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Dominican Republic


The Dominican Republic is hosting ever bigger productions, spurred on by a willingness to grow local crew skillsets — while playing its big cards of sunshine, sea and scenery. Stuart Kemp reports

The Dominican Republic (DR) is one of the largest countries in the Caribbean, sharing the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to its west. It is home to beaches, jungles, mountains, deserts and other eye-catching locations including rainforest, savannah, highlands and Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.

DR has a growing reputation among filmmakers for efficiency, crew skillsets and a can-do attitude, boasting tropical flora and fauna, a huge horizon water tank with blue-screen capabilities and location stand-ins for anywhere in Latin America.

DR film commissioner Marianna Vargas Gurilieva, who is fluent in Spanish, English, Russian and proficient in French, says “it’s safe and easy to film in paradise”.

Paradise it is, according to executive producer D Scott Lumpkin, who spent 42 shoot days in the DR with the US biographical sports drama Nyad. Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, and starring Annette Bening, the Netflix-backed film is the true story of 64-year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad, who attempted to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida.

“The country is absolutely beautiful, so full of life and colour; and then there are the truly amazing people,” Lumpkin explains. “[They were] so helpful and always cheerful.”

Each incoming production requires a local producer to co-ordinate the necessary measures for international entry and departure of all foreign film and TV crew members, in line with the ministry of public health regarding international travel.

“The biggest challenge shooting in the DR is learning to navigate the island and the traffic,” says Lumpkin. “Another is shipping, and having to plan for importing certain specialty equipment that isn’t on the island.”

Lantica Media provides studio facilities and film production services with operating units Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, Lantica Production Services and Art 3+4, a joint venture that finances and produces original content for Spanish-language audiences.

Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, a 43-acre site around a 30-minute drive from capital Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport, has state-of-the-art soundstages, production support services and access to a host of nearby tropical locations.

Other productions to land on the DR to shoot in the past two years include David Fincher’s Netflix thriller The Killer; Mexico-set survival story The Black Demon, directed by Adrian Grünberg; Doug Liman’s Road House, an Amazon Studios-backed remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie with Jake Gyllenhaal; Roger Kumble’s Beautiful Wedding, starring Virginia Gardner; and Something In The Water, directed by Hayley Easton Street. The DR has also played host to a slew of high-end TV shows including horror anthology series Are You Afraid Of The Dark?; luxury hotel comedy drama The Resort; and Saint X, about a young woman’s mysterious death during a Caribbean vacation.

Alongside the people, beaches, mountains and jungle, the DR also boosts Spanish landmarks such as the gothic cathedral Primada de America, which dates back five centuries, in the Zona Colonial district of Santo Domingo.


“The local industry keeps growing as well as the amount and size of productions that come to the DR,” says Maria Valentina Avellaneda, Lantica Media’s marketing and communications manager.



As one of the most biodiverse countries in the Caribbean, the country is home to beautiful beaches as well as jungles, mountains, deserts and other eye-catching locations including rainforest, savannah, highlands and Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. Capital city Santo Domingo has myriad Spanish landmarks including the Gothic cathedral Primada de America, which dates back five centuries in its Zona Colonial district (old town).

Crew and infrastructure

The island is home to Lantica Media’s Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. It has three sizeable soundstages and a 60,500 square feet horizon water tank with blue-screen capabilities. The studio is a 30-minute drive from the capital’s Las Americas International Airport and there are plenty of places to stay nearby. 

Size matters

The Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean island after Cuba. The metro area of capital city Santo Domingo is a 15-minute drive from the airport. There are direct flights from the US, while European flight numbers continue to recover post-pandemic.

First person to contact: 

Albert Martinez Martin, COO, Lantica Media:

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