Blessed with attractive colonial architecture and surrounded by river “highways” transporting rowers and pleasure boats, a typical first impression of Valdivia is as a picturesque destination, perfect for a relaxing weekend away. But while the city — one of Chile’s oldest, last month celebrating its 462nd anniversary — is full of tourist attractions, it also has a well-earned reputation as one of the country’s cultural hubs, especially for cinema.
This hard earned status was given a further push earlier this month when Valdivia signed an agreement with national arts bodies to institute new measures to promote culture, in the process becoming the country’s first “film friendly” city.
The agreement — signed by the National Council for Culture and Arts (CNCA), the Valdivia Film Commision and the local municipality — will implement a package of measures such as facilitating the permits to film in the city and establish local government staff to oversee this process all designed to cement the thriving movie scene.
CNCA subdirector Carlos Lobos explained that the move is important to the growing reputation of Valdivia.
“[‘Film Friendly’ status] is very important because this city, asides from the natural beauty that exists here, also enjoys a distinct cultural character,” he said.
Valdivia Mayor Omar Sabat expressed similar sentiments, pointing to the great popularity of the city’s renowned annual film festival as evidence of the cultural innovation that local government must work to promote.
“As a city we have promoted the Festival Internacional for more than 20 years, an event which has grown in importance over time, garnering acclaim throughout, all the while receiving support from the municipality,” he said. “This agreement gives us further support to continue developing initiatives of this kind.”
Finally, Lobos expressed his hopes, shared by the team responsible for the “film friendly” initiative, to establish the riverside city as a top destination for film-makers from across the world.
“[This project] will promote Valdivia among the various countries belonging to the Film Council as a viable option for filming,” he explained. “It will function as a support for the city and its people as we will promise to providing the necessary facilities so that any type of filming done in the city can be done so effectively.”