Shark movie filmed in Dominican Republic water tank
Shark survival film 47 Meters Down was filmed using the water tank facilities at Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.
The movie follows two sisters as an accident leaves them stranded in a shark cage on the seabed 47 metres below the surface off the Mexican coast, circled by the hungry predators.
“The project came to us via Pinewood in the UK, as the producers were looking for Mexican-looking locations plus a water tank, which is what we have in the Dominican Republic,” says Albert Martinez Martin, of Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios majority owner Lantica Media, in comments to KFTV.
Pinewood Dominican Republic’s 60,500-sq-ft Horizon Water Tank was a crucial factor in the 47 Meters Down production team choosing the country, with the added advantage being that the crew was also able to shoot land-based scenes for the film nearby, doubling for Mexico.
Producers built a seabed set at the bottom of the tank, which reaches a maximum depth of 16 ft, while the sharks themselves were created digitally.
“We brought in a big fishing vessel, wave machines and [a lot of] other equipment [for use] in the tank,” Martinez Martin tells KFTV.
“The challenges were very typical of filming in a water tank. From the overwater shoot with the boat, creating waves, to the underwater experience, which can be exhausting for the actors.
"Safety divers are crucial to the process, and we have some of the best.”
Movies pitching sharks against unsuspecting swimmers and mariners have made a comeback over the past year, with a mix of open water and tank production methods.
Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows features a surfer stranded on a tiny rocky outcrop only a few hundred feet from the beach as a shark patrols the water around her.
The film shot scenes on the remote Lord Howe Island several hundred nautical miles off the east coast of Australia.
However, open water filming is notoriously challenging and so the Shallows team shot a significant portion of its schedule in the controlled environment of the tank facilities at Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland.
More recently, director Jon Turteltaub built New Zealand’s first water tanks to film his monster shark movie Meg, which is headlined by action star Jason Statham. Kumeu Film Studios has since become a permanent production facility near Auckland.
For more from KFTV on water tank production click here.
Images: Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios