South of the Border

SK Films

Mexico's famed locations have made meaningful contributions to some of the world's most beloved films, but as recently as 2009, the film-locations biz here had been showing signs of slowing down. But four recent productions demonstrate that a new incentive program has kick-started things again, and recent activity has resulted in a four-year high. 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
The foreign production drawing the most attention last year was this Mel Gibson-produced film. Freshman helmer Adrian Grunberg directed the prison drama, but all eyes were on Mel, who managed to maintain a low profile despite all the controversy swirling around him at the time.

Hot on the heels of Vacation, Neil Burger (The Illusionist) and crew descended on Puerto Vallarta to film scenes for the techno-thriller Limitless, with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. In a so-called guerrilla-style product-placement arrangement, the production received two free Maseratis for a road scene.

On the Road
From September to November, Brazilian director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) found himself in the states of Coahuila and Puebla filming On the Road, the long-awaited big-screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac's cult novel. Executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola, the movie stars Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley.

Flight of the Butterflies
Canadian shingle SK Films kept the production ball rolling into the new year with its 3D movie, Flight of the Butterflies. Lensed in western Mexico and slated for a spring 2012 release, it follows the amazing migration of Monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico.