By contributing blogger Benjamín Harguindey
Winter is coming! Not to Westeros Game of Thrones fans but to Argentina. Every mid-June to late September Argentina offers a rich diversity of winter locations for your next film, commercial or TV shoot. You may associate South America with tropical hot spots and desert plains, but wintertime in Argentina can be as snowy as you want it to be, and there are also glaciers and mountain peaks in the Andes that offer year-round snow options.
To the west lie the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world and home to some of the finest ski resorts you can find. The province of Mendoza houses the popular ski & snowboard resorts of Las Leñas, Los Penitentes and Los Puquios, which offer a wide selection of slopes for the uninitiated and the veteran crowd, as well as some wonderful opportunities for off-piste skiing.
The sunny climate, rich powdered snow and the majestic Andean range have made Mendoza into a recurring filmmaker’s choice for wintry locations and snowy doubles. The range famously doubled for the Himalayas in Seven Years in Tibet (1997) no less, and has been featured extensively in TV’s The Amazing Race. Above all the site is accessible and amply equipped with chair lifts and snow cats that will take you to the otherwise virgin summits of the range. After shooting you can enjoy the wine the region is famous for.
To the south lies the Nahuel Huapi National Park, Argentina’s oldest national park shared by the provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén, set by the Andean foothills in Patagonia. The city of Bariloche in Río Negro is a production company favorite, a beautiful Alpine-styled town surrounded by pristine lakes and featuring one of Argentina’s most popular tourist centers and ski resorts as well. You may have seen its rich scenery in a number of films shot in the past few years, such as the adaption of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (2012) or Argentina’s own acclaimed The German Doctor (2013).
Further south into Patagonia there’s El Calafate in Santa Cruz province, a small town most famous for being a couple of hours away from Perito Moreno Glacier. The 250 km2 ice formation is one of Argentina’s most magnetic tourist attractions, and the ice field is one of the world’s largest reserves of water. While touristic access is easy, filming is prohibited during winter season; otherwise the ice field can be filmed from every angle imaginable – including on top of it during fall, spring and summer.
The glacier itself is in a slow yet perpetual state of rupture and water levels rise every year, so this is one of those natural wonders you want to experience ASAP. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field extends for over 16,000 km2 though and comprises several peaks, chief among them the infamously unclimbable Cerro Torre, where none other than film auteur Werner Herzog shot his Scream of Stone (1991), starring Donald Sutherland and Brad Dourif – about an expedition set to climb the peak, of course.
Glaciers and high peaks offer snow locations year round, but from June to September there is snow on the ground throughout Patagonia. The southernmost point of Argentina is the freezing tundra of Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”, a curious name born of Magellan’s paranoid visions of natives awaiting his armada with smoke and fire). A wintry archipelago off the tip of South America and across the Strait of Magellan, it offers several ski resorts as well as the exotic “Train of the End of the World”, a steam railway operating for over 100 years now.
Here at San Telmo Productions we have produced several snowy shoots in Mendoza, Bariloche, Tierra del Fuego and Calafate, in addition to southern Chile (check out the news for our Patagonian shoot for LG here). Our unique service combines managing and exceeding the expectations of international clients with our intimate knowledge of the local film industry so that we can offer a cost efficient and seamless production. We can secure visas, travel, casting and location scouting, hire crew and equipment, logistics, post production, we ensure that all legal, union, and tax requirements are met, so you can relax and focus on shooting.