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French Polynesia 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 French Polynesia? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in French Polynesia

For an introduction to shooting in French Polynesia 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.

French Polynesia Film Locations

French Polynesia is located in the South Pacific just south of the equator half way between Australia and California. It is composed of 118 islands and atolls stretched over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi).

French Polynesia is known for its idyllic paradise island locations of perfect palm-lined white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, beautiful reefs, surf breaks, over-the-water luxury bungalows, rugged jungle mountains, and picturesque waterfalls.

Agricultural film locations include coconut, vanilla, and coffee plantations, as well as pearl farms and other aquaculture.

French Polynesia has been a popular film destination especially for reality shows looking to shoot luxurious paradise locations. Productions hosted include Point Break (2015), Real Housewives of Orange County (2015), The Amazing Race 22 (2013), Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2011), The Bachelorette (2010), Couples Retreat (2009), Survivor: Marquesas (2002), The Bounty (1984), and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).

French Polynesia film locations can be divided into the following island groups:

Society Islands Archipelago

Located in the west of the country, the Society Islands Archipelago, is composed of the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands.

Tahiti is the largest of the islands. It is known for its black and white sand beaches, lush rainforest, deep valleys, clear streams, high waterfalls, surf spots, and golf courses. Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia. Mont Orohena is the highest peak. Faarumai waterfall is a beautiful film location. The village of Teahupoʻo is known to have one of the best surfing waves in the world. Teahupoʻo featured in Point Break (2015).

Tahiti is the gateway to the tropical paradise island locations of Bora Bora and Moorea, and the lesser known gems of Taha’a and Huahine. 

Bora Bora is a volcano with a stunning lagoon. The island is a popular honeymoon destination with its over-water bungalows and hidden beaches.

Moorea is another popular romantic destination known for its jagged volcanic mountains and pristine beaches.

Taha’a is known for its vanilla plantations and pearl farms.

Huahine is famous for its dense tropical jungles and white sand beaches.

Tahiti, Moorea, Bora-Bora, Maupiti are popular kitesurfing locations.

Raiatea is the second largest island in the Society Islands Archipelago.

Teti’aroa Atoll is home to the luxury eco-resort The Brando. The island was formerly the home of Marlon Brando.

Tuamotu Archipelago

This centrally located island chain consists of almost 80 islands with the major islands being Rangiroa, Anaa, Fakarava, Hao, Makemo.

Nukutepipi is a paradise private island owned by Cirque du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberté.

The islands of Rangiroa, Fakarava, Manihi, and Tikehau are popular destinations for diving and underwater photography.

Makatea is a phosphate-rich island.

France tested nuclear weapons between 1966 and 1996 at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls.

Gambier Islands

Located in the southeast of French Polynesia, the Gambier Islands consists of 14 islands with the major islands being Mangareva, Akamaru, Aukena, and Taravai.

Marquesas Islands

Located in the northeast of the country, the Marquesas Islands consists of 15 islands with the major islands being Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Hiva ʻOa, Fatu Hiva, and Tahuata.

Nuku Hiva island is known for its spectacular basaltic rock formations.

Survivor: Marquesas (2002) filmed in the Marquesas Islands.

Austral Islands

Located in the southwest, the Austral Islands consists of 7 islands with the major islands being Tupua’i, Rūrutu, Ra’ivāvae, and Rapa Iti.

French Polynesia Film Location Permits

French Polynesia is an overseas country of France. Film location permits are dealt with locally and are generally a fast and easy process. Both private and public locations are usually very open to filming. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

French Polynesia offers long, sunny shoot days all year around. The hot, humid season runs from November to April. Trade winds temper the heat. The cooler, dry season runs from May to October. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Events of note include the following:

• The Billabong Pro, one of the world’s most prestigious surfing events, is held in April / May.
• The Tahiti Pearl Regatta takes place in May.
• Heiva i Tahiti takes place in June / July with festivities including competitions in stone weight lifting, palm tree climbing, and coconut cracking.
• Humpback whales migrate past the islands from July to November.
• Hawaiiki Nui Va‘a is an annual six-man canoeing race held in October.
• Tahiti Carnival takes place in October.

French Polynesia is predominately Christian, so those holidays are observed.

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

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. Local costs are relatively expensive given the luxury resort nature of the islands and that most goods need to be imported. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists on the islands most crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. French Polynesia is overall quite an expensive place to shoot but the locations are second to none. Our French Polynesian fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. France offers a 20% tax rebate (TRIP) for qualifying foreign features and TV productions shooting in French Polynesia. Tahiti Tourism is very supportive of visiting productions and has even been known to contribute to travel and accommodation expenses for productions that provide a tourism benefit.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. French Polynesia has a very small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Some basic key crew can be found in Tahiti.

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 French Polynesia.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

French is the official language. English is widely spoken.

Polynesians are the main ethnic group with French and Chinese looks also available for casting. All other looks need to be brought in from abroad.

French Polynesia Film Equipment

Equipment. French Polynesia has very little locally based camera, grip and lighting equipment. For productions looking to bring in film equipment, French Polynesia is an ATA carnet country.

Communications. Internet access is mainly limited to hotels on the main islands.

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 are very minimal.

Studios and Backlots don’t exist.

Post Production. None available locally.

Visas & Work Permits

Only certain countries need visas and there is no need for work permits. Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Western crews can enter visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. Contact your local French embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. French Polynesia has a good road and ferry infrastructure. Air Tahiti and Air Moorea offer inter-island flights. Tahiti Island is an hour flight to Bora Bora and half an hour by boat to Moorea. Internationally Faa’a International Airport on the island of Tahiti is regularly serviced by several carriers. Tahiti is an 8 hour flight from Los Angeles and 5 hours from New Zealand.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels include:

Bora Bora:
Bora Bora Nui Resort

InterContinenantal Thalasso
St. Regis Resort

Le Meridien


Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa

Sofitel Moorea Beach Resort

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. French Polynesia is a very safe place to shoot. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Bucket list stay at The Brando.

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 French Polynesia, please see below:

Hire French Polynesia Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in French Polynesia, 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.