Filming Abroad While Facing Emerging Challenges

By John Hamby, Managing Director & National Entertainment Practice Leader

Filming Abroad While Facing Emerging Challenges

Filming abroad has been, and continues to be, a popular choice for filmmakers. The decision to film a movie or television series abroad is based on a number of factors, including location setting, labor costs, and tax laws, relative to incentives and/or rebates. However, the landscape for filming in foreign locations has become more complex than ever before due to the pandemic, environmental concerns, and major geopolitical shifts.

Rising Challenges Abroad

  • Pandemic Regulations: COVID-19 had an immediate effect on projects being filmed outside the United States. Productions were shelved or entirely shut down, and each individual country’s response to the pandemic dictated the future of productions. Each Government has different rules and regulations for expats or 3rd country nationals working or residing in their country. As vaccines began to roll out and productions started up again, production crews faced steep learning curves when adapting to each country’s unique regulations. COVID related mandates continue to evolve.

  • Country-Specific Insurance Policies: This same country-to-country dynamic applies to insurance. While some productions shooting abroad are adequately covered by insurance policies from the United States, many countries make locally based insurance policies mandatory for visiting production companies. Depending on the country, productions may be required to purchase local insurance abroad or combine international coverage with U.S.-based production insurance.

  • Climate Challenges: Severe weather events can also be significant barriers to filming both in the U.S. and abroad. Some region-specific events can be planned for in advance, which can present insurance coverage challenges. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the proposed locale and ensure plans are in place to deal with environmental factors.

  • Geopolitical Shifts: Additional challenges arise from major geopolitical shifts from warring countries. Locations abroad once used frequently are now under threat of political instability/militant action and may no longer be viable options. Countries neighboring these zones, in turn, have higher potential risks.

Navigating Risks and Staying Ahead

Mitigating the risks involved with filming abroad requires early planning and full transparency. Meeting with your broker/risk advisor well in advance of filming with all the necessary information about the shoot is the best way to stay ahead of both known and unexpected challenges. Conversations should prioritize locations and casting, as well as plans for stunts and special effects, to explore comprehensive and tailored coverage options appropriate for all locations involved in the production.

Risk Strategies brokers specialize in production insurance, travel accident/illness, political risk, cyber, aircraft insurance and more. We can help identify obstacles and provide a safety net for the entire filmmaking process, ensuring a safe production for all.

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The contents of this article are for general informational purposes only and Risk Strategies Company makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information contained herein. Any recommendations contained herein are intended to provide insight based on currently available information for consideration and should be vetted against applicable legal and business needs before application to a specific client.