Written by on Mar 29, 2010. Posted in On Location

Chile tackles global perceptions after earthquake

Chile is facing the tricky task of tackling international ideas of what it can safely deliver in the aftermath of the February 27th earthquake. Concepcion in the southern part of the country was worst-affected. However, Chile has since contended with media images focussing on localised devastation that doesn’t reflect the state of the rest of the country.

Sylvie Dube, of Moonlighting in Santiago, said the earthquake was inconvenient for Chile’s industry but the country is recovering well: “We have a very strong infrastructure in Chile and firm building regulations. The airport was closed for a week after the earthquake so clients had to travel via Argentina for a few days. We also relocated some of our shoots to Buenos Aires, Bolivia and South Africa to allay client concerns.”

Patricio Parraguez of Pro Chile said the area around Concepcion is only an occasional filming location and so had less of an impact on the industry: “Some of the areas mostly used as film locations, be it for commercials and feature films, are the northern Atacama desert, Santiago, Santiago the capital, Valparaiso, the main port of the country, Patagonia and the lakes region. These areas haven’t been affected by the major earthquake.”

Chile remains a popular double for many countries around the world. One of the highest-profile projects of recent years was the shoot for Quantum of Solace, which used places like the Atacama Desert and the Antofagasta region of the country for Bolivia. With topography including arid deserts and towering mountainsides, the country can also be an effective alternative for places like the Alps and the Himalayas.

One of the most recent projects filming in Chile was a commercial for major vehicle manufacturer Renault, which shot in locations including coastal roads and a beach around Constitucion in the south-west of the country before the earthquake. Other locations included Valparaiso in Region V of central Chile and Vina del Mar in the same area. Axel Brinck, a Producer with La Casa Films that produced the ad, said: “The production was attracted to Chile by the stable climate, cheaper prices than in places like France and Spain and the ease and flexibility of closing roads for the shoot.”

In addition to the scenery on offer, the European influence in Santiago means the city can stand in for many metropolitan areas around the world. Bud Theisen, of Straightforward Films in Santiago, said: “Around half of shoots in Chile take place in Santiago. The city offers differing architecture and can double for places like Los Angeles, Madrid and Barcelona. It’s also cheaper than working in the USA or New Zealand.”

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