South East Asia’s Most Popular Filming Destination
It’s clear why Thailand is a popular destination for international tourists and film makers alike. It’s a fascinating mix of east meets west, with glittering temples, dense jungles, diverse wildlife, stunning tropical islands and exotic beaches. All this contrasts with the bustling energy and cultural treasures of Bangkok, one of the world’s largest and most sprawling metropolis.
Thailand’s infrastructure is generally quite good, with efficient transport links, experienced, professional crews and modern equipment accessible. More than 700 international productions filmed in Thailand in 2015 and the number is rising. Thailand maintains the best protected national parks system in the region which means there is a surprisingly wide array of wildlife filming opportunities. and with a significant Lao, Khmer, Burmese, Malay and Chinese diaspora within the Kingdom, facilitating sets to represent the surrounding countries is relatively easy.
It is a legal requirement in Thailand for foreign film crews to obtain a filming permits issued by the The Thai Film Office . It is Thailand Film Office policy that foreign productions must appoint an independent, registered Thai based fixing services provider in order to process filming permits and the fixing services provider must accompany the shoot at all times when filming. Separate permits are required for specific locations such as national parks, historical parks or religious establishments that have their own administrations, your fixer arranges these too. You can download the film office permit application form here:
Permit Processing time frame:
The permit processing time frame depends upon the complexity of the shoot and the number of government agencies and other organizations involved. A straight forward shoot within a single province can usually be processed within ten days (however we strongly advise allowing longer). On the other hand, if a shoot that visits national parks, historical sites, religious sites or several different provinces which all require separate paperwork processing, the time frame will increase accordingly. With few exceptions its usually possible to obtain even the more complex permits within 6 weeks. We can advise on what’s required once we have some details on your shoot including rough filming schedule and locations.
Government Watcher: While filming, it is a requirement that foreign film crews are accompanied by a government watcher. A fee of 2000 baht per day is charged for this service + costs . In many cases the monitoring officer will only pop in from time to time, however watcher fees are charged in advance and are non-refundable. On large shoots with multiple camera teams, the government may require that multiple watchers attend.
Productions with a schedule of less than 15 shooting days, can have their crew arrive on a normal tourist visa. We will coordinate with the Labor department to process documentation so that they can legally work for no more than 15 days within Thailand.
Productions filming for over 15 days must obtain an appropriate visa in advance from the Thai Consular in their country prior to arriving in Thailand. We will furnish the production with the filming permit and other documents which will ensure the appropriate visa can be issued from the Thai Consular.
Note: Thailand has very stringent laws when it comes to defaming its royalty or national institutions, so it’s advisable to avoid any of this in your script or you’ll run the risk of your application getting turned down.
(original and 25 copies of each printed by your fixer)
1. A letter made by the assigned local coordinator, informing the Director-General of the Office of Tourism Development of the purpose of applying for a shooting permit.
2. An assignment letter made by the foreign filmmaker, indicating the local coordinator that they have hired.
3. An application form.
4. Supporting documents needed for permit consideration:
- A treatment
- Final script
5. A schedule of filming in Thailand informed period of filming and locations.
6. Name list, passport numbers, positions and arrival dates of foreign film crews.
After the completed documents are submitted to the Thailand Film Office. It will take at least 10 working days to grant a shooting permit as script approval must be sought from the Film Board.
Film Permit Processing Costs
The complexity and work load of processing each permit varies depending upon the number of departments and parties involved and the complexity and scale of the shoot. Therefore it’s only possible to provide an accurate permit processing estimate once some details on the shoot specifics have been provided. Feel free to send through some basic details on your shoot including: A brief Description of the program with a rough filming schedule noting the filming locations and size of crew. With this information in hand we’re able to come back quickly with a permit processing estimate.