Movies and events coming together in the Algarve
Movies can mean big business for the locations picked by productions for filming, with large groups travelling, staying over, using infrastructure and local resources to get the job done. In Algarve, Loulé is at the forefront of this movement, with the support of local authorities, and Loulé Film Office is the perfect example of this strategy.
The use of a location in cinema, TV, advertising and photography is already contributing to “get off-season tourism” to the Algarve, according to Manuel Baptista, Film Officer at this bureau. “The more recognition a destination achieves, the easier it attracts tourism and events from all sectors. There’s a glamour associated with the movie business that brings about a whole ecosystem, with a lot of room to grow”, he says.
Manuel Baptista believes that movie productions generate recognition and a direct financial return for the economy, namely in hotels, restaurants, car leases and other activities, underlining the importance of having a good offer in the hospitality segment. The Film Officer remembers that Loulé has already seen the results in tourism at TV filming locations, and states that, with the pandemic subsiding, some work done in 2019 can finally reach viewers. “Above all, it’s a type of tourism that brings a whole new perspective”, he states, saying that there are opportunities that can arise from that.
“We want producers and creators to visit us. Just sending pictures is not enough, they have to come and see for themselves”, says Manuel Baptista.
Technology also has to be factored in, when working in an industry that heavily relies in special effects. “The movie ‘The Infernal Machine’, produced by Paramount Pictures and shot here last year, was only brought to the region after a personal contact with the director”, he states, adding that there was a “close interaction” in the research for filming locations using virtual reality.
This endeavour is already paying off, with the support of Loulé Film Office. “The private company MovieBox is pushing forward with a movie studio in an old factory”, reveals Manuel Baptista.
Loulé Film Office is already engaged in several events in the movie business, with, for example, the creation of Monstrare, a showing directed at social cinema that has joined up with the Cinetendinha Awards, giving way to the Algarve Film Week.
“You have to bear in mind the sheer weight of the industry when you think of a movie event. Big international festivals are not only about the film itself, but are associated to professional, distribution and co-production events. It’s the business side of cinema that gives the festival its consistency. Loulé and the Algarve have some room to work this side of the industry”, states Manuel Baptista.
A booming business for companies
Companies are aware of the region’s attractions. Sarah Young, from Spy Manor Productions, explained how the Algarve is sold as a potential movie destination. “For us, it’s the location, local talent, financial incentives and that English is widely spoken. These points are invaluable when attracting foreign productions to the Algarve”, she stated.
“We work closely with the Loulé Film Office, Portugal Film Commission, Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual, Algarve Tourism Bureau and Turismo de Portugal in Lisbon. We also have a good relationship with the local authorities in Lagoa, with Luís Encarnação and his team”, she said, adding that the company has both national and international clients.
The business is booming, in spite of the global pandemic. “Spy Manor Productions is now in its third year. Thus far, we have co-produced two feature length movies and are developing two TV series which are a result of a screenwriter’s workshop that we held in December of 2020”, according to Sarah Young. “Covid has of course made international travel and working conditions more complicated but together with Production Algarve and a covid officer, we navigated our way through the productions” she assured. The company works in all “aspects of production and events, both physical and digital”, she commented.
And in February, Spy Manor organized the World Trailer Awards (WTA) in Vilamoura, an event that awarded creativity and marketing in the entertainment business, designed to promote the Algarve as a destination for the industry. “We can’t wait to see this region flourish and drive the development of high tech and cinema industries”, said Vanda Everke, CEO at Spy Manor Productions, in a press release.
João Fernandes, Algarve Tourism Bureau’s president, underlined that the institution also supports the attraction of several international productions, including TV shows, reality shows, adds and movies. “We normally offer logistical support and help with sponsorships from our members”, he stated.