EUFCN Location Award 2020 Finalist: Lake Resia near Curon

In the silence of the night, church bells ring. A tranquil bell tower appears, mysteriously lodged in the middle of a lake in the Venosta Valley.

Lake Resia near Curon is one of the finalists of the EUFCN Location Award, the annual prize for European film locations organized by the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) in collaboration with Cineuropa. The location was submitted by the IDM Film Fund & Commission from IDM Südtirol.

The words and experiences of Daniel Campos Pavoncelli (Executive Producer – Indiana Production), Federica Mele (3rd Assistant Director) and Michele Priano (Location Manager), reveal the crucial role that the location in South Tyrol, Italy, played in the production of Netflix’s supernatural drama television series Curon.

© Florian Mohn – ©Loris T. Zambelli / Netflix

In 1950, three lakes where joined together to create a reservoir to produce hydro-electricity. The people in the area did everything they could to stop the project and save their homes, but the old town of Curon was razed to the ground and submerged by the water. A new village was built near Lake Resia. The bell tower, dating back from 1300, is the only building that still stands from the original picturesque village.

“The bell tower was the spark for the imagination of Ezio Abbate, the creator of the series Curon, and of our directors,” comments Location Manager Michele Priano. “We built the story around a location that is already very evocative and able to impress the spectators. Abandoned places and submerged villages have often inspired stories and legends.”

©Loris T. Zambelli / Netflix

Legend has it that on winter nights the bells of the tower can be heard ringing, an omen of doom. For a long time, parents recommended their children not to go near the lake.

“We wanted our locations to reflect the duality of things and the challenges of man against the forces of nature,” explains Daniel Campos Pavoncelli, Executive Producer at Indiana Production. “We chose the amazing landscapes of South Tyrol, so that we could have the constant presence of mountains, the lake and the forest. The lake is a place both fascinating and dark. In the forest you can find shelter, but also death.”

© Florian Mohn

The Curon bell tower is the focal point from which Curon is told. It’s a true character of the story, almost an antagonist, which frequently hinders twins Daria and Mauro’s search for their mysteriously disappeared mother.

“Usually during the inspections, the poetic and emotional aspect of a location is put in the backside in favor of a more practical vision. But the suggestive Lake Resia is something that you cannot put aside. The location certainly helped creating an atmosphere of tension and narrative suspense,” says Federica Mele, third Assistant Director on set.

Filming in Lake Resia near Curon

Filming by Lake Resia presented many challenges. During the night, the lake is completely dark, and it’s almost impossible to light it. The DOP and the production managed to solve the problem and were able to give the lake the feeling of a cursed place.

“We had to face countless nights, the cold. The first snow surprised us, there were some setbacks,” comments Federica Mele. “But isn’t this what always happens during the shooting of a film?”

© Florian Mohn

As Lake Resia is artificial and powers a plant, the water level varies based on the request for electricity. This was the biggest challenge for the production, as recalled by Daniel Campos Pavoncelli: “When we went to do a final Recce on location before shooting, the beach where some of the scenes were set had completely disappeared! And so we had to move to another area of the lake and insert the tower in CGI.”

In reality, the bell tower is surrounded by beaches and beautiful cycle paths that run through the entire Val Venosta and lead to the Resia Pass. The work of the directors, the DOP, the art department and the production was very intense. With the collaboration of Mr. Noggler, former mayor of Curon Venosta, and Mr. Burger, manager of the Tourist Office, explanatory signs, benches, and all the elements that make Lake Resia a tourist hotspot were removed.
“We succeeded in making our bell tower disturbing and dangerous, tearing it from its real enchanting context,” says Michele Priano. “Many tourists, who visited Curon after watching the series, imagined the place much darker and mysterious!”

© Florian Mohn

The general public has now the chance to vote for their favourite location among the 5 in the EUFCN Location Award shortlist: Banská Štiavnica for Dracula – Slovak Film Commission (SLOVAKIA), Lake Resia near Curon for Curon – IDM Film Fund & Commission from South Tyrol (ITALY), Moritzburg Castle for Charlie’s Angels – MDM Film Commission (GERMANY), Pažaislis Church and Monastery Complex for Catherine the Great – Kaunas Film Office (LITHUANIA), Prilep Area for Vrba (Willow) – North Macedonia Film Agency (NORTH MACEDONIA)

One lucky name will be picked among the voters and will win a trip to the winning location.

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 98 European film commissions and film institutions from 31 different countries.