Filmmakers from across the globe are increasingly flocking to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), drawn by its burgeoning status as a thriving hub. Boasting advanced infrastructure, a varied topography, and cutting-edge amenities, the UAE presents an unparalleled setting for a wide array of cinematic ventures.
The UAE captures the imagination of filmmakers with its exceptional blend of contemporary allure and historical enchantment. Dubai's avant-garde skyline, Abu Dhabi's enduring charisma, and the breathtaking natural vistas of its deserts and mountains provide an extensive range of captivating backdrops. Regardless of their creative vision, the UAE caters to the diverse needs of local and international film productions, making it an ideal choice for aspiring filmmakers worldwide.
Let’s see the top 10 filming locations that make filmmakers gasp!
But, first things first, there’s a little something you should have in mind…
UAE Film Permit – A Must Have
To ensure compliance with the legal requirements for filming in Dubai, your film crew needs to possess the necessary permits — and not having the proper ones can lead to financial penalties! Equally vital is equipping your team with the knowledge of obtaining filming permits. The following steps should be followed:
- Initiate the permit application process at least one week before your scheduled shoot date
- Submit all relevant documentation, such as storyboards and scripts, along with your application
- Provide comprehensive details about the content and nature of your film
- Once your application is approved, you will receive a location permit specifying the authorised filming areas
- It is crucial to strictly adhere to the approved locations, as certain places may have restrictions based on religious or cultural grounds
Another important consideration is determining the type of film permits required. There are two categories — temporary and permanent, valid anywhere from days to months. Engaging in unauthorised filming activities in public areas without explicit permission from the authorities is illegal.
To obtain your filming permit, there are a few additional things you need to pay attention to and take care of along the way, preferably before receiving permit approval!
First, let’s see why you’d want to go for the filming permit in the first place — here are the 10 locations in the UAE that will leave you inspired for your next motion picture!
The thrilling race sequence in the Bollywood film Race takes a winding path through the majestic mountain. Jebel Hafeet offers breathtaking landscapes and stunning vistas. The rugged mountains, winding roads, and panoramic views provide a unique backdrop for various film genres, including adventure, drama, and romance. To add to the natural beauty, Al Ain has traditional Arabian architecture and historical landmarks like Al Jahili Fort, which can add depth and character to period pieces or stories with a cultural backdrop — perfect for your next historical classic!
In a heart-pounding moment of cinematic adrenaline, Vin Diesel defies gravity as he hurls an Emirati supercar, the awe-inspiring Lykan HyperSport, from the dizzying height of the 45th floor. This daring act unfolds against the backdrop of the five iconic towers, capturing the essence of audacious excitement.
The complex offers a mix of residential, commercial, and hotel spaces, providing a range of settings and atmospheres suitable for various film genres and storylines.
The international recognition and prominence of the Etihad Towers can lead to increased exposure and marketing opportunities for the film, especially if the location is prominently featured.
Once upon a time, the scenic landscapes of Tunisia played host to the filming of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, featuring the iconic trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. However, the shifting sands of the UAE beckoned, and the production team made their way to the mesmerising desert vistas for the grand finale of 2015.
The Liwa Desert offers an expansive and unobstructed desert landscape, allowing filmmakers to capture wide shots and epic scenes without modern structures or distractions.
The desert's unique sand dunes, some reaching heights of up to 100 metres, create a dramatic and visually stunning setting for action sequences and visually striking shots. This desert offers opportunities for team-building activities and relaxation during breaks, enhancing the overall filming experience for the cast and crew.
Prepare to be dazzled as the vibrant souk sets the stage for a sparkling spectacle in the Bollywood blockbuster Welcome Back, starring the dynamic duo of Anil Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia. Amidst the bustling streets, a mesmerising jewellery store takes centre stage, adding a touch of glamour and allure to the thrilling tale unfolding before your eyes. Get ready for a cinematic experience that will leave you breathless, as the glitz and glamour of Bollywood come alive in this unforgettable masterpiece.
The Gold Souk showcases Dubai's rich cultural heritage and the city's historical connection to trade and craftsmanship. Filming in this location allows filmmakers to incorporate these cultural elements into their narratives.
In a whirlwind of time-travel adventures in the movie Jumpers, keep an eye out for a fleeting moment featuring Hayden Christensen. Amidst the excitement, you'll catch a glimpse of a captivating movie poster showcasing the iconic Burj Al Arab, reminiscent of the incredible Birdman. While it's only a promotional teaser, it still manages to ignite the imagination and add a touch of coolness to the film's captivating storyline.
The hotel's opulent interiors, featuring extravagant decor and luxurious amenities, create an atmosphere of wealth and grandeur that can add depth and sophistication to any scene. The spacious and elegant lobby, richly decorated suites, and top-notch dining areas offer a wealth of potential settings for various storytelling needs.
Burj Al Arab's prime location on the Jumeirah Beach coastline provides stunning panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf and the city's skyline. This makes it an ideal filming location for scenes requiring breathtaking vistas and visually captivating backgrounds.
The hotel's accessibility is another significant perk for filmmakers. Situated in close proximity to major transportation hubs and the city's central areas, the Burj Al Arab allows for easy logistics and efficient movement of cast, crew, and equipment.
Prepare for a cinematic twist as Jamie Foxx's thrilling movie, The Kingdom, takes an unexpected turn. Although initially set in Saudi Arabia, the film surprises viewers by showcasing the majestic Emirates Palace instead. On the flip side, the glamorous Sex and the City movie, purportedly taking place in Abu Dhabi, playfully misleads as it unveils the enchanting Amanjena Hotel nestled in the vibrant city of Marrakesh. Get ready for a delightful blend of cinematic trickery and captivating locations that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
With its stunning architecture, domed roofs, and extensive manicured gardens, the palace exudes luxury, making it an ideal location for scenes that require a sense of regal elegance or extravagance.
The interiors of the Emirates Palace further contribute to its allure as a filming location. Lavishly adorned with gold leaf and intricate details, the palace's opulent rooms and public spaces create a sense of richness and splendor that can enhance the authenticity and visual appeal of any film.
Abu Dhabi's reputation as a film-friendly destination ensures a smooth process in obtaining necessary permits and clearances. The local authorities are supportive of filmmakers, facilitating a hassle-free experience and allowing creatives to focus on bringing their vision to life.
The international prominence of the Emirates Palace also contributes to its appeal for film productions.
Prepare to hold your breath as Tom Cruise takes on the exhilarating climb in the iconic scene from Mission: Impossible IV - Ghost Protocol. This heart-stopping sequence will leave you on the edge of your seat as Cruise defies gravity in a breathtaking display of skill and daring. But that's not all—keep your eyes peeled for the remarkable interior of an Emirates A380, making a star appearance in the thrilling Chinese movie Switch. Get ready for a double dose of excitement as these cinematic adventures take you on a wild ride through action-packed thrills and unexpected twists.
The Burj Khalifa's unique design and various floors can cater to diverse filming needs, accommodating a wide range of settings and narratives.
Situated in the city center, the tower's accessibility simplifies logistics, facilitating the movement of cast, crew, and equipment during production.
Featuring the Burj Khalifa in a film can attract global audiences, drawn to its fame and the excitement of witnessing this architectural marvel on screen.
In yet another exhilarating adventure with Tom Cruise reprising his role as Ethan Hunt in MI4, get ready for an adrenaline-fueled chase down the iconic Sheikh Zayed Road.
The Dubai Creek, a natural seawater inlet, holds historical significance as the heart of Dubai's early trading activities. Its authentic and traditional setting allows filmmakers to capture a sense of the city's heritage, making it an ideal location for period pieces or stories with cultural depth.
The creek's waterfront, adorned with traditional wooden dhows and bustling with activity, provides filmmakers with a visually captivating backdrop. The juxtaposition of modern skyscrapers on one side and traditional architecture on the other creates a unique and visually appealing contrast.
Furthermore, the creek's diverse surroundings offer versatility for filmmakers. From bustling markets and historic buildings to serene waterfront scenes, the location provides a wide range of settings suitable for various storytelling needs.
Immerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year which takes center stage in this captivating location. From dazzling dance sequences to heartwarming moments, this place serves as the backdrop for a significant portion of the film's enchanting story.
One of the standout features of Atlantis, Dubai is its unique underwater settings. The resort is home to the mesmerizing Lost Chambers Aquarium, where filmmakers can capture captivating scenes amidst the marine life, adding a touch of wonder and fantasy to their narratives.
The location's versatility is another significant perk. Atlantis, Dubai boasts an array of picturesque settings, including pristine beaches, lush gardens, and opulent interiors, catering to diverse storytelling needs and genres.
Logistically, the resort offers ease of access and well-equipped facilities, simplifying the management of large-scale film productions. Its strategic location on Palm Jumeirah, one of Dubai's popular tourist destinations, ensures convenient transportation for cast, crew, and equipment.
The Dubai Miracle Garden stands as the world's largest natural flower garden, showcasing an extensive variety of meticulously designed floral arrangements. For filmmakers, this presents a visually captivating backdrop that infuses scenes with vibrant colors and an enchanting atmosphere.
Logistically, the Dubai Miracle Garden is conveniently situated within the city, facilitating easy access for cast, crew, and equipment. Its proximity to other popular filming locations in Dubai adds to its appeal as a convenient base for film productions.
Featuring the Dubai Miracle Garden in a film can add an element of wonder and beauty to the narrative. The garden's enchanting ambiance can serve as a symbol of hope, renewal, or natural splendour, depending on the creative direction of the storyline.
How We Can Help You With Gaining the Permit
Are you gearing up for an exciting filming project in Dubai? Look no further than our film permit agency, where we're dedicated to providing you with the professional guidance and support you need. Say goodbye to tedious paperwork and long waiting times, as our user-friendly online platform revolutionises the process of obtaining a UAE Film Permit.
With just three simple steps, you'll be well on your way to securing your permit:
- Visit our website and create your personalised profile, ensuring a seamless experience from start to finish
- Complete the online application form, where you can easily provide all the necessary details, including uploading essential documents like your script
- Make the required fee payment online, and within a swift five working days, your eagerly awaited permit will be in your hands
Embrace the opportunity to bring your creative vision to life and embark on a remarkable journey through the lens of your camera. Apply for your UAE Film Permit today and let the magic unfold as your cinematic aspirations become a vibrant reality.