Thailand is a popular filming location for small-scale projects, primarily from Japan and parts of Europe, and is occasionally chosen for high-profile, big-budget shoots. In 2014, Thailand’s cumulative inward investment from several hundred international shoots reached a relatively low $35m.
Comedy sequel The Hangover: Part II and JA Bayona’s survival drama The Impossible, recounting the true story of a European family caught in the devastating tsunami of 2004, filmed scenes in Thailand in 2011. The UK-Australia Second World War drama The Railway Man shot some scenes in Thailand in 2012, while Nicolas Winding Refn followed in 2013 with Only God Forgives, starring Ryan Gosling, shooting in Bangkok. Efforts to expand Thailand’s international appeal are hampered by the lack of a formal filming incentive. For now, small and short international shoots are likely to remain the norm.
In the meantime, Thailand’s generally lower production costs are considered an advantage that can off-set the lack of formal financial support. And of course the country is globally renowned for its beaches and opulent palaces, while mountains rise in the north.
Nearly 15% of the country’s population (some 8 million people) live in the city of Bangkok, which offers a mix of historical buildings, an ultra-modern business district and a range of distinct ethnic neighbourhoods.
Exemptions are available on income tax for film-makers and actors shooting in the country and several regional provinces have exempted international producers from location fees for shooting on government property and in national parks.
Full details on financial incentives in Thailand: Thailand Film Office
Infrastructure and crews
The country offers production support through Thailand Film Office in Bangkok. Facilities are available at Moonstar Studio, Montri Studio and ACTS Studio but these are rarely used by large-scale international shoots.
Thailand spans just under 200,000 sq miles and is well-served by bus, rail and air links.
First person to call
Local fixer Tom Waller, De Warrenne Pictures
Need to know
- DO hire a Thai co-ordinator to help with local tax payments and general production support.
- DO stay at the Six Senses Resort off the coast of Phuket.
- DO take a trip Lopburi and Ayutthaya near Bangkok — both can be visited in just two days with careful planning.
- DO visit the island of Ko Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand.