ALEXA: Portrayal of Patagonia

Argentine director of photography Ramiro Civita used the ALEXA to capture EL INVIERNO, a film set in the striking yet hostile landscape of Patagonia. It earned him the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography at the San Sebastián festival.

With an extensive career in cinematography, the Argentine director of photography Ramiro Civita ADF has received many awards. His recent work on the film EL INVIERNO won him the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography at San Sebastián 2016. This prestigious international festival held in Spain, has a strong focus on the Latin American market.

ALEXA: Portrayal of Patagonia

El INVIERNO, from director Emiliano Torres, transported the production team to the far south of Argentina to cover events during the wool-shearing season. It is set at an isolated ranch in the remote southern end of the country. Cinematographer Ramiro Civita filmed this portrayal of Patagonia with the ALEXA EV.

EL INVIERNO, from writer/director Emiliano Torres, had Ramiro Civita as director of photography. This duo has carried out numerous projects together beginning with GARAGE OLIMPO in 1998. They chose ARRI's ALEXA EV camera for filming the beautiful yet hostile landscapes of Argentina’s Patagonia.

Captured in the far south of the country in Santa Cruz province, the film tells the tale of an old farm foreman. Every year he receives groups of laborers to help with the sheep-shearing season. This year, the old man will be let go from the ranch and replaced by a young worker from the north. The change will not be easy for either one of them.

"The film was shot mainly on a ranch which is about an hour’s drive from El Chalten. Additional scenes were captured in El Calafate and Rio Gallegos. The shoot was actually divided into two seasons, the winter season which was scheduled to be a two week shoot, and the summer scenes which took four weeks to complete,” recounts Civita.

"Anyone who has visited Patagonia will agree that the sheer beauty of the landscape is breathtaking. The production spared no effort in reaching remote locations in order to match scenes of the winter season. Last year snow was scarce in the area. We were undoubtedly lucky with the rest of the scenes,” he explains.

The main location was indeed a remote place -- so yes, we needed to rely on a very consistent camera. Luckily we never had an issue with the ALEXA.

The natural environment played a key role in both the story and the production, and the choice of equipment was critical. Civita explains, "The film was actually shot in scope 2.39:1. We used ALEXA EV Classic and shot in ProRes 4444. We were a small crew and needed to work fast, and stay light. Toting the equipment through the snow covered mountains was no walk in the park.”

Being so far away from any camera rental house, they were counting on the robust quality of the cameras. "The main location was indeed a remote place -- so yes, we needed to rely on a very consistent camera. Luckily we never had an issue with the ALEXA, but working in a cold environment did take a heavy toll on the batteries," adds the director of photography.

According to Civita, preparations for traveling to Patagonia were "the usual ones, like with every project, plus asking for clemency from the elements. Patagonia is known for its harsh conditions and I can now attest to that myth." He adds, "We’ve tried to capture the essence of the land and its people as best we could. I believe that what we’ve recorded is a minimal part of that reality. Fortunately, what remains to be captured is infinite."

This is not the first time Civita has worked with ARRI cameras, nor the last. He is very familiar with the durability and reliability of the ALEXA line, and with the reputation of the ARRI behind it -- a company with 100 years in the industry. He says, "I am currently shooting a feature film in southern Italy. It is being shot with two ALEXA XT Studio cameras."