Written by on Mar 5, 2010. Posted in Production News

Cuba doubles for 1960s French Riviera in Stella Artois ad

Stella Artois has used Cuba to double for the French Riviera of the 1960s. Runaway Piano shows a delivery man morphing into a suave musician in three stages as he chases a stray piano down a hill.

Sonny, London filmed in January but needed to double for Europe in the summertime with bright sunshine. Beirut and Puerto Rico were both considered for their weather, architecture and, in the case of Puerto Rico, hilly topography, but Cuba was eventually chosen. It offered lower costs as well as clear weather and European buildings.

Sarah Graley, a Production Manager with Sonny, said: “We tidied things up, re-painted some of the buildings and hung French flags to complete the European feel. In post-production we made sure any Spanish street signs were removed.” Period cars were sourced from local owners and a classic cars club.

Most of the buildings used to film in were government-owned, including an antiques shop and a hotel, and so the production had to work through local authorities and the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry for the right permits. Mike Barker, of Shoot Cuba, said: “Permission of the competent authorities is needed, authorisation of owners’ locations and work visas for the foreign personnel that will work in Cuba.”

Sonny flew in a small number of key crew members including heads of departments, the Director, Producers and Cinematographer. Mr Barker said: “Shoot Cuba negotiates the visas for the foreign work personnel; it needs photocopies of their passports, occupation details and entrance and departure dates in Cuba.” The rest of the crew was local, as was the principal cast and extras.

Cuba offers local equipment resources such as lights, sound equipment and dollies, but according to Ms Graley there are no lab facilities. Mr Barker added: “In Cuba we can recreate scenes from the 16th century until the first half of the 20th century, as well as all types of cities like New York, Paris and Rome. We can also recreate Latin American cities.”

Click here to view the ad.

Client: Stella Artois
Agency: Mother, London
Production Company: Sonny, London
Production Service Company: Shoot Cuba
Production Manager: Sarah Graley

Editor: Rich Orrick
Director: Fredrik Bond
Director of Photography: Alwin Kuchler

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