BUENOS AIRES – Residents, environmentalists and workers at the Ernesto Tornquist provincial park, some 560 kilometers (about 350 miles) from Buenos Aires, gathered Monday to prevent the shooting of the film “There Be Dragons,” a movie by Roand Joffe about the life of the founder of Opus Dei, Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer.
The production, which is set within the context of the Spanish Civil War and which began shooting in July in the Argentine capital, is scheduled to film this week in a “protected” and “untouched” nature preserve in Buenos Aires province.
“We’re neighbors who, accompanied by ecological organizations, biologists and park experts, are trying to resolve the conflict by proposing seeking another location for the filming,” one of the local residents, Irene Antoñolli, told Efe on Monday.
“This is the only spot in the province where the Pampa is protected, and it’s just 0.3 percent of the total area, the rest is being (affected) by agriculture and livestock raising,” she added.
The spokesperson for the group, which started out on Saturday with about 70 people, said that the executive producer of the film, Ignacio Gomez Sancha, had assured them that the film crew “(has) no intention of harming the park.”
“We have nothing against the filming. We understand what the producer explained to us, but to depict the Spanish countryside they can find other locations with less native fauna and flora,” Antoñolli said.
Different social and political groups, like Democracy and Equity of Bahia Blanca, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the nature preserve, have supported the initiative and have asked the provincial government to respect the prevailing law protecting the park.
Participating in the filming, which will last approximately 13 weeks, are more than 300 people, and there is a large amount of equipment necessary for the movie’s special effects.
“All this deployment of extras, trucks and tanks will damage the preserve,” Antoñolli said.
English actor Charlie Cox, U.S. actor Wes Bentley, Olga Kurylenko from the Ukraine and Rodrigo Santoro of Brazil, among others, are starring in the story of a young reporter who comes across a series of mysteries in his investigation of Escriva de Balaguer. EFE