You/your company plan to come to Vietnam to film and there are lots of things you want to know before coming, such as: film permit, rules and regulations, common practices, expenses, locations...
Below FilmFixer will share about filming in Vietnam from our personal experiences working with many filming crews (from USA, UK, Canada, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany).
Filming In Vietnam - All About Making A Film In Vietnam And Film Fixer
1. Filming permit in Vietnam and film permit fee:
By law, all press activities need to be registered and monitored by Press authority in Vietnam:
2. Film officer and Film fixer:
Film officer (Film commissioner or government minder) is a guy from FPC (Film Production Company) who accompany the filming crew in the whole time of the filming trip. His presence is mandatory by law. He is assigned by FRC (The Financial Reporting Council) and his name is listed in film permit. FRC is an independent financial organization under Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The film officer’s roles are:
- Observe and manage the filming crew to film within the content they’ve registered to make sure that they don’t make a bad image or include wrong content about Vietnam.
- On filming site, film officer can tell you where you can film and where you can’t.
- Helping and supporting filming crew with local authorities. (Having film permit doesn’t mean that anywhere you go, you will be accommodated by local authorities and they would make it easy for you to film. Normally, there should be only 1 or 2 or 3 people of local authority are onsite.)
The film crew need to pay for his per diem, food, accommodation and transportation (separately with film permit).
You can’t choose film officer to work with (you also don’t know all of them to choose), but an experienced film fixer who have worked with lots of film officers will make things easier. Generally speaking, film officers are supportive if you do the right thing.
A film fixer provides available situations, service and utilities at site for filmmakers who wish to conduct filming abroad. They will take care of everything that a filmmaker need in the field, including: film permit, best location, transportation, talent, crews, equipment hire and accommodation…
In theory, the film crew can contact with film officer for help, but it’s only after you get the film permit and are assigned a film officer. Besides, the film officer cannot help you everything and you cannot tell film officer to run errands for you as well, but it’s possible for film fixer.
So, what’re roles of film fixer?
- Supporting with registration of film permit and drone permit (if any). Normally when you work with fixer, you need to work with fixer only, and fixer would work with FPC.
- Advising locations and sourcing contributors: A film fixer team does not only suggest a great location for film-makers, but also can help crew run through procedures smoothly by their knowledge and familiarity with every location. Furthermore, they are constantly in communication with the leading crew in a host of countries, including camera operators, gaffers, sound operators, hair and make-up, art directors, script supervisors, runners and many more.
- Translation for interview, arranging filming scenes, communicating with all related people.
- Suggesting accommodation and transportation: By the excellent knowledge about every location, a film fixer team will find the best deals possible at suitable hotels and make sure that your transport is convenient and reliable for the crews.
- Providing equipment for rent: The most modern and well maintained equipment can be provided by a fixer team because they have an affiliate network with equipment rental companies of course.
- For shooting or TV shows, reality shows, documentaries, social news stories, sports and entertainment events, game shows, video song and photo shoot...you submit application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
- For filming feature film or movies, you submit documents to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST).
- For flying a drone, you submit an application to the Ministry of National Defense.
When you apply for film permit, you need to provide information of: people who are coming, filming program and location, list of equipment, interview questions, publication and broadcasting plan …
Film permit fee:
Film permit fee is daily shooting fee. If you just plan to film only 15 minutes, you still need to pay for the whole day. Film permit fee doesn’t include drone permit fee and film officer fee. If you want to use drone, you need to pay for a separate fee.
3. Filming Equipment Rental in Vietnam
Vietnam has a wide range of state-of-the-art film equipment which is available for rent. Procedure for renting the filming equipment or anything else in Vietnam is quite clearly. The renter just need to prove the personal identification, sign a renting contract and leave some money as deposit according your contract.
4. Some famous filming locations in Vietnam
Ha Long Bay:
Ha Long Bay - one of the most fascinating, but very tourist sites throughout Vietnam. The biggest tourist attraction in Vietnam. About 2,000 mountainous islands, islets and karst formations creates a unique place in the whole world. This place was written in UNESCO World Heritage List. Here is one of famous filming locations in Kong: Skull Island (2017).
Ha Long Bay
Here is another famous filming location in Kong: Skull Island (2017).
The serrated landscape of Ninh Binh is a character in itself. Often referred to as “Ha Long Bay on Land” this cinematic sweep of verdant countryside is the home to countless limestone formations that spring out of the earth like a divine fortress. The rhythm of rolling hills and mountains is complemented by the graceful bends of the Ngo Dong River, which glistens a brilliant ochre hue in the sunlight.
Quang Binh - this place is known mainly through the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and the largest cave in the world - Son Doong Cave. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is written in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Phong Nha-Ke Bang is another famous filming location in Kong: Skull Island (2017).
Phong Nha - Ke Bang
The ancient capital of Hue city:
The ancient capital of Hue city is most important historical and cultural sight, occupies a prominent place in the middle of the city. It represents an excellent example of an eastern feudal city. Apart from this, there are numerous royal tombs, pagodas and temples inside and around the city, making it one of Vietnam’s most important cultural and historical centers. This is what got the attention of UNESCO who named the complex of Hue monuments a World Heritage Site in 1993.
Hoi An is a Yellow City of Vietnam. It's an extraordinary well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to 19th century. The building and street designs reflect the influences of both foreign and indigenous cultures. The result of this unique blend is an enchantingly beautiful heritage site. Hoi An is protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hoi An old city