Posted February 24, 2016 by admin in Resource

Catatan Produksi Film The 33 (2015)

About the Production


That’s the heart of the mountain. She finally broke.

August 5, 2010, had begun like any other day for the men who worked the San Jose Mine near Copiapo, Chile. As the 33 miners descended deeper and deeper into the cavernous mine, they could not have imagined the events that would place them at the center of a drama that captivated the entire world.

Sixty-nine days later, on October 13th, more than a billion people watched as, one by one, those same men emerged from the ruins of the then-collapsed mine, which had held them captive for more than two grueling months. It was a miracle for the miners and their families and a victory for the Chilean government and the international team of rescuers. But there was much more to their inspiring story yet to be told.

Now, as we pass the five-year anniversary of the historic rescue, the feature film “The 33” shows for the first time the ordeal of the miners and their brave battle to survive even when faced with the grim reality that help might never reach them. It also reveals the hope and resolve of their families, who did not know if their loved ones were even still alive, but would not let them be forgotten, as well as the determination of the rescuers who surmounted every hurdle in bringing them home.

Director Patricia Riggen states, “This movie is about being trapped and alone and facing death, but it is equally about having faith and, in a way, coming back to life. It’s about rebirth and the strength of the human spirit and so much more.

“One of the first things that drew me to the project,” she continues, “was realizing how many people were touched by this story. In developing the film, I wanted to explore what it was that moved people around the world. What made them so invested in the lives of 33 men they would never know?”

Producer Mike Medavoy felt a special connection to the story having lived in Chile for ten of his formative years. He first met with a group of the Chilean miners when they visited Los Angeles shortly after their rescue. As they began sharing their personal stories, Medavoy recalls, “The clock turned back to when I was 17. It reminded me of the generosity of spirit and humor of the Chilean people. But I knew the film would have to be more than just about their plight. The film isn’t just the ending everyone saw; it’s the personal stories of the people, both above and below ground, who held onto their love and their faith for an outcome that seemed impossible.”

Antonio Banderas, who stars as the de facto leader of the miners, Mario Sepulveda, remembers following the events as they unfolded on television. Though he portrays one of the men trapped in the mine, he says, “The key for me was that the efforts to rescue the miners were successful because of the families pushing the government to do something. To fully understand this story, you have to see both the down and the up-what happened in the mine and what happened above. When you get the whole picture, it says so much about love and the value of individuals. It’s a celebration of life.”

“This movie is life-affirming,” echoes Lou Diamond Phillips, who stars as miner Luis Urzua. “There is humanity, there is hope, there is inspiration and an absolute tribute to faith in every frame. And because it is based on a true story, it can reinforce our belief in the human spirit. We are not manufacturing heroes in this film; we are simply shining a light on real people who became heroes.”

When the 33 men descended into the mine that typical August day, they were anonymous. Sixty-nine days later, they emerged as celebrities, but there were drawbacks to their unexpected fame. Producer Robert Katz observes, “All of a sudden, 33 unknown, hardworking men were turned into a global phenomenon. These ordinary guys were being hailed by the entire world, which played into their emotional states and interpersonal relationships.”

However, the men, having already been told of the fame that awaited them above, had formed a united front, agreeing to collectively tell their story to a single writer. They chose Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hector Tobar, whose resulting book, Deep Down Dark, became a critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller. It also became part of the basis of the screenplay for “The 33,” written by Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas, from a screen story by Jose Rivera.

Alanne notes, “There were several challenges we had to solve in crafting the screenplay: how to divide 69 days in a two-hour film; which of the miners to focus on while still representing all 33; and, of course, how to maintain the dramatic tension when the ending is so well-known.”

Thomas offers, “I was watching TV when the miners came up the shaft. We all were…we all wept. These were strong men who beat the deep, and it was a miracle they survived. We know how it ends, but by showing audiences what happened leading up to that, we hope they will get that same feeling again-of witnessing a miracle.”

“We did extensive interviews with the miners and their families, who generously shared some truly harrowing times during their long ordeal, and we all felt it was a privilege to help tell their stories,” Alanne adds. “Patricia and I worked closely in charting out the structure and the different character arcs; she is just a tremendous artist and had such a clear vision for the film she wanted to make.”

“Patricia was the perfect choice to direct this film,” Medavoy concurs. “She is one of a few women directors working today and, being from Latin America, she had such a heart for the material. She totally captured the layers of fear, hope, desperation, faith, anger and joy that ebb and flow throughout the film.”

Riggen reveals that one of the primary things on which she focused in constructing the film was balance. “I knew I had to deal with three worlds, completely different from one another and yet intersecting the whole time. There were the miners, who were totally cut off and on their own for weeks; the families, who focused on keeping the faith and pushing the rescue efforts; and the rescuers, who wondered if they were fighting a lost cause. Achieving the balance between them was very delicate.”

To maintain that balance, Riggen constantly shifts the focus from the mine to the desert above; from the miners, doing whatever it takes to survive, to their loved ones, doing whatever it takes to reach them. Juliette Binoche, who plays Maria Segovia, the sister of one of the miners and the most vocal representative of the families, offers, “To me, this story demonstrates that people have power-more power than they think. When there’s a cause, you have to express yourself in order to change things, because nothing is going to change unless somebody is willing to step forward and act.”

Banderas, Phillips and Binoche are just three in an international ensemble cast that also includes Rodrigo Santoro, James Brolin, Bob Gunton, Gabriel Byrne, Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nunez, Tenoch Huerta, Marco Trevino, Adriana Barraza, Kate Del Castillo, Cote de Pablo, Elizabeth De Razzo and Naomi Scott.

“We really looked for the perfect person for each role-it didn’t matter what country they came from-and that resulted in a truly international cast,” says Riggen. “But it’s a Latin American story, so a number of Latin American countries are represented in our actors. It makes it very special because the film has a Latin American sensibility and heart.”

The cast and filmmakers were also honored to have on set the miners who actually experienced the drama they were re-creating. Producer Edward McGurn says, “We literally had every one of the miners visit with us during filming. In fact, many of them worked with us in different capacities on location. It was terrific having them involved. To have them on set reminded us all of why we were there and led to some really beautiful and poignant moments.”

Among those who came to the set was Mario Sepulveda, who was dubbed “Super Mario” by the press due to his infectious energy, wit and humor. “I was really surprised by the professionalism and seriousness with which they are telling our story,” Sepulveda says. “Walking on the set felt like a dream. Everyone was very warm and welcoming, and it was emotional to see all the things done behind the scenes to make this movie. My personal hope is that people who see it will realize there are no obstacles that can’t be overcome and that there’s nothing more beautiful than being alive and being close to those one loves.”

Getting direct input from the people whose lives they were portraying added to the realism for the entire company. The miners also offered some advice to the actors playing them about laboring inside a mine, as the underground sequences were shot in two actual operational mines outside of Bogota, Colombia.

“Working within those mines showed the cast, crew, all of us, what it’s really like,” Riggen remarks. “We all got a dose of reality, a little taste that definitely informed the performances in a positive way. We survived claustrophobia, heat and started experiencing maybe a tiny bit of what the miners must have gone through. We would either end up killing each other,” she teases, “or learn to work together and make a movie.”

Filming also took place against the backdrop of Chile’s Atacama Desert, just a few miles from what became known as Camp Esperanza (Hope), where the families held vigil, waiting to learn the fate of their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

Riggen states, “It was incredible to shoot the Camp Hope sequences in the same region where the actual events occurred. We not only had the miners and their families visiting us, but many of the background extras who populated our Camp Hope were there at the real thing five years ago. I’ve never seen so many tears mixed with such joy as we re-created that long wait…and, finally, the rescue.”


…They’ll dig us out. If they don’t our families will, with their bare hands if it’s necessary. I believe we’ll make it out of here because I choose to believe it. All 33 of us!


There were 33 miners who became stranded in the San Jose Mine, and though each had an interesting story to tell, the filmmakers knew it would be impossible to give them all equal time in a two-hour movie. Medavoy attests, “There are many accounts of what took place below ground over the course of 69 days, so there’s a lot we couldn’t show. But we interlaced parts that most people never knew. How did they all work together? What part did fate play in their survival? That’s what’s interesting about it. And one of the most important things is to make it all feel authentic, and good actors can do that for you.”

As is often the case with films based on true stories, the filmmakers composited characters and events, “giving names and individual storylines to only ten of them,” says Riggen. “But we tried to incorporate as many of the different experiences they all shared among those ten.”

After the mine collapse, Mario Sepulveda emerges as a natural born organizer and leader, who is literally given the key to their survival: the food locker. Antonio Banderas offers, “Mario is the guy who brings order down there and tries to stretch their minimum resources as much as possible. I never tried to play him as a hero or a villain; what I tried to do was make him a human being trying to survive this miserable situation and making sure the others survive, too. He brings order and also raises the group’s spirits and tries to keep up hope, so I think it’s largely thanks to him that they all come out alive.”

Banderas says he was fortunate to spend time with the real Mario, observing, “He’s an unbelievable survivor and motivator. If I ever get lost without any resources, I would love to have a Mario Sepulveda with me. He knows how to get out of a tough situation and not lose control, and he’s got a great sense of humor, which is important, too,” he smiles.

Heading into the mine, the shift supervisor is Luis Urzua, better known to his men as “Don Lucho,” a nickname of both respect and endearment. Though he has already warned his superiors that the mine is showing signs of stress, Don Lucho is unprepared for the disaster that awaits them. Lou Diamond Phillips comments, “He’s been the middleman for so long and is stymied by the politics of management. He could desire certain things for his men, but if he’s denied, there’s nothing he can do. His fatal flaw-which in most circumstances wouldn’t be a flaw at all-is that Lucho is quite likely the smartest guy down there. He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt what they are up against. He comprehends the magnitude of the situation and is therefore not given to blind optimism.”

Like so many others, Phillips remembered the story of the Chilean miners, “so I was bound and determined to be a part of the film,” he says. “I found it very intriguing that a woman was going to be directing it and I knew Antonio Banderas was already attached, and I was excited about the prospect of working with both of them. When I got the script, it was an absolute gift. I fell in love with the role of Don Lucho; he has an amazing trajectory.

“I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Don Lucho early on,” Phillips continues, “and the first thing I noticed was he’s a very gentle man with a certain reserve. There’s a quality there that I had to capture-something very deep always going on behind his eyes-and it was finding how his wheels were spinning internally that helped me trace the arc of this character.”

In the film, the youngest miners among the 33 are represented in Alex Vega, played by Mario Casas. Though Alex is a skilled mechanic, he chooses to work in the mine because he and his wife, Jessica, are expecting a baby and he wants to give them a better life. Casas says, “He begins the story leaving his wife, who is six months pregnant, over the objections of his father, who doesn’t want him to work in the mine. But Alex believes it is the best way to provide for his family. The process he goes through while trapped inside the mine is an evolution from being a child to becoming a man because of what he endures physically and emotionally. It is a vital change for him.”

Jacob Vargas plays Edison Pena, who stands out from the rest because of his infatuation over a certain legendary entertainer. Vargas recalls, “When Patricia was telling me about the part, she said, ‘Look, he’s a bit eccentric and one of the more dynamic characters…and he’s also an Elvis impersonator.’ I said, ‘That sounds awesome.’ I immediately latched onto the whole Elvis persona of this guy; it made it a fun, interesting role to play.”

A bit of comic relief, even in those dire circumstances, is provided by the character of Yonni Barrios, portrayed by Oscar Nunez. As the miners’ loved ones gather at Camp Hope, a surprising secret about Yonni’s personal life becomes instant tabloid fodder, akin to a plotline from a telenovela. “It turns out he is juggling two women,” Nunez admits. “I don’t know how he did it-it’s a small village, where they all know each other. You wouldn’t think to look at him he’d have two women fighting over him, but there must be something about him…,” he grins.

One of the composited characters is Dario Segovia, played by Juan Pablo Raba. “I think all the stories of miners who had to face some kind of addiction are, in a way, told through Dario, who is an alcoholic,” Raba relates. “Being trapped in the mine obviously affects all of the men, but for Dario, the whole ordeal works towards some kind of redemption. He will have to touch-literally and metaphorically-rock bottom in order to forgive himself…and through that forgiveness be able to forgive others and be forgiven. His arc is beautiful.”

For much of their long ordeal, there is one seeming outcast among the 33 miners. Carlos Mamani, played by Tenoch Huerta, is given a particularly hard time by the rest. Some of it comes with the territory of being a “rookie,” whose lack of experience is evident on his first day as the men descend further and further down into the mine. But it is also because he is the only one who is not Chilean. Huerta expounds, “Mamani is from Bolivia, so he suffers some discrimination, which is hard for him because he’s a really sensitive guy. I think what this movie shows is that life is not always fair, but when the human spirit is pushed to the edge, it provides opportunities to be your best. You can blame everybody else or you can rise up and keep walking. You can grow up and become a giant or you can lose yourself. I think these men all became giants.”

The three other miners we come to know are: Jose Henríquez, who comes to be the pastor of the group, played by Marco Trevino; Franklin Lobos, the former soccer star, played by Alejandro Goic; and Mario Gomez, the eldest of the miners, who was already planning to retire after this last shift in the mines.

All 33 of the actors portraying the trapped miners shared one task as they physically prepared for their roles: diet. In order to play men deprived of food for a length of time, they had to restrict severely their own food intake. Phillips offers, “They put us through a pretty grueling boot camp-two to four hours of cardio a day and about 1300 calories or less.”

“You don’t realize just how much of our lives revolve around food until you can’t have it,” Vargas underscores. “When you can’t indulge, it affects everything-the way you walk, the way you interact with people… Being hungry is a terrible feeling, and what we realized was how tough the real miners had it.”

Huerta adds, “As an actor, gaining weight or losing weight is part of the job, so whether or not we have to diet for a role is not really a big deal. But those guys didn’t have any choice. It was hard for me to imagine how they suffered.”


…We all know how this works. The government shows up; some good-looking guy in a suit tells us how much they care, how much they’re going to stop at nothing to save them. And they do nothing. We’re not going to stand for it.


The anguished families of the men trapped in the mine did not, alone, have the ability to save their husbands, brothers and sons. Nevertheless, they wielded a different kind of power, tenaciously standing up against any complacency by the government that would effectively destroy all hope.

Antonio Banderas affirms, “These miners don’t have money, they don’t have possessions, they don’t have power… The only thing they have is family.”

But that is enough. It is the families who force the government’s hand, letting them know the whole world will be watching. And, soon enough, it is.

One woman emerges as the primary spokesperson for the families: Maria Segovia, the sister of miner Dario Segovia. Dubbed the “Mayoress” of Camp Hope, Maria will not be deterred in her relentless insistence that the government do whatever it takes to save her brother and his coworkers. Juliette Binoche describes Maria as “a force of nature. She and the other women fight from the bottom of their hearts and speak out, and they are heard, which makes a big difference.”

The legendary French actress admits she was more than a little surprised when Patricia Riggen contacted her about playing a woman from Chile. “I thought it was crazy,” she laughs. “But it was a chance to go somewhere I’ve never been as an actress, which was amazing. It was Maria Segovia who gave me the green light. The first time we met, I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m not Chilean,’ and she said, ‘That has nothing to do with it; it’s what’s inside.’ And making this film did touch something profound in me.”

Kate Del Castillo plays Katty Sepulveda, the wife of Mario Sepulveda, marking the second time she has been married to Antonio Banderas onscreen. They had previously played husband and wife in the film “Bordertown.”

The actress recalls that she got a deeper understanding of her own character after meeting the real Mario. “He and Katty are very, very close. While I was talking to him, I thought, ‘Wow. Now I understand why Katty loves him so much. He’s an extraordinary guy.” It was because of this love and the love between all the families that they pushed so hard. They were very brave and wouldn’t give up.”

Del Castillo, who previously worked with Riggen in “Under the Same Moon” says she appreciated having a woman at the helm. “Patricia loves actors and really listens to you and gives you freedom, while still directing and giving guidance. She was so passionate about this story, which was what we all needed to carry out this beautiful movie at its best.”

Cote de Pablo, who plays alex Vega’s pregnant wife, Jessica, says, “I admire Patricia so much because she has a way of telling you what she wants from the character, by re-creating the emotional journey in her directions. She makes everything a bit easier because she’s going through the experience with you.”

A native of Chile, de Pablo, who now makes her home in the U.S., says, “It was a gift to be back in Chile, especially with this movie, because of the subject matter. It was an event that I watched very closely while working in Los Angeles: a remarkable story of survival, strength and perseverance. I felt blessed to be asked to play one of the group of strong women, full of both desperation and hope. It was emotionally draining, but incredibly fulfilling.”

Adrianna Barazza and Elizabeth de Razzo appear as Yonni Barrios’s wife, Marta, and mistress, Susana, called Susi. The revelation that Yonni was cheating on his wife and the subsequent feud between the two women became one of the most humorous and talked about sidebars coming out of Camp Hope. But only one of the women would be waiting for Yonni when he was brought up from the mine.


While you’re sitting around having lunch, we have 33 men running out of food and water… If we don’t get them out fast, we’ll be bringing up corpses. That’s not gonna happen.


After the collapse, experts and laborers from all over the world descended on Chile’s Atacama Desert to find the miners and bring them to safety. “The 33” focuses on the four people who spearheaded the operation and who become symbols of hope for the families.

Rodrigo Santoro stars as Laurence Golborne, Chile’s Minister of Mining, who had only been on the job four months when disaster struck. Santoro offers, “He arrives on the scene and becomes the liaison between the families of the miners, the engineers and the president, and the public face of the rescue attempts. He’s getting pressure from every angle and he’s stuck in the middle, making life-or-death decisions, reporting back to the president and calming the families. He does have a wonderful journey because when he first meets the families he is a stranger. And slowly he starts to engage and get involved and really understand what they are going through, and that changes him and influences his actions. I think he’s a very interesting character.”

Three other well-known, veteran actors appear in “The 33” as pivotal parts of the rescue mission. Gabriel Byrne plays Andre Sougarret, the methodical chief engineer who feels the enormous pressure of everyone relying on him to find a way to reach the men. Byrne says, “Andre is one of the people who masterminds how to reach the men, collaborating closely with Laurence Golborne. But he is only one perspective. It takes a combination of brilliant engineering, the government getting involved and staying on course, and the miners’ families, who are believing for a miracle, to get them out.”

James Brolin makes a cameo appearance as Jeff Hart, the American drilling expert who drops everything and flies to Chile. Over the next weeks, Hart and his team toil nonstop to drill into the safe zone, called the Refuge, where they hope to find 33 miners alive and waiting. But Hart knows reaching them will be only half the battle.

Bob Gunton portrays Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, who, once forced to take the calculated risk of opening the rescue efforts to the worldwide press, knows there can only be one of two outcomes: either global celebration…or crushing tragedy.

Among the thousands of international journalists covering the rescue operation, one of the most notable is Mario Kreutzberger. Better known as Don Francisco, the popular Latin American television personality plays himself in the film.


We walked in miners and we’ll walk out miners…. You’re my brothers. And if we’re going to stay brothers, we have to pull together to get out of here, otherwise what was the point of any of it.


“The 33” was filmed entirely on location, eschewing soundstages and studio-built sets for the visceral reality of two underground mines in Colombia and the stunning vistas of the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The stark contrast between the settings is reflected organically through darkness and light, which Riggen and cinematographer Checco Varese applied both literally and symbolically. “Without light, there is no life,” Riggen clarifies. “Light and shadows help tell the story from a physical standpoint, but also from an emotional one.”

Varese notes, “We shot in the darkest place you can imagine, in real mines deep below the surface of the Earth. Then we moved to one of the brightest places on the planet, the Atacama Desert. It was an interesting challenge and a beautiful dichotomy.

The filmmakers had originally considered filming the entire movie in Chile, one of the most productive mining countries in the world. Medavoy confirms, “We scouted in Chile, but one problem was we could not just shut down a working mine for weeks, if not months. It wasn’t feasible.”

Instead, Riggen says, “We were lucky to find the most fantastic mines in Colombia. They are big with tunnels, caves, pools of water, textures and colors…our palette was so rich. And the people were so warm, so it was an easy decision to shoot the movie there.”

The Colombian mines of Nemocon and Zipaquira stood in for the San Jose Mine, each providing a unique backdrop. Checco details, “Nemocon is the smaller of the two. It’s a beautiful salt mine that almost seems to be welcoming you. There are hues of gray, gold and blue, giving it the look of a copper or gold mine, which is perfect because that’s what San Jose was. Then there is Zipaquira, which is like going into the belly of Lucifer. It’s a massive, dusty black hole that you can drive for hours.”

Taking advantage of the individual qualities of both mines, Riggen shot the sequences of driving into the mine and its cataclysmic collapse within Zipaquira, while scenes in the smaller area of the Refuge were accomplished in Nemocon.

Production designer Marco Niro relied on archive footage and photographs of the real Refuge in re-creating the space in which the 33 lived for so many weeks. “Fortunately, this event was very well documented, so we were able to base our designs on what really happened during those days,” he says. “The most difficult thing was working inside the mines; it takes a lot of time as well as physical effort. You actually feel the pressure of being under a mountain, like being a scuba diver. And it’s a salt mine, so the air itself dehydrates you.”

Riggen and the actors not only endured but appreciated the inherent hardships that came with working in the mines. “To some degree, it showed my cast what being a miner is,” the director relates, “because they were genuinely experiencing being underground from morning till night. It gave everybody an extra layer of understanding of what those 33 men went through.”

Mario Casas attests, “Simply the act of spending many hours in the mine-the cold, the darkness, not seeing daylight-put us in that situation. There was a sensation among the actors that it was something we lived and breathed. It was scary; you get to the point where you really feel anxious and claustrophobic. It was a very powerful experience.”

“Filming in the actual mines had a profound effect on us,” agrees Lou Diamond Phillips. “We were smeared in dirt and sweating, and didn’t have to imagine being in that oppressive atmosphere; it was literally at our fingertips as we were making the film. I won’t go so far as to say we endured anything close to what those miners did-we could go home and shower at the end of the day; they were there for 69 days. But being down there gets into your pores and into your being, and it put us in the proper mindset. It wasn’t a leap to respect what miners do, day in and day out. As a performer, you have to find that connection and absorb it, embrace it and bring it to life.”

There was another benefit to working together in such close quarters. Banderas explains, “We used it to create cohesion among the group. We were united from the beginning and never had a conflict, and I think that was, in part, because of the environment in which we were working.”

The remote environment also meant they were cut off from the outside world and “no one could use their cell phone,” Juan Pablo Raba relates. “Between takes, we were actually talking to each other and bonding on a human level. It added to the great camaraderie.”

One of the most challenging sequences to film was the explosive mine collapse. Riggen says, “We had to figure out how to convey a catastrophe of such huge proportions and maintain safety for everyone, which was our primary concern. We had a lot of special effects and worked with extremely talented visual effects people to create that moment.” The visual effects team was led by visual effects supervisor Alex Henning.

After completing work in Colombia, the company moved to the Atacama Desert, where the endless blue skies and bright sunshine came as a welcome change. “Standing in that place was breathtaking,” states Riggen. “The location we found, which was very close to the actual place where the accident happened, has spectacular 360-degree views. It added so much to the film.”

Leaving the mines for the desert provided the actors who had spent weeks underground another reference point back to their characters. Banderas says, “Everything the miners missed, everything they longed for while they were stuck in that mine, was up there and what is there is very special. There is something in Atacama that is difficult for me to describe-a magical, spiritual side that I totally embraced.”

Rodrigo Santoro was equally affected by the surroundings. “The desert puts you in a different zone, a different rhythm. It’s hard to explain in words, but even the silence is eloquent. I highly recommend it because it makes you dive within yourself and makes you more sensitive, so I think that was helpful to the whole process.”

Riggen and Varese used subtle changes in the camerawork to distinguish further the existence in the mine versus the desert. Varese illustrates, “Underground, they are stuck and can’t go anywhere, so the camera moves were designed to be very static in a kind of voyeuristic way, and in that tableau, the actors move around, but the camera doesn’t. In the desert, it’s more active and, therefore, the camera is in motion, pro-actively following the action.”

Niro and his team again engaged in extensive research to reconstruct Camp Hope, the colorful, makeshift tent city, which served as home to the waiting families. The camp was built up in four stages, denoting its growth over the span of time.

Costume designer Paco Delgado also poured through photographs to create the costumes for the cast, which were a mix of traditional and contemporary clothes.

Katz remarks, “Every department, from costume design to production design to effects and props, relied heavily on a well-documented trove of information about the event to make everything feel as authentic as possible.”

Verisimilitude was especially important in replicating the Fenix capsule that was specially designed to lift the miners, one-by-one, to freedom. Niro went to see the original capsule to get the correct measurements and proper color scheme. He acknowledges, “We had to change the dimensions a bit for the film: we enlarged it by a couple of inches just to be comfortable enough for the actors inside and to accommodate the camera as well. And our door is slightly taller in order for you to clearly see their faces.”

Though the movie’s capsule didn’t have to descend and ascend, over and over, through 200 stories of solid rock, the wheels on the sides of the Fenix still had to function well enough to show it coming out of the ground, with an actor inside. Niro affirms, “The wheels were on a suspension system in order for the capsule to be steady and move up and down without bouncing.”

Principal photography culminated with the filmmakers receiving special permission from the Chilean government to film scenes inside La Moneda, the country’s presidential palace in Santiago.

With filming on “The 33” concluded, Riggen returned to the U.S. to collaborate with composer James Horner, who created the score for the film. She offers, “I wanted a composer who could deliver a score that was complex and rich in scope, but reflecting the Andean sounds of that region. James was not only phenomenally talented but also very knowledgeable of Andean instruments and music. Guitars were an essential, but he also brought in Andean flutes, which were a great addition to the tone and texture of the score.

“James was one of the most gifted artists of our time and his contribution to our film is immeasurable,” Riggen reflects. “The music he created is everything I could have hoped for and more. It effortlessly transitions from soaring and dynamic to soft and intimate, perfectly capturing the heart and soul of this story.”

The director concludes, “Having the opportunity to tell this story was so special to me and everyone else involved. Our primary goal in making this film was to remind audiences of the courage and grit of the miners, the unwavering faith of their loved ones, and the tenacity of experts and workers who came from all over to rescue the 33. Five years ago, their story inspired and united millions in every corner of the globe, and that feeling of hope deserves to be remembered…now and always.”