Society of the Snow (La Sociedad de la Nieve), the film that tells the story of the crash of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 in the Andes in 1972, has taken Netflix by storm. The movie has already become one of Netflix’s most-watched non-English language movies of all time. And a behind-the-scenes documentary that follows the filming of the movie was just released, giving us an in-depth look into where this movie was filmed.
The new documentary, titled Society of the Snow: Who Were We on the Mountain? or La Sociedad de la Nieve: ¿Quiénes Fuimos en la Montaña? explores the way that the cast transformed throughout filming, where it was filmed, and how the movie persevered in the harsh conditions of the locations. What we find out is that even though the movie was mainly filmed in Sierra Nevada, Spain, a mountain range in the Andalusian province of Grenada, a lot of the shots of the mountains seen in the film are actually from the real-life location where the plane crashed.
The behind-the-scenes documentary reveals that director J.A. Bayona and his team filmed in El Valle de las Lágrimas, the real-life location of the plane crash that inspired the movie. Since the location wasn’t easily accessible, it wasn’t possible to film the entire movie there, but they took enough footage to make sure they could later replace every one of the long shots in the film for shots of the Andes.
Bayona and his team also filmed the scenes where Canessa and Parrado come across arriero Sergio Catalán in the river Azufre in Chile, the exact place where Catalán found Canessa and Parrado in December of 1972. Similarly, the rescue scenes at the end of the movie, as the survivors come together, were actually filmed in Uruguay.
In addition, we got to see different sets they built to bring to life the initial crash and the avalanche that occurred in the movie. The plane crash set moved to allow for a more realistic feeling. And the avalanche one had the actors actually bursting through feet of snow to make the scene. These sets were also in Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Society of the Snow was recently nominated for two Oscars, one for International Feature Film and one for Makeup and Hairstyling.