Madeira Fam Trip BTS
Production Service Network (PSN) hosted half a dozen filmmakers for a familiarisation trip to Portugal. On one hand satisfying some of the preconceptions of the south-west European country, the visitors were also able to discover the more unknown beauties of surrounding areas like Madeira. With a general sentiment of awe toward the whole experience, the guests, included producer Mark Foligno, PGA producer Bruce Hendricks, and LMGI location managers Harriet Lawrence, also associated with PGGB, Klaus Darrelamann, Sabine Schulmeyer and John Rakich.
PGGB member and Location Manager - Harriet Lawrence shares her thoughts....
I think it's really exciting. I mean, we've been shown quite a diverse array of locations. What I think is really good is meeting people and sort of realizing how can-do people are and film-friendly they are.
Knowing that there are people at the end of the phone who we've met and have that relationship now is almost as important as seeing the beautiful places.
I hadn't realized how close all sorts of other exciting bits were to Lisbon. And obviously, coming to Madeira, there is such a vast array all within an hour of Funchal so that's really exciting.
Certainly in Madeira, the range that you've got, well here we are standing in Mars, you know. And we've been in foggy, misty forests and we've been on beaches, my favorite, with you know, breaking waves and things. So really, all of that within such a tiny space has been amazing.
The location, the architecture, the range that they've got there (in Portugal), and again, going back to the people we 've met. It's so super film friendly, it's so friendly, not just film-friendly, it's friendly. The food's amazing. We have had some wonderful food which is always good, always a draw. It just feels like it's somewhere laid back but anything can happen. And that sort of attitude from the people I think is really what I'm taking home from it.
I can't keep looking away. It's hard not to dart my eyes in every direction while I'm here right now. It's gorgeous. It's perfect.
- John Rakich, Location Manager, LMGI
Specifically, what we've seen in Madeira is those forests. I mean, we've all been driving around and going, that could be Costa Rica, that could be Thailand, that could be, you know, Hawaii, I mean all of us, all the conversations in the van have been us going, looking at things and saying, well that could be that, that could be that, oh look, that could be that country. So that sort of like having four location managers, yourself, and a couple of producers who have all traveled extensively bouncing those sorts of ideas of what that could double as was really exciting.
There's lots of different ways. Either you bring a big production here and they sort of set up and they build something and they make the most of it or for smaller productions who are always trying to do possibly more than they have time and budget for somewhere like here is perfect. You can be on the coast, you can be on the mountains, you can be above the clouds, you can be below the clouds, you can be on a beach, you can be in these in these beautiful rocks or those forests all very, very easily. So, I think for those productions there's a huge amount of value here for being able to tick so many boxes in a small space.
I suspect that most of that old fashioned sort of demographic that used to come here, that still do come here, don't stray very far from the tourist spots. And I think that as soon as you go out of the tourist spots, there have been, we've seen some amazing, isolated vineyards, the little retreats, exciting cable cars. All those sorts of things. Once you get out of those tourist spots, I think there's a whole different world out here that is not necessarily the obvious perception.
The infrastructure is there because it's been such a strong tourist attraction for so long. You've got great restaurants, great hotels, and all of those things.
Because it's actually quite a small island you've got everything on the one island. I think, when you go to the Canaries, each of the islands is different and known for different things. I think the smallness of Madeira is quite attractive. That you're never far from anything.
A lot of Madeira is like that (vertical). So, finding big parking lots that aren't the runway is going to be tricky. I'm sure with some creative thinking, and you know, to have all of this and these beautiful forests and things, you know, people can think outside the box and do things differently. We just have to not necessarily make films in the way that we're all used to. We maybe need to plan better, be a bit leaner, you know, and not have the great big unit bases because there just isn't the room for them really is there.
I think that now, the opportunities are endless. We actually can come and do VFX plate shots, whatever or, as you say, for some of the volume stages and things like that. You don't necessarily need to bring the entire unit here. You can bring a smaller unit here and actually make the most of the slightly harder to get to locations. So now, I think it's only for the good. It definitely broadens our opportunities.
Standing there in a town is always completely different to however detailed your research is. So I think, in this world of endless images, that early desktop research is great, and those conversations from film commissions and things bring images in, but you still need to go and look at it.
Even if it's not a production I bring to somewhere particularly soon, my network on Instagram or whatever, or the people I talk to are all seeing those photos. And case in point is when I went on a trip to Zagreb, another location manager saw one of my photos and said to another location manager, ah, Harriet took some great photos of that, have you thought about that. And that was just from an Instagram image. So that sort of trickles out, it feeds the wider network. We all talk. We all share images and I think that's always going to be important.
I've been to Madeira before, as you know, I've not really seen anything that I saw twenty years ago. We did a lot of walking in forests and going up mountains and things, whereas you've shown us very, very different stuff, so broadened my horizons by coming here.
I think once people are here they want to come back
- Bruce Hendricks, Producer, PGA