Coming to film a documentary in Peru might be one of the coolest feelings any documentary director can have! And this is because of the variety of topics you can find here to film, from history, culture, food, music, traditions and much more!
However, you have to be aware that this involves different situations that I want to share with you from my experience not just as a producer but also as a filmmaker in Peru for international directors and media channels who came to film here and from who I filmed for.
1. Can you bring filming gear from other countries to film in Peru?
Yes but you have to process a permit called ‘Temporary internment of equipment’ at the embassy of your country which usually takes 15 work days at no cost.
Depending on your country in some cases you might also need to process a journalist visa and depending on the type of equipment you might find limitations like the amount of drones for example.
2. Can you rent filming equipment in Peru?
Yes, however this won’t be cheap at all and is usually more expensive than in Europe or USA. Trust me! This is a reality, I have rented equipment in Germany for probably the third or fourth part that it could be in Peru and this is mainly for one important reason. In Peru doesn’t exist an insurance for our gear so if we ever get robbed, this is it!
Also Peru is not a country that has a big documentary or filming industry, therefore the brands and quality of gear to rent are limited and normally we don’t find a variety of options. So depending on your project in many cases it will be better if you bring your own equipment.
3. Can you hire a DOP in Peru?
Yes, but similar to the previous answer, there is not a specialist DOP focused on something, normally DOPs are flexible on different projects. I remember once someone asked me to find a DOP specialist in wildlife, this kind of request will be really hard to find but general DOPs yes we have.
However, you will have to be careful of the person you hire here, there are many people who might say they can do the work but not with a high quality as international standards are. Even for me this has been very challenging because DOPs do different projects here and you might agree that film commercials are NOT the same as film documentaries!
4. What is the main thing you should worry about when filming in Peru?
Permits! Actually this has been the only thing I always worry about. This applies for archeological places, national parks or historical centers, among a few others.
They normally take 15 work days BUT who knows it could be more and you can’t do anything about it. So my big suggestion is, plan your shooting with enough time in advance to avoid this problem.
The good thing is that the process is mostly straight forward, most of the institutions have their official process already set up and it is mostly a matter of time. Yes, this includes payments too that will depend on the project and the days of filming.
5. Is it better to use cash or cards in Peru?
Regardless we use both, cash is always our main payment method, specially within places outside of Lima where sometimes there is not even a good phone signal. You mostly can use cards to pay hotels, flights and restaurants and consider to pay the rest in cash.
6. Is it easy to get cash from ATMs in Peru?
I will say yes and no, it is easy in the main cities but you only can get around USD$400 per day, depending on your country sometimes could be less. Another limitation is that there could not be enough ATM’s outside of Lima or the location you will shoot.
7. Is it easy to rent cars in Peru?
You could but what we usually do here is rent the car and the driver together, this is a complete service per day and is better to do it with local companies as international ones are set up mostly for tourism which has a different concept of service. In filming we want to have a flexible transport.
8. Is it easy to rent outdoors equipment?
This is depending on the location, for example a place with a big demand for outdoor sport is much probably there are shops who rent this. However this might not be the best quality as mostly these are things that travelers have sold as second hand to them.
So for projects that have to be in remote places or the mountains consider bringing a better quality of products from your country like tents, sleeping bags or clothes.
9. Do you need to find characters and stories in Peru?
I can do it for you, I have to say that I have a special connection to people beside my knowledge on the cultural side to deal with them and depending on your story I can find the best options to show off what you are looking for and in many cases propose new ideas. Remember that I am not only a researcher or a producer but also a filmmaker so I have an integral eye from different angles which is something not common.
Mu work has been aired for Al Jazeera, TRT World, CGTN Channel, United Nations and many more!
10. What else can I do to help you in your documentary project?
Depending on the size of your project I can help you with different tasks.
I am a documentary filmmaker for projects that can be made with a Sony a73 camera which records at 4K with the highest quality of Sony lenses.
If your project requires a different camera, I hire a camera person who can deal with any of the professional ones in the industry like SONY FS7, Canon C300, RED, ARI or others.
If you already have your team and gear, I can be your field producer or fixer and help you to find locations, deal with permits, logistics, coordinations and so on in Peru.
If you are at the beginning of your project I can be your researcher.
I love developing documentaries, it doesn’t matter if they are my own projects or for others; my main motivation is bringing up stories to show the best from people, places, memories, cultures, etc.
I believe that stories can have an impact to people and this is how I want to inspire others.
I hope this information helped you to finally decide to come to Peru and film here! And I hope to see you soon! 🙂
Made and wrote by Lizeth Yarlequé