Coronado

The search for her missing fiancé leads a young woman
from Los Angeles to Switzerland and into the heart
of the deepest Central American jungle.
Amidst the turmoil of a revolution, she discovers
a dark secret that changes her life…

…and alters the course of a country’s future forever.

“Coronado” (2003) was the first feature film entirely produced by Uncharted Territory. Between 2003 and 2004 the film sold to over 40 territories.

The initial meeting between producers Volker Engel and Marc Weigert with Director Claudio Faeh took place in March 2000 in a Café in Santa Monica, CA. The three of them decided to go ahead and write the script for a true adventure movie. “We would lock ourselves into the conference room at three days a week,” explains Volker Engel. “This was a truly collaborative undertaking, and it was a lot of fun”. Claudio Faeh adds: “We also spent a lot of time browsing through “Tintin” comic books from Europe, because that was the kind of ‘true adventure flair’ we wanted to capture”.

In August a first draft was finished and money was raised from private investors. Around Christmas time a 2nd unit team already shot the Switzerland scenes in Zurich. During the casting process casting director Paula Rosenberg saw over one thousand actors and actresses, the producers and the director sat in on over 400 readings for the lead rolls. In early 2001 a small team of artists finished a detailed computer pre-visualization of all action sequences for “Coronado”. Marc Weigert recalls: “These 45 minutes of pre-viz  was a great help for planning complex sequences and also helped the actors to understand their surroundings, when they would have to act in front of a bluescreen”.

Production designer Michael Meier drew over 60 full color production paintings as conceptual art in less than 4 weeks. Principal photography started in May 2001 in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The first unit crew shoot with the actors in over 60 locations in just 30 shooting days. Very little set building had to be done because almost everything was shot either on location or in front of bluescreen. Only the burned-down village “Temeagualpa” was erected by the construction crew on a large stage at Churubusco studios.

After that a small team led by Volker Engel and Marc Weigert spent a short week in the jungles near Vera Cruz to shoot many of the breathtaking jungle vistas and waterfall shots in the movie. After a short break the 4-week miniature shoot started in Los Angeles at New Deal Studios, Marina Del Rey in August. Miniature construction company Hunter-Gratzner Industries built the many highly detailed scale models used for the cave interiors and the hair-raising bridge sequence.

Peter Elliot had already started editing, working closely with Claudio Faeh, when the producers shifted their focus towards the 630 shots that had to be composited in the next 7 months by a team of dedicated artists in digital postproduction.

In March 2002 composer Ralf Wienrich recorded “Coronado’s” monumental orchestral score with 87 musicians of the Babelsberg Film Orchestra.

Produced by Volker Engel and Marc Weigert.