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Mexico

Mexico 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 Mexico? 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 Mexico? See below for an introduction to Mexico locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Film Locations. Mexico offers a wealth of film locations.

Starting in the interior, film locations of interest include:

• Mexico City. One of the world’s largest cities, Mexico City is a patchwork of rolling, endless neighbourhoods offering everything from colonial looks, to urban slums, to contemporary architecture such as Museo Soumaya. Teotihuacan’s Sun and Moon Pyramids are spectacular ruins only a 1 hour drive from Mexico City.
• Many picturesque colonial towns including San Miguel de Allende and Puebla.
• Guanajuato City colonial looks, mansions, extensive network of underground driving tunnels and a disturbing mummies museum.
• Palenque ruins and Agua Azul Waterfalls in Chiapas.
• Magnificent cave systems including the famous Cave of Swallows in San Luis Potosí, the largest known cave shaft in the world with a 370 meter (1,214 ft) drop. Drone filming and base jumping into the cave are currently not permitted, although some accommodations may be made. Rappelling into the cave is still permitted.
• Naica Mine. The Cave of Crystals has some of the largest crystal structures ever found. Note, permission to film at this location can take up to a year.
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán.
• The vibrant Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city.
• Copper Canyon with the Chihuahua Pacific Railway passing through the spectacular arid landscape.
• Desert landscapes and cactus trees.

On the Pacific Coast film locations of interest include:

• Picturesque beach towns such as Yelapa in Jalisco.
• Larger resort towns of Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.
• Baja surf beaches.
• Oaxaca, Mexico’s food capital is also known to have one of the best Dia de Los Muertos festivals in Mexico.

Caribbean locations of interest include:

• Beautiful white sand beaches all the way down the Mayan Riviera. Cozumel is popular for underwater photography with its coral reefs and rich variety of tropical fish.
• The world famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan. Nearby Coba ruins are also impressive and more film friendly in terms of less tourists.
• Tulum Mayan ruins sit against a backdrop of white sand beaches and azure blue sea.
• Cenotes offer beautiful swimming hole looks above ground as well as spectacular underwater photography such as the affect created when fresh water floats on top of salt water.
• Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

In terms of agricultural looks Mexico has corn, wheat, sugarcane, tomatoes, avocados, oranges, grapes, coffee, and livestock to name a few.

Mexico has hosted a long list of impressive international films including Apocalypto, Dune, Predator, Resident Evil: Extinction, The Magnificent Seven, Titanic and many more.

Mexico Film Location Permits. Mexico can be quite slow and bureaucratic when it comes to permitting. Most permits are arranged on the local level and permission from several departments may be required. Depending on the location and specifics of the shoot, permits can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months. Allow as much time as possible for shoots requiring exclusive use of public space. For shoots in national parks or historic sites, allow at least a month lead time for permitting. At present, Mexico is open to drone filming in most unrestricted areas.

Filming Pre-Columbian ruins (Mayan, Aztec, Teotihuacan, etc.) is possible but you need to go through the rigorous approval process with the board that governs these protected areas. The process can take up to a month. There is no fee to submit the permit application. Permission to film at Mayan ruins is typically not granted for commercial productions. If it is granted for a commercial project, it is usually only for general shots of the location, not for any action taking place with actors or presenters. Permission is more likely to be granted if the shoot is for the promotion or benefit of Mexico tourism or culture. Guatemala and Belize offer easier access to filming ruins however everything else must come from abroad, which can considerably add to the costs of filming.

Please contact us for more location specific information.

When to shoot? The climate of Mexico varies considerably depending on the region and time of the year. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Mexico is home to many colourful fiestas held throughout the year including:

• Carnaval in February / March.
• Semana Santa in March / April.
• Guelaguetza Festival in July.
• Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) in November.

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

Costs. The USD is strong against the Mexican Peso. In general, filming in Mexico is much less expensive than filming in the US. Mexico is a large country and many locations require extensive travel. Although some crew and equipment can be found around the country, Mexico City is the main service centre. Mexico City is a large, sprawling city that can take several hours to reach the city limits. That said, our locally based fixers and service producers will negotiate deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Talent. Both union and non-union options are available. Must use union talent for feature films and TV shows. Can use non-union talent for all other media. Mexico offers mainly Mestizo (mixed Caucasian and Amerindian) and International-Latin looks. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.

Crews. Mexico has a small but good pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Mexican crews are very experienced in servicing international productions. They are hard working, resourceful and speak fluent English. Both union and non-union options are available. Must use union crews for feature films. Can use non-union talent for all other media. Mexico is a short flight from major US production centres should you ever need to access those crews.

Contact us if you are looking for a Mexico City or Cancun based 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 in Mexico.

Fringes. No hidden extras for non-union.

Premiums. Mexico works on a 10 hour day. Non-union premiums are 10% extra after 10 hours. Union premiums are 10% extra for the next 2 hours, 20% for the next 2 hours and 30% extra after that. Night shoots are set on a 8 hour day with the above premiums applying. Shoots on weekends and holidays are subject to negotiable premiums. Mexico requires a 12 hour turn around.

Equipment. Mexico offers a range of standard and specialised equipment including 35mm and HD cameras, underwater housing, grip equipment including Technocrane, and a range of lighting packages.

For productions looking to bring in film equipment, Mexico is an ATA carnet country. Permission to bring in gear can also be obtained from your local Mexican consulate. The process generally takes about a month in the US or about a week in Europe.

Art department and set construction. Art department heads are of an international standard. Construction is inexpensive and of a high quality.

Studios and Backlots. Baja Studios is a selfcontained production facility originally built for the film Titanic. The studio complex includes sound studios, stages, water tanks, production offices, dressing rooms, wardrobe facilities, and a backlot.

Tax Incentives. Mexico offers tax incentives for co-productions of feature films. Visiting productions are eligible for VAT exemption. Some cities and states also offer their own incentives and discounts for films shot locally. For more information visit COMEFILM.

Post Production. All facilities exist in Mexico City, including a film lab.

Visas and Work Permits. Crews travelling on passports from western countries can enter visa-free for stay of up to 180 days. There are no special work permits required to film in Mexico.

Transportation Infrastructure. Mexico has a very good system of roads with toll roads being of the highest international standard. Domestic airlines cover the country extensively. Many international airlines service flights to Mexico.

Accommodation. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Mexico City, Cancun (Mayan Riviera), and other parts of Mexico. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Hotels of note include:

Camino Real Polanco

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing.

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. Our Mexican fixer / producer organises the appropriate level of security based on the specific needs of your shoots.

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 Mexico, please see below:

Down Time. Mexico has a vibrant nightlife with diverse cuisine and plenty of natural and cultural wonders for visiting productions to enjoy in their down time.

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

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