Everything you need to know about filming in Bahrain.
Looking for film and video production services in Bahrain? Please contact us with briefs, requirements or questions. Continue reading for information and considerations, local services available and what to expect when filming in Bahrain.
Location: Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands with many waterfront locations and skylines. The majority of the urban land is located to the north of the Island. Unlike other Gulf states, it has a long and rich history meaning there are plenty of Arabian heritage sites and archaeological sites in close proximity to each other. These include many historical forts, burial mounds and the old city of Muharraq. Many old Bahraini houses in Manama and Muharraq have been preserved.
The Tree of Life is one of Bahrain’s most famous landmarks – a 400 year old tree in the middle of the desert with stunning backdrops.
Bahrain has invested and continues to invest heavily in transport infrastructure lending itself well to car commercials or fast paced corporate videos.
Like most of the other Gulf states, there is plenty of modern, futuristic architecture including the iconic World Trade Centre and the Four Seasons hotel as well as good locations for filming the Manama skyline. In the very southern tip of the Island is Durrat Al Bahrain, a luxury holiday home complex similar to Dubai’s The Palm.There are some natural beaches along the west of Bahrain as well as a number of smaller uninhabited islands such as Al Dar Islands, Jaradah etc.
Every year the country hosts the Bahrain Grand Prix which is Bahrain’s largest sporting event on a new custom built track. Filming can be arranged at the track.
Not sure if Bahrain offers the right setting for your production, contact us and we can help you with other referrals.
Weather. Bahrain is hot in the summer (April-September) with temperatures often reaching 50 degrees Celsius in July and August. The winter seasons (October-March) is mild. There is very little rain although the country does occasionally get rain storms. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Permits: Location permits can be tricky in Bahrain and may require time persistence and some local knowledge. Most permits for public locations are free of charge although some authorities do charge a fee for the permit. We’ve secured permits all over Bahrain and this shouldn’t be a barrier to successful productions. The Government of Bahrain has imposed a curfew on the waterways around Bahrain between 6pm and 4am.
Equipment: Bringing in your own equipment into the country requires immigration permits. Locally state of the art broadcast equipment and edit suites are available for hire. Gulf Broadcast can provide rental services for lighting equipment – KinoFlos, Lowel lights, Studio lights, tripods as well as sliders and Kessler Cranes. Broadcast cameras are also widely available for hire.
Talent & Casting: Talent in Bahrain in non-union. Bahrain is a multicultural society offering unique religious and ethnic talent that can easily help in your casting and talent requirements. Other local talents such as musicians, rappers, dancers and comedians are available in the country with several initiatives that help foster these talents.
Production Crew: Although the film industry is quite new to the kingdom, you will still be able to get a number of professional production crews who are both local and expatriates, freelancers or production houses who have experience in TVCs, short films and corporate video. Local directors with international experience are available.
Quality professional audio crew is hard to find on the island, but can be sourced from abroad if needed. Due to the lack of a central film hub/directory it might be difficult to find crew if you are not familiar with the country, but in general most production houses have channels on youtube or profiles on Facebook. For large productions, additional crew and more specialised crew can be brought from Dubai.
Set construction/ backlots: There are currently no backlots or studios in Bahrain. However with the abundance of open spaces around the island, some smaller scale sets can be constructed provided permits are given and all safety and security checks passed.
Post Production: there are several post production facilities and edit suites in local production houses. Bahrain also offers simple 2D animation talent, for more complex animations, it is best to outsource abroad. Motion graphics, special effects and green screens are readily available as well as locally sourced talent that is able to work on After Effects and other visual effects software.
Tax Incentives. None.
Communication: Bahrain has three independent telecom operators and several other internet service providers offering 4G mobile broadband speed. The cost is relatively cheap compared with Europe. Video conferencing facilities are also available on the island. Gulf Broadcast is able to supply local mobile phones and short distance walkie talkies for on-set communication.
Accommodation: luxury hotels, hostels and serviced apartments are easily arranged at corporate rates. Some hotels are more suited to crews with lots of equipment. Please contact us for any questions.
Visa and work permits: Bahrain is considered to have a more flexible visa policy among Gulf countries and is introducing new visa policies which will be fully implemented early 2015.
Travel. Bahrain is well served by regular, international flights and is accessible by land through the Saudi Causeway.
Have a question? Please contact us, we’d be happy to help.