Believe it or not but Fiji has much more to offer than a spectacular natural paradise. Avail its generous incentives and discover the benefits of filming in this island nation
Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is no stranger to being the perfect film location. An archipelago of more than 300 islands, it’s famed for rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons.
Fiji offers a variety of locations including the palm-lined white sand paradise island beaches of the Mamanuca Islands, surf breaks, coral reefs, lagoons, tropical islands, lush rainforests, pine forests, rolling hills, rivers, waterfalls, caves, unique rock formations, resorts, luxury villas and impressive colonial architecture.
Fiji offers a fantastic range of locations – from remote, tropical isles and thick lush jungles, grasslands, sand dunes to bustling towns, cities, pubs etc. The diversity in the genres of films produced here recently proves that Fiji can be used for worldwide settings.
Having an established history of filmmaking, production companies are using Fiji for its natural beauty but they have used it for its urban centres as well. Fiji has hosted Hollywood films such as The BlueLagoon and Cast Away along with many Indian films.
Most people are unaware that Fiji has vistas of metropolitan cities, colonial towns, and so much more. It has doubled for locations such as New York, Borneo and many others. With British colonial buildings that have stood still in time, Fiji also has large sand dunes, a location that can be used as a desert. Fiji also has some locations which are truly unique. The 180th Meridian crosses one of the many islands in the Fiji group, Taveuni, which means that half the island is today and the other half, yesterday.
Location permits are required for filming at any public locations in Fiji. Citywide permits are possible. Permits not requiring exclusive use of property are quick and easy to obtain. Most public locations are free. Allow at least 7 days for permit for locations that require street closures, builds or other exclusive use of public space. Allow at least 14 days for permit for aerial shoots or filming in national parks.
When to shoot?
Fiji offers year-round long, sunny shoot days. November to April is the summer wet season which can be humid and very hot. During this time, the water is at its warmest and the sea is calm. May to October is the winter, dry season and a good time to film if you’re looking for best underwater visibility and the largest surf breaks. The in-between periods of April/May and October/November are the best months to film for pleasant tropical island conditions.
Fiji has some standard grip, lighting and camera equipment available locally including RED cameras, jibs, and larger lights. Fiji does not charge a duty on productions bringing in their own equipment. Fiji is not an ATA carnet country. Fijian fixer/service producers can arrange hassle-free customs clearance.
Fiji offers a very generous rebate of 47 per cent on qualifying production expenditure. The rebate is available for feature films, TV series and even commercial projects. By international standards, minimal spend requirements are very low and qualifying spend includes a wide variety of line items. Fiji also has a very generous rebate program that a wide variety of projects may be eligible for.
Qualifying Fiji Production Expenditure (QFPE)
QFPE includes local spend and other special inclusions, which are:
Air Fare: Return air fares for all foreign cast and crew will be QFPE only for travel on Fiji Airways. If foreign cast and crew are travelling on any aircraft not operated by Fiji Airways, then 15 per cent of the expenditure incurred on those return air fares will be QFPE
Insurance: Insurance premium paid for the purpose of the production in Fiji will be QFPE if insurance is purchased from a local insurance company in Fiji
Locations scouting visit: Expenses incurred in Fiji on goods and services while on the final locations survey is QFPE
Costumes, make-up and set design: 75 per cent of expenditure incurred on purchasing of costumes, make-up and set design properties not available in Fiji that will be used in relation to the film production will be QFPE if the said properties are left in Fiji at the end of production.
Post-production allowance: Post-production allowances will be QFPE and varies according to the budget of the film: $75,000 if budget up to $3m / $100,000 if budget up to $5m / $150,000 if budget up to $7m/$200,000 if budget up to $10m/$250,000 if budget more than $10m – all Fiji dollars
Producer’s fees: Expenses incurred for services by the producer will be QFPE but it will not exceed 10% of the total production expenditure on goods and services purchased in Fiji
Writer’s fee: Expenses incurred for services by the writer will be QFPE provided that the rights are registered in Fiji
Hiring of Cameras and Filming Equipment: Cost of hiring cameras and filming equipment from outside Fiji will be QFPE provided that such cameras and filming equipments are not available in Fiji
Raw Stock: Cost of raw stock will be QFPE if supplied by a local company
Foreign Cast: Salaries for services rendered in Fiji by foreign cast will be QFPE but it will not exceed 20 per cent of total QFPE claimed
There is no minimum percentage of the film that needs to be shot in Fiji. However, there needs to be a minimum QFPE of FJ$250,000 for large-format films, feature films, short films and television shows, and FJ$50,000 for television commercials. The maximum allowable tax rebate is FJ$28.2 million.