Navigating a shoot in Campania

Experts break down the filming experience

Italy’s Campania region makes itself an easy choice for location scouts and their productions for a lot of reasons.

“You get these incredible coastal roads in Amalfi where you have a curvy, long, narrow road that’s up 400 meters from the Mediterranean Sea where you have a whole view of the ocean,” says Marco Giacalone, who has scouted and location managed car commercials along the Amalfi Coast. “And then on top of that there’s a sunset.”

Andrea Santarelli — a location scout whose company, Italian Location, helped find the perfect places in Naples to shoot models Esti Ginzburg, Daniella Sarahyba and Irina Shayk for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition — lauds the area’s other benefits as well.

“It’s not just a good place to work,” Santarelli says. “The life that you combine with the shooting — the food, the wine, the hotels — is great, so it makes the work better, I think.”

The Campania region also encompasses Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, which might be harder to access than one of those roads perched so high above the Mediterranean.

“(Shooting there) could get complicated, so you should allow extra time for that,” Giacalone says. “Pompeii is protected by the cultural ministry because it’s very important historically, and Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano, so you’d want to find out if it’s safe to be there.”

You won’t just need to navigate permit-granting agencies and terrain in the Campania region. Both scouts point out it’s important to have a local guide who doesn’t just speak Italian but the local dialect.

“Every 50 kilometers in this region, you change language, food and wine,” Santarelli says.

Still, government agencies are available to crews coming into the area.

“The film commission there is good, but you should expect meeting after meeting after meeting because it’s the way that things are done,” says Giacalone, who worked with Ridley Scott on “A Good Year” and “Kingdom of Heaven.”

Careful scheduling is key in this tourist-friendly region.

“The best months are not July and August because there are people everywhere, so you really want to be there in April or May when the light is still good but it’s less crowded,” Giacalone says.

It’s also essential to consider other resources for bigger films.

“For larger projects and films, you’ll have to bring in crew and equipment from larger places nearby,” Giacalone says. “You’ll have to bring in generators and cameras from someplace else.”

But that won’t keep either of the scouts from returning.

“Even if you have to send a production assistant to Rome to the film lab for dailies, that’s OK because nothing looks like this region,” Giacalone says.

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