Egypt 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 Egypt? 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 Egypt? See below for an introduction to Egypt 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.
Egypt Film Locations
Egypt, the land of the pharaohs, is home to a rich bounty of film locations.
Cairo, the largest city in the Arab world is a bustling metropolis of 10 million people. It is Egypt’s capital and main film production centre. The Egyptian Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities. Cairo’s old Islamic quarter is home to over 800 mosques including Sultan Hassan Mosque, El Refaai Mosque and Ahmed Ben Tulun Mosque. Coptic Orthodox locations of interest include The Hanging Church and Saint Catherine’s Monastery, one of the oldest working monasteries in the world. Cairo is well known for its bustling markets including the famous souk Khan El Khalili. On the outskirts of Cairo you can find the famous Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, the sole survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The Grand Egyptian Museum is a beautiful modern structure.
Other Ancient Egyptian locations of interest include the temples of Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, Alexandria (the city founded by Alexander the Great), Pyramids and Tombs of Sakkara, and Temples of Abu Simbel.
Natural locations of interest include sailing a felucca down the River Nile, oasis at Dakhla and Kharga, the White Desert and Black Desert, the Great Sand Sea, Mt Sinai, the Red Sea Coast and its world renowned diving locations.
Egypt’s agricultural looks include cotton, rice, wheat, corn, sugarcane plantations.
Egypt has hosted films including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Gallipoli, Syriana, and The Spy Who Loved Me.
Egypt Film Location Permits
Much depends on the nature of your shoot. Generally speaking a visiting crew will apply for location permits with their local Egyptian embassy including the name of the local fixer / service company that will service the shoot. The embassy then sends this on to the Press Office in Cairo. Once the locations have been cleared with all relevant authorities, location permits are granted. A government minder may be required to accompany the production. Permits for shooting b-roll are free but take about 3 weeks to clear. Individual permits are required for each antiquities site. Prices and timing vary depending on several factors including the type of shoot, special dates, extent of location control required, and whether or not there are any current excavations or public access. Most antiquities including the Pyramids of Giza cost $1000 / day from 9am to 4pm for a documentary shoot. A commercial shoot featuring a product costs $3000 / day. Filming outside of these hours is possible at extra cost. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities costs $1000 / hour and $750 / hour after that. Long form projects such as films and TV dramas require extra permitting which can take up to 3 to 4 months to permit.
Drone filming is currently illegal in Egypt. Penalties for using a drone without a permit include arrest and confiscation of equipment. Although you will not be allowed to fly your own drone, one option to get aerial footage is to hire an Egyptian military drone operator (or helicopter and pilot). This costs around USD3000 for every 30mins of flight time.
The often quoted paradox of permitting in Egypt is that nothing is legal, yet everything is possible. As such, a crafty approach from a well connected fixer / producer is essential to save on costs and carve the best path through the bureaucratic Egyptian permitting process. Feel free to contact us us for permitting questions on specific locations.
When To Shoot?
The Mediterranean coast is mild and wet, while the Sahara in the south is hot and dry. Egypt has two main seasons, a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The shoulder periods from February to April and September to November are the best months to film for costs and weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Most of Egypt’s festivals and events are based on the Islamic calendar. Mawlid an-Nabi parades and processions take place in cities across Egypt during the fifth month of the Islamic calendar. Leylet en Nuktah is celebrated in June. Ramadan is widely observed with many services limited or closed during this period.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Egypt.
Costs & Tax Incentives
Costs. Egypt has one of the least expensive shoot day costs in the Middle East. Our Egyptian fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or feature films shooting in Egypt.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Egypt has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew is available in Cairo and Alexandria. Working in Egypt can be a slow process so allow plenty of time to get all the shots you need.
Contact us if you are looking for a Cairo or Alexandria 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 Egypt.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Talent costs are some of the lowest in the Middle East. In terms of local looks, nearly all citizens are ethnic Egyptians. Very small minorities of Bedouins, Berbers and Nubians also exist. All other talent needs to be cast abroad.
Egypt Film Equipment
All the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally including Motion Control and Technocrane. More specialized equipment can be easily brought in from nearby European production centres or Dubai. Egypt is not an ATA carnet member country. Our Egyptian service producer / fixer handles safe import and export of your gear. To save you on costs they guarantee this with a local bank instead of working through a customs broker. For small projects it’s best to bring in gear as handheld luggage.
Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production
Art department beyond Egyptian looks is relatively basic beyond local looks.
Set Construction crews are skilled and inexpensive.
Studios and backlots. The Media Free Zone has basic but extensive facilities.
Post Production. Egypt has post production facilities but it’s generally best to post abroad.
Visas & Work Permits
Nationals from most western countries can get a visa on arrival which is valid for stays of up to 30 days. There is no special work permit required to film in Egypt. US passport holders who plan to get a visa before arrival, see here for more information. Contact us for notes on the best approach for your shoot.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Intercity roads are up to international standards. Moving from location to location especially in Cairo can be a challenging and time consuming exercise so make sure to allow plenty of time to get all the shots you need. Heading into desert areas, heavy fog and sudden sand storms can slow travel. Several international airlines service flights to Egypt.
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Cairo include:
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. 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 Egypt, please see below:
Hire Egypt Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Egypt, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Egypt, 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.