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

Filming in Qatar

For an introduction to shooting in Qatar 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.

Qatar Film Locations

Qatar is an Arab nation located on a peninsular in the Persian Gulf. It is known for its landscape of desert, dunes and beaches, as well as the ultra-modern city of Doha.

Given the predominately desert landscape, agricultural film locations are limited to date palm plantations and sheep, goat, and camel livestock farming. Traditional fishing boats (dhows) are available for filming. Industrial locations include extensive oil and gas facilities.

McMafia (2018-) filmed in part in Qatar.

Film locations can be divided into the following municipalities: Al Shamal, Al Khor, Al-Shahaniya, Umm Salal, Al Daayen, Ad Dawhah, Al Rayyan, and Al Wakrah.

Doha is the capital, the largest city, and Qatar’s production service centre. The city is known for its futuristic towering skyline. Filmmakers can get great shots of this skyline from the Corniche, a waterfront palm-fringed boulevard. Doha film locations of note include the Museum of Islamic Art designed by I. M. Pei, National Museum of Qatar designed by Jean Nouvel, Katara Cultural Village, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar National Library designed by Rem Koolhaas, Qatar Science and Technology Park, Hamad International Airport, Souq Waqif, Imam Muhammad bin Abdulwahhab Mosque, Aspire Park, Dubai Towers, and Tornado Tower. Education City is home to educational facilities including satellite campuses of international universities as well as Qatar National Convention Centre designed by Arata Isozaki. Pearl-Qatar is a manmade luxury island. Banana Island is a luxury island resort. Al Wukair Scrapyard is an arid desert scrapyard home to all manner of dumped vehicles.

Qatar is home to modern sporting complexes including the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha Golf Club, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, and Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack. Several impressive stadium facilities were built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup including Lusail Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Rayyan Stadium, Khalifa International Stadium, Education City Stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, and Al Thumama Stadium. Khalifa International Stadium hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and 2019 World Athletics Championships.

Heading out of Doha, there are several film locations of interest. Zubarah Fort, Barzan Tower, and Al Wajbah Fort are historic locations. Film City is a movie set of a traditional Arabic village. Al Jumail is an abandoned fishing village. Al Wakrah is known for its harbour full of traditional dhows.

Qatar also has several impressive nature locations. Khor Al Udeid is an area of desert dunes that becomes an inland sea when the tide comes in. The Qatari desert is home to Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East, a set of four standing steel plates rising out of the sands. As a peninsula, much of the country is coastline, so there are plenty of beautiful remote beaches such as Umm Bab Beach, Dukhan Beach, and Fuwairit Beach. Al Thakira Mangroves Forest is a beautiful location. Dhal Al Misfir Cave is another film location of note.

Qatar Film Location Permits

Permits for most public locations are free of charge. The permitting process can be slow in Qatar, so allow plenty of lead time. Usually it can take anywhere from 3 – 15 days, but more complicated shoots involving road closures or pyrotechnics can take up to a month to permit. Of course, all can be expedited if need be. Drone filming is possible. Please contact us for location specific information.

Authorities may stop and ask you for your Film Permit (see Visas & Work Permits section) so make sure to have that on you when filming. 

When To Shoot?

Qatar’s climate is hot and dry all year round. Coastal areas are more humid than the interior. The summer from May to October is very hot and dry. Sand storms are common during this period. Winter from November to April is the best time to film in Qatar with temperatures in the bearable range. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Cultural events of interest include the Doha Cultural Festival held in March and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival held in October. Sporting events of interest include the Qatar Masters Golf Tournament and the Qatar Open Tennis Tournament, both being held in January. Qatar is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatar is a predominately Muslim country. Ramadan is widely observed with many services closed during this period. The large guest worker population are predominately Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists.

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

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. Qatar is one of the more expensive countries in the region. That said, it is still generally less expensive than shooting in Dubai. Some film infrastructure exists locally. Otherwise crew, equipment and brought in from abroad will add to the cost of shooting. Our Qatari fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. The Doha Film Institute has a grant program for short and feature-length projects, subject to eligibility criteria.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Qatar has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Some key crew are based locally but visiting productions will often bring in their key crew. Dubai is the closest major production centre should you need to look further.

Contact us if you are looking for a Doha 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 for your shoot in Qatar.

Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable.

Arabic is the official language. English is also widely spoken.

The indigenous Qatari population, an Arab people, are a minority in Qatar. The vast majority of people are foreign national guest workers, particularly from South Asia, South East Asia, and the Middle East. Qatar is one of the more conservative countries in the region so certain talent, such as locally based Arabic female models, are harder to come by. Nearby production centres such as Dubai offer additional casting options.

Qatar Film Equipment

Equipment. Qatar has some grip, lighting and camera equipment available locally. More specialised film equipment needs to be brought in from abroad.

For productions intending to bring in equipment Qatar is not an ATA carnet country.

Our Qatari film fixer / service producer will apply for an Equipment Permit so you can bring in your gear. This application needs to include:

• Your approved Film Permit (see Visas & Work Permits section)
• Key crew names and passport information page copies
• Your gear list
• E-ticket flight details for the arriving crew handling equipment

The process usually takes up to 5 days after you have your approved Film Permit.

Communications. 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 basic beyond local looks.

Studios. Most are owned by local TV stations.

Post Production. Some basic facilities exist locally. Best to post abroad for more complex projects.

Visas & Work Permits

Visiting crews are required to have a Film Permit from the QNA. The application must be made through a locally registered fixer / production service company. To apply for the permit, our Qatari fixer / service producer will need to submit your:

• Client and product details
• Project synopsis / boards / script
• Key crew names and passport information page copies
• No Objection Letter from Client / Agency
• List of shooting locations – both public and private
• Dates and times
• Payment upfront for permit processing fee

The process usually takes about 20 working days but rush projects may be expedited at extra cost.

Allow extra time for permitting during the month of Ramadan.

Crews from Western countries can apply for a visa on arrival which is valid for 30 days.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Highways and roads in Doha are new and well maintained. If heading off-road our fixer can organise safe and reliable 4WD transport. Fuel in Qatar is very inexpensive. Note, you must have a Qatari driving license to drive in Qatar. Several international airlines service flights to Doha.

Accommodation. Doha has several good film friendly hotel options, with most located on the beach. Please contact us for recommendations. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. Qatar is one of the safest countries in the region. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Explore the architectural wonders of Doha.

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 Qatar, please see below:

Hire Qatar Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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