When I had a routine scheduling meeting with my producer at www.MatadorNetwork.com I asked him one simple question, “How far into the field can you send us?” Chase and I had been off to an epic start of 2016 with trips all over North America, and the travel bug was in full effect. The video team manager/producer answered with a one liner that needed to be taken seriously…“Pretty far…!” Since Matador Network has contracts with tourism boards all over the world I knew something would pan out.
A few weeks later he called back and had a job for us. It was a little out of our realm since we would be filming indoors, however my functionality in speaking the Spanish language and ability to hold our own in foreign situations got www.SCVPMedia.com the gig to shoot in Lima, Peru at the JW Marriot with the 2015 Chef of the year Julio Ferradas!
A couple missed flights and lost bags later Chase Cleveland and I were in the heart of Lima, getting to work on what in the end would be a great shoot and excellent final product. The JW Marriot is located in the nicest part of sprawling Lima, the district known as Mira-flores. Right on the ocean and across the street from La Comar square we had a beautiful scene to depict. But not before we navigated a couple of obstacles.
First and foremost, we had to get a permit to operate our drone in the country of Peru. After our drone was confiscated by Peruvian Customs, we began the process to fly legally. This took over 12-hours of waiting in line at the Peruvian DMV, 45-minutes from the airport and 45-minutes from the JW Marriot. We're talking about nearly an hour of fast, lawless driving with a constant disregard for traffic signals and an absurd amount of horn honking. After obtaining the permit we regressed to the airport and paid a refundable $250 dollar deposit..
So, was it worth the wait? It sure was, the aerial footage from Peru is simply stunning. We shot the hotel, motorcycling down the road on the ocean side, and a couple of farms Julio sources food from. The footage was crucial to our final product being both exciting and professional.
We spent a week shadowing Julio Ferradas as he sourced food from farm to table and treated us daily to simply the best ceviche on Earth. He personally led us through Lima’s most extravagant vegetable markets such as Surquillo, showed us his favorite fish markets and took us through Barranco, where he often eats and searches for inspiration. The parts of Lima we visited were simply a tourist’s dream!
An hour drive outside the city brought us to a French goat cheese and vegetable farm. We were greeted with full tours and samples we will never forget. The Peruvian culture takes food very seriously and organic is more of lifestyle and health choice than a recent trend. As we moved around Lima showing off our expensive gear we had the top notch help of our longtime friend and Lima local, Henry Ayala. Henry watched our backs and carried gear to make us look more authentic. Having local translators and assistants is very crucial to avoiding trouble in some parts of the city.
The JW Marriot allows Julio to travel abroad and bring native foods of other cultures to the table in Lima. As the JW attracts a plethora of different cultures, the food buffet was simply amazing. Julio takes the extra time to keep his kitchen staff happy and functional; his work ethic combined with unprecedented food knowledge from around the world made him an easy pic for 2015 chef of the year.
We had the shoot wrapped up, giving us time to travel around Peru for a week or so visiting “top ten” historical sites such as Machu Picchu and Chicama, the world’s longest left-breaking wave. Peru is simply amazing and way too big to see in a few short weeks!
We were on our 4,500 mile way home when we had to finalize our drone legislation. Back at customs we presented our paperwork, were issued our money back, and then were awkwardly escorted out of the country with our equipment by a Peruvian Customs official. While chit chatting with the official it was clear that they were equally disgruntled and anxious for Peru to update its policy. I feel as if this sort of protocol will be more and more common abroad and hobbyist and professionals alike should prepare for some obstacles prior to launching abroad.