Film Friendly Mexico / Herramientas del sitio / FAQ's
These are the most frequent questions regarding film and audio-visual production in Mexico. If you do not find here the answer to doubts please do not hesitate to contact us at Mexico Film Friendly:
The wave of violence that one has been lived in last few years is directly and strictly related to drug trafficking activity and affects only those individuals involved with the organized crime. Statistically, the possibilities of becoming victim of violent crime in Mexico are very low and, in comparison, there are equal or greater chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in some of the main cities of the United States and of the rest of the world.
No foreign production has had crime incidents of any kind and much less of the nature often described in news reports from international media, whose focus on Mexico act as a magnifying glass effect tending to distort the day to day reality that prevails in the country.
Mexico, like any other country, is not free of violent crime incidents. As happens in great urban concentrations like Los Angeles, New York or London, there are places that must not be frequented, and that is why it is very important to access the consultancy services of the Mexican Film Commission (COMEFILM) and to count with the professional guidance of your Mexican production manager.
In the past there were foreign productions that indeed complained about an overprice situation in fees applied by Mexican labor unions to international projects. Nevertheless, today, industry labor unions (such as STIC, STPC and ANDA, among others) have an attitude of professional service and flexibility with foreign productions, which has become a determining factor for several film and audio-visual productions that have chosen Mexico as a preferred film destination.
In Mexico securing permits for location shooting is not a difficult process if it is done in an ordered fashion and with enough anticipation as our Mexico Film Production Guide recommends. The country has an infinite array of locations for all kinds of feature film or audio-visual productions. People in Mexico are proud to see that their sceneries are being used to the advantage of foreign movies shooting in the country, and most of the communities nation-wide receive production companies with open arms with a sincere "my house is your house" attitude.
It is true that there are some locations, such as archaeological and historical sites or locations in ecological reserves whose shooting authorization imposes some restrictions or demands a more detailed and careful analysis from the authorities before granting the approval. This is to preserve our historical heritage and our natural patrimony.
It is important to mention that, as it happens anywhere in the world, the authorization or denial of the shooting permits is subject to the implications and effects that the shoot itself could have in the locations, to suppose that things that normally might not be done in other countries could be done in Mexico is a mistake and can disappoint who anybody who had thought otherwise. Nevertheless, we can make assure you that there is a service attitude of flexibility and, within the margins of what is correct, legal and permissible; authorities always look for solutions that they may help your production.
It is true that many foreign independent films have been shot in Mexico without requesting shooting permits or the assistance of the Mexican Film Commission (COMEFILM). Regardless of the type of production, shooting a film is in itself an adventure with a certain degree risk, wherever it is shot and it is not exempt from significant costs whatever its scale. For this reason, we at Mexico Film Friendly think that it is not advisable to needlessly risk everything and everybody in a film adventure. Due to its extension, and to its wide diversity and the numerous communities that shape the different faces of Mexico, it is advisable, not only to request the support and consultancy of COMEFILM, but also to secure the services of a Mexican production manager of production. Play it safe, your crew and your production budget will be thankful of your wise decision.
Mexico stands out as a friendly destination for your budget for its overall low production costs, its exchange-rate stability and its generous film and audio-visual production-tailored schemes of incentives and financing, especially the new SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR HIGH IMPACT FILM AND AUDIO-VISUAL PRODUCTIONS, which grants an incentive of up to 17.5 % of applicable production expenses done in Mexico; which consist of a refunding in cash of up to 7.5 % (FUND PROAV) applied on all verifiable expenses incurred in Mexico and, if treated as an export product, production would also be entitled to get return of the VAT for the same reported expenses. The above mentioned program is designed to support grand scale productions, including animation and video games projects, whose costs exceed 70 million pesos for entire production (including preproduction), or, 20 million pesos of expense in postproduction and digital development.
Mexico distinguishes itself for its hospitality. The country possesses world-class tourism infrastructure and offers gastronomy of the highest level so that the most demanding international talent enjoys their stay in the country and feels right at home during the production. Some of the main and most prestigious foreign hotel chains, from Four Seasons up to St. Regis have established hotels in the country that are frequented by movies stars during their holidays.
Mexico is a big ally of your production economy, the scale of your project is not important. For its highly competitive costs, its large diversity of locations and its excellent professional services offer, Mexico has been the ideal option of diverse foreign independent productions, like the US-produced low budget film Monsters (2010), which was filmed by a small crew in "guerrilla" style, shooting throughout the country, with amazing results. If you are interested in knowing more about the benefits and advantages of producing in our country, please contact us at Mexico Film Friendly and let us explore the possibilities together, consulting with the Mexican Film Commission (COMEFILM).
Mexico has professional camera rental providers offering all formats and the latest in camera equipment and related gear, as well as camera mounts, cranes and lighting. By accessing the Services Directory section of Mexico Film Friendly you will find the most complete industry database of all the companies, professionals and institutions that will provide you with everything that you need to shoot in Mexico as if you were at home.
Some of the largest cities in Mexico are located in the Valley of Mexico or in the adjacent valleys with altitudes of about 2000 meters over the sea level. This provides an annual average temperature ranging from 16 to 18 °C and fresh nights throughout the year. Many regions of Mexico, especially in the north, have a dry climate with sporadic rains while in the low tropical zones rains are constant averaging 2000 mm of annual precipitation. In Mexico there is sporadic in certain high mountain and in some cities of the northern Mexico.
In the past Mexico has been chosen as film destination by productions such as Dune (1984); Titanic (1997); Pearl Harbor (2001) and 007 Quantum of Solace (2008), among others. Recently high impact movies like Dragonball: Evolution (2009); Monsters (2010); Colombiana (2011) Cristiada (2011); From Prada to Nada (2010); How I Spent my Summer Vacation (2011) and On the Road (2011) have all been shot in Mexico. Please refer to our Filmed in Mexico section to get the complete picture of the scale and prestige of country as a preferred film destination over the years. You will see that we have indeed made history.
In addition to filmmakers like Alejandro González-Iñárritu (Babel), Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), Mexico has generated creative talent that is making the difference in the world. Mexico is a country of cinematographers, in the tradition and school of Gabriel Figueroa, like Directors of Photography Emmanuel Lubezqui and Rodrigo Prieto, who have worked with masters like Terrence Malick (Tree of Life) and Oliver Stone (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and this is also a country of great artists of the scenery like Academy Award winner Brigitte Broch, who won an Oscar for the production design of Moulin Rouge. Talent of this level is at the service of your production in Mexico.
Mexico is strategically connected with the principal centers of audio-visual production of North America. It is a country whose connectivity makes the visitor feeling right at home, with access to a communications that makes of Mexico an accessible country and well communicated with the whole world. We suggest you to visit the maps in our Infrastructure and Connectivity section to obtain detailed information on Mexico's connection with the world.