From the Editor: Review of 2011
It’s been a good year for the established production hubs around the world, with regions like Buenos Aires, South Africa, Eastern Europe and New Zealand maintaining their appeal for commercial projects. Australia has seen a production resurgence, while in the US the spectre of budget deficits has put real pressure on state filming incentives.
Buenos Aires-based Location Manager Eugenia D’Alessio talked us through filming the city earlier this year and The Location Guide partnered up with the Cíclope International Advertising Craft Festival in Buenos Aires as well. Argentina’s South American neighbours are jostling for attention too. Uruguay doubled for the French Riviera in a Stella Artois commercial and Mitsubishi used a 360-degree camera to document a trip down Bolivia’s infamous Death Road. Both were popular stories this year.
Uruguay doubled for the French Riviera in a Stella Artois commercial and Mitsubishi used a 360-degree camera to document a trip down Bolivia’s infamous Death Road. Both were popular stories this year.
Will the industry continue heading to South America? It seems likely. It’s got several skilled crew bases and looks a lot like the northern hemisphere, only at a cheaper rate. The climate’s also a major factor and the inversed seasons are a significant appeal for production companies in Europe and North America.
New Zealand has dominated headlines this year because of the long-running hobbit saga. The USD500 million films were put on hold for 12 months because of financial woes at distributor MGM, and then filming finally began earlier this year. Now that The Dark Knight Rises has wrapped, Peter Jackson’s films are arguably the biggest feature project in the world at the moment. Combined with an equally-buzzing commercials industry – with adverts including Carlsberg, Harnas beer, Toyota Hilux and Tooheys Extra Dry - New Zealand is likely to remain the focus of the world’s attention for the foreseeable future, although it suddenly faces competition from Australia.
Australia started 2011 at a brisk pace. The Steven Spielberg-produced TV show Terra Nova set up camp in Queensland, and the year ends with Baz Luhrmann’s star-studded 3D adaptation of literary masterpiece The Great Gatsby filming a mock-up period New York at Fox Studios in Sydney.
Now that The Dark Knight Rises has wrapped, Peter Jackson’s hobbit films are arguably the biggest feature projects in the world at the moment.
The country’s also looking to build itself a reputation in the technical field by hosting a big-budget adaption of Milton’s poem Paradise Lost in Sydney, using an updated version of the performance-capture technology that James Cameron made popular in Avatar. The project’s now been delayed as the studio tries to make it a little less big-budget, but there’s no reason at the moment to think it will leave the country.
It’s been a time of change for the UK industry, with Creative England officially replacing regional film offices. We’ll have to wait a year or two to find out whether the new organisational structure is a good move, but TLG is going out on a limb and saying it will work. Centralising funding and support resources into one organisation, rather than relying on separate entities scattered across the country, would seem a more efficient way of doing things.
In California, of all places, the state filming incentive has been extended for just 12 months, prompting nearly a dozen TV pilots to shun the West Coast’s long-term uncertainty for the warmer embrace of New York’s tax credits.
Meanwhile, Joe Wright travelled to Morocco, Germany and Finland for his action thriller Hanna, while Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy headed for Budapest and Istanbul, as well as filming scenes in London. Both films steered clear of landmarks and showcased lesser-known locations that better matched their atmospherics. With the Daniel Craig James Bond films taking their initial inspiration from the Bourne franchise, it’ll be interesting to see how Skyfall shoots Istanbul late next year.
Eastern Europe remains a popular production centre with its experienced crews, ability to double for global locations and the underlying appeal of several tax incentives. Croatia has stood out this year, chosen as a filming location for hit HBO show Game of Thrones, while also being used by Lynx deodorant as a double for pricier Italy.
In the US, intense fiscal concerns have had dramatic results. Michigan’s status as national production hub came to an abrupt end with a gigantic reduction in its annual film fund, while opposition to local filming incentives has grown intense in many states. In California, of all places, the state incentive has been extended for just 12 months, prompting nearly a dozen TV pilots to shun the West Coast’s long-term uncertainty for the warmer embrace of New York’s tax credits.
Watch this space for all the latest industry developments as we welcome 2012!
(Hobbit image copyright: James Fisher/Warner Bros Pictures)
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