The Dominican Republic is highly regarded as a place for film sets, offering beautiful landscapes that have been used since the 1920’s. As a result of its tropical surroundings and captivating scenery, Latin American, Spanish and US film directors have become more attracted to the Dominican Republic as an ideal film destination.
Filming production began when Francisco Palau directed the first fully Dominican film entitled “La aparición de nuestra señora de La Altagracia” (The Apparition of Our Lady of La Altagracia) in 1923, followed by “Las Emboscadas de Cupido” (Cupid’s Ambushes) in 1924. This starting point was greatly received by the public and created a small snowball effect which got bigger as time progressed, but took a while to get into motion.
No filming took place during the 1930’s, for reasons unknown, but in 1963 dramatist Franklyn Domínguez recorded his monologue “La Silla” (The Chair) for the big screen. This was quickly followed by director Jean Luis Jorge, who made two films: “Melodrama” and “La Serpiente de la Luna de los Piratas” (Serpents of the Pirate Moon).
Filming on Dominican soil is nothing new, with it dating back in excess of 50 years when it was used for recording “Canciones Unidas” – Translates to United Songs – featuring Casandra Damiron, the dame of Dominican. The production was completed in Santo Domingo, in a spot known as the Peace Fair.
From this humble beginning, the Dominican Republic has been home to numerous film sets. Shortly after Canciones Unidas was recorded, scenes from “Apocalypse Now” were filmed on the shores of the river Chavón in La Romana in 1979, followed by “Rambo II” in 1985.
Prior to this, the height of the its success, and what really put the Dominican Republic on the map as a forefront film location, was the creation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning “Godfather II” in the historic Colonial City in 1974.
Santo Domingo features many similarities with some areas of Cuba, the Dominican Capital. As a result, it played host to Robert Redford whilst filming “Habana” in 1990, Angy Garcia in “The Lost City” (1995) and Luis Vargas Llosa for “La Fiest del Chivo” (The Festival of the Goat) in the same year.
Ten years later, Confresi beach in Puerto Plata was the scene for the romantic comedy “Love Wrecked” by Randal Kleiser, the famous producer who made “Grease” and “The Blue Lagoon”.
A year on, the Colonial City welcomed the producers of the well known film “Miami Vice”. Further to this, Angeline Jolie and Matt Damon graced the Dominican Republic during the same year for the filming of “The Good Shepherd”, which also featured Robert De Niro.
Filming in the Dominican Republic is nothing new, and continues to play host to directors from around the world accompanied by acclaimed actors. The plethora of scenery makes it an ideal location for multiple sets, and remains attractive to producers from most major companies.