Colombia 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 Colombia? 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 Colombia? See below for an introduction to Colombia 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.
Colombia Film Locations
Colombia has an incredible variety of undiscovered locations including vibrant cities, colonial towns, Amerindian ruins, beaches, mountains, rainforest, waterfalls, rivers, desert, and agricultural lands. Agricultural film locations of interest include cattle ranches and plantations of coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, and cocoa. Colombia’s equatorial location means most crops are in season all year round.
Colombia has hosted films including American Made, The Motorcycle Diaries, Love in the Time of Cholera, The 33, Gallows Hill, and the TV series Narcos.
Locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers can be divided into five main regions:
The Andean region is the most densely populated in Colombia and is home to major cities such as Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali.
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and where most film crew and equipment are based. A sprawling, high-altitude city, there are several neighbourhoods of interest. La Candelaria is Bogotá’s historic district and home to Bolívar Square, Cathedral of Colombia, Teatro de Cristóbal Colón, Museo Botero, and Museo del Oro. Chapinero is known for its fine dining and gay village. Zona Rosa is the nightclub district. Santa Fé-Los Mártires is the financial and bohemian district. Other locations of note in Bogota include the Estadio El Campín, and Parque 93. Monserrate mountain overlooks Bogota. In terms of unusual locations, outside of Bogota you can find the unusual Casa Terracota, a house made of clay, as well as Tequendama Falls Museum. Just north of Bogota Windows of Tisquizoque is a three-tiered waterfall pouring out from a mountain cave.
Medellín is known for its parks and plazas. Locations of note include Museo de Antioquia, Outdoor Escalator in Comuna 13, Botanical Gardens, Parque Botero, and the El Poblado neighborhood known for its cafe culture. Outside of Medellín you can find Laguna de Guatape. Medellin also has some locally based film crew and equipment.
Other locations in the Andes mountain region include Pico Cristóbal Colón (the highest peak in Colombia), Serranía de la Macarena (Caño Cristales “river of five colors”), Los Nevados National Park, Tatacoa Desert, and Las Lajas Sanctuary.
Cartagena and Barranquilla are the largest cities in the region. Both have some locally based film crew and equipment. The northeast of Colombia is home to Santa Marta (Taganga Beach), La Guajira Desert, Cabo de la Vela, and Tayrona National Park where the coast meets the jungle and the Amerindian ruins of Ciudad Perdida can be found. Santa Cruz del Islote is one of the the world’s most densely populated islands with a population density four times that of Manhattan. The tropical islands of San Andrés and Providencia, located closer to Nicaragua than Colombia, offer some of the Caribbean’s most unspoilt beaches and underwater photography options. The Islas del Rosario near Cartagena are where you can find Pablo Escobar’s abandoned secret island mansion on La Isla Grande.
While the Caribbean coast offers white sand beaches and turquoise seas, the Pacific side has a rugged coastline with dark sand and seas. The region has some of the highest amount of rainfall in the world which feed its many rivers and jungles. Colombia’s Pacific region is one of the under-filmed parts of the country.
This tropical rainforest region receives heavy rainfall. It is known for its dense vegetation, many rivers, and numerous indigenous communities that live along the rivers. One location of interest to adventurous filmmakers and photographers is Cerros de Mavecure.
The region is sparsely populated. Also known as the Eastern Plains, the region is known for its tropical savanna and wetlands along the rivers. Orinoco is rich in oil.
Colombia Film Location Permits
Most permits are applied for at the local level where filming will take place. Bogota and Medellin have local film commissions that handle permitting. Permits for basic shoots take about 2 weeks and are usually free. Larger shoots requiring exclusive use of public space, police escorts, road closures, and so on require more lead time and may come with location fees. Additional permits are required to film in national parks, historic and archeological sites. Drone filming is currently permitted. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Colombia has a tropical climate with long sunlight hours throughout the year. Mountains and coastal areas tend to have cooler temperatures. The Amazon region stays hot and wet all year round. Bogota has spring-like conditions with warm days and crisp nights. Given its elevation, Bogota can get chilly, particularly in the evening. In general, the best periods to film for dry weather are December to March or July / August. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Colourful carnivals of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:
• Carnaval del Diablo held in Riosucio in January every 2 years.
• Carnaval de Negros y Blancos celebrated in Pasto in early January.
• Barranquilla Carnival in February / March.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Colombia.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Colombia is one of the best production centres in the world in terms of value for money. There are few places in the world where you can get such a wide variety of locations plus industry infrastructure at such low costs. In most cases you are paying less than half of the cost of shooting in the United States, even if filming outside of Bogota with all the additional travel costs factored in. Our Colombia fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. Colombia offers a cash rebate of 40% for film services and 20% for film logistics services. See here for more information. The city of Medellin also has its own film commission, with local incentives.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Colombia has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Colombian crews are experienced, hard working and resourceful. Crews are non-union. They’re flexible with overtime and turn around times. Heads of department all speak fluent English. Colombia has three experienced stunt companies.
Contact us if you are looking for a Bogota, Cartagena or Medellin 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 Colombia.
Talent is non-union. Day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a personal basis. Colombia is a multicultural country consisting predominately of Mestizo, Caucasian, Afro-Colombian and Amerindian looks such as the Wayuu people. The Pacific region is mainly Afro-Colombian. Some Middle Eastern and Chinese looks are also possible to find although their small numbers mean you would struggle to find lead roles.
Fringes and Premiums. No hidden extras. Crews are paid a day rate and they contribute to their own insurances.
Colombia works on a twelve-hour shoot day from arrival on set until wrap time. Time and a half over time after that. Sundays and public holidays are normal time. Six hours turn around time can be negotiated if need be. That said, it’s all quite flexible to the production’s needs.
Colombia Film Equipment
All the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally in Colombia including Alexa, Phantom Flex, Technocrane, car kits and a range of drones. If you are planning on bringing your own professional gear, first you need permission to film from the Ministry of Culture. Our fixer / service producer then puts together your gear list (with serial numbers) for customs officials (DIAN) to make sure the process is fast when you land. There are no customs duties providing the gear is exported. Allow extra time when flying back with gear to clear equipment out of the country. Equipment may remain in Colombia for up to 6 months.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction is of a good standard. To give you an example our Colombian producer / fixer has in the past constructed airports, supermarkets, hospitals, Chinatown exteriors, African villages, old western towns and Mexican towns.
Studios. Colombia has some sound studios and special effects companies.
Backlots. At present no backlots exist in Colombia.
Post Production. Cinecolor has a set up in Bogota. Colombia has telecine, lab facilities, VFX and 3D Animation studios.
Visas & Work Permits
Crews travelling on western passports, staying for less than 90 days can enter visa-free to film in Colombia. It is however recommended to present customs and immigration a letter of introduction from the Film Commission when entering Colombia. Long-form projects may require visas. US passport holders can see here for more information.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Most major roads are well maintained. Rural and mountain roads are slower going with landslides common in mountain regions during the rainy season from November to February. Some areas have no road access, such as the Amazon River border town of Leticia, which must be accessed by air. Bogota is quite congested so allow plenty of time to get around. Colombian cities are well connected by domestic airlines. Getting into Colombia, several international airlines service direct routes to major Colombian cities.
Accommodation. Please contact us for special rates at recommended film friendly hotels in Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin.
If you’re looking to stay with local indigenous communities our Colombian fixer / producer also organises this.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Bogota has a fun nightlife and Cartagena is a beautiful colonial city worth visiting. Play a game of tejo, the country’s national sport. Try fritanga.
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 Colombia, please see below:
Hire Colombia Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Colombia, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Colombia, 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.