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Since the glory days of the Silent Film and Golden Age eras, Hollywood movies were consistently shot locally on elaborate studio lots.
Over a period of time and on occasion, filmmakers have chosen to use other filming locations for their authenticity and backdrop in regards to the films story-line, and hard to turn down incentives also factor in on filming destination decisions as well.
The 2015 Oscar favourite film shorts are no different when it comes to these movies locations. Listed below are 10 films that have people in the industry buzzing.
The much-talked about “American Sniper”ù biopic directed by Hollywood screen legend Clint Eastwood was filmed in Morocco and parts of California. Eastwood used the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch located in Santa Clarita for the combat zone shots while other portions of the film were shot at a former Air Force base. For scenes featuring abandoned Iraqi buildings, an old factory in the California/Mexico border town of El Centro was used. “American Sniper” is based upon the life of former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle who, along with a friend, was gunned down at a shooting range in Erath County, Texas in 2013.
Although filming a motion picture in New York City is not exactly an original idea, it is important to this story about a has-been actor trying to reconcile with his family and reboot his career on Broadway. The film stars Michael Keaton and is nominated for nine Academy Awards. “Birdman” was filmed almost entirely in or around St. James Theatre, which is located on 44th Street. Areas such as the stage and lobby from the St. James are seen in the movie. However, the backstage scenes are compliments of Kaufman Astoria Studios, which is also located in New York City. One of the most memorable scenes from the movie is where Keaton struts through a crowded Times Square wearing only his tighty-whities.
Most of the production took place in British Colombia (Canada) and Louisiana (USA), largely for the tax incentives. Nevertheless, in order to capture certain iconic spots, four days of filming took place in San Francisco, California. Over the years, audiences have proven their love for all this monkey business, evident by the successful franchise which has spanned over 40 years. The scenery and visual effects are a big reason for this instalments popularity. The forests around Vancouver, British Colombia played the role of natural habitat for the warring apes.
Steven Carell, the former star of NBC’s “The Office,2 is not the only enhancement to this blockbuster. The majority of the filming took place in Pennsylvania communities such as: Connoquenessing, McKeesport, Rector and White Oak. However, since the Foxcatcher mansion was torn down in 2013, filmmakers used the Morven Park estate for exterior shots. “Foxcatcher” is based on DuPont chemical company multimillionaire heir and paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont. In 1996, du Pont was charged with murdering Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz at his Foxcatcher Farm estate located on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Not only is the state the true location behind this story, Pennsylvania also offered a 25% tax credit for this production.
The country of Germany will be especially proud of its tax incentives if this movie wins any one of their nine nominations for the coveted golden statuette. Potsdam’s Studio Babelsberg provided much of the film’s grand sets while other scenic shots occurred in Hainewalde, Osterstein and Waldenburg. However, the Saxony town of Gorlitz is where people took notice. Films like Inglourious Basterds and The Monuments Men were also filmed in parts of Gorlitz. The cemetery scene, however, was shot in Krakow, Poland.
This film may very well receive an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography. Pawel Pawlikowski’s story about a nun’s coming of age was shot entirely in Poland. Locations include: Lodz, Mianow, Pabianice, Szczebrzeszyn and Zgierz. Nonetheless, it is a former palace built in 1746 located in Klemensow that was used as Ida’s convent in the movie. “Ida” is the first movie the polish director filmed in his native land, taking full advantage of the country’s dreary but relevant landscape.
Adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s critically acclaimed musical, the movie’s production took place in the U.K. at Shepperton Studios. Muc of the woods scenery was shot at Windsor Great Park with other filming locations to include Dover Castle, Hambleden Village in Buckinghamshire and Richmond Park. It should be noted that Hambleden Village also appeared in the hit 1968 British film musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
The U.K. also played host to this biopic about the eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner. Kingsand in Cornwall doubled for Margate in Kent. Bedfordshires Luton Hoo Estate was used for the market scenes. Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham was used for Royal Academy of Arts interiors. The rowing scene was shot at Stangate Creek in Swale. Hempermill House in Watford was recreated into 118-119 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, which happens to be the home where Turner died. “Mr. Turner” has been nominated in the categories of cinematography, costume designed, production design and original music score.
Clearly London’s locations and actors are carving a path for great recognition at this year’s awards ceremony. Two top contenders for the Best Actor in a Leading Role, Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch, are from Great Britain. While Redmaynes “The Theory of Everything” was shot entirely in Cambridge, Cumberbatch’s “The Imitation Game” spotlighted various locations throughout London. Locations such as: Bicester Aerodrome, Bletchley Park and Sherbourne School were used. Bletchley Circle was used as the code breakers site. Many are anticipating the film’s popularity will lead to more tourism at Bletchley Park.
Director Angelina Jolie’s film has understandably received a nod for its cinematography. “Unbroken” was shot in Australia at Fox Studios and Village Roadshow Studios with production taking place throughout New South Wales, Queensland and Cockatoo Island. Other locations include Blacktown International Sports Park, Fort Lytton National Park and Moreton Bay, which was used for water-based scenes. The movie is about U.S. Olympian Louis Zamperini who survived his bomber being shot down in World Word II only to be captured and sent to a number of Japanese POW camps.