Dominican Republic 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 the Dominican Republic? 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 the Dominican Republic? See below for an introduction to Dominican Republic 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.
Dominican Republic Film Locations
The Dominican Republic offers an impressive variety of locations that can be easily reached within a few hours drive from Santo Domingo. The country is known for its tropical beauty of black and white sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral reefs, surf breaks, mountains, forests, river valleys, tropical waterfalls and sugarcane plantations. It also has a wealth of impressive man-made locations to choose from such as modern waterfront mansions, resorts, golf courses and marinas.
The Dominican Republic has played host to many international productions including The Good Shepherd, Havana, and Miami Vice.
Film locations can be divided into three main regions:
Santo Domingo is the Dominican Republic’s vibrant capital and main production service centre where film crews and equipment are based. It is most interesting for Spanish colonial looks such as those found in the old town, Zona Colonial. Alcázar de Colón is a 16th-century viceregal palace. Plaza de España is a large colonial square. The Cathedral of Santa María la Menor is the oldest cathedral in the Americas. The National Palace is a neoclassical government building. Columbus Lighthouse is an impressive colossal structure. Fortaleza Ozama is an old colonial fort. Quisqueya baseball stadium is available for visiting productions. Los Tres Ojos is a beautiful cave system located inside the city. American productions such as Godfather II and The Lost City have filmed in Santo Domingo to replicate Old Havana.
Heading east from Santo Domingo there are several locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers…
Some of the best beaches can be found in Punta Cana, a 3.5 hour drive from Santo Domingo. Beaches of note include Playa Bavaro, El Cortecito, Arena Gordo, Macao Beach, Uvero Alto, Cabeza de Toro, Playa Blanca, and Juanillo.
Altos de Chavon is a re-created medieval European village, 2 hours drive from Santo Domingo.
Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia is an unusual structure located in Higüey.
Isla Catalina and Isla Saona are beautiful tropical islands.
Parque Nacional del Este, also located in the east of the country, is home to a great diversity of flora and fauna.
Heading west of Santo Domingo, Jarabacoa lies in the spectacular Cordillera Central mountains, a landscape of sweeping pine forests, rivers, waterfalls, and the Dominican Republic’s highest peak, Pico Duarte. Bahia de las Aguilas is a remote paradise beach location. Parque Nacional Isla Cabritos is also located in the west of the country. Lake Enriquillo is a beautiful film location.
The north coast has many beautiful locations of interest to visiting productions. El Salto del Limón is a beautiful waterfall. Los Haitises National Park has a diversity of flora and fauna. Puerto Plata and Playa Rincon are popular beaches in the north of the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic Film Location Permits
A Film and Photography Shooting Permit is required when shooting in the Dominican Republic. It must be presented in the event of a random police check. This permit can be obtained through a registered production service provider. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
The Dominican Republic has a hot, tropical climate. Coastal areas are warmer than the mountainous central regions. The hot, rainy season runs from May to October, although there are still plenty of dry, sunny days during this period. Hurricanes occur during the rainy season. The cool, dry season runs from November to April and is the best time to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Humpback whales can be spotted from December to March.
The colourful Carnaval de la Vega takes place in February.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in the Dominican Republic.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. The Dominican Republic is a cost efficient place to shoot. The Dominican Republic has a more established film infrastructure than most Caribbean countries, so crew and equipment do not usually need to be brought in. Our Dominican fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. The Dominican Republic offers qualifying productions a 25% Transferable Tax Credit. In addition there is a 18% customs and duties exemption.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. The Dominican Republic has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew is available locally. Larger and more specialized shoots may require you to bring in some crew such as a production designer, stunts or special FX teams. Local crews are experienced in servicing foreign productions and most speak fluent English.
Contact us if you are looking for a Santo Domingo 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 the Dominican Republic.
Talent is non-union. Day rates and buyouts are negotiable. The Dominican Republic offers a mixture of Mulatto, Caucasian and Afro-Caribbean looks. All other talent needs to be cast abroad. There is a constant pool of US and European visitors if looking for western extras.
Dominican Republic Film Equipment
Equipment. The Dominican Republic has a good depth of standard lighting, grip and camera equipment including cranes, jimmy jibs, Fisher and Panther dolly, 35mm and RED cameras, scuba-cams. Rental gear is owned by local production companies and studios. More specialized equipment can be brought in from Miami, a short 2.5hr flight away.
If bringing in gear from abroad, a Temporary Entry of Goods Permit is required to clear equipment through customs. To obtain this permit you must first have a Film and Photography Shooting Permit. This application must also go through a registered production service company or fixer. The paperwork takes about 5 days.
The following documentation is required to bring in gear:
• Third Party Liability Insurance / Covering All Crew And Gear.
• Copies Of All Passports
• All Flight Details / Arrivals And Departures / Airline / Airline Number
• Letter To Dgcine-film Commision Including Local Fixer / Producer Information.
• List Of All Equipment / Including Serial Numbers And Prices
• Project Synopsis
Original documents must be presented at customs where agents will check equipment in front of you and your service producer / fixer. Inability to produce required documents may result in non-release of gear and hefty fines.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department and set construction. Some good art directors. Construction crews are hard working and talented.
Studios and backlots. Located a one hour drive from Santo Domingo, Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios has 4 stages and an 8 acre water effects facility including a 60,500 sq ft natural ocean horizon water tank with blue screen capabilities and fully equipped diving and marine department. The location is also nearby other tropical filming locations.
Post Production. Best to post abroad.
Visas & Work Permits
Film crew travelling on Western passports can obtain tourist cards on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. For US passport travellers, see here for more information. Contact your local Dominican Republic embassy or representative for more information.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. The Dominican Republic has a good network of well maintained roads. Rural roads are slower going, especially during wet weather when travel by 4WD’s is recommended. The Dominican Republic has 10 International airports with over 200 scheduled flights each week from North America and Europe.
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotel and resort options in the Dominican Republic include:
Santo Domingo: (Base for colonial looks)
Punta Cana: (Base for beaches)
Tortuga Bay Punta Cana
Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel
Majestic Colonial Punta Cana
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. The Dominican Republic is a safe place for foreign productions to visit. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. Eat! — Sancocho, Mangú, Habichuelas Guisadas, Pollo Guisado, Tostones, Bizcocho Dominicano.
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 the Dominican Republic, please see below:
Hire Dominican Republic Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in the Dominican Republic, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in the Dominican Republic, 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.