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Iran

Iran Film & Photography Production Services.

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Iran? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Iran? See below for an introduction to Iran locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Film Locations. Iran has a long, rich history and an impressive variety of landscapes. 

Tehran is a megacity, Iran’s capital and main production centre. Locations of note include Golestan Palace, Azadi Square, the Grand Bazaar, and Pol-e-Tabiat (Nature Bridge).

Outside of Tehran you can find:

• The ancient ruins of Persepolis.
• Isfahan. Known for Imam Square, Jameh Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Shah Mosque, and fairytale bridges.
• Yazd, the centre of Zoroastrian culture.
• Imam Reza’s shire in Mashhad.
• The Eram Garden of Shiraz.
• Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse in Kashan
• Chogha Zanbil ziggurat.
• The citadel of Arg-e Bam.
• Garmeh oasis village.
• Meymand troglodyte settlement.
• Dasht-e Kavir, also known as the Great Salt Desert.
• Alborz Mountains known for the Shemshak and Dizin ski resorts.
• Caspian Sea beaches.
• Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf, known for its underwater photography options.

Iran Film Location Permits. Iran is a closed country so a patient approach and choosing a well connected fixer is essential. There is no clear, streamlined permitting process in place. Much of it depends on personal relationships and often permission is best applied for in person. Depending on the shoot specifics permission may be required from several government authorities. Once the Culture Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have approved your Filming Permit, the local fixer / producer will present this to police and municipality officials as well as any other relevant authorities. The Film Permit covers you for filming across the country. It is important the Film Permit be carried at all times as you can expect to be regularly stopped and questioned by authorities. In some cases a government minder may be required on set. Note, unauthorised filming and photography could result in serious criminal charges, including espionage, which carries the death penalty. Please contact us for location specific information.

When to shoot? Iran’s climate is mostly arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast. Winters (December to March) are very cold and snowy in the northwest, but milder in the south. Summers (June to September) are dry and hot. Spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) are mild and the best seasons to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Iranian festivals and events centre around the Muslim calendar. Ashura is observed with events including everything from self-flagellation to worshipers covering their bodies in mud. Lailat Al Miraj takes place in February / March. Nowruz, the celebration of Iranian New Year, takes place in March. Shab e Cheleh (Yalda Festival) celebrates the longest night of the year in December. Chahar Shanbeh Soori (Festival of Fire) also takes place in December.

Ramadan is observed widely with many services closed during this period.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Iran.

Costs. Locations, local talent and supporting crew are inexpensive relative to costs in the US and Western Europe. In recent times Iran has experienced wild fluctuations in exchange rates so this is another important factor to consider when preparing to shoot in Iran. Our Iranian fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a personal level. Casting is done in-house. Iran offers mainly Persian looks with some other regional looks also available including Kurds, Gilakis, Mazandaranis, Lurs, Baluchis, Azeri, Turkmen and Qashqai. All other non-regional talent needs to be brought in from abroad.

Crews. Iran has a small pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Iran has some experienced English speaking key crew.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Iran.

Equipment. Iran has all of the standard camera, lighting and grip equipment including new HD cameras and a Technocrane. What they don’t have, they improvise. For larger projects it’s recommended to source gear in Iran. Local equipment is carried by several production companies and government run equipment companies.

For smaller projects it’s relatively easy to fly in your gear with you. Iran is accepting carnets however US restrictions do not allow a US-issued carnet for Iran. Our Iranian producer / fixer will provide you with a letter from the Culture Ministry which will include your imported gear list. This letter is to be presented at the port of entry to ensure ease of customs clearance.

Art department and set construction is relatively limited beyond local looks.

Studios. Most facilities belong to local TV stations. There are 4 or 5 good studio facilities available for visiting productions.

Backlots. Cinema Town of Radio & Television in Tehran is a backlot of olden day Tehran alleys, shops, buildings, historical buildings.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Iran.

Post Production facilities exist including processing for 35mm film.

Visas and Work Permits. A Press Visa is required to film in Iran. Our Iranian producer / fixer will require you provide them with a synopsis, passport details of travelling crew members, and other project information. The application is made with the Ministry of Culture, who then pass on the application to the Foreign Ministry who then provide you and your local Iranian embassy with a “follow up code number” used to pick up your Press Visa. In terms of timing, it depends on the project specifics and nationalities travelling. Permitting times for US and UK citizens may take up to 3-4 months. Other citizens such as Germany or France usually only take 2-4 weeks. Projects of a politically sensitive nature may be rejected altogether.

Western passport holders travelling as tourists (excluding US passport holders) can obtain a visa on arrival. If travelling on a US passport you need to apply for a visa ahead of arrival. See here for more information.

Iran’s visa rules are subject to change on short notice, so be sure to check in with your closest Iranian embassy or representative for the latest. Filmmakers, photographers and journalists who expect to travel to the United States in the future ought to also bear in mind the possible repercussions of having an Iranian visa stamped in their passport.

Transportation Infrastructure. Iran has an extensive network of roads and airports. Several international airlines service flights to Iran.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Tehran include:

Escan Hotel
Niloo Apartment Hotel
Melal Apartment Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing. Some websites are blocked from access.

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. Iranian people are very hospitable and there is very little street crime in Iran. As long as you are not breaking any rules even the police will assist with helping make your shoot run smoothly. To avoid trouble with authorities it is essential to hire a well connected fixer and carry permission for filming with you at all times.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Iran, please see below:

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in Iran, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.