WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING IN KUWAIT
Kuwait is a small emirate nestled between Iraq and Saudi Arabia in a section of one of the driest, least-hospitable deserts on Earth. Its shore, however, includes Kuwait Bay, a deep harbour on the Persian Gulf.
The climate is desert, tempered somewhat in the coastal regions by the warm waters of the gulf. If there is enough rainfall, the desert turns green from mid-March to the end of April. The summer (April to September) is extremely hot and dry. The shamal, a northwesterly wind common during June and July, causes dramatic sandstorms. The winter season (November to February) is cool with some precipitation. Winter is a far better time to film in Kuwait in terms of weather. For monthly weather statistics please se
Arabic is the official language of Kuwait, but English is widely spoken. It is used in business and is a compulsory second language in schools. Among the non-Kuwaiti population, many people speak Farsi, the official language of Iran, or Urdu, the official language of Pakistan.
The Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD) is the national currency of the State of Kuwait. Exchanging US dollars for KWD is a relatively simple process. If exchanging your cash money for Dinars, you can find competitive rates with local money changers, who will accept USD, British Pound Stirling, and Euros for exchange into the national currency. Additionally, credit cards are widely accepted in the country and there are ATMs connected to international networks found throughout the territory.
Kuwait is a flat, low-lying country known for its landscape of deserts, beaches, and uninhabited islands. It is a very small country where most locations can be reached within a one hour drive from the capital.
Much of Kuwait is covered in oil industry facilities. The Burgan Field is one of the largest oil fields in the world.
Film locations can be divided into the following governorates: Ahmadi, Al-Asimah, Farwaniya, Hawalli, Jahra, and Mubarak Al-Kabeer.
Kuwait City is the capital, the largest city, and main production centre. Boasting a modern skyline film locations of interest include the Grand Mosque, Bayan Palace, Sief Palace, Al Salam Palace, Kuwait Towers, Al Hamra Tower, Liberation Tower, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, Kuwait National Museum, Scientific Center, Souq Al-Mubarakiya, 360 Mall, and Avenues Mall. The House of Mirrors is an unusual film location. Al Shaheed Park offers impressive shots of the city skyline. The Mushroom Water Towers make for an interesting retro sci-fi location. Kuwait Entertainment City has a roller coaster. Flow House is a water park. The city also has an ice skating rink available for filming. Sulabiya is home to the world’s largest tire graveyard.
The 1990 Invasion of Kuwait and following Gulf War has several locations of interest including the Highway of Death, Al-Qurain Martyrs Museum, and Failaka Island war ruins. The retreating Iraqi army set fire to over 650 oil wells.
WHAT HOODLUM FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT PERMIT AND VISA REQUIREMENT WHEN FILMING IN KUWAIT
Film permits are required to shoot in public locations, and these take between 7 to 10 days. However, if it is a government location allow another week. Local Kuwaiti film fixer do these applications and require a synopsis of the project, details of the visiting crew, gear lists as well as a description of locations. For privately owned location the local film fixer will negotiate rates with the owners. Unsanctioned filming of government buildings, military installations, and oil-related infrastructure is illegal. Penalties may include arrest, fines, confiscation of equipment, and deportation.
A visa is required by all visitors to Kuwait, except GCC nationals, who have the right to enter and live in Kuwait without having to go through any particular formalities.
There are two basic types of visas which are a Visit Visa and a Residence Visa. For filming n Kuwait the visit visa applies.
There are several types of visit visas. The Kuwaiti embassies may issue a three-month visa, a six-month visa and multiple-entry visas, based on their applications.
A Visit Visa with validity period of 1 month, a Business Visa (validity of 6 months), Transit visa (validity of 1 week) and Tourist visa (valid for 3 months)
Business Visit Visa
In case you are visiting for a business purpose, you need to have a sponsor, or the hotel where you are staying can act as sponsor.
- Valid passport (an additional copy) with 6 months validity remaining
- Kuwait visit visa application with security form filled out by sponsor
- Kuwait sponsor or company
- Copy of visitor’s passport
- Copy of sponsor’s signature as registered for business purposes
- Copy of sponsor’s letter of invitation for the business, stating purpose of the visit
FILM EQUIPMENT IMPORT PERMITS
Kuwait is not an ATA carnet country. Local film fixers / producers can organise gear importation. It is complicated to bring equipment in particularly if the equipment is available in the country. A list of equipment must be supplied to the local film fixer who will get back to you with recommendations.
WHAT HOODLUM FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE TALENT WHEN FILMING IN KUWAIT
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Arabic is the official language. English is also widely spoken. The indigenous Kuwaiti population, an Arab people, are a minority in Kuwaiti. Indians and Egyptians are the largest expat communities. There is also a small minority of Caucasian and African looking talent. Kuwait is one of the more liberal countries in the region, allowing for more Arabic female talent options than one would find in more conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia or Qatar. All the same, it is best to ask permission first before taking photographs of people. Given that Kuwait is not a major film production centre, the professional talent pool is limited, so casting abroad may be required.
WHAT HOODLUM FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT TRANSPORT AND ACCOMMODATION WHEN FILMING IN KUWAIT
Roads are up to international standards. Kuwaiti film fixer / producer organises safe and reliable 4WD transport for desert driving. Several international airlines service flights to Kuwait City.
Film friendly hotels in Kuwait City include:
Crime levels in Kuwait are very low. The incidence of violent crimes against travellers is negligible..