Film Permit Procedures
Mahalo for your continued patience throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic recovery process.
Hawaiʻiʻs Film and Television industry is at various stages of reopening statewide, County by County.
We are working closely with government officials and film offices from every Island County to help clarify and outline how the industry is to move forward. This is in conjunction with the film unions’ SAFE WAY FORWARD document that has now become the industry standard in this new age of COVID.
Due to some of the restrictions outlined in the most current County orders, some film activity will be limited to smaller groups than in the past. Currently, we are able to submit film permit applications to DLNR (State Parks, Boating, Land Management, and Forestry), DOT (Airports, Highways and Harbors), DAGS (State buildings and parking meters), and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for review and approval on a case-by-case basis.
Film Permit Procedures for Use of State-Administered Locations
Film permits and insurance* are required for all filming activity, commercial, educational or non-profit projects which take place within the State’s jurisdiction. Film permits are not required for photography or video that is only for personal use or which takes place on private property.
The State of Hawaii Film Office processes film permit applications for the following state properties or facilities:
- Department of Accounting and General Services – state facilities, parking lots and state meters under their management;
- Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism – state property under the Hawaii Community Development Authority and Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii;
- Department of Defense – facility at Diamond Head;
- Department of Hawaiian Home Lands – beaches and forestry areas;
- Department of Land and Natural Resources – beaches, parks, trails, forestry areas, small boat harbors and waters;
- Department of Public Safety – state jails and prisons
- Department of Transportation– airports, highways and commercial harbors;
- University of Hawaii – only Mauna Kea Observatory and Haleakala Observatory (for educational and scientific filming only);
- Judiciary – state courts
The State of Hawaii Film Office does not process film permits for the following state properties or facilities. Please contact these entities directly to inquire about their filming policies:
- Department of Education (Public Schools) – contact the school principal;
- State Libraries – contact the library;
- State of Hawaii Public Charter Schools – contact the school principal;
- University of Hawaii facilities, except as noted above.
There are two main types of state film permits:
- Standard Film Permit: This is the most common type of permit for film, television, and commercial productions. Productions may list specific locations where they wish to film. Standard film permit applications must be submitted at least five (5) business days prior to the scheduled prep/shoot date at that location. Productions must have required insurance in place prior to the scheduled activity. Depending on the complexity or sensitivity of the shoot, productions may also be required to have supervisory state personnel present on location during a shoot at $60 per hour (with a 4-hour minimum per day). Use of DLNR’s waterborne vessels for monitoring purposes will be charged a $60 per hour fee (with a 4-hour minimum per day). Location Fees: Most state locations are free to use for filming, but there are several exceptions: airports, harbors, and highways under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation are $100/day; small boat harbors, launch ramps, and beaches under the Department of Land and Natural Resources / Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation are $100/day; parks and beaches under the Department of Land and Natural Resources / Division of State Parks have a $100/day nonrefundable fee; and locations that fall under the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are at minimum, $1,000/day.
- DLNR Open/Accessible Sites Permits: This is the type of film permit that is necessary to request State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Open and Accessible sites for filming locations and only if the low-impact production meets specific criteria. This category also applies to former Annual Permit holders and is only for State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Open and Accessible sites, limited to these specific locations and for very minimal activity. This type of permit may be valid for up to a two-week period and can also be applied for online. It is important to note that this new online system will allow you to apply for your O/A locations for multiple two-week durations at one time, so long as your insurance is valid for the duration of the time you are requesting. The online $10 convenience fee would only be charged once for this type of extended transaction. Applicants must have the required insurance in place prior to applying. The DLNR Open/Accessible permit is for filming activity only; applicants are not allowed to solicit business or conduct any type of business transaction on location.
If you meet all of the following criteria, then you can apply for a DLNR Open/Accessible Permit:
- The location requested must be a DLNR open/accessible site;
- Hours are limited to the hours between sunrise and sunset;
- Maximum of 20 cast (talent/models) and crew on location;
- No special parking arrangements;
- No building of temporary or permanent structures (scaffolding for camera position is OK);
- No equipment needs that require special attention or create public disturbances (e.g., long cables, noisy generators, dolly tracks);
- No props that cause public inconvenience;
- No special effects, helicopters, drones, simulated gunfire, or explosives;
- No water activity; and
- No animals on location.
If you do not meet ALL the above criteria for the DLNR Open/Accessible Sites permit, then you will need to apply for the Standard Film Permit.
- WikiPermits: Alternatively, WikiPermits are available through the Department of Land and Natural Resources for applicants that are filming a low-impact event, such as a beachfront wedding, at any of the DLNR WikiPermit locations and only for filming activity that meets the General Terms and Conditions for WikiPermits.
Additional Information on Film Permits
After Your Permit is Approved: Carry the approved film permit with you on location at all times. The contact person listed on the application will be responsible for ensuring that the production abides by the conditions of the permit. Should you need to make changes to your permit after it’s been approved, fill out an Addendum for your permit or give us a call at (808) 586-2570.
- Weekend filming is highly discouraged if filming negatively impacts the general public, particularly at popular locations. However, requests for weekend filming will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Commercial filming is not allowed at the following locations:
* Heiau in Haena on Kauai
* Iolani Palace and grounds on Oahu
* Royal Mausoleum on Oahu
* Washington Place on Oahu
If you have any questions or concerns about the state permitting process, contact the State of Hawaii Film Office now at (808) 586-2570 or [email protected].