WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING IN IRAN
Iran, formerly known as Persia, is situated at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia, and the Arab states of the Middle East. This strategic position—and its access to the Persian Gulf in the south—have made Iran an important country throughout its history.
Iran has a variable climate. In the northwest, winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry and hot. In the south, winters are mild and the summers are very hot
Persian, known to its native Iranian speakers as Farsi, is the official language of modern-day Iran. Many Iranians are also schooled in second languages like English and French. Younger Iranians are particularly likely to speak English, and older generations are likely to have some French abilities, as it was the second official language of Iran until the 1950s.
The Iranian Rial is the official legal currency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US dollar and the euro are the best currencies to bring to Iran. They are widely accepted and exchanged. Iran is not an expensive country to travel to and film in.
The Cinema of Iran (Persian: سینمای ایران), also known as the Cinema of Persia, refers to the cinema and film industries in Iran which produce a variety of commercial films annually. Iranian art films have garnered international fame and now enjoy a global following.
Visas & Work Permits
A Press Visa is required to film in Iran. Local Iranian producer / fixer will require you provide them with a synopsis, passport details of travelling crew members, and other project information. 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.
Iran is a closed country so a patient approach and selecting a well-connected film fixer is essential. There is no clear 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 the police and municipality officials as well as any other relevant authorities. The Film Permit covers you for filming across the country.
Film locations of note include ancient cities, palaces, mosques, temples, museums, mausoleums, citadels, bazaars, snow-capped mountains, deserts, and coast. The Trans-Iranian Railway runs between the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea.
Agricultural crops of note include wheat, rice, barley, corn, cotton, saffron, pistachios, and date fields. Industrial film locations include oil and gas facilities. Energy locations include nuclear power plants, gas-fired power plants, and hydroelectric dams.
Film equipment import permits
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. Iranian producers / fixers 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.
Local crew and film gear
Local film crew and film equipment is available. Local film fixers can assist you by share rates card and film crew CV’s. It is however advised that all HOD’s be brought in from your country of origin.