If you’ve never been to Taiwan or it hasn’t crossed your mind as a location to shoot your next film/documentary/commercial in then continue reading. From full size movie studios (that are a fraction of the cost of hiring one in western countries) to beautiful coastlines, jagged mountain ranges, lush jungles, wide open plains and densely populated city centers with both new and old buildings, Taiwan has it all.
Taiwan is still quite new to foreign production, but with recent Hollywood movies shot here; Lucy and Silence, it’s really becoming a popular location. The government has movie production incentives, but like any country, they have an extensive checklist that you will have to adhere to and it might be cheaper to just do it on your own anyways. Which brings me to the next point – money. Things in Taiwan are much cheaper than other parts of the world. It is a 1st world country, but the cost of living, even hotels, is a fraction of what you’d pay in other 1st world countries. Food and drink are also cheap, so feeding your cast and crew won’t chew into your overall budget too much. There are multiple rental houses in Taipei, and in every other city there are at least 1 or 2. These places rent everything from Arri/RED cameras down to simple DSLR’s and GoPros. The cost is also cheaper than other western countries.
Like going to any country you don’t live in, it is easier to get a fixer from here to assist you, especially with the language barrier. Even though a lot of people speak English on the island, a lot still don’t and having someone with you at all times to help is a no brainer. Permits are not required everywhere, especially outside of Taipei, but if you’re going to be setting up a lot of lights and have a crew bigger than 5, it is a good idea to go through that process so you don’t get shut down. Now getting a permit here is sometimes a lot easier than western countries. I think that this is because film production is still quite new and many places don’t feel that having a road closed is a nuisance yet, but instead something cool to see. Every city has a film office that can assist in these, and a lot of places are free to film in, even closing streets, you just have to go through the paperwork process, which is in Chinese, hence getting that local fixer is key.
Getting around the island is also very easy. There is a high-speed train (THSR) that goes from Nangang, Taipei to the southern most city Kaohsiung. It takes roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes and is only 55 USD / person / 1 way. If you pre-book through a site called KK Day, and have a foreign passport, you can get unlimited 3 day passes for 75 USD. Both Kaohsiung and Taipei have a subway system that is easy to use and figure out. Taxis operate in every city and start at roughly 2.50 USD, and UBER is in most cities as well, which is easier if you don’t speak Chinese.
The weather is extremely nice, however in the winter it does actually get cold. In the mountains it can get down to negative 3 Celsius or colder and some areas even get snow. The cities will see temperatures around 5 – 10 degrees Celsius and with the humidity it feels pretty darn cold. Luckily winter is really only from late December until late February, and the rest of the year it’s very warm. Typhoon season is from June until October, but we’ve had typhoons as early as April and as late as December. They can last 1 – 5 days, but Taiwan’s infrastructure is mainly concrete so they don’t have the same effect as a hurricane hitting the USA. That said they do bring a lot of rainfall, which could hamper your shoot for a week, unless you’re making a disaster film…
Overall Taiwan is an excellent location for any kind of commercial/feature film/documentary/TV Series/Travel Show you can think of. There are areas that could double for Europe, Canada, USA or even Australia. The studios here are terrific and are a fraction of the cost of one in a western country. Your best bet is to do some homework, reach out to a local production company here, (we’re also cheaper than western companies but offer the same services) and then book your plane ticket!
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message at