Written by Murray Ashton on Apr 15, 2013. Posted in Interviews

Filming on location with Alessandra Bergero of the Italian Riviera Film Commission

Alessandra Bergero and her brother Raffaele set up the Italian Riviera Film Commission in 1998. The commission is based in north-west Italy near the French Cote d'Azur and promotes the region as a production hub.

What does the Italian Riviera Film Commission offer the global production industry?

We are a not-for-profit organisation supported mainly by the Foundation A De Mari, CaRiSa Saving Bank and the Chamber of Commerce of Savona. We deliver free bespoke production support and assistance sourcing crew, facilities and locations to eligible productions. We work with the local government to ensure film-friendly policies are in place. Our approach is creative and diversified according to specific productions. We follow all the different stages of production, providing full and customised collaboration. We certainly represent a saving in terms of time and budget without compromising quality.

What does the Italian Riviera have to offer as an international filming location?

The region covered by the Italian Riviera Alpi del Mare Film Commission has a wide selection of locations in a small territory and many places that can double for other parts of the world. There’s the Mediterranean sunshine and climate, the tourism appeal and the proximity to major cities and airports. These were the main features that have attracted productions such as The Bourne Identity and Inkheart.

Scenery changes from olive trees to snow in less than two hours. Almost any architectural style can be found, from Roman to medieval and British-style villas, palaces and castles, as well as futuristic ports and buildings.

Almost any architectural style can be found, from Roman to medieval and British-style villas, palaces and castles, as well as futuristic ports and buildings.

Our proximity to cities like Turin, Genoa, Milan and Nice guarantees the possibility of different choices regarding equipment rentals companies, studios and post-production facilities.

What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews?

The natural beauty of the region is enhanced by the stunning cliffs and coves that surround its beaches and make the region distinct from other coastal parts. There are long roads and places by the sea or locations that climb up the Alps such as rock villages, ports, villas, historic medieval locations, Roman centres, ghost towns and abandoned factories.

What has been your most difficult location assignment to date and why?

Inkheart was the major production we hosted. Four hundred crew shot in a ghost town, which was literally falling apart. It was necessary to make the town safe before filming. For The Bourne Identity a couple of our small ports were used as tanks for the opening scenes set off the coast of Marseille.

One of the most difficult tasks I faced once was to stop the bells of the local church on a Sunday because they had to shoot one of the most important scenes of Inkheart. It was not easy to convince the priest!

What types of production do you usually work on?

At the moment we work more frequently on TV programmes, commercials, documentaries and also photo shoots. The most recent ones were two episodes for the History Channel series Life After People, one episode for a 3D series for Discovery Channel called Abandoned Planet - both produced by Flight 33 Productions in Los Angeles - and two episodes for Galileo, a show for the Russian and German TV market that was produced by Tele Format.

Are there any tips that you would like to share about filming in your region?

The commission not only offers free support to eligible productions, but can also provide ‘content’ support. We developed new tools and services to satisfy all the needs of any type of production. For example, in addition to our traditional free-of-charge production services for film projects, such as location scouting, permissions, hotel logistics and local professionals listings, we recently created a online library of topics related to our area (historical facts, misteries, nature, lifestyle and so on), which can help inspire productions such as TV documentaries and reports. In our new book - the first of its sort from a film commission - we present our area not only with location but with all its stories and traditions. We now like to define ourselves as a Film and MEDIA commission.

There are usually set costs for Public Liability cover for film units and costs for insuring locations. Can you tell us about regional location insurance?

We act as a liaison with public institutions and local authorities to facilitate filming. Usually publicly-owned locations are free. We ask for a copy of the insurance to the production company. In some cases a letter of indemnity is required to be signed by the production team. If a location is privately-owned the production company will run private negotiation with owners.

What do you do to relax after a shoot?

I head to a great spa, to the beach or to a small village in the countryside to have the best food and wine.

Thank you

To contact Alessandra please click here.


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