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Commercial: HSBC Bank “Fishing Responsibility”
Director: Frederic Planchon
Production Company: Academy Films
Production Chile: Straightforward Films / Bud Theisen
Marine Coordinator: Mark Robinson

The story: A South American man wakes up very early in the morning and prepares for his day without disturbing his sleeping wife and children. He makes his way through the small, still-dark fishing village towards the harbor. Joining his crew aboard a modest fishing trawler, they head out to sea and set their net. The fishermen appear despondent as day passes into a stormy night with nothing more to show than a meager catch of worthless fish. However, a new day rewards the determined fishermen with a net filled with fish, but enthusiasm dies quickly as each realizes that a dolphin is helplessly caught in the net. The fisherman makes the choice to cut the net with a knife, setting the dolphin free but losing the valuable catch as a result.  VIEW THE COMMERCIAL>>

“This dream project began for me with a phone call from Santiago, Chile, when Producer Bud Theisen asked me to lend my marine expertise to his rapidly approaching project for HSBC Banks, set to shoot somewhere on the Pacific coast of Chile. Bud suggested we reconvene over a Skype line, where I synchronized our computers via GoToMyPC. Using Google Earth to fly together low along the rocky Chilean coastline, we made a preliminary search of its harbors and coves. Within moments, we’d not only closed the 5,000 mile gap between us, we’d also laid the ground work for our location virtually.”   MARK ROBINSON

The requirements for the project were challenging. Although the location called for a small fishing village, logistically we required the facilities of a more industrialized port. Ocean conditions needed to allow for filming in rough open water as well as accommodate the staging of nighttime rainstorm effects. The actors needed to have the look of weathered fishermen comfortable in rough seas and familiar with fishing operations, yet also be comfortable in front of the camera. With a great deal of the shooting taking place on the open ocean, the fishing boat needed to be sound, technically correct with classic lines and traditional character. Then, there was the matter of finding a cooperative dolphin to work with.

The small fishing village of Horcón provided the ideal setting for the fishing village, with the nearby Port of Quintero functioning as the logistical staging area with launch facilities, lifts, dockage and accommodations. On the pacific coast of Chile high winds and a heavy ocean swell from the southwest prevail throughout the winter months (June, July & August). The Port of Quintero provided excellent protection from the elements with the ability to venture out to the edge of the rough seas for the required rough water filming. The commercial dock there served as an ideal platform to safely lock down the elements of wind, rain and crashing seas where lighting cranes, FX fans, water cannons, rain towers and a fleet of wave generating watercraft assembled for the filming of the nighttime storm scenes.

Beloved Chilean actor Luis Dubó was ideally suited to play the role of the fishing captain, while extensive casting among the local fishing villages built a credible cast of fishermen filled with character and personality. During the night local fishermen ventured offshore to net mackerel and keep them alive in submerged fish cages for filming the next day. The EdgeFX team was flown in from northern California with an extremely lifelike animatronics dolphin. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Walt Conti and his FX crew again! (Southwest Airlines Project)

Once the surrounding ports were all scouted for charismatic picture boats, it was the ‘Wilmita’ with its brightly painted wheel house, rough planked deck and aged rigging that won the director’s heart. An impressive fleet of supporting watercraft was amassed to accommodate the over 100 member crew and the specific requirements of each department: Camera, grip rigging, dolphin FX, divers, underwater filming, agency, safety, and shuttles.

The evening before filming began I hosted a round table meeting with the local marine crew to discuss situations unique to marine filming. Here were Chilean boat captains with callused hands and weathered faces that came from generations of mariners with long established traditional methods for boat handling, and I was about to change some of the rules. True to Chilean nature, they were receptive and eager to please. We discussed the weather conditions that we were likely to encounter, agreed on simple terminology and took turns pushing model boats together in various configurations amidst the plates of machas, congre and empañadas de mariscos. English is not a language spoken by these boat captains along the coast of Chile and my concentrated efforts to become fluent in Spanish paid off, but not without a good bit of cajoling and hearty laughs -- all in good humor.

Working as the marine specialist / coordinator:
  • Marine location scouting – coastal and underwater
  • Monitoring of severe winter weather patterns
  • Establishing safety guidelines
  • Coordinated marine procedures with local boat captains
  • Supervised diving operations and underwater filming unit
  • Developed and coordinated efforts for storm FX scenes
Read more in Straightforward Films Newsletter.


HSBC - CHILE: "Fishing Responsibility"