EUFCN Spotlight on: Cine Tirol Film Commission

The Cine Tirol Film Commission, the first regional film commission of Austria, was founded in 1998 as a business field of the Tirol Tourism Board based in Innsbruck.

Cine Tirol promotes the so-called “Heart of the Alps” with its diverse and easily accessible film locations in the midst of stunning mountain sceneries.

Film Commissioner Johannes Köck guides us on an exploration of the opportunities of filming in Tirol.

©Tirol Werbung/Jens Schwarz

Which main productions were shot recently in Tirol and which ones are set to be shooting in the future or were postponed due to the global emergency? 

“Fortunately, all national and international productions scheduled to be shot in Tirol between March and May of 2020 were postponed to a shooting date later this year. We are very happy and grateful that the Austrian film associations in coordination with the Ministry of Health, published a comeback work concept in the field of film and television during the Corona crisis. This is why the TV-series Der Bergdoktor/The Mountain Doctor and SOKO Kitzbühel were able to start their shooting in our country in June, along with some commercials and music videos. One feature, one TV-movie, and one mini-series will follow soon, we expect their shooting to start in August and September the latest. ”

Der Bergdoktor. ©ZDF/Stefanie Leo

What’s the biggest production you have ever supported in your territory?  

James Bond 007 – SPECTRE was for sure the biggest production ever to be shot on location Tirol. The principal photography happened in January 2015 in Sölden/Ötztal and in Obertilliach/Osttirol: Sölden was chosen because of the modern architecture of the iceQ restaurant on the summit of the Gaislachkogel. Jakob Falkner, CEO of Bergbahnen Sölden, was extremely active and helpful in supporting the huge 007-crew consisting of up to 700 filmmakers before and during the shooting; Obertilliach was chosen because of the very traditional architecture of that rural village inhabited by only 700 persons, who were all very supportive in order to make the massive shooting on location possible and easy.”

iceQ restaurant. ©Bergbahnen Sölden/Rudi Wyhlidal

What do you think is something unique the Cine Tirol Film Commission can offer?  

“It is for sure the stunning and multifold alpine landscape of our country in the western part of Austria combined with the very easy access to even extremely remote mountain locations by streets, roads and cable cars. Additionally, Tirol offers very impressive examples of traditional and super-modern architecture within dramatic mountainous scenery, besides the very film friendly authorities and local people. Tirol can tell a lot of exciting stories both from the past and from today, which can be transformed into exciting features and TV-movies, and impressive docs.”

Do you have any particular anecdote related to your experience as film commissioner?

“Speaking of anecdotes, out of many happening in more than 22 years of operation, I recall a Bollywood production with only fond memories. During an intense recce about an hour west of Innsbruck, all of a sudden the director had a very special request: he wanted to find a stunning but easily accessible mountain lake. The perfect location was found near the Fernstein pass. “It’s like paradise!” the director exclaimed. During the team’s Indian dinner, he expressed another wish: 20 Tirolean couples in traditional dress including Tyrolean hats with feathers on top. “Lederhosen for the men and Drindln for the ladies should be ready at the side of the newfound mountain lake by tomorrow morning!” Despite the short notice, also this wish was satisfied. Just before midnight, the members of a folklore club near the filming location were “persuaded” to lend a helping hand. A few hours later, at 7 am on the agreed upon location, on that paradisiac mountain lake, with excellent weather conditions, we met the 20 Tirolean couples all dressed in the traditional way. But unfortunately there was no trace of the Indian film team and not even a message! At eight o’clock the director finally arrived, and said in a low voice: “I’m very sorry, but we cannot shoot this scene. I had a very bad dream last night and the very bad dream said: do not shoot this scene!” ”

Tiger Zinda Hai (2017). © Yash Raj Films

What activities has the Cine Tirol Film Commission been carrying on during these challenging months and how are you handling the gradual restart of production in your country?

“The lockdown in Tirol on March 15 was a very shocking experience, but we decided to face the challenge and tried to stay in touch with many national and international filmmakers, especially the ones who already knew our country from earlier shootings in Tirol. In the darkest hour, we emailed a personal message including the following quote by Rev. Robert Schuler to many partners and friends around the world: “What appears to be the end of the road may simply be a bend in the road!”. Later, we sent a wooden heart made of Tyrolean pine to more than 200 filmmakers, especially in European countries. This tree symbolizes enormous strength, endurance and will to survive – and this is what we wished all the filmmakers out there, too. As a team of 4 from Cine Tirol, we always tried to stay calm and positive, confident and resilient. We were able to contribute to the plans of production companies to postpone the shootings scheduled for the months March through June to the second half-year of 2020. Some scripts were adapted, new timelines were developed, professional security measures were defined and many more steps were set to enable the gradual restart of productions from mid June. Right now we are very grateful and satisfied that the film land Tirol is back on track, we hope that the situation will stay safe and secure, we will continue to do our utmost to support all film crews before and during the shoot under these challenging circumstances: onwards and upwards!”

Downhill (2020). Photo by Jaap Buitendijk © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Are you interested in filming in Tirol?

The European Film Commissions Network is a non-profit association that supports and promotes the European film industry and culture. It currently represents 97 European film commissions and film institutions from 31 different countries.