Dominican Republic

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Overview

One of the largest and most dynamic islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic (DR) shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to its west. It has a long tradition as a filming destination and between six and 10 feature films shoot on the island annually.

Lantica Media provides studio facilities and film production services in the DR with operating units Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, Lantica Production Services and Art 3+4, a joint venture that finances and produces original content for Spanish-language audiences.

“We do as many days working on location as we do in the studios’ soundstages and tank,” says Lantica Media COO Albert Martinez Martin. “The primary intent for most filmmakers and crews in coming to the DR is water or nature.”

Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, a 43-acre site around a 30-minute drive from Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport, has state-of-the-art soundstages, production support services and access to a host of tropical locations. 

Locations and productions

As one of the most biodiverse countries in the Caribbean, the country is home to beautiful beaches as well as jungles, mountains, deserts and other eye-catching locations including rainforest, savannah, highlands and Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. Capital city Santo Domingo has myriad Spanish landmarks including the Gothic cathedral Primada de America, which dates back five centuries in its Zona Colonial district (old town).

The pandemic caused all filming to stop in March, including AGC Studios’ supernatural thriller Geechee, starring Andrea Riseborough. Lantica Media drew up plans and protocols for when filming could resume, and has created safe areas around its studio, within the soundstages and studio itself, and has also worked with hotel Casa Hemingway, which is closest to the facilities.

“We have set up these safe areas so, from the moment you are picked up from the airport, everyone follows protocol,” says Martin. “Your driver, the hotel staff, the people who clean, maintenance, local crew — everyone is tested for Covid-19 before they come to work.”

Productions are expected to budget for testing while Lantica Media picks up the costs for continuous testing of its own staff. Although the government has introduced a curfew restricting movement between 9pm and 5am, productions have been able to continue. “We can [and do] get permits to make the movies if they require night shoots,” says Martin. 

Indeed, since re-opening for business in August, two Spanish-language features, El Croma Kid and La Encomienda, have shot under Covid-19 protocols — one on the soundstages and the other entirely in the water tank.

Geechee also returned but production was then suspended after a local crew member was shot by police in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity. Lantica Media has drawn up budgets should AGC Studios return to set.

M Night Shyamalan is filming the Universal Pictures backed Old in the north of the Dominican Republic, and projects with eOne, Lionsgate and Paramount are pencilled in to shoot between now and mid-April 2021.

Crew and infrastructure

The island is home to Lantica Media’s Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. It has three sizeable soundstages and the 60,500 square feet Horizon Water Tank with blue-screen capabilities. The studio is a 30-minute drive from Las Americas International Airport and there are plenty of places to stay nearby. The Dominican Republic has an excellent network of motorways — although be warned, people there seem to drive fast. Close proximity to the US means English-speaking crews are available, although bigger productions often bring department heads and other key crew.

First person to contact

Albert Martinez Martin, COO

Lantica Media @ albert.martinez@lantica.media

 

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