Spain. “Valletta is packed with businesses, lots of residents, narrow streets and limited parking – all the usual fun stuff,” says Joseph Formosa Randon, location manager for Assassin’s Creed. The production more or less took over the city centre, closing main streets for a couple of weeks, transforming it all into 15th century Seville. Assassin’s Creed also used sensitive



As one might expect, Malta’s best restaurants and nightlife venues can be found in the capital of Valletta. Rubino is one of the country’s most popular restaurants and with good reason. Serving food since 1906, Rubino provides numerous locally sourced fish-based dishes, just be sure to book a table before you visit. Just a few streets away you’ll find an unassuming but no less impressive restaurant by the name of Taproom. The restaurant’s cosy environment is complemented by the rustic interior and open kitchen. If you have the time, St. John’s Cathedral (pictured above) is well-worth a visit. While the 16th century building is worth visiting in its own right, particularly for its golden interior that was redesigned in the Baroque style, it has several notable works of art inside including The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio.

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Q&A moritz polter producer

Das Boot

Q: How did Malta come to be a major

location for Das Boot? A: Malta was our first choice when it came to deciding where to shoot in open water, because not only could we use the sea but also the unique Maltese water tank (pictured on next page). The support from Malta Film Commission was also hugely helpful and it has been a great experience working with the local people. Q: How did you become involved in Das Boot? A: Two years ago, I started working for Bavaria Fiction to run the new international co-productions division, which was created to produce shows like Das Boot and Arctic Circle. Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot was originally produced by Bavaria Film – one of our holding companies – alongside ZDF Enterprises. It was clear early on that we did not want to do a remake, but instead develop a series that is set in the world of the book and picks up the story nine months after the original movie. Q: Were any other locations considered

before settling on Malta? A: We wanted to secure a crew that had the expertise to shoot in the open ocean, which is a dangerous undertaking, and we knew that the local producers in Malta had experience of doing this since Troy and U-571.

locations within Valletta: the Grand Master’s Palace, the National Library and St. Dominic Church. Fort Delimara was used for a chase sequence through underground tunnels while Fort Ricasoli and Fort Manoel provided the backdrop to some spectacular set builds. The market for doubling Middle Eastern locations is a booming one and it is here that Malta finds itself regularly in competition with countries including South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. There are several factors, however, that allow Malta to stay one step ahead of its competitors, one of which is its water tank facilities. Two of the largest water tanks in the world can be found at Malta Film Studios, the scale of which allow for easy shallow and underwater shoots. The upcoming USD32 million television sequel to Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot (pictured below) not only made extensive use of the tanks for exterior boat shots but also the sea nearby. That same sea-view is responsible for Malta’s appeal with commercial productions. If you were to take 20 minutes and look at the latest output of commercials from Malta, chances are that most of them incorporate the Mediterranean Sea to some degree. Chanel’s recent spot for its Allure Homme Sport fragrance takes a physics-bending trip into the Mediterranean Sea, showcasing just how clear the water is and how seamlessly filmmakers can achieve underwater shoots. Another factor is Malta’s favour is its film-friendly Government which has proven its dedication in making Malta one of the world’s top locations. Malta’s cash rebate incentive was recently expanded to offer 25% on local expenditure - an amount that is fast becoming the accepted norm worldwide – but an additional 2% can be obtained when productions portray Malta for itself. This incentive pales in comparison, however, to the 150% tax deduction that is offered to domestic production, an unprecedented move from the national Government that encourages local filmmaking and provides training for upcoming production professionals. Given the lack of crew to meet demand in certain countries, it’s refreshing to see steps being taken to avoid similar issues in Malta. With an overall area of only 316 km², it would be fair to assume that Malta doesn’t have a labour pool large enough to match production hubs like Spain or even Greece. But as one of the most densely populated countries in the world, it’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself scrambling for local crew. One of the biggest shoots to have occurred in the country was for the 2004 epic, Troy, which employed a total of 500 local crew members. Malta’s talent has proven themselves time and time again that they can compete with some of the leading crews in filmmaking.


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essential facts incentives

A 25% cash rebate can be accessed by productions that incur a minimum spend of roughly USD106,000. To receive the highest possible rate of 27%, Malta must be portrayed as itself in the final product. The rebate will be received no later than five months after the final application has been submitted. cash rebate

27% travel

Malta has but one airport on the whole island, luckily for filmmakers however there are direct flights from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. ata carnet


recent productions

Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, José Padilha’s 7 Days in Entebbe, Michael Cuesta’s American Assassin. time zone

GMT +1 best time to shoot

February to May presents the best opportunity to capture Malta at its finest. October through to January brings a ton of rainfall to the island while tourists flock to Malta in the summertime, making it very tricky to organise a lock-off. currency

EURO contact

Johann Grech at the Malta Film Commission (+356) 2180 9137 Images: ©Nik Konietzny / Bavaria Fiction GmbH & Malta Film Commission. Murder on the Orient Express (2017) photo credit: Nicola Dove.


While the chances of bumping into another production are fairly slim, what should be a concern is the island’s popularity as a tourist destination and its ability to affect the parameters of a shoot. Droves of tourists descend upon Malta from June to August, making February to May the best time to shoot on location, providing you with cheaper rates and a quieter set. If you do decide to shoot in the summer then be prepared for temperatures as high as 30°C. March and July are particularly busy with public events including the Good Friday procession and the Festival of Figs respectively, but there are several more throughout the year that are worth keeping an eye on. As of yet, Malta is currently without a fully-fledged film studio and so it is unable to cater to high-end projects that are looking to shoot both on location and on large sound stages while in the country. However, having adopted the Euro and at only a short distance away from the European continent, Malta is a cost-effective and very accessible location. Thanks to Malta’s established tourism industry, there is a huge amount of variety when it comes to choosing accommodation. For housing crew, you can do far worse than the Corinthia Hotel in St. George’s Bay. With computer and mobile hire, Wi-Fi throughout the premises and two meeting rooms onsite, Corinthia is an optimal location to set-up a unit base. Intercontinental Malta on the other hand is all about luxury, boasting 451 designer rooms and a large-scale lagoon inspired pool. Intercontinental provides plenty of ways for talent to relax and spend their downtime. There’s even a “skybeach” where people can escape from the world below and soak up an incredible view of Malta’s skyline.

location hiGhliGht

Fort Ricasoli (as seen in Troy, Game of Thrones and Assassin’s Creed) When discussing Malta in any filmmaking context, it’s hard to think of a more popular location than Fort Ricasoli (pictured above) in the nation’s capital of Valetta. Built sometime between 1670 and 1698, and placed on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998, the Fort is a Godsend for filmmakers. While the site isn’t as well preserved at some would like it to be (expect to see an occasional crumbling wall), the fact that it connects the land to the sea provides it with two distinct backdrops that can cheat as two different locations. One of the Fort’s more eye-catching spots is its southern gate which features two opposing pillars, both of which are propped up by some magnificent brickwork. The location was shot and dressed to portray the Red Keep in Game of Thrones, showing how the environment could be adapted to fit a specific request. Be aware however that Fort Ricasoli had a part to play in Malta’s industrial history, with one area of the grounds being used to house several oil tanks. While it is possible to film around the tanks, it’s worth keeping an eye on them to ensure they aren’t creeping into a shot.

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Shooting strains

The world’s top two film and TV production centres, London and Georgia, are both facing strains amid rising demand for their crews and facilities. makers reports on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each location for international producers, with a focus on skills, rates and stage space.


n many ways, it’s a good problem to have. Two of the world’s biggest filming locations, the UK and the US state of Georgia, are struggling to cope with demand from inward investment productions.


In the UK, meanwhile, a record USD3.37bn was spent by inward investment films and TV productions in 2017, including Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

That’s not surprising when you look at the figures. 320 film and TV productions spent USD2.7bn in Georgia in the 2017 financial year, including several Marvel movies, Netflix's Stranger Things and AMC's The Walking Dead. All this in a state where just USD67.7m was spent on production back in 2007.

The challenge facing the UK is two-fold. There’s an acknowledged shortage of studio space in and around London, a city where developing major new infrastructure is both costly and hampered by planning regulations. There’s also concern about a lack of skills to meet demand. A recent British Film Institute report said

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the industry needs 10,000 new entrants to join the workforce in the next five years, and identified multiple skills gaps in key areas such as production departments, art departments, construction, electrical, camera, costume, hair and make-up, post-production, and visual effects. A US BlOcKBUSTeR cOUlD enTiRelY cReW The mOVie OUT OF The UK, inclUDing hODS. YOU cOUlDn’T DO ThAT in ATlAnTA.

Stage space is less of an issue in Georgia, which has seen an explosion in studio building in recent years. For example, Pinewood Studios built its Atlanta campus in 2014 with six sound stages. After two expansions, the 700-acre site already houses 18 sound stages. The bigger issue for Georgia is the depth of its crew base. Many productions still have to ship in key crew from outside the state to work on their projects. One executive with a good view on the relative strengths and weaknesses of London and Georgia as film production bases is Nik Korda, the executive producer of Marvel hit Guardians of the Galaxy. The first film in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise shot in London, but Vol. 2 moved to Georgia. Vol. 3 is now gearing up to shoot in Georgia as well. Both London and Georgia have a lot of similarities, says Korda, in particular very attractive tax breaks which have lured in productions. But the reason for moving Guardians of the Galaxy to Georgia, says Korda, was straightforward: “They ran out of stage space in London. We couldn’t get in.” By comparison, he points to the speed at which a large number of studios have been built in Georgia to meet demand. Another big plus for Georgia is its proximity to Hollywood; it’s only a 4.5 hour flight from LA. The crew base in Georgia is also expanding, he says, and getting better all the time. A lot of very good crew from LA have upped sticks and moved with their families to the Atlanta area because they can find work easily. That said, Guardians of the Galaxy had to bring in nearly 80 construction crew from outside Atlanta to support the construction of the set, including paint finishers, sculptors, metalworkers and carpenters. Few heads of department are based in Atlanta either.

By comparison, one of the big strengths of London is the depth and skills of its crew base. “You are always able to service big movies, and you don’t have to bring people in. A blockbuster could entirely crew the movie out of the UK, including HoDs. You couldn’t do that in Atlanta.” Guardians of the Galaxy, he says, spends a lot of money housing non-Atlanta crew in the region. Georgia is also more expensive to shoot in, says Korda, citing set build costs. “US construction is still more expensive than UK construction.” However, the fall in the value of the pound has hidden many of the pay rises that have gone to UK crews. “If and when the pound goes back to its normal range of between $1.45-1.70, suddenly UK rates will start to look comparable or more expensive than American rates.” His point is echoed by Sarah Bradshaw, executive producer of The Mummy and The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, which is now filming in London. She says that rates are creeping up, perhaps more than they should be. Both Bradshaw and Korda also say the high demand for crew in London and Atlanta means that they are often progressing through the ranks very quickly – sometimes too quickly according to top producers. Bradshaw says that 10 years ago someone might work as a production assistant for five movies before being promoted, now it is just two or three. “It does concern me that people are moving up too quickly,” she says. Bradshaw adds that some of the hardest positions to fill on big films are in areas such as administration and accounting. She points to a shortage of back office rather than on-set staff, including production coordinators, production assistants and production secretaries. Part of the problem is that movies have got so big, with so many people in each department, that recruiting for them has become much more challenging – particularly in busy locations like London and Atlanta. For example, both Bradshaw and Korda point to a lack of accountants working in production. “If you want to be an accountant in the film industry, you’d have a job for life,” says Korda.

Images: Guardians Of e Galaxy ©Marvel Studios & Solo: A Star Wars Story ©Lucasfilm Ltd.


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focus on tv advertising he picture for the TV advertising market was looking pretty bleak at the start of the year. 2018 would be the year that digital ad spend overtook television for the first time, accounting for 38.3% (or US$220.3bn) of total global ad spend compared to TV at 35.5%, predicted forecasters at ad giant Dentsu Aegis.

However, the digital market has wobbled in recent months. Concerns about the number of people really watching digital ads, the misuse of data, and about brand safety — the running of campaigns alongside inappropriate content — have come to the fore for advertisers. The reputation and share prices of Facebook and Google, which between them account for 84% of all internet spend, have been hard hit. Unilever threatened to pull its ads from digital platforms if they “create division”, foster hate or fail to protect children. Procter & Gamble, meanwhile, has cut its digital budget, questioning whether its marketing was being seen by bots rather than real people. Against this background, makers asked Lindsey Clay, the chief executive of industry body Thinkbox, to put forward the case for TV advertising:

makers maG

Aren’t young people doing other things apart from watch TV? lindsey clay

I think that is patently untrue. TV is changing. Young people are enthusiastic adopters of watching TV on other platforms – in whatever way makes it as flexible as possible. In 2017, live TV in the UK was the most popular form of video for 16-34 year olds. 33% of their video viewing was to live TV. Another 9.6% of their viewing was to playback TV, and 6.4% to broadcaster VoD. So half of their total viewing is to TV. If you add in SVoD viewing to that, it’s over 60%. makers maG

But the viewing behaviour of young people is very different from older audiences? lindsey clay

Yes, it is different. They are much more flexible about their viewing. Certainly, the data says that young people watch more YouTube, Facebook and online video than older audiences. The big debate in the industry is: is this a cohort effect or a life stage effect? In other words, is there something about this cohort that means their behaviour is going to be markedly different from previous generations as they age? Traditionally 18 is the lowest point for TV viewing. There’s a good reason for that – you are very distracted by other things and haven’t got control of your

own TV set. But millenials’ (16-34s) viewing of TV on a TV set markedly increases as they age and have kids. Their viewing of broadcaster VoD stays about the same, SVoD declines a bit, and the viewing of online video declines quite markedly.

commercial TV broadcasters – they have to keep the standard of commercial TV programming really high to compete.

makers maG

lindsey clay

So why all the doom and gloom about predictions for future TV viewing? lindsey clay

People make poor forecasts. They allow their excitement of the technology to overcome their understanding of human nature. Technology changes very fast, human nature changes very slowly. The need is still there to be comforted, to escape, to be entertained, to indulge. As long as TV continues to serve those needs better than anything else, it will continue to do extremely well. As young people get older, they evolve a bit and TV serves them brilliantly. makers maG

What about the rise of SVoD – isn’t that a threat to traditional TV? lindsey clay

People slightly obsess about Netflix in particular and Amazon Prime. But the reality is they haven’t got any advertising on them. So they are maybe a competitor for time but they are not a competitor for advertising spend. In a way that is a very positive thing for the

makers maG

But doesn’t everyone skip the ads in TV? If you want to get your ad seen in full, with the sound on and at scale, then TV is hugely dominant. The view through rate of online video is a big debate in advertising… at the moment a view is counted if it just starts. makers maG

What is the climate like for TV advertising? lindsey clay

It is a very tough climate for advertising but that is not to do with the fundamentals of TV. It is primarily to do with economic issues. 2017 will be the first year in eight years that TV revenues will decline slightly. We have had seven years of record growth for TV advertising. In 2017 there was some rebalancing. But the last quarter of the year has seen growth and the first quarter of this year is positive as well, so actually the pendulum is swinging back to TV.


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ROMANIA horror favourite

romania might not have a film incentive yet but the country can still offer fantastic locations at a very low price. the country’s gothic architecture is also striking a chord on the horror scene with an increasing number of feature films.

he next 12 months will be a crucial time for Romania’s production industry as the Government will have to decide if it wants to commit to the idea of introducing a production incentive. The issue has been brought into focus as neighbouring Serbia recently expanded its incentive to offer a 25% cash rebate, over the previous 20% rate. In the time since Serbia installed its incentive in 2016, its existence hasn’t had a major effect on Romania’s production industry but this new and improved rate could make all the difference.

A Romanian production incentive was previously announced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 but the bill was rejected by the then newly elected Social-Democratic Party. Since then, a petition urging the Government to reconsider such a proposal has garnered the signatures of over 1,500 “as far as film production professionals, showing sTudios are that the debate on financial concerned, romania incentives is far from over. has some fanTasTic producTion faciliTies ThaT can compeTe on a global level.”

Still, working in Romania’s favour are its highly cost-effective rates on goods and services that have made the country a key player in the commercials industry. Produced by It’s Us Media and serviced by Family Film, the latest commercial for Consorsbank took advantage of the full range of location types available in Romania.

The five-day shoot spent two days in Bucharest and then moved into the mountains. Producer Raluca Mateescu says: “We proposed picturesque locations that would equal the beauty of Tyrol landscapes, where the photo shoot had happened before filming.


location hiGhliGht

The Transfagarasan road (as seen in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Top Gear) Television host Jeremy Clarkson once described the Transfagarasan (above) as “the best road in the world” and we’re inclined to agree with him. This magnificent highway cuts through the Carpathian Mountains in a collection of twists and turns over a 90km stretch, connecting the regions of Transylvania and Wallachia. The Transfagarasan was originally designed for strategic purposes, with its convoluted design intended as a means of preventing the road from being easily blocked by Soviet military forces. Since its creation, the Transfagarasan has gone on to star in several productions including a segment of the BBC’s Top Gear. More recently, however, the road was used for an adrenalinepumping car chase in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Only a portion of the track was used for the film but it highlighted the potential for how a future production might go one step further.

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We shot the airplane scenes at Prejmer, at the bottom of Bucegi mountains. And we then travelled into the heart of Bucegi mountains - Transbucegi and Transbabele (2000m altitude roads) - where we had lovely weather and enjoyed the sun. We biked up and down the mountain peak avoiding the first snow that fell in early September and on the last day we shot a lovely tree house which we had built especially for the shoot, deep inside a virgin forest.”

essential facts incentives

There is no film incentive scheme in Romania as of yet but local production professionals are lobbying for one to be installed. ata carnet

YES travel

Bucharest’s Henri Coanda International Airport services more flights than anywhere else in country, from locations such as Munich, London, Paris and Dubai. soundstaGes

Castel Film Studios and Bucharest Film Studios are two of the country’s best facilities and have 29 soundstages between them. recent productions

Corin Hardy’s The Nun, Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, Oliver Wuerfell’s Consorsbank Stories. time zone

GMT +2 best time to shoot

To get the most of the country, we recommend visiting in either April, May or September to enjoy long shoot days without the hassle of tourists. currency

LEU contact

Cristian Hordila at Romanian Film Promotion (+40) 213 104 301 Images: Alien Film & Andrei Tudoran.


Meanwhile, feature film directors are now capitalising on Romania’s potential for horror projects. David Bruckner’s The Ritual sees four friends embark on a hike in Northern Sweden to honour a recently deceased friend but as one would expect from a horror film, things go south very quickly. Although Sweden acts as the setting of the film’s chaos, the production actually filmed on location in the Carpathian Mountains which offer a gruelling sense of isolation that plays into the narrative. Even though The Ritual received a lukewarm reaction at the box office, Romania’s capacity for scares is expected to be cemented with the upcoming release of Corin Hardy’s The Nun. Set within the cinematic universe of The Conjuring, its producers are banking on the film’s connection with the series to guarantee its financial success. One of The Nun’s main locations was Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, which was built in the 14th century under the Gothic-Renaissance style. The castle’s long, dark hallways seem as though they were built with the film in mind. When deciding which time of year to shoot in Romania, bear in mind that the temperature in the country’s winter months (December – February) can plummet to well below freezing. To get the most of the country, we recommend visiting in either April, May or September to enjoy long shoot days without the hassle of tourists. As far as film studios are concerned, Romania has some fantastic production facilities that can compete on a global level. Among the country’s best are Castel Film Studios and Bucharest Film Studios which have 29 soundstages between them.

feaTure film direcTors are now capiTalising on romania’s poTenTial for horror projecTs.


If you have some time on your hands after a day’s shoot, why not head to famed Transylvania for a tour of its castles? The aforementioned Corvin Castle (below) is a spellbinding, turreted fortress where you are free to roam. Alternatively, you could visit the moat-fringed Fagaras Citadel, an impressively intact fortification right in the heart of medieval Transylvania. For a taste of traditional Romanian cuisine, we’d recommend Bucharest restaurant Hanu' Berarilor. It’s well positioned, lively and has a beautiful interior - you could start with the landlord’s platter and then move on to the Romanian bean casserole with smoked pork.

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RUSSIA new opportunity

With the 2018 fifa World cup around the corner and the moscow film commission having recently been established, russia is keen to attract international producers who have yet to experience its broad landscape.

his year has the potential to turn things around for Russia’s production industry and give its labour pool a chance to show that their skill shouldn’t be marred by the negative press coverage that has dogged the country in recent months. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or just aren’t a fan of football) then you’ll know that this year, Russia will be hosting the 21st FIFA World Cup.

While a momentous occasion in its own right, the World Cup will shine an international spotlight on Russia which is sure to attract the attention of producers. National Geographic has already made the trip to Moscow with shoots for its upcoming series, Amazing Russia: Soccer. “due To iTs iconic archiTecTure and The incomparable red square, moscow is one of russia’s mosT popular filming locaTions.”

Speaking of Moscow, the Russian capital now has a trick up its sleeve to capitalise on the increased attention from the World Cup. The Moscow Film Commission was established early last year, providing international filmmakers with a clear first point of contact when looking to shoot on location within the city. Due to its iconic architecture and the incomparable Red Square, Moscow is one of Russia’s most popular filming locations, having hosted a variety of notable productions including Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. With the MFC set up, Russia has an opportunity to curb the number of productions that have doubled the country in other locations, with the BBC’s McMafia being a recent example.


location hiGhliGht

Catherine Palace (as seen in War & Peace) Anyone who has seen the BBC’s recent adaptation of War & Peace will know what a fantastic job the team did in putting some of Russia’s best locations to use. Out of all the scenes shot in Russia, however, it is those at Catherine Palace (above) that really stand out. Just 30km south St Petersburg, this magnificent display of Russian architecture is where the Tsars would reside during the summer months of their rule. The palace’s ballroom was used to great effect in War & Peace, with the room’s golden interior taking on a seductive tone with the use of dim lights. While it wasn’t used by the production, the palace chapel is well worth a visit for its extravagant design which crams as much artwork into the space as is physically possible.

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Moscow’s potential for period projects was recently highlighted with the BBC’s high-end adaptation of War and Peace. While not the first adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel to emerge from the BBC, it was the first to film in Russia as the political environment of the Soviet Union prevented the 1972 version (starring Anthony Hopkins) from doing so. The difference between these two adaptations is immediately apparent as the use of grand locations such as Catherine Palace and Yusupov Palace adds a layer of authenticity that was sorely lacking.

The world cup will shine an inTernaTional spoTlighT on russia which is sure To aTTracT The aTTenTion of producers.


For sheer grandeur, few cities can rival St Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital. Its museums have an almost unrivalled treasure trove of art and culture. You could spend days wandering the Hermitage (below), seeing everything from Egyptian mummies to Picasso or see the best collection of Russian art in the world at the Russian Museum, housed over four beautiful palaces. Over in Moscow, the Hotel National is right in the heart of the city (some rooms have views of the Red Square). There's a swimming pool, sauna and a gym, alongside two dining rooms including the Michelin-starred Piazza Rosa restaurant that overlooks the Kremlin.

Elsewhere in the country, Keanu Reeves recently travelled to St. Petersburg for his upcoming film, Siberia. Directed by Matthew Ross, the international co-production follows an American diamond trader who falls in love with a Russian café owner while abroad for a questionable transaction. In addition to long-form content, Russia has a knack for producing eye-catching commercial content for both domestic and international brands. FCB Moscow’s recent spot for Oreo features a beautiful sprawling lake as its backdrop. The area is surrounded by forest and makes for an incredible bit of scenery against a low-key script of a father and son replacing a tyre on their van.

essential facts travel

Russia has several different airports to give you flexibility when traveling but Sheremetyevo International Airport is by far the busiest. The airport connects with Tel Aviv, Milan, Barcelona and London. ata carnet


Where Russia’s locations truly shine, however, are in its many examples of Soviet era architecture. As Steven Spielberg’s recent projects have shown, Hollywood is nowhere near finished with tackling the Cold War anytime soon and it is here that Russia presents a fantastic opportunity for cinematic realism.

recent productions

The Radisson Royal Hotel (colloquially known as Hotel Ukraina), aside from being one of the tallest hotels in Europe, is a striking example of the Soviet-style that was built in the 1950s and boasts 505 rooms. On the flipside, you have structures such as the VDNKh station on the Moscow Metro, the interior of which looks like it could be the hidden catacombs of a secret organisation and would be right at home in a thriller or science fiction project.

GMT +2 to +12

Due to its gargantuan size, advising on when is best to shoot in Russia is dependent entirely on which part of the country you’re interested in. European Russia can offer around nine hours of sunlight during summer, making it the best opportunity to maximise your shoot days. If you plan on shooting in Siberia, be prepared for dangerously cold temperatures that can go below -35°C (Central Siberia can reach a terrifying -50°C in winter). When it comes to accommodation, Rossi Hotel in St. Petersburg is more than happy to welcome production crews to its premises. The hotel has several different meeting rooms (including one in the Presidential Suite) that can be adapted into production offices.

Tom Harper’s War & Peace, Aleksandr Boguslavskiy and Francesco Cinquemani’s Beyond the Edge, Matthew Ross’ Siberia. time zone

best time to shoot

European Russia can offer around nine hours of sunlight during summer, making it the best season to maximise your shoot days. currency

RUBLE soundstaGes

Glavkino, The Centre of National Film, Russian World Studios, Cinelab, Sunlight Studio. contact

Catherine Mtsitouridze at ROSKINO (Russian Cinema Worldwide) (+7) 495 690 5009 Images: Steffan Hill/BBC, Natalia Bratslavsky, Iryna &Ales Inya.


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brouGht to you by the moscoW film commission

Shoot Moscow in Moscow

moscow: the most dynamic metroPolis in euroPe

The Seven Sisters were often filmed in the Soviet era, and sometimes even made it to the international big screens. Such was the case of Moscow. It does not have the Believe in Tears, one of the very few.

the most famous unknown city in the world

An entirely unique engineering feat, the first ever cable-stayed bridge with a deck running along the river rather than across it.



oday’s Moscow is a unique city of incredible history and amazing drive. It boasts a rich and well-preserved heritage and state-of-the-art new buildings. The tallest skyscraper in Europe is right here, in the Moscow City business district. World class sports facilities welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Top museums and theatres attract millions of tourists. Moscow offers picturesque parks, ancient

churches, wonderful city estates and the most spectacular and efficient metro network, a pilgrimage site for architecture lovers from around the globe. The urban environment comprises 19th century classicist mansions and Stalinist empire monuments that are enough to create an atmosphere with no additional efforts. And of course the Kremlin and the Red Square have appeared in many a classic movie.

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The Moscow Kremlin is the fortress in the heart of Moscow, the oldest part of the city, its sociopolitical, the historical and the historical pillar, the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

mOScOW hAS OVeR 12 milliOn PeRmAnenT ReSiDenTS BUT cOmmUTeRS, STUDenTS, TOURiSTS AnD TRAnSiT PASSengeRS ADD UP TO OVeR 20 milliOn. The ciTY hAS 50 STADiUmS. The cAPAciTY OF The BiggeST One, lUZhniKi ARenA, iS 81,000 SeATS. TheRe ARe 400 STATe AnD PRiVATe mUSeUmS AnD OVeR 200 TheATeRS.

The tallest building in the city, the Federation Tower, tops out at 375 m, surrounded by the Eurasia, Empire, Eye, and others towers. The district has been managed by the Manhattan of Moscow.

The safety and security concerns of the international film professionals are now a thing of the past. Today’s Moscow is one of the world’s most comfortable, welcoming and open-minded cities, and the rest is history. On top of that, the favourable exchange rates make Moscow a competitive low-cost filming destination. Most importantly, Budapest and Prague locations fail to render the unique spirit of the city while Moscow, once you are there, offers many spots that look like other world capitals and lend themselves easily for shooting. A plethora of landscapes and architectural styles are available within the Moscow Ring Road and you will not have to move away from the city’s excellent infrastructure and top level services. Unfortunately rebates for international film crews along with other financial incentives are still on their way. However, the Moscow City Government and the Moscow Film Commission it established offer preferential treatment as well as discounts at local production services and equipment rentals. Filming in Moscow eventually pays off even when compared with cities that have a working tax refund system. Roskino CEO Katya Mtsitouridze suggested the idea of a film commission to the Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and got his full support. The Film Commission is now fully operative and the municipal government undertakes to facilitate and fast-track red tape issues and shooting permits release.

Sergey Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow, said: ‘I believe that modern Moscow deserves more film attention. We are launching the Moscow Film Commission to assist in arranging film production on location, help overcoming administrative barriers, and offer expert advice. We shall be happy to greet film crews from all over the world already this year. You are most welcome!’

Moscow is sometimes referred to as the Port of Five Seas. The joke, the Black, and the Azov Sea. Roskino provided the Moscow Film Commission with brand new comprehensive databases of internationally oriented production companies, state-of-the-art equipment rentals, and Englishspeaking talents with their representatives. Roskino “i believe ThaT jointly with the Moscow City modern moscow Transportation department deserves more film has established a clear set of aTTenTion. we are rules and regulations launching The regarding shooting in various moscow film kinds of city locations complete with a reliable commission To timeline for obtaining the assisT in arranging film producTion necessary permits. on locaTion, help

In order to promote Moscow overcoming and its diverse locations, adminisTraTive Katya Mtsitouridze created barriers, and offer Moscow in Motion, a experT advice.” multimedia project combining photography, film, and AR technologies. The acclaimed photographer Anton Lange is shooting


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The Novodevichy monastery, founded in 1524, is one of the oldest historical sites in Russia, enveloped in mystery and legends.

mOScOW OFFeRS PicTUReSqUe PARKS, AncienT chURcheS, WOnDeRFUl ciTY eSTATeS AnD The mOST SPecTAcUlAR AnD eFFicienT meTRO neTWORK. iT’S A PilgRimAge SiTe FOR ARchiTecTURe lOVeRS FROm AROUnD The glOBe.

The Luzhniki Olympic Stadium is the largest sports and entertainment complex in Russia and one of the largest in Europe. The total capacity is 81,000 seats.


hundreds of city sites, from the most iconic to the most hidden ones. The project will feature images of all seasons and is currently entering the spring phase, with winter and fall already completed. The Moscow Film Commission will provide every photo with a full description and make it available on its website. A 400-page photo album and a compact production guide will be created on the basis of this project to facilitate location scouting for international productions. The Moscow in Motion AR smartphone app, created by top specialists following Roskino’s requirements and design specifications uses over 200 film episodes of Soviet and Russian classics. Everyone is welcome to plunge into the unique atmosphere of the chosen film and visit its locations. The list of featured movies includes the Oscar-winning Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears as well as the latest national blockbuster Three Seconds. The Moscow in Motion action short was filmed entirely in Moscow in a variety of locations, including some restricted and sensitive sites. Luckily everyone involved regarded the project as a useful and timely initiative, so it got all the necessary support from municipal and federal structures and now the Film Commission hopes to transform the valuable first-hand experience into streamlined procedures. In fact, the project enjoyed unanimous support from

the Presidential Press Office, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, Defence and Emergencies, the Federal Security Service, the Federal “The moscow in Security Guards, and the moTion acTion national railroads. And of shorT was filmed course the Moscow City enTirely in moscow Government played a key role. The film crew had to stage in a varieTy of complicated episodes and locaTions, including operate helicopters, armoured some resTricTed vehicles, and special forces and sensiTive siTes. ” units. Moscow in Motion features the Kremlin, Red Square, Moscow City, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Luzhniki Arena, the Russian State library, the Triumphal Arch, several waterways, intricate road junctions, transport hubs, and some Moscow Central Railway stations. Your turn is next. Shoot Moscow in Moscow! for more informaTion conTacT

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CANNES LIONS One thing is for certain, the Cannes Lions are going to be very different this year. Organisers of the advertising festival have made a number of changes, reducing the event to five days and simplifying its awards structure. The changes come in the wake of criticism about the costs and benefits of expensive industry events like the Cannes Lions. Publicis Group last year said it was not participating in industry awards or trade shows in a bid to rein in costs. Former WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell said it had lost its essence of celebrating creativity.

discussions in order to curate an updated Festival that puts the creative content back at the heart of Cannes Lions.”

while 120 sub-categories have been removed. All charity and non-profit work will be judged separately from brand-led work during the festival.

Ad industry execs hope the streamlined awards structure will make for a better festival. Rupert Reynolds-MacLean, the MD of commercials producer Biscuit, told makers: “There are more platforms and more work than ever but that doesn’t mean the output is getting better so I hope it has helped to focus the awards a bit.”

Reynolds-MacLean predicted that the talking points of this year’s festival will include: “Diversity, non-traditional advertising, experiential and clients with the guts to be brave.” He picked out Nike and Wieden & Kennedy’s recent Nothing Beats a Londoner campaign as one that is likely to be talked about on the Croissette.

As part of the simplified awards structure, the Lions will be organised across nine core ‘tracks’ such as Craft, Reach and Impact. Each piece of work can now only be entered into a maximum of six Lions,

The jury line-up this year includes Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer at Burger King, Mark D’Arcy, VP and chief creative officer at Facebook, and Tor Myhren, VP marketing communications at Apple.



16000 4700 40000

Phil Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions owner Ascential Events, said: “We have held lengthy

cannes in numbers


52% the nuMber oF presidenTs Who Will Guide sPecialist juries



oF Grands PriX Went to FirMs FroM the usa in 2017

awards Tracks

the duration oF the FestiVal, FroM 18-22 june

the nuMber oF jury members at the cannes lions


the MaXiMuM nuMber oF lions that each Piece oF WorK can aPPlY For


deleGate Passes GiVen aWaY as Part oF a neW young lions iniTiaTive

lions sub-cateGories haVe been removed this Year


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PREPPING for Black Panther

Image: Ilt Jones.

A scouting trip to South Africa was the big inspiration for Marvel blockbuster Black Panther, its location manager Ilt Jones tells makers.


arvel hit Black Panther feels so ‘African’ that it is still a surprise to think it filmed primarily in Atlanta, Georgia.

All the African landscapes in the film were based on background plates shot in locations such as the Victoria Falls, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and the Drackensberg Mountains (pictured above). Location manager Ilt Jones scouted in South Africa with director Ryan Coogler ahead of production to get a flavour of the continent. The trip proved to be one of the key inspirations for Black Panther – which has taken USD1.3bn at the global box office to date.

Jones says: “Ryan had a very strong sense of his African heritage, it was almost like going home for him. It was very disarming and poignant to see how interested he was in the people and places there. And that carried through to Atlanta. He managed to bottle some of the atmosphere and flavour of Africa.” The reason for not shooting in Africa came down to flexibility. “You get great value for money and crews in South Africa, and it feels very safe,” says Jones. “But because the scripts were in a slightly evolutionary state, we felt that we could turn on a dime better in Atlanta.” Other key scenes of Black Panther were shot in Busan, South Korea.


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hot stuff

by offering a competitive 20-25% rebate on top of affordable rates due to the weakness of the rand, south africa is undoubtedly one of the most appealing production hubs on the continent.

he competition for Africa’s southernmost country is certainly heating up – Namibia on its doorstep and the United Arab Emirates only a stone’s throw away by plane – and yet it is still considered by some of Hollywood’s biggest producers as the go-to location in the region.

South Africa has, in some form or another, had a film incentive programme in place for well over a decade. By jumping on the incentives bandwagon early, South Africa has beaten many of its rivals to the punch and in doing so, has developed a world-class crew base that is capable of taking on even the most demanding of projects.

Foreign feature films and television shows have the opportunity to obtain a 20% rebate on any eligible expenditures that occur within South Africa, with no cap on the amount that can be “during The claimed making it a fantastic option for high-budget projects. producTion of The rebate can be bumped to TOMB RAIDER, 25%, however, if local postThe ciTy of paarl production facilities are used and provided luscious the minimum overall spend jungle locaTions exceeds R3 million (roughly USD256,000). In addition, the ThaT fiTTed The South Africa Rand offers a great film’s sToryline.” deal of value against most international currencies, making it one of the more affordable foreign locations available, which has helped to draw a consistent flow of international commercials.



The name might be a bit on the nose for some patrons but the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World is sure to have something for everyone. The titular casino takes clear inspiration from the grand décor of similar establishments in Las Vegas. If gambling isn’t your scene, then Suncoast’s outdoor pool is a fantastic spot to cool off or just kick back with your favourite drink in hand and soak up the sun. For all you architectural buffs out there, the city of Pietermaritzburg has its fair share of colonial buildings. Pietermaritzburg City Hall (pictured above) is one of the city’s finest structures and is noteworthy for being the largest red-brick building in the Southern Hemisphere. The Imperial Hotel is also worth a visit for how well it has maintained its original design over the years.

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Bang Bang Films’ recent work on a commercial for Qatar National Bank is the perfect example of a high-concept spot making the most of South Africa’s locations and local crew. The ad sees several scenes of freerunning taking place throughout Cape Town in a spot that requires you to suspend your disbelief.



The Forgiven

Q: Which locations in South Africa were

used for The Forgiven? A: We shot in various locations around Cape Town, including extensively at an active maximum security prison (Pollsmoor Prison). Q: With the The Forgiven being a period

drama, did the locations require much dressing to depict the appropriate era? A: In some cases. Fortunately the township we shot in hasn’t changed much and neither has the prison. Q: How did South Africa’s film rebate

help with production? A: It was very helpful. We were very tight on funds so every bit helped. Q: What advice would you give to other

producers who are considering shooting in South Africa? A: Have a great local partner. The crews are great and Cape Town is a beautiful and versatile location.

Anna Mira D’Ercole, executive producer of Bang Bang Films explains: “The challenges were many but all of the jumps were free body – so height and architecture had a big impact on our choice of locations. This was particularly so for the first big jump in the film – we had to choose a building that was quite flat in its façade but had a certain character and texture to fit the brief.” On the TV side of production, Netflix’s critically acclaimed and notoriously expensive period drama, The Crown (pictured opposite), has made use of Cape Town for both its first and second series. In both instances, however, Cape Town was used to double for locations elsewhere in the world – first as Kenya and then later as Ghana and Melbourne. One of the more surprising examples of doubling to have emerged from South Africa in recent months can be seen in the latest cinematic adaption of Tomb Raider. Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider utilised Hout Bay (an area just outside of Cape Town) to depict a harbour in Hong Kong, which involved the construction of floating restaurants and walkways that are commonplace in the desired location. The production also had lengthy shoot at Cape Town Film Studios, where a purpose-built water tank was made for its residency. While Cape town is a fantastic filming location and local authorities harbour a generally film-friendly attitude, the city has recently experienced a severe drought. At the peak of the drought usable water levels declined to 20 percent and consumption limits of 50-litres per day were imposed. However, after tackling the drought head on authorities averted “Day Zero”, the point when Cape Town citizens would have to queue for water at standpoints. After a winter heavy in rainfall, Cape Town is in a much stronger position to face the coming summer. Although some productions were put off by the situation, the BBC’s Doctor Who successfully filmed for three weeks in Cape Town during the drought. Although productions should still be mindful of water consumption, harsh regulations are no longer enforced. Foreign producers should be upfront with local authorities ahead of time to avoid friction on this front.

Q: Any recommendations for restaurants

to visit/sights to see for cast and crew? A: Truthfully, when I work I don’t get much opportunity to enjoy the sights. We usually shot late, so I only went to a few local spots. I will say however that the wine industry is booming and there were some wonderful local wines.

South Africa is a large country with plenty of locations outside of Cape Town to explore. During the production of Tomb Raider, the city of Paarl provided luscious jungle locations that fitted the film’s storyline of Lara Croft finding the island of Yamatai after becoming shipwrecked in the Devil’s Sea.


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The Kalahari Desert extends into the Northwest of South Africa (shared with Botswana and Namibia) and offers filmmakers an opportunity to depict any world they wish within its expansive golden landscape. Producers need only consider how desert locations were used to great effect in Mad Max: Fury Road (Namibia) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abu Dhabi) to recognise the possibilities presented by such a locale.

essential facts incentives

South Africa’s base incentive is a 20% cash rebate with a per-project cap of R50 million. The incentive can be bumped to 22.5% if you utilise local post-production facilities (25% if your spend exceeds R3 million). cash rebate

25% travel

There are three major international airports in South Africa: King Shaka, Cape Town and O.R. Tambo, the last of which is the busiest airport in the continent. Direct flights are available from Dubai and London. ata carnet


recent productions

Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider, Peter Morgan’s The Crown, Finn McGough’s Look to Africa. time zone

GMT +2 best time to shoot

April or May for any scenes across the Cape or September and October for the peak of South Africa’s springtime and a fantastic opportunity to catch the north of the country while it’s still dry. can double for

Hong Kong, Ancient Europe. currency

RAND soundstaGes

Cape Town Film Studios are the most popular facility. Other options include Q Studios and Media Hive Studio. Images: e Crown ©Netflix, Charlie Sperring.


One thing to bear in mind however is that South Africa is currently without a national film commission. Choosing to shoot in multiple regions will require you to reach out to the appropriate local film offices that operate there. If you do decide that South Africa is right for you, then we recommend shooting in April or May for any scenes across the Cape as they still provide pleasantly warm weather at a point when the tourists are beginning to return home. September and October are the peak of South Africa’s springtime and a fantastic opportunity to catch the north of the country while it’s still dry. The country also has a great deal of experience in delivering five-star quality in the hotel industry. The Melrose Arch Hotel in Johannesburg is just one such example of a local hotel that is bursting with luxurious amenities such as a private screening room and a classically inspired leisure room. The establishment is privy to the needs of producers, having hosted international projects in the past, and high-speed Wi-Fi can be found onsite. For something a little more cost-effective and with the ability to house a large crew, the Protea Hotel Cape Town boasts a total of 115 rooms spread across three floors. There are 16 event rooms onsite, any of which would make for a fitting unit base, and by being so close to the heart of Cape Town, cast and crew can enjoy the many local activities that are just a few minutes away.

location hiGhliGht

Howard College Campus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal The Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (previously the University of Natal) was established in 1931 and, as such, it features an array of modern architecture that could easily be adapted for production purposes. The Memorial Tower is undoubtedly the campus’ crown jewel, sharing similarities with modern skyscrapers (such as the Empire State Building) and other educational establishments such as Senate House in London. The Tower’s wide base allows the structure to exert a sense of power, making the exterior a fantastic choice for depicting the headquarters of a large organisation – be it heroic or villainous. The modern design of the Tower could also apply to a science-fiction project if need be, although the same could be said of the nearby School of Law which features a domed roof with a golden globe (not the award) attached. All of these buildings are surrounded by well-kept trees and green spaces. Speaking of green spaces, if you have a chance then it’s certainly worth checking out the Westville Campus which boasts something of a moat around one of the buildings and a crossing bridge to boot.

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SPAIN production paradise

spain’s vast topography can be adapted in any way you please and there is no shortage of dedicated local crew to see your vision to completion.

t’s fair to say that Spain has outdone itself as a production hub over the last year. A sizeable chunk of commercial productions that really caught our eye all emerged from Spain, and the country played a significantly larger role than usual in the penultimate season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. More on that later though, as the biggest piece of news to emerge from sunny Spain is undoubtedly its newly improved film incentive programme that now ranks as one of the most generous of its kind.

The Spanish Government has decided to invest in the cinematic potential of the Canary Islands by increasing the 35% tax rebate available to foreign productions to 40%. The overall “The biggesT cap on the amount that can be piece of news To claimed via the rebate has also been raised from EUR4.5 million emerge from to EUR5.4 million.

sunny spain is undoubTedly iTs newly improved film incenTive programme.”

To access the incentive, productions are still expected to spend at least EUR1 million within the Spanish territory. In addition, the 40% tax rebate available to domestic projects has increased to an incredible 45%. The rate is lowered to 20% for international productions that film in mainland Spain. Ricardo Martínez, director of the Tenerife Film Commission explains: “This is a great opportunity because the film incentives were already competitive. Now with the increase to a 40% tax rebate for international productions, we believe that Tenerife and the Canary Islands will be even more attractive to host the shoots of feature films, animation projects and TV series.”


Spain is famed for its religious buildings and iconography and there’s no denying that Barcelona’s Sagrada Família is one of the most widely recognised of the bunch – and rightly so – which is why we feel the need to highlight a different Spanish church that you might not have come across. The Cathedral of Málaga, or Málaga Cathedral (above), adheres to the traditions of Renaissance architecture but its façade is in the Baroque style. The interior is spread across two levels but from every angle you’ll be treated to a perfect view of the Cathedral’s golden ceiling. Moving on to something a little more edible, La Tasqueta de Blai is consistently touted as one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. The bar specialises in a dish that’s similar to tapas but known as pinchos, recognisable for their use of a skewer to combine several small food items into one helping.


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This is great news for the Canary Islands which has seen its popularity as a filming location boom with recent productions including Jason Bourne, Allied and The Titan. Allied used several locations throughout Fuerteventura to double for Casablanca, while Corralejo Natural Park in Gran Canaria was used as a cheat for the Sahara Desert. What’s more, the island of Fuerteventura also recently hosted Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is projected to be one of the highest-grossing films of 2018. Returning to the aforementioned commercial output of Spain, Barcelona played host to one of 2017’s quirkiest commercials that proved to be an instant hit upon its release. A joint advertising stunt between hip-hop band Gorillaz and energy provider E.ON, the production filled a canyon in the Garraf area of Barcelona with hundreds of solar powered toys which were used to execute a large musical number once the sun had gone down. To have so many toys powered at once by solar energy is a testament, not only to E.ON’s product, but to Spain’s ability to deliver long days filled with fantastic sunlight that really helps to elevate a scene. Filmmakers and tourists already know that Spain has one of the most appealing climates of a European country and that its long days provide great value for money. Adhering to the Mediterranean climate, there’s a lot of flexibility over deciding when to film in Spain, with the only major concern being the tourist season. With that in mind, April to June and September to October present the best opportunity for filming, providing you with plenty of sunshine and fewer chances of incurring any roadblocks when trying to take over a location.


beth WiGhtman producer

Rolls Royce’s Black Dawn Badge

Q: What was the brief for the commercial? A: We were approached directly by Rolls

Royce Motor Cars to create a launch film with various cut downs and stills photography which would introduce the Black Badge Dawn car to the world. Q: Which locations were used? A: We shot in a studio in the UK and on location in Lanzarote. We shot on the roads leading to and from Timanfaya Park and the coastal road near El Golfo. We also shot on the edge of the lava fields and captured drone footage of some of the smaller volcanoes. Q: Why was Lanzarote chosen for the spot? A: The concept was all about living at the

edge and being bolder in all you do. The director wanted to go ‘black' and Lanzarote, with its black lava fields, long straight black roads and epic glowering skies was a perfect fit. Another one of Spain’s standout commercials comes courtesy of W Productions and Film!CanaryIslands in a campaign for Rolls-Royce’s Dawn Black Badge (pictured above). Los Hervidores in Lanzarote was chosen as the main filming location for its ability to complement the dark colours of Roll-Royce’s latest car. Andy McLeod of Film!CanaryIslands explains: “From a location point of view the client originally visualised locations in Iceland as they wanted black


Q: Were there any technical challenges

to overcome? A: We needed several rounds of black smoke

grenades but they couldn’t be imported without masses of paperwork and time which we just didn’t have. Miraculously, our excellent local producer, Norbert Schilling, managed to find an SFX guy who lived on the island and had some in the back of his garage!

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essential facts incentives

Spain’s film incentive requires a minimum spend of EUR1 million to access. Filming in mainland Spain affords a 20% tax rebate, while Navarre and the Canary Islands offer a 35% and 40% rate respectively. tax rebate

40% travel

Spain has several major airports due to its huge tourism industry. Madrid hosts the country’s main airport, servicing direct flights from London, Marrakech, Istanbul and Buenos Aires. ata carnet


recent productions

Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, Denis Villeneuve’s Ramón Campos, Teresa FernándezValdés and Gema R. Neira's Cable Girls (main image), Noah Harris’ Gorillaz x E.ON. time zone

GMT +1 best time to shoot

Spain has fantastic weather throughout most of the year but stay away during July and August to avoid the rush of tourists. Visiting from March to June would be best. currency

EURO soundstaGes

There are several major production facilities including Valencia Studios, Shoot Estudios, Banzai Studio and Central Studios Mallorca. contact

The Spain Film Commission (+34) 954 614 009, Images: Film!CanaryIslands, Cable Girls - Photo Manuel Fernandez-Valdes ©Netflix. Gordon Chesterman, Henryk Sadura, Julia Lavrinenko.


lava and volcanoes. But as the shooting schedule dictated that it had to be done in February and Iceland would have been covered in snow, W Productions approached us for location ideas in the Canary Islands and were very impressed with the images we sent from Lanzarote. Despite having a really wild and remote look, Lanzarote is still part of Europe which makes the logistics and travel so much easier." He continues: “Rolls-Royce was very nervous that the public would see the cars and release photos, before the official launch of the car. We decided to use a disused part of road that had been blocked off to traffic as our base camp which gave us the space and privacy to prepare the cars for the road shooting.” Moving away from the Canary Islands, there is another location within Spain that can provide an additional incentive bump if you decide to film there. The autonomous region of Navarre (located in the North of Spain) can offer a 35% tax credit incentive to productions that film locally for at least a week. The region was recently used in the cinematic adaptation of Dolores Redondo’s critically acclaimed novel, The Invisible Guardian (pictured above), with scenes shot in the municipality of Baztan. When approaching Spain as a filming destination, there are 29 different regional commissions that can be found throughout the country. That may seem like a rather daunting number but rest assured that the commissioners have extensive experience in working together to ensure that international producers are given the best experience possible when filming in Spain. Thanks to Spain’s burgeoning tourism industry, finding an affordable hotel to house cast and crew is never difficult. For something a little more upmarket (and a great option for housing cast if you film in Fuerteventura), the Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahía Real is reminiscent of a Sultan’s palace and is sure to make its residents feel like royalty.

location hiGhliGht

The Naranjo de Bulnes

This limestone peak in the Asturias region has long been an acclaimed destination for mountain climbers the world over but has seemingly gone unnoticed as far as filmmaking is concerned. One has to wonder why it hasn’t been utilised already as it stands in great contrast with the surrounding countryside, particularly when it attracts mounds of snow. Naranjo de Bulnes (above) and the surrounding area during winter time can easily pass for locations such as Canada, Argentina or even the Alps. At the base of Naranjo de Bulnes lies Vega Urriellu, a glacial valley that exudes a similar aesthetic to the mountains of Scotland and the Icelandic landscape during the summer months. Naranjo de Bulnes itself is not that difficult to get to when compared to other mountain locations. The easiest way to reach the peak is via nearby town of Sotres. Sotres is also a location worthy of your time. As the highest village in the Picos de Europa National Park, Sotres has remained largely uninfluenced by modern amenities and appears as something of a time capsule.

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Ad producers go in search of fresh opportunities

Apple’s commercial for Homepod, directed by filmmaker Spike Jonze and featuring dancer FKA Twigs. “To all intents and purposes it looks, feels and smells like a music video,” says Rattling Stick’s Andy Orrick.


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The WORlDS OF Tech, BRAnDS, mUSic, Film, TV, FAShiOn AnD ART ARe All cOlliDing AT A RATe OF KnOTS. liTTle WOnDeR, Then, ThAT cOmmeRciAlS PRODUceRS ARe BUSY SPReADing TheiR WingS AnD APPlYing TheiR TAlenT inTO An ARRAY OF neW genReS. mAKeRS TAlKS TO SOme OF The WORlD’S TOP AD PRODUceRS TO FinD OUT WhAT TheY ARe UP TO.

Talk to any commercials production company these days and you’ll likely find there is far more to their offer than just making ads. The world of advertising has changed profoundly in the past ten years, and so too have commercials producers. Budgets are under pressure, competition for viewer attention is more intense than ever, and the 30-second spot is no longer the be all and end all of an ad campaign. It’s no wonder that production companies have sought to diversify in response to changes in the ad market. In the UK alone, leading producer Rattling Stick says it has two animated comedy series, a drama and true-crime doc series in development, and it has just co-produced its first feature doc about ballet star Rudolf Nureyev – that’s alongside its music related work, be that promos, films, or photography. Biscuit is co-producing Watership Down for the BBC and Netflix, while Blink has launched its own entertainment arm, Blink Industries, which is developing both live action and animation projects such as Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared (pictured on next page) and I is Pig . Pulse Films, meanwhile, has carved out a reputation as a multi-genre producer – its film Skate Kitchen world premiered at Sundance, and it also has a documentary with Chelsea Manning, XY Manning, coming soon. In completely leftfield move, Great Guns has just opened a gastro pub, Great Guns Social, showcasing new chefs. It’s estimated that commercials producers in the UK derive about 30% of their turnover from work outside commercials. This diversification is not, of course, a new development, but it has gathered pace in recent years as the ad industry goes through tumultuous change. Rattling Stick’s chief of stuff Andy Orrick says the company’s reason for branching out is part of a two-pronged response to changes in the advertising market. “Firstly it’s about diversifying revenue streams and clients,” he says.

space150. They feature state-of-the-art CGI, period costumes and fantastical beasts, all filmed in Ireland. Elsewhere, brands like Red Bull and Lego have already worked out a way to create marketing disguised as entertainment that they can then make money from. Says Orrick: “That’s the holy grail for brands now. And if they genuinely want to make work that people will pay to watch, you’ve got to get good at creating that from scratch for yourselves to prove pedigree.” His point is echoed by Matt Miller, the president and CEO of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) in the United States. Miller notes that many companies diversify, and “Tv is a medium it has been happening To long Term for years. “What is new game. The is the opportunities in general business branded content. As side of iT is a advertisers expand their content into things like challenge To TV shows, films, video sTack up for sure.” games and installations, production companies and their directors have more and more avenues to explore beyond the traditional commercial.” But, in an era of content overload, brand communication like this has to be “disruptive stuff ” that people will choose to watch otherwise it will fail at the first hurdle. Orrick points to Spike Jonze’s beautifully crafted new commercial for Apple (pictured left). “To all intents and purposes it looks, feels and smells like a music video. It feels as if, in the future, it will be beholden on creatives and directors to create and craft moments of cultural brilliance even in short form. So it makes things like mastery of music video... more important than ever for companies like Rattling Stick.”

Secondly, he says that as the very nature of what constitutes brand communication changes, you need to be able to respond in kind. “We’re now in the era of brands wanting to be the main event.” He quotes journalist James O’Brien: “Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story. Instead of the commercial, be the show.”

For many production companies, branching out into new areas is also a natural way to develop and engage their directing talent. Blink Industries, which produces comedy and kids animation programming, has its own animation studio; many of the directors working on its projects are from the Blink stable.

This is clearly what US kitchen work surface producer Cambria had in mind with an extraordinary new series of short films, Legend of Cambria (pictured on next page). A big budget Game of Thrones style series – narrated by Colin Farrell – produced by Minneapolis-based outfit

“We are adding a creative facet to Blink – it’s important for attracting and developing talent, but also for diversifying for the future,” says Blink Industries executive producer James Stevenson Bretton. “Who knows where the commercials industry is going.”


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Pulse Films, meanwhile, is unusual in that it set out to be multi-disciplinary – making music, film and commercials – from the outset. “The vision was to be a studio for the next generation and a destination for all types of talent,” says James Sorton, managing director of commercials and music videos. “We strive to be the best home for talent we can, nurturing directors from the early stages which often begin with them making music videos, before developing into commercials and onto film and television.”

Images: Blink Industries’ Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, Legend of Cambria, Cambria and space150.

geTTing USeD TO The SlOWeR Time FRAmeS AnD DeciSiOn mAKing in The TV AnD Film WORlD DeVelOPmenT liFe - iS hARD TO geT USeD TO.

Yet branching out to new genres isn’t necessarily that easy to do; it is usually bankrolled by the profitable and fast-turnaround commercials side of the business for several years.

That said, advertising training is a great strength within the TV and film world. “There are some incredible brains, strategic, creative and entrepreneurial within our industry, which naturally and dynamically just push to get stuff done,” says Orrick. “Getting used to the slower time frames and decision making in the TV and film world – development life – is hard to get used to.”

Sorton says it’s a challenge to build new areas of the business, especially film and TV, because of the level of investment and infrastructure that's required. “You need to be fully committed, and crucially, have the right talent on board to help you go the distance, be that producers, writers, development execs and directors.”

Commercials have also had to become much more entertaining to grab the attention of audiences in such a competitive advertising market. That’s a skill that is also much in demand in TV, where audience choice has exploded in recent years thanks to “The vision was the arrival of streaming To be a sTudio players such as Netflix for The nexT and Amazon.

That’s because the time frames of film and TV are so much longer than in commercials; it takes a lot of up front investment in terms of development and a long time to make any money back if a project finally gets of the ground. Even the smallest TV or film project can take months to get off the ground. “In TV you are looking 10 years ahead, rather than 10 months ahead in commercials,” says Bretton.

Commercials producers a desTinaTion for also have the ability all Types of TalenT.” build PR and marketing into the film story itself, says Orrick. They know how to make content compelling and sticky, and how to capture attention through casting, soundtrack, styling and setting. “We can make things commercial without seeming commercial.”

Orrick adds: “It’s a medium to long term game. The general business side of it is a challenge to stack up for sure.” Then there is the issue of budgets. For a production company moving into music videos, budgets are a big issue. “Most production companies that make music videos aren’t in it for financial reasons”, says Orrick. “They’re in it because it is very creative and a great shop window for the conceptual thinking, not just the executional skills, of your talent.” The difference in budgets between commercials and TV is incomparable too, says Blink Industries’ Bretton, noting that a 30-minute TV show pilot might have the same budget as a 30-second ad. TV is also a difficult world to break into, with each genre dominated by a handful of big independent production companies who are well known to broadcasters. A commercials company pitching an idea might be of interest to commissioners based on the strength of their showreel. But there is a perception that commercials production companies are expensive and can’t work to the challenging budgets of TV. It’s one of the reasons that Blink has hived off its entertainment arm under a separate banner, Blink Industries, says Bretton.



convergence 118

The creative skills are very different too. There is a lot more rigour applied to a script and idea in TV. Moving into long form territory means that writing has to span eight episodes or two hours of film, versus the knack of conveying a message in 30 seconds.

generaTion and

Bretton adds that the skills he has learnt from advertising have been incredibly useful for the push into TV. “Having sat in a million pre-production meetings with marketing directors, it does mean that going into meetings with commissioners is less daunting.” He can also point to a strong track record in producing hit content. Blink made waves with its John Lewis animated ad the Hare and the Bear, so the push into animation sees it building on a strength. “I’m incredibly privileged to have a wealth of talent and studios and be able to walk into a commissioner meeting and say, “I know how to do it, and here’s proof.’ No matter the difficulties of pushing into new areas, commercials producers are aware that it’s something they need to do. The worlds of tech, brands, music, film, TV, fashion and art are all colliding at a rate of knots. “It’s a real skill to join the dots,” says Orrick. “It’s all a matter of translating between the different languages each area speaks to find the common ground, the common processes. It’s exciting times.”

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THAILAND supreme value

thailand can offer great doubling opportunities for the rest of southeast asia and with a new rebate in tow, it comes at a fraction of the price. commercials producers can also access the rebate.

hailand has always had a rather wild reputation in the travel industry and films like The Hangover Part II have hardly helped to erase these connotations, but the country is taking on a new image as a highly promising production hub.

At the start of 2017, the Thai Government installed a 15-20% cash rebate incentive designed to propel the country’s film industry and compete with neighbouring production hubs such as Malaysia and China. Luckily for Thailand, this gamble has paid off greatly with the country attracting 80 international features throughout 2017 – 30 more than the previous year. The vast majority of these projects travelled from China and the UK which, given that they are “Thailand is two of the world’s largest production hubs, bodes extremely now one of well for the future of Thailand’s The mosT film industry.

cosT-effecTive producTion hubs in The world for all projecT Types.”

Worateera Suvarnsorn, director of the Thailand Film Office explained: “We have worked hard in 2017 to spread the message throughout the industry that Thailand not only offers great locations, fantastic crews and incredible value, but also that we now have an incentive based on a straightforward cash rebate. We are confident that [this] year we will see a number of productions taking advantage of the incentive.”



Thai cuisine is now popular the world over. As many tourists will tell you, however, some of the best food in Thailand is served up by unassuming street vendors. In Bangkok, some of the best street food can be found by Victory Monument (pictured above) and in Yaowarat. Just be aware that most vendors close up on Monday’s while the streets are being cleaned. For those who prefer a sit-down meal, Chim by Siam Wisdom is a Michelin-star restaurant that comes at an affordable rate. If you have a chance to visit, we recommend sampling the soft-shell-crab (you’ll thank us later).

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As one might expect, the incentive extends to feature films, documentaries and television series, but it is also one of the few worldwide that applies to commercial productions. The inclusivity of Thailand’s incentive was outlined from the beginning with the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul explaining: “We’ve been working very hard to come up with this scheme and we hope you’ll look at Thailand in a new light. We’re committed to making our country a dream destination for everybody.” With this in mind and the fact that rates were already low on goods and services within the country, Thailand is now one of the most cost-effective production hubs in the world for all project types. Vicky Jewson’s feature film, Close, about a group of elite female bodyguards was the first project to receive the cash rebate. She said: “I was aware of a number of productions that have shot in Thailand, but I truly wasn't aware of the depth of film experience and the sophistication of the infrastructure. Often the sort of clients who require protection are the super-rich, and so we wanted to find an environment which can cater to the millionaire lifestyle, but we also wanted to contrast that with a vibrant, colourful, street-level atmosphere. Bangkok has so much texture and so many layers. Our scout surpassed my expectations.” Given its affordability, some might question the state of Thailand’s production infrastructure. However, Thailand is fully capable of hosting international projects, and has several high-profile credits to back it up. In the last few years, Thailand has played host to Dennis Gansel’s action flick and box office hit, Mechanic: Resurrection, and Stephen Gaghan’s crime drama led by Matthew McConaughey, Gold. In the case of Gold (pictured on next page), Bangkok and Surat Thani were used as doubles for Indonesia. Due to their relatively short distance from one another and with both occupying space in Southeast Asia, Thailand can easily double for Indonesia and other similar countries in that part of the world. Surat Thani in particular boasts almost identical bodies of water to Indonesia, with multiple small islands dotting the landscape. Chances are however that if you are making the trip to Thailand, Bangkok is probably up there as one of your main locations of interest. As one of the most internationally recognised cities in Southeast Asia, Bangkok holds an allure for tourists and filmmakers alike. Blending modern cityscapes with historic Asian architecture, Bangkok possesses a vast degree of location variety that other locales could only wish to have. While it is certainly worth portraying Bangkok for itself, the Thai capital can easily pass



robert hickman producer

Kickboxer: Retaliation

Q: What locations in Thailand were used

for Kickboxer: Retaliation? A: For Retaliation we predominantly filmed in and around Bangkok. On a previous visit for the first instalment of the new trilogy, Kickboxer: Vengeance, we filmed in more rural areas like Kanchanaburi where the bridge over the River Kwai is located. We also filmed at the temples in Ayutthaya. The temples were extremely picturesque and gave us the perfect backdrop to our film. Q: Do you have any future projects

planned for the country? A: We plan to return to Thailand for the third film, Kickboxer: Armageddon. Q: What advice would you give to other

producers who are considering shooting in Thailand? A: The best advice I can give other producers who hope to film in Thailand is to make sure you plan your shooting schedule around the rain season. The monsoons are frequent and unforgiving for filmmakers. Q: Do you have any recommendations for

restaurants to visit? A: A particular restaurant I would recommend is located in the open room of the Lebua hotel overlooking Bangkok – it has a spectacular view. It's the same restaurant they used during the filming of The Hangover Part II.

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for China and even Japan – something worth considering when looking at how to portray these countries on location and at an affordable rate.

essential facts incentives

Thailand now provides a base cash rebate of 15% to productions that spend at least BHT50 million locally. An additional 5% can be accrued if a production hires key members of cast and crew locally, and if they portray Thailand in a positive light. cash rebate

20% travel

There are six major international airports in Thailand, making it incredibly easy to get to the part of the country you’re interested in. Direct flights are available from other Southeast Asian countries and places further afield such as Dubai and Australia. ata carnet


recent productions

Vicky Jewson’s Close, Michael Cuesta’s American Assassin, Dimitri Logothetis’ Kickboxer: Retaliation. time zone

GMT +7 best time to shoot

November to February is best for filmmaking as it brings cool, dry weather. The rest of the year can be subject to serious humidity and heavy rain that can overthrow plans for a shoot. sound staGes

While there are a number of studio facilities available in Thailand, The Studio Park is the most well-known with five soundstages. contact

Worateera Suvarnsorn at the Thailand Film Office, Images: Hatcha Pong & Duran & Julian Peters Photos.


Before you can set up shop in Thailand, however, it is a legal requirement for you to hire a local coordinator who is registered with the Thailand Film Office. This procedure is fairly straight forward and there are plenty of local coordinators who are multilingual and ready to assist productions from all over the world. If you’re looking to shoot for fewer than 15 days then the Thailand Film Office utilises a “One-Stop-Service Centre” to allow for a swift process in obtaining film permits, work permits and permission to film in national/historical parks. When it comes to finding a film-friendly hotel in Thailand, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok certainly stands out. Having already hosted a variety of international productions in the past, the hotel is well versed in the needs of production teams and even has space onsite that can be transformed into production offices. The hotel is a worthy filming location in itself (something that the management are happy to discuss), having originally been built in 1876 and featuring some incredible examples of lavish décor that takes some inspiration from Thailand’s royal heritage. Thailand’s dry season runs from November through to February, making it the best time for filmmakers to shoot as they won’t have to contend with high humidity and can enjoy cooler temperatures. June to October is monsoon season so try to avoid this period at all costs unless absolutely necessary. Underwater filming is a different story, however, with clear water available all-year round, although arguably at its clearest from May to September – just be sure to keep a keep an eye on the weather.

location hiGhliGht

The Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi As one might expect, there is a plethora of temples scattered around the landscape of this predominantly Buddhist nation, each with their own “wow” factor that would make for a great filming location. How many of these temples, however, can boast of being partially submerged in several caves located in a single mountain? Not many, but the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi (pictured above) sure can. Built in 1975, the Tiger Cave Temple is one of the more recently established religious sites in Thailand but it is by no means any less impressive. The temple itself is spread across the mountain where it was founded, with numerous statues and religious iconography serving as markers on your journey to the top. Admittedly, a total of 1,237 steps need to be conquered in order to get to the top, which is sure to be too much of a trek for some filmmakers. From its summit however, you will find a breathtaking view of the Krabi province and the surrounding rainforest – something that has to be seen to be believed. While the temple is sure to wow any audience, it is probably best suited for period projects due to the surrounding natural landscape.

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UK content king

the uk continues to be a market-leader within the global production industry. With new studios being built and better value against the pound than ever before, now could be the time to see what the uk can do for your next project.

he UK has always been a staple on the worldwide production market but in the last few years the industry has taken off in a way that few analysts could have predicted. There has been a surge in production levels for film and high end TV drama, in particular.

In 2017, the UK’s feature film production alone took in an incredible GBP1.9 billion spend, up from the previous year’s GBP1.35 billion, thanks to big budget shoots such as Tim Burton’s Dumbo, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (pictured above), Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin and David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (pictured on next page). There are hints that 2018’s film spend could surpass the GBP2 billion mark. Movies already in production in the UK this year include The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle starring Robert Downey Junior, Disney’s feature adaptation of “plans are Artemis Fowl and the live action film, Detective currenTly Pokémon Pikachu.

underway To consTrucT Two new major sTudio faciliTies, one in dagenham, easT london and anoTher in scoTland.”

The strength of the UK’s production sector is based on four key factors: the reputation of its crews, the quality of its studios and facilities, its film-friendly locations, and an attractive and stable tax incentive.

Because of its tax relief system, the UK is one of the most affordable locations in the world and it is only becoming more so as the pound’s value continues to fluctuate from the



The UK is well known for its extensive contribution to theatre but the theatres themselves aren’t the only place where you can revel in the country’s esteemed history with the stage. The Phoenix Artist Club (above) on the cusp of London’s Soho is a theatre inspired bar, restaurant and entertainment venue. As one of the last independently owned establishments in the area, the Phoenix’s walls are decked with theatre memorabilia ranging from props, headshots and even signed posters. Any visit to the Phoenix is sure to include a welcoming atmosphere, sumptuous food and a spontaneous singalong to some classic showtunes. If the hustle and bustle of London is proving too much, however, then you might be in need of some quiet meditation – more specifically at the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre near the Lake District. The contrast of traditional English and Buddhist architecture needs to be seen to be believed.

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uncertainty surrounding Brexit. In the case of features films, producers need only spend 10% of their budget locally in order to access a 25% tax rebate, making it particularly appealing to independent projects. The stakes are raised however in the event of producing a TV series. In the television sector, the UK tax rebate only extends to high-end projects that meet a minimum spend of GBP1 million per episode. Even though the tax rebate can’t be accessed by low-budget television shows and commercials, this isn’t to say that the UK is unaffordable without it – quite the opposite. Ford recently used Scotland as the base for their new Eco Sport SUV commercial, making the most of the rich contrast between urban and natural locations that the country has to offer. Deva Smith, producer at LS Productions comments: “It was great to be able to put together a nice, talented Scottish crew and to show our American directors the most diverse Scottish landscapes, from urban designs to rolling countryside and rugged terrain. We took advantage of the changing weather, it added beautiful drama to the scene and the director was able to capture spray from the ocean waves.” Due to the vast number of potential filming locations you can visit and the multitude of trained crew available in the UK, you can always find a better rate if you shop around. Even in London, producers can find local crew who are willing to go the extra mile to ensuring that their budget is strictly adhered to. Michelle Stapleton of MADAM, a UK-based production service company specialising in commercials explains: “London has a great film office so they can provide quick and detailed responses to your enquiries and indeed provide you with fast turnaround permits.”


kate sinclair executive producer

The Miniaturist

Q: What were your favourite UK locations

from The Miniaturist? A: In the UK my favourite location was the

Tallow Chandlers Hall. This was used for the Silver Smiths ball and had nearly everything we needed. It was the right period – it had dark wood panelling and was the right size and they allowed the use of multiple candles and candle boxes which was key for the Dutch Golden Age look we wanted to create. Q: How has the UK’s production incentive

helped with your work? A: The UK film and television tax incentives

have added enormously to an already thriving industry. It’s a huge help in both disciplines in terms of contributing to the budget. The only downside if you’re local is that if feels as though everyone from the other side of the pond is also now exploiting it with the pound being weak. Q: How do you feel about the future of the UK’s production industry? A: The future of the UK film and TV industry

In addition to well-trained crew, the UK boasts several industry-leading film studios, including Pinewood, Shepperton and Leavesden. However, there is an acknowledged shortage of studio space in the UK. More money is now being invested in new sites to relieve the issue of overbooking which has meant that some big budget projects have been unable to film in the country. Plans are currently underway to construct two new major studio facilities, one in Dagenham, East London and


is very strong and growing but this doesn’t take into consideration the disaster of Brexit. This will cause huge problems in terms of co-productions and agreements with our neighbours in Europe. It’s a terrible shame when so many years have been spent fostering positive links and co-production opportunities.

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essential facts incentives

A 25% tax rebate is afforded to feature films and high-end television shows. Films need to spend 10% of their budget for eligibility while TV production must meet a minimum spend of GBP1 million per-broadcast hour. tax rebate

25% travel

London is a major travel hub between the USA and Europe. In addition, there are several international airports up and down the country. Direct flights can be found from Los Angeles, Helsinki, Lisbon and Dublin. ata carnet

another in Scotland. The latter of these is particularly important as Scotland is currently without a proper studio facility, which has hampered the country’s ties to the production industry. Outside of the production infrastructure lies one of the UK’s best attributes – it’s ability to double seamlessly for almost any location you have your mind set on. Liverpool has been particularly popular in this regard, having doubled for New York in both Captain America: The First Avenger and in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. More recently, however, director Steven Spielberg was tasked with finding a dystopian version of Ohio set in 2045 for Ready Player One (pictured below). With the help of location manager Ali James, the production settled on using abandoned and futuristic locations in London and Birmingham.


Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War, Tony Durket’s Hoehn knows British. can double for

Tokyo, Florida, Ohio.


best time to shoot

The UK has a temperate climate but shooting in April to June or from September to October will provide you a greater chance of avoiding the rain and the tourist season. soundstaGes

Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios, The Bottle Yard Studios, Elstree Studios, Twickenham Studios, Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios, Longcross Film Studios. contact

Samantha Perahia at the British Film Commission (+44) 207 613 7675 Images: 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd & 2017 Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. e Phoenix Artist Club.


Windsor Great Park (as seen in Annihilation, World War Z, Cinderella) It’s hard to think of a more popular filming location than Windsor Great Park (above). Over the years the royal park has hosted a plethora of both domestic and international productions but what’s more intriguing is that producers are constantly finding new ways of how to film it. Nicholas Day, Operations Manager at The Crown Estate explains:

recent productions

time zone

location hiGhliGht

Ali explains: “We went to Birmingham as we wanted streets we could dress and were also not too recognisable as the film is set in Columbus, Ohio. Birmingham being only an hour from Leavesden Studios offered us some great big wide streets, lots of closures and a really helpful film office, and thankfully many areas that are not yet gentrified which was just fantastic. To shoot in an abandoned warehouse and underneath the motorway was great - all locations like that in London would be either impossible to find or difficult to achieve!” When it comes to deciding when to the visit the UK, it’s unfortunate that the stereotypical British rainy day does have some truth behind it. Luckily however, the British climate is relatively temperate and rarely uncomfortable for being out on location. To avoid the onslaught of tourists however, it’s best to visit the country between March and June or later in the year from September to November. There are several dedicated film offices dotted around the country so getting started is always easy and the UK’s multicultural environment welcomes people from all over the world.

“I have been offering up, for a number of years, a superb location deep in the heart of one of our woods – a stunning small pond surrounded by reeds, rushes and lush forest. Finally, we found the perfect match with Alex Garland’s recently released Annihilation. Working with Alex Gladstone heading up the locations team, and with huge input from Alex Garland, we found a number of locations close to the pond and also further afield on the Estate. So, without providing too much of a spoiler, the partially submerged boathouse in the American Deep South is actually on the Surrey/ Berkshire border.” No one would immediately expect an English park to double for a Floridian swamp and yet Alex Garland’s latest feature is a testament to the location’s versatility.

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#FOCUS London

Image courtesy of Film in Georgia ©Yura Galitsky

The impact of record levels of international production was the big talking point at FOCUS, the annual show for the creative screen industries.

Other stands showed off the latest in new production technology. Netherlands-based WeMakeVR was displaying its virtual reality experiences. VR, says lead producer Diede Bron, is great for showing locations, saving on travel costs.


Many of the participants agreed that the industry is enjoying a purple patch. Tony Scott, operations director of logistics provider Dynamic International, says it’s the busiest period in his company’s 30-year history. It sent out a convoy of 56 vehicles to Tenerife for the movie Jason Bourne.

rom high-end TV dramas such as The Crown and Game of Thrones to big budget movies like Black Panther or Justice League, there has been a well-documented boom in international production in recent years. It’s not just scripted content though; video production of all kinds is on the up, whether factual TV, commercials or branded content, as consumers around the world embrace new ways of viewing content on mobile platforms. The impact of this global production boom was the big talking point at FOCUS 2017, the annual show for the creative screen industries held at the Business Design Centre in London. Exhibitors included Film LA, based right at the heart of the global film industry. “We’re here to let people know that California is competitive again,” says Film LA’s Paul Audley. It’s Audley’s third year at FOCUS; in his first year he says he attracted a USD30m film to Los Angeles.

The boom has also rippled through to companies such as Above the Line, which offers security for film and TV productions. The company had 150 security guards a day working on Jurassic World. The pros and cons of the boom was also explored in depth at FOCUS’s programme of seminars and keynotes. Many of the speakers acknowledged that TV appears to be supplanting film, once considered the highest of the screen artforms. Producer Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects, Babylon) said: “TV has matured and represents an enormous creative playground and challenge.”

Some acknowledged they were struggling to keep up with demand. Einar Sveinn Thordarson, of Icelandic production services outfit Pegasus Pictures, has worked on shows such as Game of Thrones and Fortitude in recent years. Citing Iceland’s population of 320,000, he said that if more than three big TV projects shot in the country, “we are depleted.” Meanwhile, Scott Free Films executive producer Carlo Dusi said the TV drama boom had pushed up prices for crew, talent and facilities, making it harder to produce independent films. Other speakers stressed that the content boom isn’t just confined to film and TV. Lindsey Clay, CEO executive of advertising body ThinkboxUK, noted that TV revenues had increased in each of the seven years leading up to Brexit, when growth had ground to a halt. But the outlook for 2018 is more positive, she said. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Clay.

Returns to the Business Design Centre London on 4/5 December 2018. The event will remain completely free to attend for industry professionals.


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NEWS tech & facilities from cameras to

studios, the latest in Production

technology news


here’s a wide range of technology now used to make the job of production planning easier, from Google’s suite of apps through to collaboration tools like Slack and Trello, and Movie Magic’s established budgeting and scheduling software. But many producers say that as production has become more complex, technology has struggled to keep up with the specific organisational challenges of creating film, TV and commercials. Netflix has now taken matters into its own hands with the launch of its own production tech initiative, which will see it roll out a variety of web applications for production crew. The first app to roll out from Netflix is Move, which it has piloted on productions such as GLOW and

Ireland’s Ardmore Studios has been acquired by a group led by Joe Devine, the chairman of rival Irish facility, Troy Studios. The Ardmore studio site has seven sound stages and has been home to hundreds of productions since launching in 1958, including The Tudors and Penny Dreadful. It’s currently home to US TV series Into the Badlands (above) and RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. It was put up for sale in 2016.


hortage of studio space has become a big problem in the UK, which has had to turn away a number of big budget features because of a lack of facilities to meet demand.

Tough planning regulations and high land prices have made it difficult for existing studios to expand or for new ones to be built in and around London. But a brand new, major studio complex has now been given the greenlight in East London which should alleviate some of the pressure for space. The Dagenham film and TV studios will be built and run by US-based studios company Pacifica Ventures in partnership with Media Content Capital. Construction is expected to begin in 2019.


A Series of Unfortunate Events. Netflix says the mobile app allows anyone involved in a production to know what is happening on set at any specific point, rather than having to rely on emails or print outs. Chris Goss, director of studio technology at Netflix, said the new apps were born out of a necessity to produce more efficiently. “For Netflix, we have a unique challenge when producing in dozens of countries around the world and at a growing scale – with tens of thousands of production personnel creating entertainment for and on behalf of Netflix.” Netflix plans to roll out Move and other apps to producers and crew of the shows and films it is making. Netflix has yet to decide on whether to make the apps available to the wider industry.

canon launches full frame c700 Canon has launched the EOS C700 FF, the company's first full-frame cinema camera. The C700 is capable of recording up to 5.9k. It will cost around USD33,000 and will be available from July. technicolor chooses adelaide Technicolor is building a USD20m VFX studio in Adelaide, South Australia. Called Mill Films, the studio aims to employ 500 people within five years. Techicolor’s credits include The Shape of Water (pictured) and Wonder Woman. Technicolor CEO Frederic Rose cited a strong local talent pool and favourable tax credits as reasons for choosing Adelaide. Spread out over 22 acres, the GBP100m complex will include 12 sound stages, workshops and warehouses for lighting and grip operations, and at least 95,000 sqft of production office space and a post-production, VFX and media technology complex. It will also have large-screen theatre, event centre and retail and dining outlets.

Pacifica Ventures operates studios in Albuquerque, Connecticut and the Sun Center Studios in Philadelphia. Media Content Capital (MCC) is a private equity investment fund focused on investments into media, internet and entertainment companies. Barking and Dagenham Council has approved the deal to build the studio complex, and selected Pacifica and MCC as their preferred bidders for the scheme. Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said the development would bring new infrastructure and much-needed additional capacity to London and the UK.

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Technology has sTruggled

To keep up wiTh The specific organisaTional challenges

of creaTing film, Tv and commercials.

reel fx to open montreal hub Reel FX, whose credits include The Book Of Life (below) and Free Birds, is opening a satellite studio in Montreal. The new site will offer another hub for feature division Reel FX Animation Studios, which already has offices in Dallas and Hollywood. The first phase of development will house up to 220 artists, and Reel FX plans further expansion. “We’re aggressively ramping production in Montreal for a short list of theatrical budget animated film projects and more things to come,” said Reel FX CEO Steve O’Brien.

arri ships 4k alexa Arri has started shipping the long-awaited largeformat 4K version of the Alexa (below), regarded as one of the top film production cameras in the world.

framestore leaves soho Leading UK VFX house Framestore (Blade Runner 2049) has moved out of London’s Soho district after more than 30 years. It brings the company’s 1,100 London-based staff together into one central hub, a new 100,000 sq. ft. new headquarters in nearby Chancery Lane. CEO and founder, Sir William Sargent, said: “We built our foundations in the worlds of TV, Film and Advertising, but in recent years our work has expanded into new industries such as VR and AR. We’re seeing our client base widening outside of the usual Soho boundaries.”

revamp for rome’s cinecittà Rome’s famous Cinecittà Studios is being refurbished and building two new sound studios following EUR37m investment from Italy’s Ministry of Culture. The revamp will take three years. In recent years, Cinecittà has hosted Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest through to Paolo Sorrentino’s The Young Pope (above). TV series The Name of the Rose is filming at Cinecittà.

Why we get tech trends wrong Virtual reality “is not a medium for narrative storytelling,” said director Steven Spielberg while out promoting his sci-fi feature Ready Player One (pictured below) earlier this year. His comments came as the hype surrounding virtual reality subsides. Sales of VR headsets have been sluggish amid a realisation that VR will work best in areas such as gaming, retail and education – but not film or TV.

“The smarTphone is The Trend maker hiding in plain sighT…There is no more imporTanT Technical device for The media indusTry.”

VR is just the latest in a line of technologies, such as 3D, that have caught the imagination of the media industry but not consumers. A new report from the Digital Production Partnership looks at why the industry has got so many recent trends wrong. DPP managing director Mark Harrison says there are noticeable features of every false tech trend cycle. The new device requires consumers to modify their viewing behavior, and is accompanied by claims that

cinesite animates extinct Post house Cinesite is working on its first feature with producers China Lion Film and HB Wink Animation. The CG feature animation, Extinct, will be produced at the Cinesite studio in Montreal. Over 125 artists, technicians and support staff will work on the film at the studio.

It means that cinematographers will finally be able to shoot Netflix shows on the Alexa LF; until now Netflix’s stringent production specifications meant that the Alexa could not be used because it wasn’t a full 4K camera. producers will have to find new ways of telling stories. The devices are also championed by people who not content creators themselves, but by marketers, journalists or technologists.

DoPs were instead turning to 4K cameras from Red or Sony to shoot projects for Netflix. Given that Netflix aims to make over 700 originals in 2018, it meant Arri was in danger of losing its pre-eminent position in the market. “The larger Alexa LF sensor has the same optimal pixel size as other Alexas, resulting in a 4448 x 3096 image,” said Marc Shipman-Mueller, Arri Product Manager for Camera Systems. Accompanying the Alexa LF camera are 16 largeformat Arri Signature Prime lenses, ranging from 12 mm to 280 mm and fitted with the Arri LPL mount.

adobe updates editinG softWare Adobe has unveiled a major update to its popular Premiere Pro and After Effects video editing software, which form part of Creative Cloud. The update sees new capabilities for refining colour, creating graphics, and crafting audio along with enhanced VR tools. The update comes as Adobe increasingly rivals Avid in the professional editing market. “The demands and pace of video content creation are reaching levels we’ve never seen before. The time pressure on video professionals means the need for powerful and efficient creative tools has never been greater,” said Steven Warner, vice president of digital video and audio at Adobe.

It means that the industry has failed to notice the underlying big trend of the past decade – that demand for traditional two-dimensional storytelling continues to grow, boosted by the ability to stream video on mobile devices. “Streaming video on mobile devices is by far and away the most significant technical and business development for media in the last decade,” says Harrison. “The smartphone is the trend maker hiding in plain sight…There is no more important technical device for the media industry.”


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UKRAINE historical marvel

When it comes to shooting period projects, particularly those which have a setting based in eastern europe, ukraine should be your first choice. the country has already proven itself as a production hub but there are still plenty of unused locations.

kraine has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons since the uprising of 2014 and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea. Travel to Eastern parts of the country around Donetsk and Luhansk is still not recommended, but the rest of Ukraine is fantastically film-friendly.

With that said, Ukraine’s production industry has had to endure a great deal of uncertainty about the launch of a potential film incentive programme. In 2016, news broke that a 25% cash rebate was on its way but the scheme was eventually rejected after failing to gain complete government support.

The latest word on the incentive proposal is that the scheme has been reduced to a 16.6% rate and while it has been approved by the President Peter Poroshenko, the scheme is locked in limbo as changes have yet to be made to “There are a adjacent laws. The implementation of this incentive will be crucial in pleThora of allowing Ukraine to compete directly forTresses and with other Eastern European casTles scaTTered countries that have introduced across The their own financial programmes, ukrainian such as Romania and Serbia. landscape ThaT are jusT waiTing To be filmed.”

Even without an official incentive, however, Ukraine is still an attractive filming destination to international producers, thanks to its low costs on goods and services. This has allowed the country to build an impressive list of credits particularly on the commercial scene. Production service company 23/32 Films recently shot at an historic fortress in Kyiv for a spot announcing that HBO programmes would be coming to the Ukrainian television network, HOT. The spot features a set that is incredibly similar to one found in HBO’s Game of Thrones.


location hiGhliGht

Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (as seen in The Death of Stalin) The Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (above) may have only made a brief appearance as an exterior shot in The Death of Stalin but its presence was not overlooked. It’s a testament to the building’s design that even in a largely slapstick comedy about a power struggle in Soviet Russia, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra still manages to leave an impression on the audience. For those who are unaware, the Lavra is an Orthodox Christian Monastery that was founded in 1051 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. Known for its eye-catching golden domes, the site can be seen for miles around and provides a truly anachronistic presence against its surroundings. Stepping inside the Lavra is no less impressive as the high ceilings are topped with beautifully painted Christian iconography.

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Executive producer Maria Fabro-Giraud explains: “It is a Kyiv fortress dating back to 1844. It is currently a museum and considered to be a historical heritage site. This location was chosen because the plots of the films were unravelling in the kingdom of Game of Thrones and we needed an impressive medieval location that could provide the atmosphere of those times and help the spots look believable.”

essential facts incentives

While there’s no nationwide production incentive just yet, a cash rebate is in the works and is expected to debut sometime in the near future. ata carnet

YES travel

Boryspil is Ukraine’s largest and best connected international airport. Direct flight paths are available from Munich, Paris, New York and Stockholm. recent productions

Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin, George Mendeluk’s Bitter Harvest, Aviv Maaravi’s HBO is arriving to HOT. time zone

GMT +2 best time to shoot

Shooting from April to June or in September/ October will give you the best chance to catch the longer days and the summer sun while avoiding tourists. currency

HRYVNA soundstaGes

FILM.UA boasts 10 soundstages, a large village backlot and a vehicle fleet on site. contact

Oleksandr Shcherbyna at the Ukraine Film Office (+38) 093 920 137 Images: Bitter Harvest ©Arrow Films. Vlada Z, Dario Bajurin.


In addition to the one used for this commercial, there are a plethora of fortresses and castles scattered across the Ukrainian landscape that are just waiting to be filmed. The Khotyn fortress in Western Ukraine is just one example which is situated in such an isolated spot away from signs of modern civilisation that it could easily be adapted to a period project without the need for major dressing or green-screen effects. With locations such as these, Ukraine’s popularity abroad only seems to be growing. The country recently hosted filming for the upcoming Chinese television series, The Golden Eyes, with scenes filmed in Kyiv.

even wiThouT an official incenTive ukraine is sTill an aTTracTive filming desTinaTion To inTernaTional producers, Thanks To The low cosTs of goods and services.

Kyiv also recently played host to the CanadianBritish co-production, Bitter Harvest. Produced by Devil’s Harvest Production and Tell Me a Storey, the film’s 1930s setting allowed Ukraine’s speciality for period locations to really shine through. The release of Bitter Harvest also helped to highlight the need for a co-production agreement between Canada and Ukraine. The country also boasts similar co-production agreements with countries such as Israel and France. Due to Ukraine’s architecture being closely tied to Russian history, Ukraine can easily double for its neighbouring country which can be of great assistance to productions that don’t have the budget to shoot on location in Russia. With regards to deciding when to shoot, Maria Fabro-Giraud notes: “It’s better to avoid shooting on national holidays in Ukraine, especially in the beginning of January. We have a two-week New Year holiday, meaning that even if a producer is available during that time, you won’t be able to gather all the crew-members for shooting.” Ukraine’s tourism industry isn’t as hectic as some European countries which means that for the most part, producers needn’t worry about incurring any major challenges on that front. Ukraine boasts a temperate climate except for its southernmost regions which can see more of a Mediterranean environment. Be warned that Ukrainian winters can become very cold with temperatures as low as -12°C.


For amazing panoramas of the city, it’s well worth climbing the tower of Kyiv’s oldest standing church, St Sophia’s Cathedral (below). Inside, the Cathedral has Byzantine mosaics and frescoes dating back to the 11th Century. The building’s gold domes and wedding cake bell tower are 18th-century baroque additions. For a flavour of Ukraine, we’d recommend Petrus-b Restaurant in Kyiv. The restaurant’s menu includes classics of Ukrainian cuisine handmade varenyky, potato fritters, halushky (donuts), homemade sausage, cabbage rolls, borsch with pampushki (garlic donuts) and cottage cheese pancakes. Try their home-made vodka to wash it all down.

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URUGUAY scorching talent act as a single point of contact for anyone hoping to utilise the country for production purposes. Uruguay Audiovisual brings together the expertise of multiple organisations including Uruguay's Audiovisual Chamber, the Association of Filmmakers and Producers of Uruguay, the Ministry of Tourism, the Institute Uruguay XXI (Investing and Export Promotion Agency) and ICAU, National Film and Audiovisual Direction.

as anyone who has taken a chance on uruguay will tell you, its talented crew and location variety can compete with the best of them. don’t be surprised if you also become an unofficial ambassador for uruguay’s production industry.

While there’s no cash rebate to speak of, producers can enjoy VAT exemption on any eligible production costs incurred whilst filming in Uruguay. These expenditures can include insurance, technicians, equipment rental and even the use of studio space. Just like Chile and Argentina, Uruguay’s seasons occur at completely different times to that of the USA and Europe. Watch out for the scorching temperatures of summer (December to February) which have been known to reach as high as 42°C. ituated beside some of the largest production hubs in South America, it’s easy to understand how a busy producer might overlook Uruguay as a filming location but the country certainly has no less to offer for the industry. If anything, the country’s political stability and short travel time between an array of location types gives Uruguay an edge against its competitors.

Derby Content and El Camino Films’ two-minute spot for S’well is just one of many great campaigns to have emerged from Uruguay in recent months but to see how it transitions from a “The counTry’s modern/minimalist home to a wooded area, you would assume poliTical sTabiliTy that the production had been and shorT Travel filmed in California. Luckily Time beTween an for S’well, these locations could array of locaTion be found at a fraction of the cost Types gives in Uruguay. In fact, a behind-thescenes video shows how the uruguay an edge production service company took againsT iTs over a local swimming pool in compeTiTors.” order to shoot studio-quality underwater sequences – a testament to the prowess of Uruguay’s local crew. Keen to expand its appeal to feature film and television producers, however, Uruguay launched a new audiovisual body towards the end of 2016 to


Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is almost invariably described as old-fashioned and slow-paced. With a backdrop of fin-de-siècle architecture, shady plazas and riverside promenades bordered by sandy beaches, one of the best things you can do is simply stroll along the Rambla de Montevideo – pausing for a drink or two along the way while taking in the sea breeze. For dining, we’d recommend Estrecho, a tiny restaurant in the historic district with simple décor belying a sophisticated menu such as a deconstructed chivito made with filet mignon, poached egg, caramelised pancetta and fried onions. Or how about the chic and beautifully designed Jacinto, a few steps away from the charming Plaza Zabala (above)? Image: Oriental Films, Waldt Teufel.


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Chris Cobb-Smith Chris Cobb-Smith is the founder of Chiron Resources, which provides security and support to the international media operating in countries of extreme risk such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and has supported news crews in the wars in Georgia and Lebanon. Cobb-Smith served in the British Army from 1975-1995 seeing operational service worldwide. He joined the BBC in 2000 to assist with security and logistics support. He now advises senior media management on safety and security policy and training and set up Chiron Resources to provide consultants to support news crews on assignments.

SecURiTY exPeRT chRiS cOBB-SmiTh, WhO SPeciAliSeS in PROTecTing neWS cReWS in DAngeR ZOneS, OUTlineS The PRecAUTiOnS he TAKeS When TRAVelling – nO mATTeR hOW SAFe The lOcATiOn mAY Seem.

ack in 2002 I drove a film crew from Islamabad to Kabul. It’s an impossible journey to make today; then we taped ‘TV’ in broad letters to our vehicles as a sign of impartiality and neutrality – that would only signify a target now.

In the years since then, the world has changed significantly. It is a far more dangerous place; crime and terrorism have generally increased and there is now the additional threat from cyber infiltration. Even the most romantic of locations have been the scene of horrific attacks; think Tunisian beaches and Paris restaurants. Given the rise in potential threats, it’s vital to take some basic additional steps to ensure our safety – no matter how peaceful a location may seem. Consider that ‘recce’ for a location shoot; what measures should we take before we go, on arrival and throughout the trip? Has there been an initial threat assessment? Has any research been done on the region and the specific area? Where are we staying? Is it the most sensible area with good transport and communication links? Where is the nearest hospital? Does it have an adequate A&E and will it accept foreigners? Who will be our primary point of contact on the ground

– in the field of TV news the local ‘fixer’ is an essential member of the team; they will know their way around, who to talk to for information and in emergencies. What are the travel arrangements? Hire cars? If so, who will drive? Taxis or public transport – is this reliable and safe? Is there a communications plan to maintain regular and reliable liaison back to a ‘base location’, an office or perhaps a home but someone ready and available 24/7 to respond to an emergency. When I travel, I always put in place a few basic security measures. I put a paper map of my location in my pocket so I can find my way back in case of problems. I take at least two phones - my own and another phone with a local SIM card so I can be sure to always be in communication. But be wary of the implications should you lose that smart phone – think of the amount of information you may have on it, do you really need it? And the batteries on those cheap, talk / text-only phones last for days! With any foreign location prior research is invaluable – know what the threats are and you have a better chance of evading them. Knowing something about the region and the culture will help you to maintain a low profile; the less you stand out the more unlikely you will be the subject of unwelcome attention.


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always sunny

florida may have encountered a few setbacks as of late, but it still possesses highly talented crew and local vendors who are more than willing to negotiate with filmmakers to get them the best price possible.

n the face of insurmountable turmoil, Floridians will keep on swinging. After the devastation that Hurricane Irma brought in 2017, Florida’s restoration is well underway as the state welcomes back tourists and trade alike. Taking a leaf from the same book, Florida’s production industry is now undergoing a renaissance following a downturn brought about by the state’s incentive being left to sunset. While this revival is a result of many collaborating forces, its catalyst is certainly owed to none other than Barry Jenkins.

Director, producer and Florida-native, Jenkins put Florida back on the map with his coming-of-age film, Moonlight (pictured above). The production, which famously went on to win Best Film at the 89th Academy Awards, showcased Florida’s capacity to tell a complex “for projecTs drama and produce a visually looking To stunning piece of art. Moonlight’s film specifically story is embedded in the locations wiThin norTh of the state, as Chiron (played by miami and/or The Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert at various stages miami-dade counTy, in his life) moves between locales florida can be that vary in affluence. The film’s a cosT-effecTive most iconic scene, which sees a locaTion.” young Chiron swimming with Juan (Mahershala Ali), was filmed on location in Virginia Key Beach. For a heartfelt reunion between Chiron and his childhood friend Kevin, the production was able to find a throwback diner just several miles away. Kelly Paige of Film Florida says the film has been a wonderful ambassador for South Florida. “Despite 140


It’d be too easy for us to list one of the many tourist attractions spread across the Floridian landscape, after all they’re popular for a reason, but when you dig a little deeper there are still some surprises to be found that are worth a visit. Bok Tower Gardens (picture above) is just one example located in Polk County. The Singing Tower, which features Gothic Revival and Art Deco design, is the garden’s beautiful centrepiece and a worthy filming location in its own right. With regards to Florida’s eateries, something would be amiss if we didn’t mention Joe’s Stone Crabs. Frequented by celebrities and politicians alike, Joe’s is an institution and its titular ingredient spawned a whole industry. James Bond creator Ian Fleming thought enough of his trip to the restaurant that he made several allusions to it in his novel, Goldfinger.

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recent challenges for our industry in Florida, Moonlight shows the exceptional talent and creativity produced by our colleges and universities in addition to showing the potential of the film industry in our state.” Almost a year after the release of Moonlight, Sean Baker sought to tell a different yet familiar story that also relied heavily on the Floridian landscape with The Florida Project. Shot on 35mm, and briefly with an iPhone 6s Plus, the film’s limited budget called for locations that would instantly pop on-screen and require minimal dressing, if any. Baker and production designer, Stephonik Youth, found exactly what they were looking for at the Magic Castle Inn and Suites in Kissimmee. Caked in fluorescent purple, the Magic Castle Inn (and several establishments within the area) are inspired by the cartoon aesthetic at Walt Disney World Resort, in an effort to capitalise on its appeal to tourists. As the film’s central location, Kissimmee presents itself as a colourful playground for the young cast as they explore its urban landscape. The production struck another major win when a rainbow appeared directly above the Magic Castle Inn, saving thousands in post-production work that would have implemented the effect artificially.


Further attention will be brought to the state throughout 2018 courtesy of Matthew McConaughey. Two of the actor’s upcoming films were both shot in Florida, Yann Demange’s White Boy Rick and Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum. Korine has already shown his ability to navigate Florida’s locations with 2012’s Spring Breakers, leaving audiences to wonder just how he might use the state once more with his McConaughey-led comedy which also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bel Powley.

1995, so it was always the main contender. It was important to us to have the film set there, as our main characters — the kids — are living next to the “most magical place on Earth” but in a situation that is anything but magical.

The lack of a state-wide film incentive might be a deal breaker for some, but for projects looking to film specifically within North Miami and/or the Miami-Dade County, Florida can be a cost-effective location. Both of these aforementioned territories have now installed their own local incentive programmes in an effect to attract business back to the state. In North Miami, producers can expect to receive a 30% reimbursement on their local expenditures, capped at USD50,000. Miami-Dade County on the other hand can offer rebates of up to USD100,000 to producers that incur a minimum spend of USD1 million. These incentives are coupled with experienced local crew that have cut their teeth on major projects such as Seth Gordon’s Baywatch, DJ Caruso’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage and the first two seasons of HBO’s comedy series, Ballers. For commercial producers, Florida’s 241 days of sunshine can provide a lot of flexibility not only in terms of when to shoot but also the amount of time


chris berGoch producer

The Florida Project

Q: How many motels were in the running

before you decided on the Magic Castle and what was it that set that location apart? A: I actually stayed at the Magic Castle back in

Q: Is it possible for Florida to return to its

former glory, before the incentive was left to sunset? A: Florida is an amazing cinematic resource,

we found so many amazing people, places and things down there and productions would be very tunnel-visioned if they chose to not at least consider shooting there just based on the current lack of incentives. Q: In lieu of a financial incentive, what

advice would you give to other producers about filming in Florida? A: There is a great, local support in the way of

amazing talent and crew ready to assist — and they’re going to help you make your film the way you want to, you just have to find them.

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that can be spent shooting in a specific location, giving fantastic value for money. Florida already has a history of hosting commercial productions for big name brands such as Louis Vutton, Budweiser, Coors and Harley Davidson.

essential facts incentives

While Florida lacks a state-wide incentive for filming, several regional incentives have popped up to fill the void. A 30% reimbursement is available in North Miami with a per-project cap of USD50,000, and rebates of up to USD100,000 on a minimum local spend of USD1 million are provided in Miami-Dade County. north miami reimbursement


can double for

Florida Keys can cheat for any idyllic island location in the world. travel

Florida has 21 primary commercial airports thanks to its year-round popularity as a tourist destination. The state takes direct flights from all over the world including London, Dubai, Zurich and Vancouver, just to name a few. time zone

GMT -5 recent productions

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, Seth Gordon’s Baywatch, D.J. Caruso’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage. ata carnet

YES soundstaGes

Florida’s esteemed history with productions has left it with plenty of studio facilities for new filmmakers to choose from. Among the most prolific are Universal Studios Florida and Chapman Leonard Soundstage and Equipment. contact

John Lux at Film Florida (+1) 887 572 3224 / Moonlight courtesy of A24. Other images: Sean Pavone Photo.


As one of only a handful of American states that enjoy international attention as a holiday destination, Florida also benefits from a large transport network. Direct flights are available from London, Mexico City, Montreal, Berlin and Istanbul, making Florida one of the most accessible states for foreign producers. When it comes to housing crew, the process can be both helped and hindered by tourism in that large-scale hotels are easy to find but their availability depends almost entirely on the time of year. Tourists flock to North Florida during the summer months while South Florida sees a contrasting high-season from mid-December to roughly mid-April. Sufficient planning should help to minimise any potential issues if filming during these busy periods. For hosting a large crew, we’d recommend the Doubletree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay, which boasts 152 rooms and 50 condominiums in a central location. The establishment has had previous experience with productions and is able to provide offices, wardrobe rooms and car rental on-site. For housing a production’s talent, few hotels scream luxury quite as loud as the Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach which recently unveiled a new penthouse suite encompassing 7,725 sq ft. With the sheer amount of progress that has been made following a brief downturn, it’s clear that Florida’s production professionals are dedicated to making their state a prime location for producers. The surge of award-winning films coming out of Florida has cemented its ability to tell fascinating stories that resonate around the world and in the case of The Florida Project, it’s difficult to imagine its vibrant locations being found anywhere else. Things are certainly looking up for the Sunshine State.

location hiGhliGht

Magic Castle Inn and Suites (as seen in The Florida Project) In Sean Baker’s The Florida Project (above), the Magic Castle Inn epitomises the divide between its central characters. With its purple coat of paint and various levels to explore, the location is a wonderland to the children that live there but for the adults, the hotel’s Walt Disney World inspired aesthetic just barely camouflages their poverty. The cinematography follows these changes as the scenes amongst the adults are filmed at a higher angle while the children are followed at their low level to capture their impressions of the building. Speaking of the location’s function, producer Chris Bergoch explains: “Despite living in poverty, the kids make their own magic with what they have. They are finding their own adventure through their young point of views. Moonee has not had the opportunity to visit Cinderella Castle in The Magic Kingdom, but she’s a princess living in her own Magic Castle, and to her, that’s every bit as magical.” Given that the design of Magic Castle and surrounding establishments is so intrinsically linked to that of Disney World, it’s hard to imagine finding these locations anywhere else – giving Florida a unique edge that more productions should make use of.

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Winter Wonderland the location guide’s tom deehan reflects on his (very cold) Press triP to finnish

laPland for the filming of arctic circle


tepping off the plane at Ivalo Airport is an experience I’ll never forget. I assumed that I would be fairly competent in adapting to a location where temperatures drop to -30°C. But my first breath of the clean Lapland air immediately struck my lungs with a destabilising force. First piece of advice for anyone visiting Finnish Lapland – breathe through your nose, not through your mouth. My presence in Finnish Lapland was thanks to an invitation from the Finnish Lapland Film Commission to report on the filming of Arctic Circle, one of the first scripted television series to make use of Finnish Lapland as a major location – three months worth of shoot days in fact. I was lucky enough to arrive a day early into Ivalo (ahead of the other journalists) which gave me a chance to scout the area with the wonderful Laura Kuulasmaa of Elisa Viihde. As anyone who has been to Lapland in the winter will tell you, there’s more than enough snow to go around and producers would never have to worry about it melting until the spring time. The idea that this was truly a winter wonderland was only further cemented by occasional sightings of wild reindeer.

At one point we passed a fantastic shot of a forest that was absolutely covered in snow and was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Having travelled with location managers before, I’ve become used to the idea of needing to swerve the car back round at a moment’s notice to get the perfect shot. So I thought I’d do them proud by shuffling some of my creative weight around, politely asking Laura to stop the car. But, stepping out of that car, I knew immediately that any dreams of becoming a location manager were far flung – I had never felt so cold in my life.

snow laPland 146


The severity of the wind sent us both hurtling back into the car where we proceeded to drive off at full speed. The following day we all headed up to the set of Arctic Circle which was located at the top of a ski slope and offered a panoramic view for miles around. The set itself was a great bit of technical trickery, having constructed the exterior of a non-existent hotel that seemed to hint at having cutting edge Scandinavian design. After interviewing the cast and crew at a nearby ski “The seT, aT The lodge/restaurant, it was Top of a ski slope, clear to see not only just was a greaT biT how much passion was going into the project of Technical itself but an overall Trickery, having enthusiasm to embrace consTrucTed The the cold and capture exTerior of a these incredible locations non-exisTenT on screen.

hoTel ThaT hinTed

As a final treat for the aT cuTTing edge international journalists, scandinavian several of whom may or design. ” may not have had spreading frostbite, we were each handed a toboggan and pointed in the direction of the slope. What started out as a terrifying race to the finish line soon became something that we could do with our eyes closed – quite literally given the amount of snow that flew into them. Pro tip: if someone tells you to dig your heels into the snow to curb your speed – don’t.

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