Barbados is a Caribbean island renowned as a luxury travel destination because of its natural beauty, stable government and strong economy.
These features have made Barbados a good location for filming television shows, commercials and music videos, but the fact that the country still has not established an official film commission has meant that there have been few large-scale international motion pictures filmed on the island. Indeed, many have argued the urgent need for Barbados to develop its own film commission, especially since surrounding islands such as Dominica, St.Vincent and the Grenadines have profited considerably from international filming projects through their film commissions.
Despite this, local production companies in Barbados can offer international projects a good deal of the equipment, expertise and assistance necessary for filming.
An episode from the most recent series of the reality TV show ‘Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model’ was filmed in the streets of Speightstown at the start of April 2013.
British company Accessorize filmed an advert for their upcoming spring/summer collection, fronted by American model Kate Upton, on one of Barbados’ white beaches in February 2013.
In April 2012 Canadian band Simple Plan and dancehall star Sean Paul came together to shoot a music video on the beaches for their single Summer Paradise.
October 2011, Avon Cosmetics Solutions held a commercial TV shoot on the beaches of Barbados.
In August 2010, BSkyB filmed an advertisement to promote the World Twenty20 West Indies cricket competition. Filming was based in the small coastal villages of Speightstown and Oistins.
In May 2010, singer-songwriter Shontelle filmed a short advertisement for CAT footwear in a number of spots on the island, including Bridgetown, Westbury Road, and the historic area at the Garrison.
Permits for filming in public places can usually be secured by contacting local government offices. Often a production company situated on the island can facilitate this at little expense. However, some filmmakers have noted that monetary donations are often paid for the use of locations on private property.
Barbados is more internationally renowned for its array of talented musicians than its filmmakers, and that is reflected in the fact that there are no film studios on the island. However, there are a number of famous recording studios, such as the Blue Wave Recording Studios.
There is only one licensed television station in Barbados, and that is the publicly owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). CBC has a television studio complex, which is located at Pine Hill, Saint Michael.
The most obvious draw to the island is the 70 miles of beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal clear seawaters. The Crane, Paynes Bay, Miami Beach and Bottom Bay are just a few of the most popular beaches on the island. There are also a number of shipwrecks and coral reefs, which may be an attraction to filmmakers.
Ragged Point, at the most easterly point of the island, is another great location for landscape shots. It offers spectacular views of the rocky east coast of Barbados. Culpepper Island is situated close to Ragged Point, and is a small uninhabited island which can be accessed at low tide.
Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, and has a range of locations that may attract filmmakers. Though the city as a whole is modern, there are some notable historical buildings, including the Barbados Garrison, the Barbados Parliamentary buildings, the public library and the Jewish Synagogue.
Speightstown has proved a popular location for filming because of its colourful streets and houses and colonial charm.
The island also boasts a number of areas of natural beauty, such as Harrison’s Cave, Welchman Hall Gully and the Flower Forest, and 53.6-acre nature reserve full of tropical plants and trees.
Production in Barbados has progressed significantly, and professional film crews can be hired locally. Similarly, most equipment necessary for filming can be acquired on the island. It could be helpful to seek assistance from a local production company, who can help keep costs low by using local and trusted contacts to rent equipment and hire crew.
For a full list of services for TV and film production in Barbados, please visit our country page.