by Amelia Batho, contributing blogger
Another filming location with bags of potential here in Argentina, is the semi- arid province of Mendoza. Situated on the west side of the country and bordering Chile, this province boasts spectacular views of the snow-capped Andes which include the highest mountain in the Western hemisphere, Cerro Aconcagua. Also famous for its wine making industry, which has attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in US and European capital in the last 10 years, there are plenty of picturesque wineries and vineyards set against the beautiful backdrop of those impressive mountains.
And most importantly, we at San Telmo Productions have been developing contacts with our partners, who have been keeping film equipment (cranes, lights, grips, dollies, cameras) to ensure that most equipment that is needed for a publicity spot or film shoot can be sourced locally, and not brought in from Buenos Aires, further reducing costs. The provincial government is encouraging film productions with new laws and transparency. Also, there are many local film and TV film technicians with experience in foreign productions, making the location less dependent on Buenos Aires.
The climate also makes the location very versatile with snow in the Winter months and crisp clear skies in the summer. Very little rain year round means it is ideal for shoots. The continental landscape can also double for European countries and the Andes can double for famous worldwide mountain ranges such as the Alps or the Rockies.
For city shots, Mendoza city center offers wide, tree lined avenues and quaint boutiques as well as historical plazas.
In 1997, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ directed by Jean Jacques Annaud and starring Brad Pitt, was shot in Mendoza. Due to cheaper production costs and a vast amount of location options, they were able to build dozens of sets including a very long recreation of a Tibetan city built into the Andean foothills and an ancient Palace constructed in an abandoned garlic warehouse. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120102/)