Moonshiners is an American docudrama television series on the Discovery Channel, produced by Magilla Entertainment, about people who make their own alcoholic beverages – the so-called moonshiners. Considered an illegal activity, passed down from generation to generation, this practice is almost always done at home, in remote places, with dubious equipment, and often times at night and under the moonlit sky, thus the name.
BPS was responsible for the local production unit for the show that filmed in Brazil, more precisely in the countryside of the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. There were 10 days of filming with different challenges and adventures, and the scenes captured were used in several different episodes of the show.
Minas Gerais is a state with many coffee and cachaça (Brazilian liquor/spirit made of sugarcane) producing areas. The team visited several premium coffee producers and went to the isolated and unique small farms of the cachaça producers.
Edu Sallouti, a senior field producer at BPS, said that one of the initial challenges was the casting research, because the most peculiar and unique moonshiners were hidden in places that weren’t obvious, often times away from civilization and without any kind of communication.
The production’s fleet consisted of 4 cars and 3 vans – one for the crew, one for equipment and one for the crew’s luggage. And, at one point during filming, in order to access some small cachaça producers, the production had to rent two 4×4 pick-up trucks to access the most remote locations – and they still had to overcome them, as the challenges continue due to the lack of structured roads. Also, many scenes were filmed with the show’s host, Josh Owens, traveling on motorcycles with his translator companion Paulo.
In the midst of his adventures in the brazilian countryside, Josh had the opportunity to taste the most authentic Brazilian cachaças. And what was supposed to be just one episode ended up becoming something bigger. The material produced was of the highest quality and ended up turning this journey into four more episodes for the series.
The project was a success and the experience was so good that, for the team, it was possible to create a bond that went further than that of being just of professional partners, but one of true camaraderie.