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Film Location: Saint Helena

Written on May 19, 2016

Saint Helena. An End To Isolation.

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Located almost halfway between Africa and South America, it is one of the most isolated settlements on earth.

Until recently, the fastest way to get there was a five-day sail from Cape Town. An airport opened in April 2016 now gives visitors access from Johannesburg in 5 hours. Mobile phone services and internet are also now available on the island. Credit card options are limited so make sure to bring cash (GBP is accepted locally).

The end of St Helena’s isolation gives film crews a unique window of opportunity to shoot the island as it was, before tourism takes its affect, and the island changes forever.

Film Locations and Permits.

The coastal landscape is rugged and striking, with granite spires rising out of lush green pastures of the island’s interior.

Jamestown is a bright coloured English village wedged between a volcanic cleft.

St Helena’s buildings of note include Plantation House as well as Napoleon Bonaparte’s home, where he remained in exile after the Battle of Waterloo until his death.

Although St Helena is a British overseas territory, film location permits are arranged on the local level.

Getting in, film crews can enter on a Short Term Entry Permit, granted on arrival, for stays of up to 6 months.


Known for their friendliness and hospitality, “Saints” as the locals are known, number about 5000 people. They are descendents of British settlers, enslaved Africans and Indians, and Chinese labourers. Plenty of local characters can be found. English is the local language.

Saints of the non-human kind include a rich diversity of birdlife, 40 species of plants unknown anywhere else in the world, and St Helena’s oldest resident, a 187-year-old giant tortoise called Jonathon.

Production Service Support.

St Helena has no local film infrastructure so all crew and equipment needs to be brought in from abroad.

If you are looking for a local fixer to help you set up your shoot in St Helena, please contact us for referrals.

Images © St Helena Tourism.