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Puerto Vallarta On Screen: An Update

Published Aug 1, 2010 - (Updated Nov 30, 2012)

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Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Summer/Fall 2010 issue.

When John Huston arrived in Puerto Vallarta in 1963, along with his film crew and actors from “The Night of the Iguana,” no one imagined the impact it would have on tourism development in the region. In the following decades, dozens of film and television productions chose the natural beauty of the bay to frame their stories. But does our location remain attractive for film and television? What important projects have been filmed or recorded recently?

At the end of the last century, the fever for youth horror movies was at its height, and one of its prime examples was filmed in our area, “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998). Directed by Danny Cannon, director of numerous episodes of the “CSI” television series, the film starred Jennifer Love Hewitt, now star of the popular “Ghost Whisperer.” However, the recording of Mexican TV Azteca’s soap opera “Marea Brava” (1999) here caused even more commotion, bringing a large production crew and well-known actors to our city. The rumor was that they would install a permanent studio, but that never happened.

In 2004, two film productions related to Puerto Vallarta premiered: “Puerto Vallarta Squeeze” and “Kill Bill Vol 2.” The first, starring Scott Glenn (“Apocalypse Now”) and Harvey Keitel (“Pulp Fiction”), had a very limited release and little promotion, unlike “Kill Bill Vol 2,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, which continued the story of The Bride’s quest for revenge against her former boss and assassin associates. Noted actors Uma Thurman and the late David Carradine visited Careyes to shoot several final scenes but, once again, television brought more attention, this time with the local recording of soap opera “Rebelde,” a Mexican television phenomenon that also had great success in Brazil, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, among other Spanish-speaking countries.

In 2007, when Hollywood star Helen Hunt premiered her first film as director at the sixth edition of the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival, more than a dozen foreign media covered the story. And it was this same festival that introduced the area’s natural assets to legendary director Roger Corman, who then began promoting the area among his acquaintances. As a result, Disney chose the waterfront and neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita, along with Guadalajara and Mexico City, to film “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” (2008). This story of a Chihuahua lost in Mexico was directed by Raja Gosnell (“Scooby Doo”), with Piper Perabo (“Coyote Ugly”) as protagonist.

In 2009, Roger Corman fulfilled his desire for a project here with “Dinoshark,” the story of a dinosaur-shark that comes to our shores to eat unwary tourists, starring Eric Balfour (“The OC”). The project was co-produced by Arte Paneo, a company owned by Mexican actor Aaron Diaz and Robert Roessell, one of the founders of the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival. The premiere of this movie on US television Channel SyFy registered more than three million viewers. This year, Corman shot another movie for television in Puerto Vallarta: “Sharktopus.” Starring Eric Roberts (“Heroes”), the movie is scheduled for release in September at the Toronto Film Festival.

The above recount of recent activity demonstrates that Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas remain attractive to the film and television industry, both domestically and internationally. And since the desired quantity and quality of projects have not yet been achieved, local film commissioners actively continue to explore the film market.


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