EXCLUSIVE: Shooting is underway in Colombia on the true-life story of the group of mostly Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days following a mine collapse in 2010.

Good Universe kicked off international sales at the AFM on The 33, the first international film to qualify for Colombia’s Law 1556 production incentive.

The new legislation provides 40% rebate on local labour spend, with a 20% savings on items such as catering, transport and hotels.

Principal photography on the $20m US-Chile-China project kicked off on December 7. Colombia’s Dynamo is the production services company and the shoot will continue into January in the Colombian mines in Nemocón outside Bogotá, before relocating to Chile for exteriors.

Mike Medavoy, Robert Katz and Edward McGurn are producing and Carlos Eugenio Lavin, Leopoldo Enriquez and Alan Zhang serve as executive producers. 

Patricia Riggen directs The 33 from a screnenplay by Dallas Buyers Club co-writer Craig Borten and Michael Thomas.

On December 7 President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos met with Antonio Banderas (pictured) as well as the production team, film industry officials and select cast at the leader’s official Bogotá residence, Palacio de Nariño.

Banderas plays Mario Sepúlveda, the miner who became known as ‘Super Mario’ for his role as the leader of the group – 32 Chileans and one Bolivian – who were rescued in October 2010 after a cave-in at the San José mine in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.

Juliette Binoche, James Brolin and Kate Del Castillo also star, alongside Federico Luppi, Lou Diamond Phillips, Tenoch Huerta, Alejandro Goic, Mario Casas, Oscar Nuñez, Juan Pablo Raba, Marco Treviño and Jacob Vargas.

Director of Proimágenes Colombia Claudia Triana and the Colombian Film Commissioner Silvia Echeverri were among a delegation that met President Santos.