When Filming in the Maldives

WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING IN THE MALDIVES

Nestled southwest of Sri Lanka and India, Maldives is an archipelagic nation located in the Indian Ocean and also the smallest country in Asia. This island nation is unique in its geography and topography, with over 26 naturally-formed atolls, 200 locally inhabited islands and thousands of other coral islands and sandbanks.

The best time to film in the Maldives is from November to April. The island nation is warm and sunny year-round, but consists of a dry season and a wet, rainy season. The rainy season in the Maldives runs from early May through mid-December, with the Southwest Monsoon season (in the southern atolls) officially being in July and August.

While Dhivehi is the national language of the Maldives, English is widely spoken. French, German, Russian, Italian and Chinese are also frequently used at the resorts.

The Maldivian Rufiyaa (Rf) is the currency of Maldives (Maldive Islands). The bst currency to take to the Maldives is either the Euro or the Dollar.

Although there are no specific tax incentives for filming in the Maldives, the tourism ministry is open to assisting visiting productions in cash or kind.

The Maldives is a safe place to film in.

The Maldives are a Muslim country. Alcohol can be consumed in resorts but it is not sold or permitted to be consumed outside of resort areas. If you plan to film on local islands, it’s possible to shoot bikini wear, but once you’re in more populated areas, more modest attire is recommended.

WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT LOCAL TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION IN THE MALDIVES

Getting around the many atolls in Maldives is a great experience and is highly recommended to get a bit of variety in your trip. You can either charter a seaplane or helicopter for the quickest and most spectacular way to travel, though this can be costly. Another option is taking a traditional Maldivian boat called dhoni to travel between nearby islands, or use a speedboat or a public ferry though the frequency is a little unpredictable. The Maldives have 4 international airports with Malé’s Velana International Airport being the main entry point by air. Roads in Malé and on the airport island are well-maintained, as are roads at the resorts. Beyond that there are few or no roads on the hundreds of smaller islands.

Film friendly hotels in the Maldives include:

Cocoa Island Resort
Constance Moofushi Resort
Soneva Gili Resort & Spa
Baros Maldives

WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM LOCATIONS IN THE MALDIVES

The Maldives consists of approximately 1,196 coral islands, famous for their paradise island locations of tranquil turquoise blue waters, white sand beaches, coral reefs, surf breaks, luxury resorts, over-the-water bungalows, and wild tropical greenery. Most of the islands are privately owned or are resorts.

Agricultural film locations includes small plantations of coconuts, bananas, breadfruit, papayas, and mangoes. Dhoni fishing boats are available for filming. Tourism is the economic mainstay.

Malé is the capital and main entry point by air. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Malé is known for its mosques and colourful buildings. Film locations of note include the Friday Mosque, National Museum, Republic Square, Mulee’aage, Tsunami Monument, Sinamalé Bridge, and Malé fish market. Most productions only transit through Malé on their way to the luxury resorts and paradise island locations the Maldives are famous for.

Some noteworthy paradise islands and atolls include Alimatha, Amilla Fushi, Anbaraa, Baa, Baros, Bathala, Biyadhoo, Bodu Mora, Cocoa, Dhigu, Fihalhohi, Finolhu Kanifushi, Fulhadhoo, Gan, Hadahaa, Halaveli, Hulhumale, Kanifushi, Kihaad, Kihavah Huravalhi, Komandoo, Kuramathi, Laamu, Landaa Giraavaru, Lankanfushi, Maafushi, Meeru, Mirihi, Nalaguraidhoo, Omadhoo, Reethi Rah, Sun, Thulusdhoo, Ukulhas, Vaadhoo, Vabbinfaru, Veligandu, Villingili, to name only a few.

WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM PERMITS ,VISAS AND WORK PERMITS WHEN FILMING IN THE MALDIVES

Visas & Work Permits

International film crews worldwide can obtain tourist visas on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. Local film fixers recommend that international film producers apply for business visas as that’s technically the government requirement for a National Centre for the Arts Film Permit, which you will need to film on the islands.

Film & Location Permits for Maldives

International producers and production companies require a permit to film on the island from The National Centre for the Arts. The local film fixers require your company details, passports information pages of arriving crew, shoot dates, type of shoot, locations you will film in.  The permit takes about 7 days to process. Always carry the permit with you while filming. Permission to film on any privately owned locations, like luxury resorts, needs to be arranged directly with those locations.

WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM CREWS, EQUIPMENT AND TALENT IN THE MALDIVES

The Maldives have a very small pool of local crew. Crew can also be brought in from India.

Film gear can be sourced locally and anything not available in country can be brought in from India or Sri Lanka. 

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

Local model and casting agencies exist but the local talent community is small, so it’s best to cast foreign looks abroad. The largest ethnic group are the Dhivehis, an Indo-Aryan people. Dhivehi is the official language. English is widely spoken.