Written by on Feb 17, 2012. Posted in General Interest

Editor’s Weekly

We’ve covered two new commercials this week filmed in Canada and Italy, respectively. We have updates on filming incentive controversies across the US, while Australia has been hit by the cancellation of major feature project Paradise Lost.

Deodorant brand Rexona has filmed its new spot in a rustic Italian fishing village not far from Naples on the country’s west coast. There’s nothing distinctively Italian about the spot, but it does have a European feel.

It’s odd that someone decided to not only introduce CGI to such a picturesque spot, but to actually focus on it.

Unfortunately the very premise of the spot prevents the location from being used to its full potential. The ad focuses on a digitally-created cloud of sea salt wafting around the dock and the seaside houses, and so our attention is inevitably drawn away from the picturesque fishing village. It’s odd that someone decided to not only introduce CGI to such a picturesque spot, but to actually focus on it.

To the other side of the world and a new advert from Suzuki filmed on Spray Lake in Alberta, Canada. Sled offers a few token panoramas of the arctic-looking landscape, but the comedy of seeing an Inuit driving across the ice with his huskies tapping their paws to 50 Cent is the main focus here. This actually could have been filmed in a studio with some judicious green screen and stock landscape footage, but it’s perhaps to be commended that the LA-based production team decided to take a trip to the frozen north instead.

Filming incentive controversies continue in the US, with the focus this week on Virginia, Alabama and Alaska. Virginia has just got a profile boost from hosting Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic, but local politicians want to put the state’s incentive programme under the microscope, with ‘reform’ – read ‘reduction’ – a possibility. If the programme is indeed reformed, then it seems likely Virginia will lose its appeal.

Virginia has just got a profile boost from hosting Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic, but local politicians want to put the state’s incentive programme under the microscope, with ‘reform’ – read ‘reduction’ – a possibility.

Alabama offers a 25% rebate, but with only a USD10 million film fund it has a long way to go to become a major player. Local authorities want to increase the fund to USD25 million within the next three years, but this will still only bring it on a par with where Michigan is now. It won’t be hosting major studio productions anytime soon.

Up to the far north-west of the continent and it’s been revealed that Alaska paid out nearly USD10 million in incentives to feature film Big Miracle (formerly Everybody Loves Whales). It was a bold statement of intent from Alaska that seems to have gone largely unnoticed among the west-coast studios in 2011, as the state was snubbed by at least two high-profile feature projects. There have been quarrels among local politicians and organisations about how the programme is run and who’s actually benefitting, not to mention the open concerns about the quality of the local crew base. It’s uncertain at the moment what the future holds.

It’s been a disappointing week for Australia, with major feature Paradise Lost cancelling its Sydney shoot because of a soaring budget. The project would have been a huge boost for the city that’s been short on international productions lately, as well as challenging Los Angeles and New Zealand in the performance capture field.

There have been quarrels among local politicians and organisations in Alaska about how the film incentive programme is run and who’s actually benefitting, not to mention the open concerns about the quality of the local crew base.

Adding to the country’s woes is the fact that Terra Nova hasn’t been commissioned yet for a second series. It performed to underwhelming ratings in the US, despite a combination of dinosaurs and Steven Spielberg’s name. Australia needs a big-budget success story sooner rather than later, and at the moment Baz Luhrmann’s starry adaptation of The Great Gatsby is about the only big project underway in Sydney.

This week we spoke to Hilary Dugdale of Ile of Man Film about shooting on the Island and we also expanded our Film-Friendly Locations database. We’ve added a residential house in Karen in Nairobi, Kenya, which offers ‘Arts and Craft’ architecture, an open plan interior and a view of the Ngong Hills.

There’s Borough Market in south-east London in the UK, a bustling food retail market set beneath a series of historic railway arches. Finally we have Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France. This was built in 1855 by Napoleon III and offers more than 150 rooms designed in France’s ‘Second Empire’ historical style.

If you manage a building or a location that you think qualifies as film-friendly, or you’ve filmed somewhere recently that you think should be listed on our website, please contact Ewa.

If you’ve got some great location filming stories to share and you’d like to be part of our profile section, or you have an idea for an article please contact Murray.

If you've been working on location anywhere in the world and you're looking for some press coverage, please contact Nick. We’d all be happy to hear from you.

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