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The Way Back films on location in Bulgaria, Morocco and India
Peter Weir’s new film The Way Back is set during World War II and tells the story of a group of POWs who escaped from a Siberian gulag in 1940 only to face an epic trek to India. The production scouted locations all over the world, eventually settling on the most film-friendly options.
Joni Levin, a Producer on the project, said: “We eventually filmed in and around Bulgaria, Morocco and India. They were chosen because they matched the terrain and weather of where the actual trek took place - Siberia, Mongolia, the Himalayas and India. We considered Mongolia and Siberia but there is no infrastructure there for filming. We also scouted Canada and the US, but at the end of the day Bulgaria and Morocco seemed to work the best, both physically and financially.”
Prepping took place in Bulgaria, which doubled for Siberia. Local crew members were employed but the producers brought in their own heads of department. Michael John Meehan was the production’s Location Manager. Meehan said: “An all-exterior shoot faces weather every day. We were too cold and too hot all too often. We also shot many remote locations where access was a challenge. Having said that, a great crew can overcome almost anything.”
A typhoon wiped out the production’s base camp during the Indian leg of the shoot, but filming was able to carry on without too much of a delay.
One of the bigger challenges came in altering the environment to suit the needs of the story. Snow was a major element of the first act and snow machines were used to provide it.
Duncan Henderson, one of the Producers, said: “We used every type of snowmaking device available. Our picture begins in Siberia and it was important that we have photo-real snow throughout the first act. We were also blessed with real snow and our special effects team made the real and man-made snow appear seamless.”
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