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Thriving European Locations

OnLocation_Europe_Germany_Deko_Berliner_Strae_1     While the world’s exotic locations are luring filmmakers from across the globe, the majestic scenery and alluring architecture throughout Europe are top drawing cards. But in the international competition to attract productions throughout 2010, European nations quickly realized that ancient cities and stunning scenery alone wouldn’t suffice, and the addition of irresistible financial incentives would help to clinch movie deals benefiting local communities. Incentives are also an integral part of the production process, as producers and directors seek top-of-the-line production facilities, safe and experienced support crews and a depth of local talent when scouting their filming destinations. P3 Update looks at Europe’s top filmmaking destinations and reveals the perks and enticements that enabled them to attract a swarm of production in 2010.

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Top 10 Locations Worldwide

Producers choose where to shoot based on a laundry list of factors: specific locations, incentives, deep crew base, great infrastructure and even where the director or leading actor lives or likes to work. “For us, it’s a global playing field,” says Jerry Ketcham, senior VP of feature production atDisney. “When we look at a movie, we look at the entire world for opportunities on where to make it: Hungary, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, even Beijing. Every studio executive looks at several choices for every project because there are so many options.” With all these great options being offered to filmmakers around the world,P3 Updatecontinues its annual list of the 10 most popular locations that are best known for luring in productions.

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Cutting-Edge High-Def Cameras

NAB 2010 introduced a healthy offering of new HD cameras, and, as always, camera manufacturers are looking for the cream of the crop. Typically, favorites steal the spotlight but, occasionally, a dark horse will ease ahead of the pack. To find out if 2010 was an atypical year for new cameras, I spoke with some rental houses and dealers to see what their customers are demanding.

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Rebel with a Cause

When first-time Filmmaker Kiran Deol set out to shoot a documentary, she didn’t make it easy on herself. Her film Woman Rebel, which is currently screening on HBO2 over the next year, has as its backdrop the controversial 10-year revolution in Nepal, when women made up 40 percent of the guerrilla army fighting against the government. The film follows the story of one of these women –– codename “Silu” –– on her unlikely journey from the jungle all the way to the halls of the Parliament of England.

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Shooting in the Winds of Cambodia

Cinematographer Melissa Holt has a passion for film and shooting both narrative and documentary projects. When she majored in biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Penn., Holt enjoyed watching nature documentaries from places like National Geographic, and that led to a desire to incorporate science into filmmaking. After a few elective courses, she fell in love with the filmmaking process, switched majors and later earned a Masters at AFI, where her thesis project was a documentary about leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica.

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Expecting the Unexpected

Audio Specialist Scott Harber does a lot of work in scripted entertainment for both big and small screens alike, including the TV shows “Rescue 911” and “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming feature 30 Minutes or Less for Columbia Pictures. But his real passion is for the documentary films that have taken him all over the world, such as Bill Maher’s Religulous and the Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentaries Borat and Brüno.

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Harber and his colleagues shot Cohen’s comedic films as documentaries, as Cohen and his director, Larry Charles, had specific story points in mind and felt that the films were in many ways 21st-century versions of the classic TV show “Candid Camera,” in which unsuspecting real people were sucked into absurd situations for laughs. “[Borat and Brüno] were docs,” says Harber. “It was me and two cameramen standing in a room with Sacha and whoever he was with.”

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Rocky Mountain Region

So far, 2010 has been a mixed bag for the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. While states like Utah continue to flourish, the rest have had a quiet time on the production front as they deal with the long-term effects of the recession. P3 Update looks at the recent cuts in some state governments’ film incentive budgets as well as the legislative changes made to help states better compete under the challenging economic circumstances. We’ll also see what film and television projects have made it through to production fruition, giving us an insight into what states can look forward to in the future.

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Southeast Atlantic Region

The Southeast Atlantic region –– comprised of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina –– has so much to offer, from the bustling downtown areas of Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte and the mountains and forests of Georgia to the Everglades, Florida Keys and Outer Banks of the Carolinas. Combine all that scenic and geographical diversity with aggressive tax breaks and an increasingly sophisticated production infrastructure, and it’s a small wonder that the Southeast Atlantic has been so successful in attracting film, commercial and TV production over the past few years.

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A Breathtaking Ride with The Expendables

Spotlight_Expendables_04When you go to see The Expendables, make sure you’re in a movie theater with arm rests and don’t forget to hang on tight! The action-packed film is a breathtaking adventure directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote the script. Also starring Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts and Bruce Willis, the film begins with six mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Stallone) who are on a mission to rescue hostages from a band of Somali pirates. Ross is a fearless warrior whose only emotional attachments are his pickup truck, seaplane and small band of fighting men. The role fits Stallone like a glove.

After the hostages are rescued, the mercenaries celebrate inside their down-and-dirty lair. When Mr. Church (Willis) offers to pay them to overthrow a dictator who rules a tropical island nation, the mercenaries are reluctant to take on what sounds like an impossible mission. But when Ross agrees, the men climb aboard his seaplane and follow their leader into battle. As they arrive on the island they meet Sandra, a freedom fighter Church has chosen to be their guide. Sandra guides the men through military strongholds and other strategic targets, but there’s a dramatic twist when she’s captured by the enemy. Ross and his gang are determined to rescue Sandra and complete their mission –– and that’s when the sparks begin to fly.

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DPs' Digital Diversification

There’s no question that digital technology has dramatically altered the world of the cinematographer, even when it’s still a film-based shoot. Digital technology not only includes actual cameras, it also extends to things like camera controls. This month, P3 Update takes a look at a group of products that take advantage of digital technology either directly or indirectly to make life easier for DPs and camera operators.

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