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CAC: Cinema and Series in Valencia

CAC: Cinema and Series in Valencia

The City of Arts and Sciences (CAC) is a leisure centre of outstanding architectural complexity designed by Salvador Calatrava, Félix Candela, José María Tomás Llavador, Alberto Domingo and Carlos Lázaro.

The idea started as long ago as 1989, and it wasn’t until 1998 that the first building, the Hemisféric, a 3D cinema was opened.

Since then a science museum, an opera house, an oceanographic and a sports centre have been added, as well as the Umbracle, an open air exhibition and concert centre above the car park.

The ‘City’ is a huge attraction for tourists, but also for film and series producers, as well as the advertising industry.

Di Di Hollywood (2010) starred Elsa Pataky and told the story of a Spanish actress who makes it big in the US.

Towards the end of the picture, with Di Di (Pataky) now a superstar, she stays at Valencia’s Westin Hotel for the premiere of her new film ‘Pacific.’ The premiere actually takes place at the City of Arts and Sciences, including interior shots of the screening inside the Opera House and exteriors of the Hemisféric.

Director Bigas Luna wrote and directed a film that moves from Spain to the USA and back using both Spanish and English quite sensibly, depending on who is speaking to whom. It co-stars American actor Peter Coyote, who jangled keys in ‘ET.’

Tomorrowland (2015) starred George Clooney and at the City of Arts and Sciences (CACS) filming took place in January 2014 with Clooney and co-star Hugh Laurie lodged at the police stables turned hotel, The Westin.

The ‘City’ is often hard to recognise, but there are four points when we can identify the sci-fi architecture of Valencian Santiago Calatrava.

When Britt Robertson (Casey) finally reaches the city across the wheatfield, she finds herself there.

After a train ride, the CAC is also recognisable, especially the façade of the Science Museum.

When the spaceship escapes Earth and crashes into the CAC we see the planet in ruins.

When Clooney (Frank) crashes into a lake, after destroying the evil machine at the end of the film, we see the first-built building of the complex, the domed Hemisferic, where Tomorrowland’s international premiere took place.

In Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020) Keanu Reeves stars in an update of an old story about two rockers trying to save the world.

Although filmed entirely in Louisiana USA, San Dimas, set in the year 2720, is in fact the City of Arts and Sciences (CAC) of Valencia, although this time the stars stayed home and did everything on green screen, while Valencia’s sci-fi complex was padded out with some serious CGI. One such example of padding, was adding Calatrava’s Montjuïc Communications Tower, located in Barcelona’s Olympic Park and built in order to transmit the 1992 Olympic Games.

CAC represents the home of the Great Ones, led by Holland Taylor, Charlie Sheen’s mother in Two and a Half Men.

A whole lot of series have realised that the CAC provides an amazing backdrop, especially for Sci-Fi.

The film version of Westworld starred Yul Brynner, who made many films in Spain, including the Return of the Seven in Agost (Alicante) and the third season includes various Spanish locations.

The CAC plays the hi-tech HQ of the Delos corporation, where we see Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) landing by helicopter.

Architect Ricardo Bofill, who designed the Turia Park where the CAC is located, also provided his house-studio at Sant Just Desvern (Barcelona), built in an abandoned cement factory. In the series it is Engerraund Serac’s HQ. It’s here that Maeve Millay, actress Thandie Newton, regains consciousness.

One of the oldest and most successful TV Series,Doctor Who, used the CAC in 2017 for an episode of the legendary British series. Since 1963 the time-travelling Doctor has changed identities 12 times, and was being played at the time by Peter Capaldi. In fact, the first episode was screened the day after President Kennedy’s assassination.

But Valencia was not feeling itself, as the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences complex represented Colony World Gliese 581 D, where, according to the BBC’s magazine Radio Times: “architect Santiago Calatrava…..created an opera house like a spaceship; an Imax cinema resembling a giant eye; a science museum that could be an aircraft hangar crossed with a whale skeleton; and the largest aquarium in Europe, with 45,000 living creatures of 500 different species”.

When Jodie Whittaker took over from Capaldi some filming took place in Granada province, specifically around Aldeire, Alquife, and La Calahorra. This was episode 6 of Season 11 and Granada represented the Punjab in an episode entitled

Intergalactic is a Sky series, although they dropped it after one season.

A group of prisoners escapes while being exiled, and then they start fighting for their freedom in some desolate locations, such as the deserts of Tabernas, Almería and Gorafe, Granada.

Their point of departure however is the much nicer CAC, with all the usual CGI additives, representing a futuristic London.

In episode 3 Wendell is arrested and shot. This takes place in the Umbracle, a spectacular gardened esplanade and exhibition zone.

There is a night time aerial view of the CAC in episode 6 and in episode 8 Rebecca Harper’s coup takes place in the Palau des Arts, also known as the Opera House.

Citadel is a story of spies with their memories erased included some shooting in Valencia.

After the train crash in Italy, Nadia is kidnapped, and when she frees herself and realises her memory is about to be erased she writes herself a note to visit Valencia.

Although the action takes place during the city’s emblematic Fallas festival in March, the shooting actually took place during October 2022.

Mason goes to Valencia looking for her and we see an aerial view and then the Torres de Serrano, one of two remaining city gates from medieval times.

Scenes of Fallas festivities were shot in the Carmen district, Valencia’s historic centre.

When Mason and Nadia rescue Carter in Morocco, they stop the car at the foot of a dam, which we are told is Barrage Bab Louta, 50 kilometres from Fez. In fact it’s a bit further away as it’s the Tous dam about 60 kilometres south of the city of Valencia. Here they argue about Celeste, and then Manticore agents arrive with news of the kidnapping of Nadia and Mason’s daughter.

The second visit to Valencia takes place in episode 5. First we see an aerial view of the City of Arts and Sciences, an increasingly popular location for film and series makers. Then we see Nadia on a balcony with a church in the distance. The street is Calle de la Paz, and the church is Santa Catalina.

In episode 6 the City of Arts and Sciences, and especially the opera house, is the scenario for Mason and Nadia’s rescue of their daughter.

Almost nobody would accuse George Lucas of milking a dead horse, and practically everyone agrees that Star Wars really needed a prequel to Rogue One. Nevertheless, what there is no doubt whatsoever about is that Andor is not about money, it is about art.

In March and April 2023 Lucasfilms descended upon the city of Valencia to shoot scenes for the second season of Andor, and the City of Arts and Sciences was the centre of attention, although Valencia Basketball’s stadium was also used.

The castle at Xátiva was also employed for some scenes.

Our thanks to www.moviesmadeinspain.com for this information.


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