What did you like in this part of Chile?
DG: The Paranal Observatory was the key location here in Chile. When I was looking for desert environments, the Atacama Desert was mentioned to me, so I looked it up on the Internet and I found Paranal. We made the first trip and we were all very happy with this place.
What did you find so attractive in small villages like Cobija and Baquedano, in Chile?
DG: The way I design motion pictures is from emotions. I am looking for something that excites me to play our story. These are locations that visually are interesting and connected with the story.
You received awards for your work in more artistic movies. How does it feel to work in a more commercial production?
DG: We are doing an art movie; this is an artistic film. This is an emotionally interesting and exciting artistic film, and that is what I do. James Bond happens to be working in a beautiful place. All the locations that we have found are incredible beautiful to my eyes.
"I design motion pictures from emotions"
Press Conference with
Dennis Gassner, Design Producer of
the James Bond movie, QUANTUM OF SOLACE.
Is this the first time you have the shooting of a movie in Paranal?
AK: For a movie like this, yes, it is the first time. We have many visits of journalists, broadcasters, producers of documentaries, but never had a blockbuster movie like this being shot here.
How did the production of the movie approach you and which precautions did you take?
AK: The approach was very classical: we got a letter. The production discovered the Paranal Residencia in an architectural magazine, because this building has won some awards. In fact, it is quite famous among architects. The production designer loved it and they asked us for the possibility to shoot parts of the movie here. After some contacts with the producers and conversations held in Munich, at the ESO headquarters, we found a common agreement how we should do this.
The biggest concern was to keep the scientific operations running while the production was happening. We have organised everything in such a way as to not affect our astronomical research, which is ongoing every night of the year.
What is the relationship with the local communities nearby the Observatory and Chile in general?
AK: We know very well that we are guests here in Chile. We have good relations with Taltal and with Antofagasta; we are good neighbours. We have for example recently helped Taltal to reopen a small museum, with an astronomy exhibition, and there are also some support programmes with local communities around. This is also true for the other sites, in San Pedro and La Serena, there are scholarships for students. ESO is always in contact with the Chilean scientists, universities, through exchange programmes. One of our missions here in Chile is also to develop astronomy for Chile. Chile has this beautiful sky but few astronomers, and we want to help to improve this and to make astronomy part of the culture.
"Everything is organised so as not affect the observations"
Press Conference with
Andreas Kaufer
Director of the ESO La Silla Paranal Observatory
26 March 2008, ESO Paranal,
on the occasion of the filming of scenes from the James Bond movie, QUANTUM OF SOLACE