The success of providing all production and location support for the filming of Dream Hotel Sri Lanka in 2009 was the invitation extended to The Film Team by Lisa Film Austria for their project in the Maldives.
At the request of the Producers, The Film Team crew visited the Maldives in late February for the initial scout and established contact with the authorities to obtain the necessary permits and arrange for the clearance of all equipment to be shipped from Austria for the film project.
The presentation forwarded to Lisa Film was accepted and the go ahead for the shoot was given at the beginning of March 2010.
The Srilankan prep crew comprising of Ainsley, Errol, Gopi and Trian left for the Maldives end March and commenced preparations in the capital, Male. On completion of all arrangements with their local agent, M/S Oriental Express (Pvt) Limited headed by Mr Zainudeen (The former Marketing Manager of Holiday Inn, Colombo) the team flew to Hanimadhoo in the Haa Alifu atoll and boarded the speed boat to the Waldorf Astoria Collection, The Beach House, Manafaru, the main location of the shoot managed by Hilton Worldwide.
The rest of the production, art department and technical crew from Cinepro arrived during the 2nd week of April to organise all arrangements for the shoot to commence on 19th April. However, the production team was in a dilemma, as the actors had not reached the location due to the closure of all airports in Europe. The foreign production company had made the decision to wrap up the project if the situation was to continue for another day. We were all elated to hear that the actors had departed on a private jet no sooner Vienna airport opened for a short while on that day.
The five-week shoot covered various locations at the Beach House, Manafaru. The main attraction was a beach house that was designed by Errol and prefabricated in Sri Lanka by the construction manager, Tennesly and his crew and shipped to the Maldives. The house was erected and dressed on an uninhabited island within close proximity to the resort. The Set Dresser, Welegedera Ranasinghe and Prop Master, Athula Sultanagoda transformed different areas in the resort as hospital interiors and office premises. The Director was impressed with all the local decorations done for the party scene which culminated with a fireworks display with all the material airfreighted from Colombo including a big cake structure which had the provision for a boy to emerge from within.
The crew then moved on to another Hilton Maldives resort in the Noonu Atoll, the Irufushi Spa & Resort. After the filming of arrival scenes with seaplanes, the main crew flew to the third Hilton Resort, the Conrad Rangali. The main location for the shoot was the spectacular underwater restaurant.
Finally, we all moved by flights and ferryboat to the capital, Male for establishing shots at various locations.
The crew wrap party was organized at Bandos Resort and the entire crew had a very enjoyable time after a hectic shoot. The entire Film Team crew was thanked individually by the Director & Producer and highly commended for the professionalism showed from day one of the project.
The meticulous planning and execution of all arrangements with the combined efforts of the entire Sri Lankan crew won the praises of the Director and Producer who extended an invitation for us to be a part of the Dream Hotel crew for all their future projects starting with their next in the Caribbean - Dream Hotel Tobago. We had no option but to turn down the lucrative offer owing to the commitments for other productions in Sri Lanka.
The Film Team is confident of securing International projects for filming in Sri Lanka, especially with the harmonious situation prevalent in the country. The other advantageous ingredient for promoting our island as an exotic filming location is the new studio complex at Ranminithenne. This much-needed facility initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with his dynamic vision of helping the film industry to reach greater heights is definitely an added bonus to attract moviemakers to film in Sri Lanka.
The Film Team said it would endeavour to showcase Sri Lanka as the ideal filming location in the region at all times.