On location in Bali, Indonesia with Josh Patil, co-founder of production services company Baliprod.

How did you become involved in the film business and what has been your career path to get you to your current role as Co-Founder / Executive Producer of Baliprod?

My production career started in Los Angeles, California. I started as an Audience Coordinator at Jimmy Kimmel Live! working in TV production. Working on hundreds of shows, short and long, I moved up into different positions from audience to casting and after time ended up producing for TV and advertising production. In 2015, I made the move to Bali, Indonesia after having been there a handful of times and in love with the place. After arriving I quickly realized that there was a huge lack of legitimate production services here on the island. When I met my partner’s Omri Ben-Canaan and Romain Cailliez we decided to bring the western style of production to the eastern hemisphere.

Please tell us about Baliprod.

Baliprod was founded in 2016 by Omri Ben Canaan (CEO), Josh Patil (Executive Producer) and Romain Cailliez (Director of Photography). We aimed to bring the high-standard of production from our original countries to Asia and focus solely on international clients in the advertising industry, TV and film. I would say most of our business is made up of advertising clients that want to come take advantage of the huge diversity of locations that Indonesia has to offer. With 50+ full-time employees, Baliprod is one big family of production-loving and hard-working talented individuals. Since opening we have also launched a few sister brands in Bali Model Agency – a talent and creatives agency, Balishoot – content provider, and Bali Film Gear – a cinema gear rental house.

What types of production do you service?

When people first think of Bali, I would assume that they picture only beaches and temples, and man are they wrong. Bali and the rest of Indonesia has so much to offer in one country that we really set ourselves apart as a film destination for all. With the heavy influence of western expats here, we have so many options – from incredible architecture that resembles many different places in the world and mountains that look as though they could be somewhere in the alps.

From which countries are you getting most of your production service business and why

I would say as of now that MOST of our clients come from Europe, Australia and America. There are so many different flight options to Bali from around the world that it makes it quite accessible for such an exotic location. That being said, from time to time we have clients trickle in from Asia and other countries as well.

What can you tell us about Bali as a filming destination?

Bali and Indonesia is unique in the fact that Indonesia is the biggest Archipelago in the world. With over 17 thousand islands, 54,720 kilometers of coast line, 877 mountains, 524,000 kilometers of roads, 21,579 kilometers of rivers and 1,331,270 square meters of forest – Indonesia is setup to shoot for almost any brief that comes in.

The crew here is incredible and on top with the best film crew I have worked with anywhere in the world. Their attitude matches the culture in the respect that they enjoy their job, work hard and are perfectionists with everything that is in or not in their job description.

Bali has a giant population of expats living on the island and that in turn makes our talent pool very different from the rest of the Asia. We have talent from all around the world and that group continues to grow and grow as Bali becomes more and more of a tourist destination with so many living here.

Indonesia also is very production friendly as location permits are fast, easy and incredibly low-priced compared to the rest of the world. We are also home to industry standard film equipment and honestly the weather here couldn’t get any better!

What locations are most commonly used by foreign or out of state film and TV crews when they come and film in Bali?

This changes so much from job to job. Obviously we do have those that come here for the pristine beaches, ocean views and jungles. But also we have many clients coming here for unique architecture in homes and commercial properties, beautiful endless roads and landscapes, western or eastern style bars and restaurants and a never-ending list of never before seen unique locations that could be seen as anywhere in the world.

We have many clients that come here when they have a brief that needs to be seen by viewers as shot in many parts of the world, but let’s face it, ad budgets are not what they used to be and gone are the days for most clients of being able to foot the bill for a crew flying around the world to multiple countries to achieve this. It reminds me of this spot we did for IBM where we gave the impression of us being in 10 different countries by using a mix of locations and talent.

What are the more unusual locations that Bali has to offer that our readers would not necessarily associate with the island? What locations worldwide can Bali easily double for?

We have deserts that look like Joshua Tree National Park in California, Mountains that look like European peaks, caves that match the grand canyon, water and underwater spots that look identical to the Maldives, forests that look like Europe in the fall, beaches to die for, stadiums, metros, theaters, marinas, rice fields, volcanoes and upscale nightclubs and restaurants.

What are the advantages of filming in Bali?

There are many advantages of shooting here in Bali, but I’d have to say on the top of the list is price, as we all know budgets are an important factor. Besides that we have an incredible crew with can-do attitude and the locals here have such a nice, friendly spirit and always are interested in what we are doing and happy to help. It is really cool to see how honored the Indonesians are when we pick their locations for our projects. Even the police love to get in on the action when we have assistance in blocking for city or road scenes, and we get our permits very quickly which makes for an easy and smooth pre-production.

What productions / production companies have used Bali locations in the past five years

So many in the past 5 years! Maybe best to start with some notable Baliprod clients then we can mention some other productions that have used Bali / Indonesia for it’s exotic locations.

Recent Baliprod Jobs:

Client: Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Production House: Stink Films
Producer: Sophie Brooks
Agency: Anomaly
Agency Producer: Chris Styring
Director: Matilda Finn
Type: Commercial

Client: Unilever (Pepsodent Tooth Paste)
Production House: Blur Films
Producer: Pablo Herraiz
Agency: The Cyranos
Agency Producer: Ana Tejada
Director: Alvaro Pastor
Type: Commercial

Client: IBM
Production House: Heckler
Producer: Charu Menon
Agency: Ogilvy
Agency Producer: Simone Greentree
Director: Tim Kindler
Type: Commercial

Client: American Express
Production House: Flint
Producer: Rachel Ryder
Agency: Ogilvy Sydney
Director: David Smith
Type: Commercial

Client: Allianz
Production House: Favorite
Producer: Dominique Faviez
Agency: Insign
Agency Producer: Marion Pottier
Director: Romy
Type: Commercial

Client: Unilever (Pepsodent Tooth Paste)
Production House: Blur Films
Producer: Pablo Herraiz
Agency: The Cyranos
Agency Producer: Ana Tejada
Director: Alvaro Pastor
Type: Commercial

To name a few! Also we have had some incredible films shot in Indonesia such as:

Film: King Kong
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors / Actresses: Naomi Watts
Production House: WingNut Films
Type: Film

Film: Eat Pray Love
Director: Ryan Murphy
Actors / Actresses: Julia Roberts
Production House: Plan B Entertainment
Type: Film

Film: Savages
Director: Oliver Stone
Actors / Actresses: John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Blake Lively
Production House: Ixtian Productions
Type: Film

Film: Java Heat
Director: Conor Allyn
Actors / Actresses: Kellyn Lutz, Mickey Rourke
Production House: IM Global
Type: Film

Film: Blackhat
Director: Michael Mann
Actors / Actresses: Chris Hemsworth
Production House: Forward Pass
Type: Film

How many ‘location shoot days’ did Bali record for 2016, 2017, 2018?

Can’t say for Bali as a whole but for Baliprod alone in 2016 we had 74, in 2017 we had 116, in 2018 we had 147 and in 2019 we had over 200 days shooting on location just here in Bali!

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

I’d say for us the most difficult was for a German TV show called Dad Duel um die Welt or Duel Around the World in English. As this show involves crazy physical stunts, originally we were trying to find an active volcano that we could have our contestants bungee jump over from a helicopter floating over the peak. It was a crazy ask to begin with, but we were determined to find a way to make this happen and the location to match for such an epic stunt. In the end, although we found the right helicopter operator and volcano we ended up changing the challenge to our talent cliff jumping from a high cliff into the Indian ocean, while on fire.

Are there any particular tips that you would like to share with our readers about filming in Bali?

The most important tip I could give is to plan locations and shooting days well. As everyone thinks, Bali is a small island but depending on the time of day and where we are shooting on the island, distances between locations can always be a struggle if we don’t plan correctly. Luckily in Bali, there are groups of amazing, varying locations on different parts of the island to fit any brief. But, whether we are only shooting a couple of days or a week, we need to plan to stick to one area of the island per day to maximize shooting time and decrease travel time.

What do you enjoy most about living and working in Bali?

Whats not to enjoy! Perfect weather year round, incredible people from around the world, insane local and international food, the most beautiful and exotic locations for day trips and shooting and very humble and joyful local people that always make me smile. Bali has everything that I am looking for on a personal and career level. I couldn’t be in a better place.

What would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax on down days or pre / post filming in Bali?

On the Island of the gods there are endless options. I’d have to say that most of our clients tend to spend down days enjoying the various beach clubs Bali has to offer as they are beat from the previous days working. Many others take in the sights, temple tours, hike Mt Batur volcano for sunrise and breakfast cooked over the steam of the volcano on top, go for a surf or surf lesson, head to local markets to bring some goodies back home for their family and friends and of course INDULGE in the food!

What do you do to relax and chill out yourself after looking after a big production coming in to shoot in Bali?

I’m a family man! All of my off days are devoted to my wife and daughter and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Same as any other production daddy around the world, this career is cut-throat, tiring and takes up a considerable amount of your time. I feel very lucky to have a very understanding wife and daughter that always support me, but the time we have away from jobs goes directly to them. Laying by the pool at home with some lemonade, nice music and a whole lot of love.

Where did you last take a vacation?

Well well! Is anyone really ever on vacation when they work in production? My answer is no, I see it more as moving to a short-term temporary office abroad. That being said, I was just in Russia for the first time late last year and it was incredible. Very cool place with an interesting culture that I have never experienced and the food was incredible (I’m a foodie traveler, isn’t everyone?).

What was the last movie you saw and loved ?

For recent flicks, I would have to say Bohemian Rhapsody. Being a Queen fan my entire life and a musician, it was a very cool biopic to watch. Inspiring to say the least!

Thank you Josh. It has been great talking to you and finding out about you, Baliprod and what makes Bali such an attractive filming destination.

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On location in South Africa with Bobby Amm, the Executive Director of the CPA (The Commercial Producers Association of South Africa)

How did you become involved in the film business and what has been your career path to get you to your current role as Executive Director of the CPA?

I stumbled into the industry in my early 20’s – after completing a degree in journalism and psychology I went to work for an organisation connected to the Film Industry and from there I moved to the CPA in the late 1990’s.

What does this role involve exactly and what do you enjoy most about the job?

(c) Ola Films

My job is to co-ordiante and action all the activities of the Association. The thing I enjoy most is the big picture view I enjoy of the industry and dealing with challenges that we encounter along the way. There is always something different and interesting happening. I like the challenges the role presents – particularly when it comes to collaboration and problem solving.

Please tell us about the CPA

The CPA was started in the mid 1980’s by a group of interested producers and ran as a committee staffed by volunteers for many years. It was more formally constituted in the mid 1990’s and the full time office opened in 1997 and has been running ever since.

(c) Your Girlfriend

The CPA is quite unique in that it services two main production centres (Cape Town & Johannesburg) and two different sectors (international and local) although there is now a lot of overlap between the two with both types being produced in both cities.

The Association has a membership that ranges between 45 and 60 member companies at any given time. It is run by an Executive Committee of 8 elected members who work with me (as Executive Officer) to ensure our mandate is met.

Are all your members commercial production companies or do some members also do TV and feature film production?

Yes, all our members have in common that they are primarily production companies that make TV commercials. Many of them have diversified and now do other work as well – this includes feature films, TV series, reality shows etc.

What percentage of your production company members also offer location / production services to incoming productions?

(c) Ola Films

The CPA’s membership is generally split 50/50 – half our members offer production services alone while the other half represent directors and offer production services. There are a handful of companies who prefer to work only in the South African market and also those with sought after directors who work directly with foreign agencies and clients.

Do any of your members offer post-production services?

One or two, yes. We have been talking to the post houses about coming on board but these discussions are still in progress.

Are you a trade association or film producers / production company union or both?

We are a professional trade association – our members are companies, rather than individuals. We are not a union as we do not represent workers in the industry. Although we act in our members best interest much of our work focusses on what is best for the industry as a whole (which is usually what is good for our supply chain too).

What are the advantages to being a member of the CPA?

I think the biggest advantage is that you are part of something that is bigger than just your company and, through this, you have an idea of the challenges and opportunities that exist in your industry and are able to capitalise on these. I see being a member of the CPA as in investment in the industry and its future because if you don’t nurture and manage an industry properly there is not much hope for it.

(c) Ola Films

I think one of the strengths of our industry in South Africa is that there has always been collaboration between competitors and this has made them a lot stronger rather than weaker. We work in a challenging and highly competitive business so companies need help and support. The CPA creates this infrastructure.

Unfortunately there are companies that opt not to join the Association – as a result many of them aren’t privy to important information and that’s ultimately disadvantageous to their clients.

Do you help producers find development and film finance?

No – that is not part of our mandate as we only represent commercial producers who are fortunate to be paid in full by their clients.

Who can join the CPA?

Any company registered in South Africa that is involved in the production of television commercials.

Do you have international members and if so who?

No – part of the membership requirement is that companies are registered in South Africa.

What is the state of the SA production industry today?

(c) Ola Films

The industry is quite stable but isn’t growing a much as we would like it to. From the service perspective, South Africa still offers great value and all of the other positive elements it is known for.

Our service industry is almost 30 years old and is still going strong – many repeat clients have been coming to South Africa for years while newer ones are just discovering it for the first time.

The local industry is stable but its composition has changed in recent year – the larger production companies have been replaced by fewer, more bespoke outfits. There is pressure from work going in-house to agencies but our independent production companies are busy reinventing themselves and are proving more than capable of meeting the challenge.

What are the approximate dates of the foreign production company incoming ‘production season’ for short format and long format?

(c) Ola Films

The foreign commercial season generally runs from October to April each year whereas South African commercial are produced all year round. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate (wet winters) but Johannesburg has sunny crisp days with no rain that are well suited to filming.

Long form is generally also year round as shooting takes place throughout South Africa.

What approximately is the maximum number of incoming productions that metropolitan Cape Town can service at the same time with cast and crew, stage space, equipment availability, hotels etc..?

It’s difficult to say but I do know that in December 2019 there were 60 shoots on the go in Cape Town over the same weekend. Cape Town is a compact city so there are limits however the industry is used to working under pressure and has a reputation for being able to deliver.

In order of trade volume importance, who are the top ten countries coming to film in SA to benefit from the exceptional diversity of SA locations and great production services.

(c) Your Girlfriend

In order from most to least:

The United Kingdom
Scandinavian countries

How many TV commercials are filmed for the SA domestic market each year?

Our members produce about 400 commercials per year for the domestic market. In reality, the total figure is probably closer to 500 as some agencies produce jobs in-house and there are also non-members who don’t participate in our research.

How many feature films?

No idea – we only work with commercials.

Roughly how many incoming foreign TV commercials are filmed and serviced by SA production and production service companies each year?

CPA members service around 300 international commercials per year. Again, this is a conservative figure as some commercials are produced by non-members who don’t participate in our research.

What is your favourite SA restaurant and why?

(c) Your Girlfriend

There are so many great restaurants in Cape Town – Black Sheep, Kloof Street House, Pot Luck Club, Modern Tapas, Salsify and Riverine Rabbit to name a few.

My favourites are The Stack because the food is simple and delicious and the garden is like an oasis in the centre of the city and also Chef’s Warehouse for its inventive and delicious food.

Which film crew and cast friendly hotels do you recommend in SA?

The old favourites The Mount Nelson, 15 on Orange, the Taj are always popular with clients. There are also some fabulous guest houses for smaller budgets.

If you hadn’t become the Executive Officer of the CPA what other job would you like to have done?

I’m definitely a frustrated lawyer – I love the legal questions and challenges at the CPA so I think I would choose a courtroom for a parallel life.

Thank you Bobby. It has been great talking to you and finding out more about you, the CPA and about filming in South Africa.

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Talking with Eric Madeja, Asia Location Manager and Fixer for Paradise War – The Story of Bruno Manser

Eric Madeja – AsiaFixer.TV

Working and living in Southeast Asia since the late 1990s, Location Manager Eric Madeja has worked on many high-end TV productions in remote terrain and under difficult conditions. TLG talks to Eric about managing the feature film shoot for Paradise War in the extreme conditions of the Bornean rainforest and his passion for the job.

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TLG talks to Claire Gamble, Director of UK Sales: Entertainment and Media at InterContinental Hotels Group

How did you become involved in the hotel business?

After 4 years of studying at University I graduated with a Hospitality Management degree. My first role was Reception Manager in a luxury 5-star boutique hotel in Glasgow, One Devonshire Gardens which was famous for its celebrity clientel.

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Spotlight on FOCUS exhibitor Creative Romanian Film Makers

Is this your first time exhibiting at FOCUS? What has brought Creative Romanian Film Makers to the 2019 event?

Even though most of the companies we represent have been at least once exhibitors at FOCUS, yes, this is our first (of many) time exhibiting at FOCUS. Of course, we scouted the event before committing and we obviously liked what we saw.

Can you tell us a little more are Creative Romanian Film Makers?

Creative Romanian Film Makers is a business association that consists of Romanian production, post production and servicing companies that represents the interests of the Romanian film industry abroad. Also, we are a lobby organization for the industry within Romania, being in constant contact with the Romanian decision makers.

What aspects of working in Romania will you be promoting to delegates at the show? Of course, the highlight will be the cash back incentive system we have in Romania. It is the most generous one in Europe at least. The 7 companies that came with us as exhibitors are carefully curated producing and servicing companies that operate smoothly with and within the cash back system and are able to guarantee eligibility and successful cashing back for international productions filmed in Romania.

What does Romania offer to incoming productions As already stated, the highlight is our extremely generous film incentive. First of all, is pretty big in terms of percentage and value. Also, the minimum spent and the percentage within the total budget are more than appealing: the minimum budget is EUR100,000 and the part of the total budget that has to be spent in Romania is 20%. Yes, there is a cap in terms of the amount to be cashed back but it is decently high: EUr10 million.
But Romania and filming in Romania is not only about the cash back. We have several other strong incentives: English speaking crews, English speaking cast and extras, a full range of landscapes (seaside, delta, plains, hills, valleys, mountains, etc.), scenic and untouched nature, post-industrial sites, beautiful rural areas, a full range of seasons, etc. Just come and film in Romania, it’s rewarding and up to 45% of the costs are on us!

What projects have members of Creative Romanian Film Makers been involved with in recent years? Besides being very active in promoting the Romanian film industry abroad and strengthening the industry inside Romania, Creative Romanian Film Makers are also working in consolidating the filming infrastructure in Romania. We are planning building a large film studio near Iasi, the biggest Romanian city in the North-East region, that will host several sound stages, water tank, outdoor studios, postproduction facilities, logistics areas, rentals, training facilities, etc.

The Romanian incentive has been in place for over a year now, has this been successful? When Romania finally announced the cash back incentive in October 2018, most of the international industry reacted: “too good to be true”. And yes, some of our own companies were pretty sceptical about it. No, a year later, we have a system that is working, we have the first couple of projects that were completed and cashed back the incentive and the productions that were confirmed as eligible for the cash back for this year have a cumulated budget of more than 150 millions of euro. Yes, we are still to see all this money being spent in Romania and generate the results we are all counting on, but overall, I can say: YES, IT WORKS!

Biography – Mihai Lupu

Mihai Lupu is the managing director of the Creative Romanian Film Makers business association and also manages the Creative Industries Business Federation in Romania. In this positions he is representing the creative sector in the Romanian Export Council but also in the Economic and Social Council of Romania, the main lobby and coordination platform that brings together the public and private sectors in Romania.

Contact Creative Romanian Film Makers at mihai.lupu@fepic.ro +40722690504

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Spotlight on FOCUS content sponsor Production Service Network (PSN)

2019 FOCUS content sponsor Production Service Network (PSN) have their finger on the pulse of global content production, with a fifty strong network of production service companies that provide local expertise across the world. Sponsored by PSN, the content programme at FOCUS will cover hot topics across the film, advertising, documentary, advertising and games industry.

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