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"We have no right to be wrong": how the production of "Koh-Lanta" chooses a site to shoot


INTERVIEW – Julien Magne, director of programs for Adventure Line Productions, has agreed to chronologically detail the different steps to determine a filming location.

For almost 22 years, Adventure Line Productions has set up its cameras thousands of kilometers from France every year to shoot



But long before welcoming the twenty candidates who take part in the game of TF1, the production proceeds to a long and meticulous work of identification to find the ideal site.

Julien Magne

has agreed to come back chronologically to the different stages.

“There are many parameters that can also be called constraints.

We are very demanding on this because we know that once we settle down, we cannot move at the last moment.

These choices are very important and condition a lot of things for the shooting to come.

We have no right to be wrong”

, underlines the director of programs of ALP.

To read also "On no other program, there is such a follow-up": how TF1 and the production protect the candidates of "Koh-Lanta" victims of hateful messages?

Start of research

“We take a planisphere and ask ourselves, first of all, where would we like to go.

Very quickly comes the second more complicated question which is: where could we go?

We target certain countries a little broadly, some that we are beginning to know, others that we want to discover.

We are looking for isolated areas that are not too isolated either.

Because we need to have a hospital with international standards nearby in case of medical evacuation.

We also need to house nearly 120 people and accommodate the 200 locals who work with us.

And we need to have a supply of raw materials.

So we can't be in the depths of the depths of a country completely cut off from the world.

We still need to be connected to the world.


Google Earth, a very useful tool

“Once we have targeted these areas, we explore them more precisely and there is a fantastic tool for that which is Google Earth.

Thanks to Google Earth, we very quickly have a precise vision of a somewhat wide area in which we can zoom.

An example which is quite revealing of its effectiveness: when we were in a period of confinement, we wondered how we were going to shoot a next season.

We had discussed with Alexia

[Laroche-Joubert, producer, NDR]

and had come to the track of French Polynesia.

We looked at the archipelagos and with Google Earth, we looked more precisely at the islands, the number of islets, beaches, isolation, etc.

That's how the islands of Taha'a and Raiatea came out

, where we ended up filming.


Read also“Koh-Lanta”: the secrets of making games

First location spotting

“We then send a team on site for scouting.

If we have a little time, we call on local fixers and list all our criteria.

Once they've explored everything, they give us feedback and based on that, we tell ourselves if it's worth sending a team of our own to do more scouting.

Or on the contrary, no, there is not the variety we are looking for, it does not work, we go to another country.

If it's interesting, we send a dedicated team to go see the different sites, do a fairly broad overview of everything we could find in the area in terms of filming locations.


The Caramoan region in the Philippines where “Koh-Lanta, the sacred fire” was filmed.


Health and medical tracking

“We work with International SOS which provides us with all the medical staff.

This company also carries out medical identification and validates a destination from a health and medical point of view, which consists in ensuring that we have the means to evacuate, if necessary, efficiently and in total safety.

In general, there are two places of evacuation.

A nearby place which is a dispensary ++, the equivalent of a hospital allowing the doctor to evacuate according to the level of emergency.

And there is a hospital with international standards, equivalent to what we have in France, which has a distance validated by the medical provider.

We have a helicopter on site during filming which can be activated 24 hours a day by the medical team.

This hospital with international standards must be between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes,

great maximum 2 hours, by helicopter flight from the filming location.


Search apartment or house

“At the same time, there is also a search for accommodation because we need to house between 110 and 120 people coming from Paris, plus the 200 locals who work with us (boat pilots, helpers in construction, in management, etc. .).

These are people who live there but sometimes we are in remote areas so we have to bring people from larger cities.


Read alsoTotem, scarves, banners, ballots ... all the manufacturing secrets of the emblematic objects of "Koh-Lanta"

The weather and the tides, very important criteria

“The weather also comes into play.

In some areas, you can shoot from such date to such date, then it is a period that is too wet or with cyclonic dangers.

Moreover, nobody can imagine it but the tide parameter is central and crucial for “Koh-Lanta”.

It is so important that it must be taken into account from the identification and implementation phase so as not to be mistaken.

Because the same beach changes completely depending on the time of day.

For a game that is played on the beach, you have to find the right calculation of the tides and that is not an easy task.

Once we have this good calculation, we are only faced with constraints.

Because you can go, at high tide, to no beach at all, and at low tide, to a beach of 100 meters.

So if we fall behind, if we don't

is not in the right timing, it's over!


In-depth scouting once the site has been found

“When all the main criteria are ticked, we start with the more artistic part, what we will call in our jargon the identification phase.

There, I leave between eight to ten days with the director, the production manager, the general manager, the game producer and the chief builder.

We leave to explore very precisely all the zone which will have been validated in order to imagine how we will shoot the next season of “Koh-Lanta” in this place.

These are whole days by boat to go from island to island, from beach to beach to have a complete and exhaustive overview of the area.

We look at what's under the water, in the jungle.

We work with local experts who will tell us what is edible and conversely what is dangerous.

We will also source the materials (wood, iron...

“Koh-Lanta, the Sacred Fire” was filmed in the Philippines.


Back in Paris, the reflections continue

“We are thinking about what we will need, artistically and editorially, for the mechanics of the season.

In parallel, there is a reflection that I lead with the producer of the games and his teams to know which games we are going to make.

We make a work plan by distributing the games in the show: which game will be a comfort game and which game will be an immunity test?


New on-site visit: the establishment

“We make a second visit, which we call the installation, which allows us to confirm that the camps will be those, where we are going to put the water point, where the technical area will be set up where the candidates will not be able to go but which will serve as a forward base for the film crews.

There are no rules but it is part of the criteria when looking for a place to be at most 50 minutes away by boat.

On the games side, we will decide very precisely where they will be in order to focus the camera plans and set up the control room, an area that the competitors will not be able to see either.

We do this for all games.

We do the same for the board.

Because behind that, it means having permits, depending on the country, to rent beaches... All that is a lot of work

organization that requires to be done upstream so that there are no hazards behind, no bad surprises.


Read alsoMalnutrition and weight loss in “Koh-Lanta”: risks and consequences for candidates

One month before shooting

“At the end of the installation, one month before the first day of filming, the work in the workshop of the construction team begins.

They know what games we decided to make and where they will have to implement them.

This way they can be tested.


Locals loyal to “Koh-Lanta”

“We work a lot with local teams and we hire for a season between 200 and 250 people from the country in question.

It's important to find people who are competent and trained in the audiovisual profession and, when that's the case, we like to continue with them.

For example, this season shot in the Philippines, we worked with a lot of Filipinos who worked either with us previously, or with other countries for “Survivor” or on other productions.

Some of his Filipinos also accompanied us to other destinations because we were very happy to work with them.

Same for Cambodia.

Cambodians followed us to Fiji and it will happen again in the future.

These are real personal and professional encounters.


Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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