Filming in Vietnam
Vietnam boasts coastal and mountainous, rural and cosmopolitan locations. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay, which was made famous Indochine (1991) recently featured in Louis Vuitton’s 2019 Brand Campaign, “The Spirit of Travel,” while the Mekong River and Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho was immortalized in L’Amant, The Lover (1991).
Many more exotic landscapes such as rice paddy terraces of Sapa and the surrounding northern towns, or the crystal clear waters of China Beach in Danang or to the epic white sand dunes of bright sunny days and clear blue skies of Mui Ne have starred in high-end international work, such as Malibu Rum’s Summer Games. It has also doubled for other exotic locations, such as the mangroves of Can Gio near Ho Chi Minh which played the Sundarbans Mangroves, West Bengal for Mumbai’s Chrome Pictures out of Mumbai. In terms of urban settings, Hanoi’s Old Quarter exhibits architecture from Vietnam’s past feudal system to its deep rooted colonial past while Ho Chi Minh City has a vibrant modern city skyline.
In recent years, Vietnam has welcomed much high-end international filming. Sir Kenneth Branagh tapped Vietnam for the opening scenes of Disney’s Artemis Fowl (2020), as did Director Ken Olin and Executive Producer Steve Beers for two episodes of NBC’s This is Us (2018). Legendary Pictures chose Quang Binh and Ninh Binh specifically for Kong: Skull Island’s origins re-imagining of the King Kong franchise. Vietnam has also become a favourite destination for WRP and CBS having featured multiple times in The Amazing Race USA, from Season 3 in 2003 to Season 31 in 2019. International chefs Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay also both travelled the length of Vietnam on culinary adventures.
To film in Vietnam, a local production company is needed to assist in obtaining and expediting permits, permissions and visas mandated by the Government of Vietnam. These include a General Filming Permit issued by the ministry of Culture or Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Depending on the type of project, this can take 15 - 30 days for documentary and reality based work, and 30 - 45 business days for feature films, television episodes and other fictional work. Required documentation for the permit includes a synopsis of full script, a shooting schedule, full cast and crew list and a list of equipment to be brought in to Vietnam.
The climate in Vietnam is tropical and sub-tropical, depending on the region. The north is generally slightly cooler and gets less rain, although hot and rainy conditions prevail between May and October. The south’s monsoon season lasts from about May to November, although the region is hot and humid all year round, with conditions sometimes peaking at 40C. Temperatures can occasionally fall to 0C in the Central Highlands during the winter, but in Hanoi in the north the average annual temperature is about 18C.