Filming in Austria with Location Scout Stefan Teuber
Stefan first started location scouting in 1998. While he was studying multimedia engineering in Vienna a phone company asked him to find the perfect Austrian motorway for their commercial. It took several years and plenty of commercial work before Stefan broke into film and TV scouting.
After 12 years in the industry he now has an impressive location archive and spends most of his time on the road scouting various Austrian provinces for film companies.
Tell me about Austria
As I was born and raised in Lower Austria (in the eastern part of the country) I can say that this is one of Austria's nine provinces (except Vienna) I know best. But I've worked in each other province as well depending on the story I'm searching for, and also on regional promotional arrangements (monetary refunds for production companies from foreign countries, for example).
So back to Lower Austria, it is the biggest province here with about 19,000 sq km. In my opinion it has the widest variety of topographies (from the Alps in the south to the Bohemian Mass in the north). Furthermore you can find the highest density of castles and conserved ruins Austria has to offer.
What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews in Austria?
That of course depends on the script and the refund situation. There's always a big interest in the alpine regions. We have a fantastic network of paths in the Alps which can mostly be driven by transport units and, if that's not possible, local organisations like the mountain rescue service are very helpful with transportation. Most often the right of way belongs to agricultural co-operatives or the Austrian Federal Forests Administration. They'll help you to get access to these areas so there's no need to walk everywhere!
What are the rare, more unusual locations that our readers would not necessarily associate with Austria?
There are some hidden treasures like castles, manor houses or mansions nobody gets to use because they are on private property. There are also many, many lakes at different heights above sea level so you can stage various scenarios. Maybe it's the variety of architecture and rural locations within short distances that make Austria a fascinating filming location.
What has been your most difficult location assignment to date and why?
That was probably scouting for a co-production this year. I had a very tight schedule because of weather problems. The movie needed winter settings and, as the spring thaw had already started, we had to move fast. I got the script one afternoon and had to be at the other end of Austria the next day. There were some tricky locations to find like an old wooden castle which had to be burnt down at the end of the film. We didn't have time to make all the usual arrangements with the property owners and local authorities. We were beaten by the weather in the end. As far as I know the film still hasn't started shooting...
What types of production do you work on most and what has been filmed recently in Austria?
I work mostly with Austrian television and cine productions in Austria. Within the last three years a number of Austro-German co-productions have taken place. The last one, which is still in production, is Peter and Marie-Noelle Sehr's film about the life of King Ludwig II, the Emperor of Bavaria who, amongst other buildings, built the castle Neuschwanstein. He went mad in the end.
Are there any tips that you would like to share about filming in Austria?
I would recommend keeping an eye on the thaw in the mountains if you're planning a winter movie in Austria! Austria has some great film commissions which I would definitely recommend contacting. But remember, they are not professional location scouts and cannot visit each and every spot themselves.
Which are the best airports to use to film in your region and who flies there?
The main airport is Wien-Schwechat. There are also some regional airports like Graz, Linz and Klagenfurt. But I would go by car once in Austria.
What are the most film-crew-friendly hotels in your region and what and where is your favourite wrap party venue?
There are lots of them so I would recommend asking the film commissions. Since Vienna was voted 'most liveable city in the world' in 2010 you'll find plenty of party venues, depending of course on how much the producer is willing to spend.
There are usually set costs for Public Liability cover for film units and costs for insuring locations. Can you tell us about location insurance and possibly examples of costs in your region?
It's rather complicated to find an insurance company for single insurance tasks like location liability insurance. Most of the Austrian production companies use package policies (public liability, damage to film material, location liability insurance etc), but it should be possible to find it. Prices can be steep depending on the insured sum and the duration of the filming.
When you are not location scouting or shooting what do you do when you have time off and what would you recommend film crew and cast to do to relax in Austria?
My hobbies are riding motorbikes, sailing, hiking and cooking. Vienna offers various sporting possibilities such as the Prater - a huge park near the center that's ideal for runners - or the palace gardens in Schönbrunn, a former imperial estate now open to the public. You can also rent small sailing boats and glide along the Old Danube. The skiing isn't great near Vienna but there is a ski-lift in the city. Very little snow though. Guess why; because of the thaw!
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