Madeira boasts “untapped“ potential says LMGI president

Production Service Network hosted its first FAM tour in Portugal late November, which set the stage for Madeira to make its mark on filmmakers

By Priyanca Rajput 20 Dec 2022

Madeira boasts “untapped“ potential says LMGI president
Portugal FAM tour. Credit: PSN

[Exclusive] An overlooked filming gem in Europe - due west of Casablanca - is waiting to shine on the big (and small) screen in the shape of Madeira — that was the consensus among esteemed filmmakers which Production Service Network (PSN) invited on its first-ever FAM trip to Portgual in late November.

PSN worked with its exclusive Portugal Partner to welcome members of LMGI (Location Managers Guild International), PGGB (Production Guild of Great Britain), and PGA (Producers Guild of America). Their visit to the main film hub of Lisbon and its surrounding areas set the stage for Madeira.

John Rakich, supervising location manager, and LMGI President, noted Madeira’s “untapped” potential during the tour - PSN’s managing director, Michael Moffett told KFTV. “You get so much within one land mass. I mean, in the last few days I've seen both continents, both hemispheres… California, Hawaii, Eastern seaboard, Western seaboard, I've seen arboreal forests, I've seen landscapes that make me think I'm in North America and yet I'm, basically, off the coast of Africa.

“It's Hawaii for one thing but it can suddenly change to a different look within less than a half a day.”

Though Madeira’s crew base is currently limited, Rakich reassured that “crew will come”.

(Pic: Clockwise from top left - Michael Moffett, John Rakich, Bruce Hendricks, Mark Foligno, Klaus Darrelmann, Sabine Schulmeyer, Cristina Mateo (PSN co-founder), and Harriet Lawrence)

“You have access to crew at least but a workforce will develop once you start an industry here, servicing and domestic, equipment as well. It's going to start small.”

Highlighting her standout locations, Harriet Lawrence, location manager, PGGB & LMGI said: “The smallness of Madeira is quite attractive,” adding “you're never far from anything.

“A lot of Madeira is like that (vertical). So, finding big parking lots that aren't the runway is going to be tricky. I'm sure with some creative thinking, and you know, to have all of this and these beautiful forests and things, you know, people can think outside the box and do things differently.”


Though the archipelago is noted for its mountains and forests, Lawrence drew emphasis to its modest size, adding: “We maybe need to plan better, be a bit leaner, you know, and not have the great big unit bases because there just isn't the room for them really is there.”

Other guests also discovered Madeira’s doubling potential.

Bruce Hendricks, producer, PGA said: “There were places that I thought we could be in New Zealand or Colorado. You know, the American West. It's so varied. And different climate zones here on the island so, amazing.


“We're just not aware of it in the States. So, it needs a marketing goal to get the word out and then I think when people will come here, as they do in neighboring islands, the Canaries, and other places to film, they'll realise there's opportunities here.”

For Klaus Darrelmann, location manager, LMGI, he was surprised by the number of locations he discovered in such a small radius – from beaches to almost 2,000m high of mountain ranges, and everything in between.

“It’s quite astonishing that you find such variety on such a small footprint in comparison to every other country.”

Darrelmann also noted its doubling potential through a different lens: “Some places looked like Hawaii, that you could use some of these environments for Hawaii. And probably a little bit of Asia.


“Apart from that, the landscapes, a little bit of England, Central European landscapes. You can find a lot here. It's more depending on what you're required to find but you can find a lot of stuff here.”

Tourism authorities on the island contributed toward the venture – “a local government demonstration of film-friendliness,” said Moffett.





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