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Iran

Iran 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 Iran? 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 Iran? See below for an introduction to Iran 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.

Iran Film Locations

Iran has a long, rich history and an impressive variety of locations to film your next project.

Pasolini filmed Arabian Nights (1974) in Iran. Baraka (1992) also filmed in Iran.

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Tehran

Tehran is a megacity, Iran’s capital and main production centre. Locations of note include Golestan Palace, Azadi Tower, Tehran Grand Bazaar, Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque at Tajrish Square, Milad Tower, Park-e Jamshidieh, Pol-e-Tabiat (Nature Bridge), and the beautiful modern Vali-e-asr Mosque. Museums of interest include the National Museum of Iran, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Ancient Iran, Islamic Revolution & Holy Defense Museum, Museum of the Qasr Prison, and The Den of Espionage located at the former US Embassy site.

Dizin, Shemshak, and Tochal in the Alborz Mountains are ski resorts near Tehran. The resorts are all over 3000m above sea level, so temperatures are cold and the ski season runs as long as October to June.

Other locations outside of Tehran include the Badab-e Surt limestone terraces, Caspian Sea beaches, Golestān National Park, Kharraqan Towers in Qazvin, Kangelo Castle in Savadkuh, and Jamkaran Mosque in Qom. Wheat, barley, and rice are widely grown in this region.

Isfahan

The city of Isfahan is famous for Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Jameh Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Shah Mosque, and Chehel Sotun Palace. The city is also home to fairytale bridges over the Zayandeh River such as the Si-o-Seh Pol, Pol-e Khaju, Pol-e Shahrestan, and Pol-e Chubi. The Zoroastrian Ateshkadeh-ye (Isfahan Fire Temple) overlooks Isfahan.

Shiraz, famous for being the cradle of Persian civilisation and the wine it once produced, is home to several film locations of note including the Vakil Bazaar, Eram Garden, Mausoleum of Shah-e-Cheragh, Citadel of Karim Khan, Pink Mosque, Shiraz Grand Hotel, and Maharloo Lake. Haft Khan Restaurant is an interesting location to film and eat in. A short drive from Shiraz you can find the ancient ruins of Persepolis, Naqsh-e Rustam necropolis, and Pasargadae archaeological site.

The magnificent city of Kashan is known for Fin Garden, Tabātabāei House, Borujerdi House, Abbāsi House, Borujerdi House, Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, Noushabad Underground City, Agha Bozorg Mosque, Meydan Mosque, Mohammed Helal Shrine, and the Kashan Grand Bazaar.

Garmeh is a charming desert oasis village.

Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf is known for its underwater photography.

Tabriz

Located in northwestern Iran, the city of Tabriz is an important hub for Azeri culture. Film locations of note include the Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex, Mosque of Tabriz, and Famed Shahriar Poet Shrine.

Outside of Tabriz you can find the Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum in Ardabil, and the mountainside village of Masuleh in Gilan Province where houses have interconnected terraces. Lahijan is known for its tea plantations.

Kermanshah

Located in western Iran, film locations of note in the Kermanshah region include the ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil, Falak-ol-Aflak Castle, Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, and the Zagros Mountains.

Mashhad

Mashhad is the eastern region of Iran.

One of the oldest cities on earth, Yazd is the centre of Zoroastrian culture. The city is known for its labyrinth of winding alleys, hidden courtyards, ancient ruins, and rooftop cafes. Locations of note include the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, Amir Chakhmaq Mosque, Jameh Mosque, Dowlat Abad Garden, and Yazd Kahn Bazaar. A curiosity worth checking out is the Saheb Azalan Club Zurkhaneh. Just outside of Yazd you can find the Bafgh Desert and Narin Qal’eh mud-brick castle in Meybod.

The city of Kerman is known for the Ganjali Khan Complex, Jabalieh, and Ganjali Khan Bath. Kerman is the gateway to Bam Fortress, Rayen Fortress, Lut Desert, Shazdeh Mahan Garden, and Meymand troglodyte village.

Dasht-e Kavir (Great Salt Desert), is a large sandy desert lying in the middle of the Iranian plateau.

The eastern city of Mashhad is known for the Imam Reza Shrine, and Goharshad Mosque.

The Citadel of Furg is located in South Khorasan.

Iran Film Location Permits

Iran is a closed country so a patient approach and choosing a well connected fixer is essential. There is no clear, streamlined permitting process in place. Much of it depends on personal relationships and often permission is best applied for in person. Depending on the shoot specifics permission may be required from several government authorities. Once the Culture Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have approved your Filming Permit, the local fixer / producer will present this to police and municipality officials as well as any other relevant authorities. The Film Permit covers you for filming across the country. It is important the Film Permit be carried at all times as you can expect to be regularly stopped and questioned by authorities. In some cases a government minder may be required on set. Note, unauthorised filming and photography could result in serious criminal charges, including espionage, which carries the death penalty. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Iran’s climate is mostly arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast. Winters (December to March) are very cold and snowy in the northwest, but milder in the south. Summers (June to September) are dry and hot. Spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) are mild and the best seasons to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Iranian festivals and events centre around the Muslim calendar. Ashura is observed with events including everything from self-flagellation to worshipers covering their bodies in mud. Lailat Al Miraj takes place in February / March. Nowruz, the celebration of Iranian New Year, takes place in March. Shab e Cheleh (Yalda Festival) celebrates the longest night of the year in December. Chahar Shanbeh Soori (Festival of Fire) also takes place in December.

Ramadan is observed widely with many services closed during this period.

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

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Locations, local talent and supporting crew are inexpensive relative to costs in the US and Western Europe. In recent times Iran has experienced wild fluctuations in exchange rates so this is another important factor to consider when preparing to shoot in Iran. Our Iranian fixer 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 films shooting in Iran.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Iran has a small pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Iran has some experienced English speaking key crew.

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 Iran.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a personal level. Casting is done in-house. Iran offers mainly Persian looks with some other regional looks also available including Kurds, Gilakis, Mazandaranis, Lurs, Baluchis, Azeri, Turkmen and Qashqai. All other non-regional talent needs to be brought in from abroad.

Iran Film Equipment

Equipment. Iran has all of the standard camera, lighting and grip equipment including new HD cameras and a Technocrane. What they don’t have, they improvise. For larger projects it’s recommended to source gear in Iran. Local equipment is carried by several production companies and government run equipment companies.

For smaller projects it’s relatively easy to fly in your gear with you. Iran is accepting carnets however US restrictions do not allow a US-issued carnet for Iran. Our Iranian producer / fixer will provide you with a letter from the Culture Ministry which will include your imported gear list. This letter is to be presented at the port of entry to ensure ease of customs clearance.

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing. Some websites are blocked from access.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is relatively limited beyond local looks.

Studios. Most facilities belong to local TV stations. There are 4 or 5 good studio facilities available for visiting productions.

Backlots. Cinema Town of Radio & Television in Tehran is a backlot of olden day Tehran alleys, shops, buildings, historical buildings.

Post Production facilities exist including processing for 35mm film.

Visas & Work Permits

A Press Visa is required to film in Iran. Our Iranian producer / fixer will require you provide them with a synopsis, passport details of travelling crew members, and other project information. The application is made with the Ministry of Culture, who then pass on the application to the Foreign Ministry who then provide you and your local Iranian embassy with a “follow up code number” used to pick up your Press Visa. In terms of timing, it depends on the project specifics and nationalities travelling. Permitting times for US and UK citizens may take up to 3-4 months. Other citizens such as Germany or France usually only take 2-4 weeks. Projects of a politically sensitive nature may be rejected altogether.

Western passport holders travelling as tourists (excluding US passport holders) can obtain a visa on arrival. If travelling on a US passport you need to apply for a visa ahead of arrival. See here for more information.

Iran’s visa rules are subject to change on short notice, so be sure to check in with your closest Iranian embassy or representative for the latest. Filmmakers, photographers and journalists who expect to travel to the United States in the future ought to also bear in mind the possible repercussions of having an Iranian visa stamped in their passport.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Tehran traffic is some of the worst in the world, so make sure to allow plenty of time for location moves. Iran has an extensive network of roads and airports. Several international airlines service flights to Iran.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Tehran include:

Escan Hotel
Niloo Apartment Hotel
Melal Apartment Hotel

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. Iranian people are very hospitable and there is very little street crime in Iran. As long as you are not breaking any rules even the police will assist with helping make your shoot run smoothly. To avoid trouble with authorities it is essential to hire a well connected fixer and carry permission for filming with you at all times.

Down Time. Visit the Moslem Restaurant in Tehran Grand Bazaar.

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 Iran, please see below:

Hire Iran Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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