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Palau

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

Filming in Palau

For an introduction to shooting in Palau 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.

Palau Film Locations

Geographically, Palau is part of Micronesia. Located to the east of the Philippines, Palau is made up of over 340 islands. It is best known for its pristine, tropical locations such as white sand beaches, turquoise waters, coral atolls, surf spots, lush waterfalls, dense jungles, and traditional Palauan bais. The country is a popular destination for aerial and underwater photography.

The Palau National Marine Sanctuary is a protected area covering an region twice the size of Mexico. The country is home to the world’s first shark sanctuary, with all commercial shark fishing banned in its territorial waters.

Tourism is the economic mainstay. Agricultural locations include plantations of coconuts, bananas, taro, and betel nuts. Fishing boats are available for filming.

The creation sequence of The Tree of Life (2011) filmed in Palau. Survivor (2005) was filmed on Koror Island.

Palau is divided into the following states: Aimeliik, Airai, Angaur, Hatohobei, Kayangel, Koror, Melekeok, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngatpang, Ngchesar, Ngeremlengui, Ngiwal, Peleliu, and Sonsorol.

From north to south, film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Babeldaob

Located in the north, Babeldaob is the largest Island.

Ngerulmud is the capital. It is one of the least populated capitals in the world. The Capitol of Palau building is designed based on the US Capitol building.

The Badrulchau Stone Monoliths are located at the far north end of the island.

Ngardmau Waterfall and Ngatpang Waterfall are located on Babeldaob.

Roman Tmetuchl International Airport is available for filming.

Kayangel Atoll is located in the far north.

West Passage, Melekeok, and Ngardmau Channel are surf locations.

Koror

Koror is the largest population centre. Film locations of note include the Belau National Museum, and Etpison Museum. Malakal Harbor is the main shipping port on on Malakal Island.

Rock Islands

The Rock Islands of Palau are made up of almost 300 uninhabited paradise limestone islands known for their dense forests, white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. The islands are famous underwater and aerial filming locations.

Of note, Jellyfish Lake is a marine lake located on Eil Malk island.

Other underwater film locations of note include Blue Corner, German Channel, Big Drop Off, Chandelier Cave, and Ulong Channel. WWII wreck dives include the Jake Seaplane, Amatsu Maru, Iro Maru, and Chuyo Maru.

Peleliu

The island is home to forests and rocky caves.

The Thousand Man Cave is a WWII site.

White Beach and Bloody Beach are known for coral reefs.

Peleliu Wall, a reef with a drop of around 300m, is home to sharks, sea turtles and a diversity of marine life.

Angaur

Santa Maria Angaur is a surfing location.

Sonsorol Islands

The Sonsorol Islands are the southernmost region.

Palau Film Location Permits

Palau is made up of 16 different administrative regions so permission to film often needs to be negotiated on the local level. Locations of cultural significance require permission from local clans. Locking off public locations and filming on streets requires permission from local authorities and police. Larger-footprint projects and shoots that involve filming in protected sites may require several levels of permitting. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Palau offers long shoot days all year round. The climate is hot and humid, with a wet Typhoon season running from July to October. Palau is located outside of the typhoon zone. The dry season runs from September to June with March to April the driest months. December through to April are generally the best time for underwater filming conditions. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Palau is predominately Christian country, so those holidays are observed. There is also a minority practising Modekngei which is a combination of Christianity, traditional Palauan religion, and fortune telling. A smaller minority practise Islam.

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

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. Palau trades in the USD. Crew, talent and location costs are very competitive. Some imported goods can be expensive given Palau’s remote location. Our Palauan 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 feature films or commercials shooting in Palau.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Palau has a very small pool of local directors, videographers (including underwater) and stills photographers. There is also a small but good pool of local crew experienced in servicing international productions including gaffers, grips and camera operators.

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 Palau.

Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Day rates are very reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis.

  • Palauan and English are the official languages.

Most Palauans are a mix of Micronesian, Melanesian, and Austronesian descent. There is also a sizeable community of Asian talent primarily consisting of Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese people. All other talent looks are best cast abroad.

Palau Film Equipment

Equipment. Palau has all the standard equipment available locally including lights (5K lights), grip (28ft crane with remote head), and camera (Sony, RED, underwater housing, camera drones, and helicopters). Gear can also be brought in on an ATA carnet. Guam and Manila are the closest production centres to source gear.

Communication. Internet can be 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 is good for local looks only.

Set construction crews are inexpensive, plentiful, experienced and hard working.

Studios. Limited facilities exist.

Post Production. Best to post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Film crews are not required to have work permits. US passport holders can enter Palau without a visa for up to a year. Most other passport holders can get visas on arrival, valid for a period of up to 30 days.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. The main international entry point, Roman Tmetuchl International Airport is located in Airai, a short drive from the main town of Koror. Direct flights are available from Guam, Taipei, Manila, Seoul and Tokyo. Once you’re in Palau the islands of Koror, Babeldaob, and Malakal are connected by paved roads. Otherwise most other islands do not have roads. Given that the islands cover a relatively small area getting to other islands can be done without excessive travel. Some of the smaller islands have airstrips. Otherwise travel by boat is a good option.

Accommodation. Palau has a range of film-friendly hotel and live aboard charter boat options.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Take a couple of days to explore the magnificent underwater locations. Local dishes of note include tinola soup, ulkoy, halo halo, ukaeb, and fruit bat soup which is a local delicacy made with small fruit bats.

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 Palau, please see below:

Hire Palau Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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