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Qatar

Qatar 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 Qatar? 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 Qatar? See below for an introduction to Qatar 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.

Qatar Film Locations

Qatar offers visiting productions a mix of natural, traditional, and modern locations.

Natural. Khor Al Udeid is an area of desert dunes that becomes an inland sea when the tide comes in. The Qatari desert is also home to Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East, a set of four standing steel plates rising out of the sands. Much of Qatar is surrounded by the Persian Gulf, so there are also plenty of developed and remote beaches available for filming.

Traditional locations of interest include Katara Cultural Village, Zubarah Fort, Barzan Tower, Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Art, and the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Zekreet Film City is a movie set of a traditional Arabic village. Al Jumail is an abandoned fishing village.

Modern. Doha is the capital and Qatar’s production service centre. One of Doha’s main attractions is the Corniche, a waterfront palm-fringed boulevard, with Doha’s modern skyline towering in the background. Doha’s other locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers include the manmade luxury island of Pearl-Qatar, Education City, and Qatar Science and Technology Park.

Qatar is also home to modern sporting complexes including the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, and Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack. Several impressive stadium facilities are being built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatar Film Location Permits

Permits for most public locations are free of charge. The permitting process can be slow in Qatar, so allow plenty of lead time. Usually it can take anywhere from 3 – 15 days, but more complicated shoots involving road closures or pyrotechnics can take up to a month to permit. Of course, all can be expedited if need be. Drone filming is possible. Please contact us for location specific information.

Authorities may stop and ask you for your Film Permit (see Visas & Work Permits section) so make sure to have that on you when filming. 

When To Shoot?

Qatar’s climate is hot and dry all year round. Coastal areas are more humid than the interior. The summer from May to October is very hot and dry. Sand storms are common during this period. Winter from November to April is the best time to film in Qatar with temperatures in the bearable range. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Many of Qatar’s festivals and events centre around the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is widely observed with many services closed during this period. Cultural events of interest include the Doha Cultural Festival held in March and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival held in October. Sporting events of interest include the Qatar Masters Golf Tournament and the Qatar Open Tennis Tournament, both being held in January. Qatar is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Qatar is one of the more expensive countries in the region. That said, it is still generally less expensive than shooting in Dubai. Some film infrastructure exists locally. Otherwise crew, equipment and brought in from abroad will add to the cost of shooting. Our Qatari fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. The Doha Film Institute has a grant program for short and feature-length projects, subject to eligibility criteria.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Qatar has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Some key crew are based locally but visiting productions will often bring in their key crew. Dubai is the closest major production centre should you need to look further.

Contact us if you are looking for a Doha 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 for your shoot in Qatar.

Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Although Qatar offers mainly Arabic looking talent, almost 60% of the people living in Qatar are foreign nationals, so some other talent looks are also available. Nearby production centres such as Dubai offer additional casting options. Qatar is one of the more conservative countries in the region so certain talent, such as locally based Arabic female models, are harder to come by. Please contact us for recommended local casting and talent agencies.

Qatar Film Equipment

Qatar has some grip, lighting and camera equipment available locally. More specialised film equipment needs to be brought in from abroad.

For productions intending to bring in equipment Qatar is not an ATA carnet country.

Our Qatari film fixer / service producer will apply for an Equipment Permit so you can bring in your gear. This application needs to include:

• Your approved Film Permit (see Visas & Work Permits section)
• Key crew names and passport information page copies
• Your gear list
• E-ticket flight details for the arriving crew handling equipment

The process usually takes up to 5 days after you have your approved Film Permit.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is basic beyond local looks.

Studios. Most are owned by local TV stations.

Post Production. Some basic facilities exist locally. Best to post abroad for more complex projects.

Visas & Work Permits

Visiting crews are required to have a Film Permit from the QNA. The application must be made through a locally registered fixer / production service company. To apply for the permit, our Qatari fixer / service producer will need to submit your:

• Client and product details
• Project synopsis / boards / script
• Key crew names and passport information page copies
• No Objection Letter from Client / Agency
• List of shooting locations – both public and private
• Dates and times
• Payment upfront for permit processing fee

The process usually takes about 20 working days but rush projects may be expedited at extra cost.

Allow extra time for permitting during the month of Ramadan.

Crews from Western countries can apply for a visa on arrival which is valid for 30 days.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Highways and roads in Doha are new and well maintained. If heading off-road our fixer can organise safe and reliable 4WD transport. Fuel in Qatar is very inexpensive. Note, you must have a Qatari driving license to drive in Qatar. Several international airlines service flights to Doha.

Accommodation. Doha has several good film friendly hotel options, with most located on the beach. Please contact us for recommendations. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. Qatar is one of the safest countries in the region. See here for up to date travel advice.

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 Qatar, please see below:

Hire Qatar Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Qatar, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

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