Written by Murray Ashton on Aug 26, 2013. Posted in Interviews

Filming in Chile with Raimundo Alemparte of Film Commission Chile

Raimundo has a background in freelance journalism and has extensive experience of travelling the length and breadth of Chile. He became part of Film Commission Chile in 2010 at the invitation of the country’s National Council of Culture and Arts.

What can you tell us about Chile as a filming location?

Chile is a country with an abundant assortment of landscapes, friendly people, political and economic stability and superb connectivity. It might just be the ideal place to realise your film project. With a total length of more than 4,270 kilometres, Chile is the longest country in the world.

From the desert in the north to the rainy south in the Patagonia, Chile offers a world of locations. It has the driest desert in the world – the Atacama – which provides a perfect location to reproduce Mars, the Moon or any desert on Earth. Meanwhile, the most isolated place on the planet - Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean - offers you a magic location full of Polynesian energy.

The infrastructure in Chile is growing and you can find mostly all the equipment requires to produce a professional film project.

What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews when they come to film in Chile?

In the north, it’s the Atacama Desert and Moon Valley and Death Valley near San Pedro de Atacama. Different locations on Easter Island, the business district and the classical European looks in downtown Santiago, the Lake District in the south and Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia.

What are the more unusual locations in your region that our readers would not necessarily associate with Chile?

Chile is a country with an abundant assortment of landscapes, friendly people, political and economic stability and superb connectivity.

Our glaciers and lakes look like Norway or Denmark and a lot of car commercials have been filmed in different locations in Santiago that seem like North American or European modern and classical cities.

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

Some areas in the south of Chile have an aggressive winter. Between July and September, the Patagonia area and the southern islands have rain and snow.

What types of production do you work on most?

I work on domestic and international features, TV Shows, international documentaries and commercials, most of which are from overseas. More recent feature productions have included Quantum of Solace and the Academy Award-nominated NO, while TV projects have included Animal Planet and Amazing Race.

Chile hosts up to a hundred international commercials a year and recent high-profile brands have included Mercedes-Benz, Blackberry, Becks, Jaguar F-Type and Skoda.

Are there any particular tips you would like to share about filming in Chile?

Chile is the only country in South America that accepts the ATA Carnet. Chile has almost all the climates on Earth, so depending on what kind of location you’re looking for, when you want to shoot is very important. We have opposite seasons compared to the Northern Hemisphere. Also, Chile has a wide offer of ethnic phenotypes available that includes people of Caucasian, Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Latino descent. Additionally, the Buy Out low costs of actors is an important incentive for shooting in Chile.

Which are the best airports to use to film in Chile and who flies there? Any tips on customs clearance or film friendly freight agents?

Santiago International Airport (SCL) receives about 20 airlines offering services from Europe, Australia and the Americas. LAN AIRLINES, a Chilean airline, offers a service called Airpass, which can only be bought abroad. This allows a free flight upon arrival in Santiago to other domestic cities.

SCL is a film-friendly airport. Customs, migration officers and SAG (Food, Animals and Agriculture Service) are film-friendly as well. If you want to shoot in Chile, please contact Film Commission Chile in order to notice all the authorities before your arrival. With the ATA Carnet, entering the country will be very fast and easy.

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 Chile?

In Chile there is no statutory insurance base requirement. There are some public institutions that can ask for a guarantee letter in order to prevent damages to their locations. Depending on the project, these institutions will have your insurer complete a form that specifies the insurance required. Most of all the productions must sign a general insurance contract for crews. The cost of these insurance will depend on what it covers.

Who issues location filming permits and how long does it take to get them?

Chile is divided into 15 Regions. Every Region has one or several provinces (54 in all). Each province is subdivided in Boroughs, also called Municipalities. Every Municipality is independent and has its own authorities and regulations for granting all sorts of permits, including authorisations for film shoots. For this reason, the first priority is to know what Municipality has jurisdiction in the location chosen for production.

All requirements and formalities needed to obtain a given permit will depend on a specific Municipality. In most cases, the permits must be requested at least ten working days in advance.

What do you do with your time off and what would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax in Chile?

It will depend on the season. During winter you can ski within 45 minutes of Santiago. During summer you can surf, dive or enjoy the beach, which is just one hour from the airport. Also you can visit Pablo Neruda´s home, or the UNESCO World Heritage city of Valparaíso. If you have more time, you can visit the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, Torres del Paine National Park in the Chilean Patagonia, the Lake District or the most isolated place on Earth, Easter Island.

Where did you last take a holiday?

This summer (December to March in the Southern Hemisphere) I went to a beach named Zapallar. Is one of the most beautiful beaches in Chile and also in Latin America. It looks like the French Côte d'Azur.

Thank you

To contact Raimundo please click here.

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