The Amazing Race, one of the most widely watched reality shows in the US and winner of 15 Grammys, come to Colombia for the first time. World Race Productions, the production company responsible for the longest-running reality show in the history of US television, chose Cartagena-based production company Cumbia Films to be its local fixer for two episodes. For three months, Cumbia Films worked with a team of 460 people, including crew, production personnel, extras, security personnel, transportation staff, and more. The results exceeded all expectations, reaffirming the quality of the Colombian audiovisual industry.
The Amazing Race is a reality show where several teams take part in a nerve-wracking race around the world, with a million dollars as the prize. It is currently broadcasting its 28th season on the major US television network CBS, for a total of around 330 episodes broadcast in prime time. The show has won 15 Emmys and has been nominated for the award 68 times.
Preparations for the visit began in August 2015 when World Race Productions, the show’s producer, expressed to the Film Commission its interest in shooting the second and third episode of season 28 in Cartagena. Cumbia Films submitted a proposal to the show, and soon it was beginning a several week scouting process to find the best locations in the city. In September, a series of tests were conducted at the selected locations to ensure that they would work when the contestants came for the Race. In October, the demanding process of recruiting human talent for the show’s large crew began. Since the participants follow clues that appear along their route, the production must move at their pace. Each team of contestants has a camera and sound crew traveling with them from the beginning of the season. Cumbia Films also supported the production with sound and camera at fixed points along the route.
Shooting took place from November 17 to 18, and pre-production was carried out during the 10 days prior to shooting. They worked at more than 12 locations in Cartagena, including Manzanillo del Mar, the Totumo volcano, the Historic Center, the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas fort, the Ciracari tejo court, the Zaragocilla bus route, and key points on the outskirts of the city. There was also extensive local participation in the process. Besides the workers who built the locations and the numerous extras, the production was supported by the Cartagena police, local paramedics, the Civil Defense Agency, and the tourism agency Corpoturismo.
World Race Productions has expressed its satisfaction with the services provided by Cumbia Films, which provides services not only in Cartagena and other locations in Colombia, but also in Los Angeles, United States. Cumbia Films is an interdisciplinary team united by their love of visual story-telling. It is made up of professionals in fields such as audiovisual production, art, communications, and photography. Its work has included music videos for artists like Kali Uchis, Palenke Soultribe, Petrona Martínez, LaoRa, and Ricky Martin, for whom it handled local production. It has also made short documentaries, advertising spots, and other kinds of productions.