The success of a production depends on the attention paid to detail. – David O Selznick
Mallorca, mainly through the efforts of Palma Pictures, has been attracting big advertising shots for ages. But now, more and more producers are turning to the island for film and TV series production citing lower production costs than in London or LA, a willing workforce and, of course, unparalleled scenic beauty.
The Night Manager, Love Island, The Mallorca Files
and the new Netflix series, White Lines are but just a few of the most recent endeavours to be shot on the island.
White Lines is an action-packed thriller exposing the hidden world of debauchery, drugs and desire of Spain's most infamous party island, Ibiza. Not to be outdone by her better-known sister, Mallorca plays a starring role in showcasing some of the most exquisite scenery and backdrops in the Balearics, so it’s worth putting it on your bucket list.
All of this is extremely exciting news for many who see this as an opportunity to share our beautiful island home with the world. But there are those who worry. There certainly will be many positives. However, it may also affect people’s quiet ways of life in unexpected and unimagined ways. Who knows what an influx of film and television work may do to the small villages and towns being used as backdrops?
Back Story #
Filming on Mallorca is not an entirely new thing. There have been films shot here as far back as 1898 when a documentary on the arrival of the first Bellver steam ship arrived on the island. Then in 1913, El Secreto del Anillo was shot which holds the distinction of being the first fictional film to be shot in the Balearics. In the more than a hundred years since then, the Internet Movie Database IMDB counts 593 films that were shot or partially filmed here. Some were flops, some more noteworthy, but whatever their levels of success, that’s A LOT of celluloid turning on the island.
In the past ten to fifteen years, the need for content has risen dramatically, and with that rise, Mallorca has stepped up by modernising local facilities and providing everything needed for productions of any size. This upgrades have paid off, as just two years ago, the Location Manager’s Guild recognised Mallorca as a top location worldwide, based on the success of The Night Manager and it appears there is no looking back!
The Ups and Downs #
Now that Pandora’s Box has been opened, there is no way to tell what will happen to island when and if more and more productions decide to come. The most obvious upside is the creation of a whole new industry previously undeveloped (or underdeveloped) here, perhaps creating a whole new sector of economy outside of tourism, a diversification sorely needed here.
It also will mean peripheral income for hotels, restaurants, and transportation services which means less dependence on the all-prevailing tourism industry which in the light of COVID-19 definitely is good news. Also, jobs will certainly be created here as more year-round help will be needed, and it's not only people in the tourism sector that will gain from this - electricians, builders, hair and makeup artists, set designers, PA’s and a laundry list of other entertainment-related jobs will suddenly be in demand.
In addition to the new employment opportunities that will spring up as more and bigger productions come to the island, it is worth it to note that entrepreneurial prospects will also open up. There are a few small film and video production companies and location scouts on the island that could really benefit from an uptick in work. Catering businesses that are scrambling for things to do now would have constant gigs. Post-production facilities could be established so editing and finishing could stay on island. The possibilities are immense for those who have a bit of gumption and the will to make things happen.
While film and TV productions are opening the island up to a whole new set of possibilities, they may also be opening it up to less desirable aspects though. More people could mean more cars and disruption in the normally quiet seasons. It could also mean that sleepy villages that were peaceful retreats could become major stopping points for “media tourists” wanting to get a piece of the glamour, thus blurring the lines between the reality and the show. This might lead to a disconnect by locals who feel their culture is threatened by this kind of attention.
Cornwall, for example, experienced a huge jump in tourism in the wake of the success of Poldarkand is suffering from this phenomenon now. We visited Land’s End and found a gift shop chocka with Poldark mugs, t-shirts and refrigerator magnets. It was similar in many of the other small villages we visited. This kind of notice is good or bad depending on whom you speak to, but by and large, it DOES change the experience.
How this new industry will affect us here on the island is uncertain, but it seems fairly certain that it WILL affect us somehow. How we choose to integrate it and welcome it will depend on one’s point of view, but from where I sit, a budding film and TV industry is coming… and coming to stay. Lights, camera, ACTION!
#Mallorcafilmindustry #Mallorcatvseries #mallorcafilmlocation
By Stephanie Horsman
27 October, 2021