DOWNHILL: A BIG DEAL FOR ISCHGL

“Downhill”, a black comedy starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has its world premiere this evening at the international Sundance Film Festival. The film was largely shot in Ischgl. Andreas Steibl explains how this came about – and what it means for all of Paznaun.

Andi, this evening “Downhill” has its world premiere at the Sundance film festival in UTAh. Ischgl has a leading role in this comedy. How come?

Andi Steibl: The production company was looking for a location where the story could take place. They contacted the right department at the chamber of commerce, and after I met the people there in person, the request came to us pretty quickly. And we were interested, of course.

and what happened then?

So, there was a long round of preliminaries before it started. We spoke to the production company many times, and then location scouts came here. It wasn’t that easy to win the contract, it’s Hollywood after all and there are loads of details. In the end, though, our pitch won against two competitors from Austria and one from Switzerland.

it sounds quite complicated. what does a production company need to know before it decides to film in ischgl?

There are relatively precise requirements. We don’t get the actual script sent to us beforehand, but we do get a detailed descriptions of the scenes. Then we take photos to show what it looks likes here. If it’s a good fit, the landscape and the places, then it goes to the next stage. The production company was here three times in total, they get on a plane in L.A. and come over here. In the end, 160 people came over here from the USA, including the actors. That made for a total of 6 000 extra overnight stays here in Ischgl due to this production. Paying overnight stays.
“BUT WE REALLY CAN’T COMPLAIN THAT THERE’S NOT ENOUGH ISCHGL IN THE FILM”
Andi Steibl, managing director of the Ischgl Tourism Assocaition, on “Downhill“

ON THAT NOTE, how much do you think this production has brought to ischgl?

Other than its image and the overnight stays? We added a lot extra value for the whole valley. The film crew ate here, there were taxi rides, transfers, and many suppliers from the valley provided support to the film. Craft workshops, textiles, there was a lot commissioned locally.

in the film, you see people in ischgl’s ski academy outfit. Were they really local ski instructors?

In part, but when someone in the film had to say a line, then it was a real actor. But all the same, there are lots of extras from the valley in the film. If the cable car is in the picture, then of course the real life cable car staff are in the picture, if the family in the film is standing by the chair lift, then all the people around them are locals, too. We really can’t complain that there’s not enough Ischgl in the film.
“ANYONE WHO SEES THE FILM WILL KNOW THAT IT TAKES PLACE IN ISCHGL”
Andi Steibl on the film’s marketing value

What kind OF MARKETING VALUE do you think this has FOR ISCHGL?

It’s very difficult to say, but it’s definitely very powerful. The film will be seen in all the markets which matter to us. You’ll see how much snow there is in Ischgl and how great the ski area is. But the best part is that anyone who sees the film will know that it takes place in Ischgl.  Not like that time when the James Bond film was made in Sölden, where no one ever said that it was Sölden, and they even made Sölden into Bad Aussee in the film because it fitted better with the script. In this film, Ischgl is in the script, they talk about Ischgl, you even see the town sign in the film. You see the town, the ski area – and in all the scenes in the mountains and in the town, it’s obvious that it’s here. It’s really great advertising.