Based on the novel of the same name by Alex Morel, ‘Survive,’ a gripping 2020 TV mini-series created by Richard Abate, follows Jane (Sophie Turner), a woman struggling with depression and PTSD. She leaves the Life House, a home for people with social disorders, and boards a flight back to her hometown. The plane abruptly crashes into a snow-covered landscape, leaving her and her co-passenger, Paul, stranded in the mountains. Facing unbearable grief and her own personal demons, she forms an unlikely bond with Paul as they fight to survive in harsh conditions and find their way back to civilization.
Through their journey, they confront their inner struggles, forming a unique connection that becomes pivotal for their survival. As they lean on each other against the unforgiving wilderness, the series delves into themes of resilience, mental health, and the profound human will to survive against all odds. Witnessing the survivors brave the brutal tundra filled with sheer cliffsides, inhospitable terrain, wolves, and an avalanche, you may ask yourself – where did the two crash, and where was the series actually filmed?
Survive Filming Locations
The survivors in the series crash land in a mountain range somewhere in Montana; filming of the mountainous terrain was carried out in Italy, and studio shooting was done in Latvia. The movie was shot at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus most countries were under lockdown. The eastern European country of Latvia hadn’t been hit hard by the pandemic and had much lighter restrictions, allowing for unrestricted filming. Principal photography began in August 2019 and was wrapped up by April 17, 2020. Allow us to take you through the specific locations used for lensing scenes of the adventure thriller.
The capital city of Riga houses the movie studio of Latvia-based Forma Pro Films, which was used by the film crew to create setpieces for interior scenes using their soundstages. Forma Pro Films is a leading Baltic Region movie production company that collaborated with EMH Globale to produce the series. Their studio is located on Trokšņu iela 10, Centra rajons (Central Region). The film’s indoor shots for filmed at the studio, including its beginning scenes of the Life House, and ending sequence in the hospital. The avalanche sequence was the most important part of shooting in the studio, requiring greenscreen work, false walls, and stunt work. A stunt double was flung through the air to simulate the impact of the raging snow.
Nestled on the Baltic Sea’s shore, Riga is a picturesque and versatile filming location acclaimed for its historical charm and diverse settings. The city’s unique blend of medieval architecture, Art Nouveau buildings, and stunning landscapes offer filmmakers rich backdrops for cinematic storytelling. The city, situated on both banks of the Daugava River, has facilitated the filming of movies and shows such as ‘The Berlin File,’ ‘Sisi,’ ‘Hatching,’ ‘The Good Neighbor,’ and ‘Archangel.’
For lensing scenes of snowy mountainous landscapes and forests, the film crew ventures into the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Veneto region of northern Italy. The ski resort town is surrounded by the southern Dolomitic Alps. The Dolomites presented a wide range of landforms from treacherous cliffs to rocky plateaus. As the series progresses, we see the survivors move further down the mountain and into the forested area; these scenes were set at the foothills of the mountains, closer to the town.
Having to film a majority of their scenes in the mountains, the filmmakers braved the cold weather, thin air at high altitudes, and arduous climbs up its slopes. Comparing the experience with her shooting of ‘Game of Thrones,’ actress Sophie Turner said, “Physically I didn’t really prepare at all which was a big regret once we were up in those mountains! I know for a fact the Battle of Winterfell night shoot was far more brutal to film for the crew and cast. But considering I only had three night shoots for the Battle of Winterfell, I would say that on a personal level the mountain scenes in Survive were more brutal.”
Cortina d’Ampezzo is known for its stunning Alpine landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The town’s breathtaking mountainous backdrop, encompassing the Dolomite peaks and verdant valleys, offers filmmakers a visually striking canvas for bringing their narratives to life. Its charming streets and vibrant ambiance have drawn prominent movie productions to shoot in and around the resort town. These include, ‘For Your Eyes Only,’ ‘Spider-Man: Far from Home,’ ‘ Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,’ ‘Point Break,’ and the 1963 ‘The Pink Panther.’
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