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Filming in Panama

Coronavirus Update: Panama has lifted its lockdown after seven months with business travel now permitted in the country. It has reopened airports, hotels, all commerce as well as audio-visual production. All travellers arriving in Panama must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate no older then 48 hours before you travel, or, carry out a test at the airport for USD50.

In the wake of Covid-19 the government is actively stimulating the economy, and has upgraded the film incentive from 15% to 25% cash back. The minimum expenditure has been lowered from USD3 million to USD500,000 for all forms of production, including feature films, TV series and videogames.

Nestled between Costa Rica and Colombia in Central America, tropical Panama is only a few hours’ flight from New York and Los Angeles. For filmmakers looking to shoot on location it offers environments ranging from deserts and beaches to centuries-old rainforests and dramatic landscapes carved by volcanic activity.

One of the largest recent productions to film in Panama was Warner Bros's Suicide Squad II, which shot a portion in locations including the industrial port city of Colon as well as the capital Panama City in early 2020 and benefitted from the 15% incentive.

Panama has nearly 50 ecological reservations and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it very appealing for wildlife documentaries planning a location shoot.

In addition to the eye-catching natural landscapes, there’s plenty of historical architecture tracing several hundred years of colonial history. Much of this can be found alongside the bustling modern metropolis that is Panama City.

Filmmakers can also take advantage of various special economic zones. Available benefits include tax-free temporary importation of equipment, no payroll tax, free working permits and cheap location filming permits.

Being that this was a first-season show, we wanted to land in a location that was close enough to the US that would allow us to have the option to bring in last-minute crew, gear and support, yet still fill the vision of something exotic and different that our audience wouldn’t expect and haven’t seen before.”

Joe Coleman, Co-EP

Climate

Panama has a tropical climate with high temperatures - an average of 27C - throughout the year although it is cooler in the mountains. The wet season lasts from May to November. The rainfall on the Pacific coast is twice as heavy as that on the Caribbean coast.

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