Situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife.
Rich in bio-diversity, Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s plant and animal species including the iconic Baobab tree and several species of chameleon and lemur such as indri and sifaka lemurs. Madagascar is a natural wonderland for filmmakers and photographers offering national parks, tropical rainforests, tropical dry forests, thorn forests, deserts, xeric shrublands, white sand beaches, tropical islands, coral reefs, volcanic regions, mountains, and limestone formations.
Agricultural film locations include rice-growing valleys, banana, coffee, cacao, and vanilla plantations.
Madagascar has hosted film productions such as Naked and Afraid (2014), Island of Lemurs: Madagascar (2014), and Life (2009)
A much sought after film location for documentary filmmakers
Film Locations in Madagascar
Film locations can be divided by the following provinces:
The centrally located province of Antananarivo includes the regions of Analamanga, Bongolava, Itasy, and Vakinankaratra.
Known locally as Tana, Antananarivo is the capital and largest city. Film locations of note include the ruins of the Rova Palace Complex, Ambohimanga traditional fortified royal settlement, Andafiavaratra Palace, Ambohitsorohitra Palace, Analakely Market, and the French colonial architecture of the old Haute-Ville district.
The northern province of Antsiranana includes the regions of Diana and Sava.
Tsingy de Ankarana. Masoala National Park. Amber Mountain National Park.
The paradise islands of and Nosy Be and Nosy Tanikely.
The southeastern province of Fianarantsoa includes the regions of Atsimo-Atsinanana, Amoron’i Mania, Ihorombe, Haute Matsiatra, and Vatovavy-Fitovinany.
Ranomafana National Park, Midongy Du Sud, Isalo National Park, and Andringitra National Park. Kirindy Mitea National Park.
Sapphire Mines of Ilakaka.
The northwestern province of Mahajanga includes the regions of Betsiboka, Boeny, Melaky and Sofia.
Tsingy de Bemaraha.
Ankarafantsika National Park.
The eastern province of Toamasina includes the regions of Alaotra-Mangoro, Analanjirofo and Atsinanana.
Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
The paradise island of Ile Sainte Marie.
The southern province of Toliara includes the regions of Androy, Atsimo-Andrefana, Anosy, and Menabe.
Avenue of the Baobabs.
Ifaty fishing villages
Film Location Permits
A National Film Permit is required to film in Madagascar. It’s quite expensive but required to film in the country and to clear gear through customs. We highly advise you hire a local film fixer to lodge the application from within the country. Once all the documentation is submitted, you can even get the permit processed same day. Filming in national parks requires additional fees. Larger shoots requiring exclusive use of property can be quickly set up. In that respect, Madagascar has very little bureaucracy.
Madagascar has two seasons. November to April is hot, rainy and subject to cyclones. May to October is cool and dry. In terms of best time to film, the rainy season is better for animal activity but the dry season is better for weather.
Madagascar has vibrant festivals throughout the year including:
- Santabari Festival in April / May.
- Fisemana Festival in June.
- Famadihana from June – September.
- Donia Music Festival on Nosy Be Island in September.
Costs & Tax Incentives when filming in Madagascar.
Costs. Locations, local talent and support crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Malagasy film fixers / service producers will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
Tax Incentives for filming in Madagascar. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or feature films shooting in Madagascar.
Film Crew & Talent in Madagascar
Film crews. Madagascar has a very small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key film crew should be brought in from abroad.
Local director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver are sourced by local fixers and CV’s/showreels are available upon request.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Madagascans are a mix of Malayo-Indonesian, African and Arab ancestry. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.
Madagascar Film Equipment
Film equipment. Basic film cameras, grips and lighting gear is available locally. We advise you bring in your preferred equipment from abroad. A National Film Permit is required to bring gear in on a carnet.
Communications. Communication is key.
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 time zones 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 very basic.
Studios and backlots. None exist at present.
Post Production. Post abroad.
Visas & Work Permits for filming in Madagascar.
All visitors to Madagascar are required to have a visa. Visiting film crews are required to have authorisation from the Madagascan Ministry of Information, Culture and Communication. Entry visas can be obtained on arrival but to save time on arrival, you can also obtain a visa prior to departure from your closest Malagasy embassy.
Transport & Accommodation in Madagascar
Transportation Infrastructure. Several international airlines service flights to Madagascar. Considering the large size of the island and poor state of most roads, taking a local flight can save quite a lot of time. Our Malagasy fixer also organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation.
Accommodation. Film friendly hotels in Madagascar:
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. Most people agree that Madagascar is one of the safest countries in all of Africa. Compared to most of the world, it is a very safe place to travel. … Malaria IS a real danger, and it is recommended that you take propylaxis before, during, and after your trip.
Culture and tradition. Respect local traditions. Known as fady, Madagascar has a wide range of cultural taboos which vary by region. In most countries there’s at least one taboo. From forbidden foods to having to be barefoot, Madagascar has a lot to take into consideration, so don’t hesitate to ask your guide for tips before visiting any historical places. Ancient temples and palaces, sacred lakes, even whole villages can have their own taboos as a result of old myths or religious beliefs.