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French Connection

Réunion is a French island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and south-west of Mauritius. The volcanic island is best known for its otherworldly mountains, valleys, forests, lagoons and waterfalls. There are also some nice beaches on the western side of the island.

Locations of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers include the highest point on the island, Piton des Neiges, lava cliffs and deep canyons. Réunion offers an incredible range of filming locations, from tropical black sand surf beaches to white sand beaches with coral reefs and lagoons.

The south-east region comprises several extinct volcanoes and one that is still very much alive is called the Piton de la Fournaise. In terms of architecture, Réunion offers a variety ranging from French colonial, Creole and modern villas. Roland-Garros Airport is newly renovated and available for filming. Saint-Denis is the capital and main entry point to Réunion.

Numerous cascading river locations and waterfalls creating natural pools wind their way down from Piton des Neiges. This dramatic scenery of Alpine peaks, cliffs, gorges and valleys offers a vast choice of locations as well as exceptional road locations for filmmakers. Réunion filming permits are quickly processed with public locations free of charge.

Réunion offers an endless variety of accessible landscapes available and 40 per cent of the surface area has World Heritage status, and Réunion offers a wide variety of easily accessible sets across as well. Volcanoes, deserts of red sand, tropical forests, waterfalls, caves, authentic villages, plains, beaches, underwater settings, natural amphitheatres, mountain peaks, Creole heritage, cloud forests, subtropical rainforests and moorlands, form a mosaic of ecosystems and remarkable landscape features. This array of natural scenery enables filmmakers to double this little island as any country and even Mars or the moon.

When to shoot?

Réunion has a tropical climate. Summer (December to April) is hot and can experience heavy rainfalls. Winter (April to October) is cool and dry and this is the best time of the year to shoot there. The mountainous interior can get very cold and has even reported snow.

The Leu Tempo Festival (May) is the largest arts event in Réunion. Bastille Day (July) and Diwali (November) are also celebrated. The Grand Raid is a gruelling 67km race across the mountainous interior of the island, which takes place in October.

Tax Incentives

Réunion is a department of France, so setting up a co-production with a French partner may allow you to qualify for France’s tax rebate for international production. Since 2009, Réunion has been treated like any other part of France. The TRIP (Tax Rebate for International Production) comprises 20 per cent of the film expenses incurred in France and caps at €4 million per project. The TRIP is given to the French company managing the production in France on behalf of the foreign producer. Réunion benefits from co-production agreements between France and India.

  1. The tax credit can reach up to 20 per cent of:
  2. salaries and wages of Reunionese, French or European writers and performers, as well as their related social security costs
  3. salaries and wages of Reunionese, French or European employees, as well as their related social security costs
  4. expenses related to the use of technical industries
  5. spending on transportation and catering
  6. depreciation costs

Réunion Island Film Commission

The Regional Council and the French government have entrusted the Agence Filme Réunion with the implementation of a policy to provide support to cinema, audio-visual projects and new media. The agency offers its services free of charge, including:

  1. Informing about shooting and post-production facilities
  2. Accompanying in requests for funding, from the moment applications have been submitted to the committee
  3. Helping in finding technicians, actors and extras
  4. Looking for decors and assisting location scouts
  5. Providing logistics support and ensuring the liaison with tourism professionals for accommodation, air transport, production offices, car rental etc.
  6. Assistance in obtaining permits for filming, ATA Carnet, temporary work permits for international co-productions.
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