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THE CAVE

About The Locations
It is suitable that a movie about a cave is set, and shot, in Romania. The country has over 12,000 registered caves, and is thought to have as many again that are uncharted as yet. The country's expert in this area, Dr Christi Lascu, says: "We have a file for each cave discovered. The range is amazing. We have huge cavernous caves, ice caves, caves with archaeological remains and even some that are well preserved prehistoric cemeteries. We are still finding new caves. Recently they discovered the deepest cave in Romania - it was 17km long!” Producer Gary Lucchesi explains: "Bucharest is an amazing place to shoot. We were based at the Media Pro studios complex, which was originally developed to resemble Paramount Pictures. It has a huge main administrative building, which is all very grand, and houses four good soundstages and a beautiful back lot. The potential for this particular studio is really quite extraordinary. And what was exciting for me as a producer was that we controlled every one of the stages. We had about 500 acres to ourselves.

Bruce Hunt found control in being able to film in tanks versus caves for a number of the more dangerous takes. "It became very obvious to us right away that to take a crew down into a cave would either ruin the caves that we were in or it would be an access problem and an insurance issue for our crew. We had a lot more control at the studio.”

Producer Richard Wright chose Romania for other reasons as well, "Romania is an up and coming production center where you can achieve very high quality production values for very affordable prices. So the fact that it matched the story and made economic sense made it difficult to shoot anywhere else. Saying that, it did of course present challenges. We had to build, from scratch, a three quarters of a million gallon tank to shoot our underwater photography. There is not a soundstage anywhere in continental Europe that could accommodate this, so we had to build a set and the soundstage around the set simultaneously – in four months! These are things that you couldn't really do anywhere but Romania. You'd never be able to do it in Los Angeles.

After the main shoot, Jill Heinerth and the team went off to the Yucatan in Mexico to film more of the amazing underwater scenes. She says: "The tank in Romania offered a good controlled location for stunt work, but it lacked the mesmerizing beauty of a cave that cannot be duplicated. So we covered about one mile of underwater conduits to shoot the different set locations in the real caves of the Yucatan. These caves are one of the natural wonders of our earth. We shot in a location called Hidden Worlds, a place which is very dear to my heart. I have been involved in exploration in this system for many years and I cannot think of a more beautiful place on the planet. I come back year after year to explore, film and photograph this wonderful place. Wes Skiles directed the underwater portions of the IMAX film JOURNEY INTO AMAZING CAVES in the same location in 1998. He has been mesmerized by the cave ever since then.”

"We utilized closed circuit re-breathers on and off camera during our time here,” she continues. "This is because we needed to minimise the bubbles we create in the cave to stop silt-outs. Traditional scuba gear that makes bubbles will often create so much silt that the team has to retreat and wait for the water to clear for additional takes.”

"The team itself was an absolutely historic collection of the ‘silver backs' of cave diving, with a few up and coming cave explorers sprinkled in the mix,” she adds. "The world's finest and most active cave divers were involved in this shoot and we were privileged that they all took the time to participate as most have other jobs. Collectively, I believe the team on this project has laid more ‘virgin line' in unexplor

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