The Maldives are famed for their paradise island locations of tranquil turquoise blue waters, white sand beaches, coral reefs, surf breaks, luxury resorts, and wild tropical greenery.
Lying south-west of India, the Maldives consist of approximately 1,196 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. The highest point is only 2.4 metres above sea level.
Cost & Rebates
Overall the Maldives are quite an expensive place to shoot. The luxury resorts the country is famous for are pricey, particularly during the busy dry season when hotels are often sold out. Islands are spread out over vast distances so local travel can be expensive. The Maldives have no local agriculture so most food needs to be imported and is expensive as a result. Since only a small local film infrastructure exists most visiting productions bring in their own crew, equipment, and talent which adds considerably to travel costs.
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. Assistance is decided on a case by case basis.
When To Shoot
The temperature of the Maldives is hot throughout the year and although the humidity is relatively high, the constant sea breezes help to keep the air moving. December to April is the dry season. This is the best time to shoot for sunny weather. The rainy season runs between April and October, when strong winds can also be expected. November and April offer the best water visibility for underwater filming. June to August is the best time to film surfing.
Visiting crews from all nations can get tourist visas on arrival for stays of up to 30 days. You can usually arrive on a tourist visa, but it’s probably better to 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.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
The Maldives have a very small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew is best brought in from abroad. India and Sri Lanka are the closest larger film production service centres. Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Day rates are reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis. 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. Some local gear exists including RED cameras, SONY FS7, SONY A7III, Canon 5D MARKIV, DJI MAVIC 2 PRO, and a range of lighting and grip equipment. Underwater cameras and housing are best brought in from abroad. Most visiting crews choose to bring in their own equipment like cameras and lenses, and hire larger local equipment like larger lights. If you need additional gear quickly, Sri Lanka and India are popular places to source that.