Filming on Kauai
Production planning starts with the details… The following is the most requested information about filming on Kauai. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more details. Also, check out the FAQ page for more info.
We had unlimited access to locations and very good cooperation from the Film Commission as well. Steven Spielberg
Director: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hook, Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Producer: Jurassic Park III
There are five major airlines that fly regularly from mainland U.S.A. to Lihue Airport on Kauai. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines fly from west coast cities including Los Angeles and Seattle. American Airlines also flies from Phoenix. All flights from the west coast to Kauai and Honolulu take about six hours. From Tokyo, it’s a seven to eight hour flight to Honolulu depending on the season. From Honolulu, it’s a short 20 minute flight on one of two interisland airlines.
On Kauai, there are several helicopter companies and fixed wing tour companies with numerous skilled pilots experienced in both filming and ferrying film crews to remote locations.
One major road extends around most of Kauai. Branching off from the main highway is a network of roads that pass through small towns and seaside resort areas. Literally hundreds of miles of private dirt roads web the agricultural lands and back country. And, keep in mind, you can’t drive entirely around the island. The farthest north you can drive to is Ke’e Beach in Haena, and farthest west you can go via a vehicle is Polihale State Park in Mana near Kekaha.
Seasonal temperature variations are slight. Highs rarely reach 90°F. on summer afternoons, while winter nights occasionally drop to 60°F. Average daily maximum temperature is 81°F and daily minimum temperature is 69°F.
Ground transportation of all sorts is available, from vintage vehicles to luxury limousines, from four-wheel drive rentals to container freight delivery trucks.
Kauai is part of an efficient Pacific shipping network; container-carrying barges arrive at Nawiliwili Harbor twice weekly. Containers shipped directly to Kauai from a mainland port cost exactly the same as they would to Oahu. Harbor facilities are suitable for large ships as well as outrigger and sailing canoes, Zodiacs, charter fishing boats, sloops and catamarans — everything from tiny kayaks to 985 foot cruise ships.
Exposed film delivered for a red-eye flight to Los Angeles in the evening will be available for screening by the afternoon of the following day.
Equipment & Supplies
Equipment not available on Kauai is easily transferred by barge or jet from Honolulu.
Kauai has a cadre of qualified, experienced and, capable film professionals, including cinematographers, videographers, underwater photographers, camera operators, sound recordists, editors, electricians, gaffers, set and wardrobe assistants, greensmen, animal wranglers, stunt people, production and location managers, land, sea and air coordinators, and skilled office support staff. Local casting directors and modeling agencies maintain extensive photo files for talent and extras.
Accommodations and Catering
Quality accommodations and catering are readily available in close proximity to film locations around the island. A wide variety of accommodations are competitively priced and experienced at serving film crews.
Modern capabilities include a fiber optic link to Oahu and the mainland and the nation’s first (and least expensive) rural digital cellular phone system, a great advantage when filming in remote locations.
The Kauai Film Commission can assist with the application and film permitting process for State and County land jurisdictions. Following is a brief summary of each:
State of Hawaii: filming on State land or Conservation-zoned land requires a State Film Permit and $1,000,000 liability insurance coverage naming the State of Hawaii as additional insured. Permit application forms are available through Hawaii Film Office. Several varieties of permits are available depending on the specifics of the project. For more information, contact:
County of Kauai: filming on County property requires a County Revocable Film Permit and $1,000,000 liability insurance coverage naming County of Kauai as additional insured. County permits are available through the Kauai Film Commission office. You can apply for a Revocable Kauai Film Permit here.
We loved filming on Kauai… beautiful light, exotic sites, friendly people and no snakes! Now I know what they mean by aloha spirit. Danny DeVito
Director: Throw Mama from the Train
There are no fees for State or County permits, nor are there location fees for filming on County or State property. A refundable security or damage deposit may, however, be required depending on the complexity of the activity planned. And, if the proposed location is considered sensitive, or the activity to be filmed is complex, special conditions may be imposed or supervisory personnel (i.e. State enforcement officers, off-duty police or fire personnel) may be required on location. All related costs are to be covered by the production company.
Filming on private property requires consent from the property owner, unless the set construction or complex activity is proposed for areas zoned Conservation or Special Management Area (SMA), in which case, County and/or State Film Permits and SMA Minor Permits may also be required.
For more information, contact:
The State of Hawaii offers a tax incentive that may be applied to film and television productions:
15-20% MOTION PICTURE, DIGITAL MEDIA, & FILM PRODUCTION INCOME TAX CREDIT
This is a refundable tax credit based on a production company’s Hawaii expenditures while producing a qualified film, television, commercial, or digital media project. The credit equals 20% of qualified productions’ costs incurred on Kauai (including the Big Island, Lanai, Maui, Molokai), and 15% on Oahu.
For more details on available personnel and resources, please request the State Media Index and/or the Kauai Production Resource Directory. Both contain detailed listings of people and businesses available to support film industry projects.
Filming on other islands in Hawaii
The Hawaii State Film Office is located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu and offers assistance to producers interested in filming anywhere in the state.
Hawaii Production Index is updated every year with film resources for all Hawaiian Islands and is a great resource for filmmakers. You can request a copy of the index in book or CD form which will be sent to you.