Chile is a country that offers a wide variety of landscapes and climates, broad ethnic diversity and counter seasons to the northern hemisphere.
Already renowned as a high-end commercials location, the country also draws occasional international film shoots including Sony Pictures’ James Bond film Quantum Of Solace; Patricia Riggen’s The 33, a drama based on the collapse of the Chilean mine, for Phoenix Pictures; Eli Roth’s Knock Knock, starring Keanu Reeves; and Simon West’s Salty, which stars Antonio Banderas as an ageing rock star whose holiday in Thailand takes a turn for the worse when his wife is kidnaped by pirates.
International film productions can access a 19% exemption on VAT for Local production services.
Full details on financial incentives in Chile: Film Commission Chile
Infrastructure and crews
Recent productions to come to Chile have rented all of their equipment locally and hired local crews, bringing only department heads with them, according to the Film Commission. Chile is one of only two Latin American countries — along with Mexico — that accepts the ATA Carnet, the international customs document allowing companies to temporarily import goods and equipment. Santiago also has various warehouses and sound stages.
Chile has a wide variety of locations all within the same distance as Los Angeles to New York: the Antarctic ice cap, urban centres, Easter Island, a coast the length of the country, the Andes mountains and the world’s driest desert — the Atacama. A sample of this diversity can all be accessed within an hour’s distance from capital Santiago, and most of the country is accessible within a few hours by plane or longer by car. Santiago, where much of the film business is located, is near the centre of the ribbon-shaped country. Nonstop flights are available from Europe and one-stop flights from several US cities.
Harry Stourton, producer, Salty
“The distance is challenging, but the quality of the work and what we were able to achieve on screen made up for that. If you are on a limited budget, which every movie usually is, it makes a lot of sense to shoot there. Even with taxation and payroll fringes that are a bit high, it still costs less than many other places in the world.”
First person to call
Joyce Zylberberg Serman, general co-ordinator, Film Commission Chile
Tel: +56 226 189 168
Need to know
- DO consider staying at Santiago’s luxury San Cristobal Tower, or at least stop by for its floor-to-ceiling views over the city and the Andes in the distance.
- DO plan on layovers. There are few direct flights from North America or Europe (apart from Spain) and it is a longer trip from the US than many expect.
- DO download the Practical Guide on shooting in Chile from Film Commission Chile’s website.
- DON’T assume you need a translator: Chilean crews are generally bilingual.