by Adam Davis, contributing blogger
Argentina has proven to be a highly prized location for filmmakers and television producers in the past few years. Foreign audiences might not realize as they are flipping through the channels or sitting in movie theaters that their screens are filled with shots of small cobblestone streets in Buenos Aires or impressive mansions in the Argentine countryside – but there Argentina is, in all its glory.
Few would know that 2006’s Oscar-nominated Children of Men, set in the United Kingdom, actually has a few filming locations in Buenos Aires. And then there’s 2011 release There Be Dragons, a collaboration between American, Spanish, and Argentine production companies – a tale of the Spanish Civil War with filming locations in the Buenos Aires province.
What’s more, some of the most famous movie stars in the world have come to Argentina to shoot various projects. 1997’s Seven Years in Tibet stars Brad Pitt, arguably the most famous male actor on the planet, as well as the mountains of Mendoza standing in for Tibet. And the upcoming film version of Jack Kerouac’s famed On the Road, set to feature stars ranging from Kirsten Dunst and Kristen Stewart to Viggo Mortensen and Steve Buscemi, was shot in Bariloche standing in for the American West. And the live action version of “Lucky Luke” was shot in Buenos Aires–in a dirt mine that looks just like the Grand Canyon if you shoot it right!
Not only do movie producers prize Argentina as a filming location, but television producers as well. Many reality television productions, in particular, have been drawn to the country because of its beautiful landscapes and lower costs for production. Bear Grylls, he of Man vs. Wild fame, shot an episode of his survival documentary in Patagonia. The British version of 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow (which recently spawned an American version) has filmed in El Tigre. The Amazing Race has made multiple trips to Argentina. And short lived 2008 Syfy competition show Estate of Panic was shot at a large mansion in the Argentine countryside. San Telmo Productions has provided local production services in Argentina (production fixer, crew, equipment rental) for shows such as HGTV’s “Bang for your Buck”, SiTv’s “Pastport” and the BBC’s “The World’s Strictest Parents”.
“Made in Argentina” might still be an unfamiliar phrase for foreign audiences, but if filming trends such as these continue, it might soon be the “Made in China” of the film and television industry.