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East Timor

East Timor Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in East Timor? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in East Timor

For an introduction to shooting in East Timor see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

East Timor Film Locations

East Timor is a small country comprising of the eastern part of the island of Timor as well as several smaller islands. Indonesia lies to the north and Australia to the south. East Timor is known for its tropical, mountainous interior, beaches, coral reefs, and Portuguese colonial architecture. The country is small so all film locations are a short drive from each other.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of coffee, rice, corn, coconuts, bananas, mango, sweet potatoes, and sandalwood. The country also has marble quarries.

Film locations can be divided into the following municipalities: Lautém, Baucau, Viqueque, Manatuto, Dili, Aileu, Manufahi, Liquiçá, Ermera, Ainaro, Bobonaro, Covalima, and Oecusse SAR.

Dili is the capital and largest city. Strongly Roman Catholic, Dili is home to many churches such as the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Church of Saint Anthony of Motael. A giant statue of Christ stands on the nearby headland at Cape Fatucama. Praia da Areia Branca is a beautiful white sand beach near Dili. The Archives & Museum of East Timorese Resistance is also located in Dili.

Baucau is East Timor’s second largest city. It is known for its Portuguese colonial architecture including the ruins of the impressive mercado municipal.

Maubisse and Aileu are old hill towns in the centre of East Timor’s main coffee plantation area. June through to September is the best time to film the coffee harvest.

Nino Konis Santana National Park is home to a variety of birdlife. There are several locations of note within the park grounds. Lake Ira Lalaro is home to a spectacular half-sunken forest and a population of crocodiles. Jaco Island is a beautiful uninhabited island known for its palm-lined white sand beaches. Mount Paitchau is a forested mountain film location.

Tatamailau is the country’s highest peak.

Mount Matebian is a Catholic pilgrimage site.

Atauro Island has some great underwater photography options.

Escola do Reino de Haudere is a Portuguese colonial ruin.

Uma Lulik are traditional sacred totem houses of the Fataluku people.

Marobo Hot Springs is an idyllic natural hot springs at an abandoned mountain resort.

The Special Administrative Region of Oecusse-Ambeno is a coastal exclave in the western part of the island of Timor.

East Timor Film Location Permits

Most locations are possible given time, money and the right approach. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

East Timor has a tropical climate. The rainy monsoon period is from December to April. It is very hot and dry from May to November but cooler and more humid in the mountain region. The dry season is the best time to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

East Timor is a predominately Christian country so those holidays are observed.

Carnival de Timor is the annual festival held in Dili in April or May.

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

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. East Timor trades in the USD. Locations, local talent, support crew, and locally produced goods are inexpensive. The need to bring in all key crew and equipment adds to the costs of shooting in East Timor. Jakarta and Brisbane are the closest major production centres. Our East Timorese fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. There are no tax incentives for foreign feature films or commercials shooting in East Timor.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. East Timor has a very small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. The depth of local crews is limited. It’s best to bring your crew from abroad.

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 East Timor.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Casting facilities are undeveloped in East Timor so street casting is required.

Tetum and Portuguese are the official languages.

East Timor consists of a number of distinct ethnic groups, most of whom are of mixed Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, Chinese and Portuguese descent. The Fataluku people are an ethnic minority. All other talent looks are best cast from abroad.

East Timor Film Equipment

Equipment. Camera, grip and lighting equipment needs to be brought in from abroad. Brisbane and Jakarta are the closest major production centres.

Communications. Internet slow and unreliable.

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very limited in East Timor.

Studios and Backlots do not exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Film crew arriving by air may obtain a 30-day tourist visa-on-arrival. Bear in mind, film crew traveling via air must transit through Singapore, Darwin in Australia or Bali in Indonesia en route to East Timor. See here for more information on East Timor visas. Contact your local East Timorese embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation. Roads are in a poor condition and very slow going during the monsoon season. Our East Timorese fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transport. A limited number of flights operate to Dili.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Dili include:

Timor Plaza
Hotel Esplanada

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. East Timorese cuisine is heavily influenced by Indonesian, Portuguese and Chinese flavours. Try dishes such as ikan pepes, caril, pastel de nata, and bibinka.

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

Hire East Timor Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in East Timor, 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.