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Overview and productions

"Overall, the combination of diverse locations, cultural richness, cost-effectiveness, experienced industry professionals, government incentives, unique stories, and accessibility makes Mexico and Latin America attractive destinations for filmmakers from around the world," says Central Films' producer Camilo Falcon. 

In 2022, Netflix — which like Amazon Studios has pledged $300m in expenditure on productions in Mexico — shot the Chosen One (El Elegido) in Santa Rosalia and Baja California Sur, as well as reality show The Signing (La Firma). Further series shoots from the streamer include Triptych and Against The Ropes (Contra Las Cuerdas) in Mexico City. Amazon Studios produced around 10 features and shows in Mexico last year, including earthquake documentary 13:14 — The Challenge Of  helping. Vix, the fast-rising platform launched in 2022 by TelevisaUnivision, filmed series Travesuras De La Niña Mala in Mexico City and Marea Alta in Tijuana and the beaches of Ensenada in Baja California. 

Paramount+ shot romantic comedy At  Midnight in Playa Mujeres, the Cancun area and Mexico City, and wrapped production in early 2023 on thriller Death’s Roulette (Uno Para Morir) starring Maribel Verdu. Boxing drama La  Máquina, a Hulu Original limited series from Searchlight Television and 20th Television, starring Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, filmed in Mexico City arenas La Plaza de Toros Mexico and La Arena Ciudad de Mexico. Sony Pictures International Production’s 2022 feature roster included action adventure All The Places (A Todas Partes), which dropped on Netflix in February, and romance Tangos, Tequilas y Algunas Mentiras, which streamed on Prime Video from March 10. Theatrical feature Confesiones had not been dated at time of writing.

Most of the larger companies did not access the Focine Fund although some benefited from the Eficine 189 tax break. Village Roadshow’s Murder City shot in Mexico City, doubling for the US, as did John Woo’s thriller Silent Night for Capstone Studios and Thunder Road. Michelle Garza Cervera’s Huesera: The Bone Woman accessed Mexican incentives and was distributed in the US by XYZ Films. Isabel Cristina Fregoso’s drama The Path Of Silence shot in Jalisco and Nayarit and bene ted from Eficine as well as regional incentives, in this case the Jalisco fund COFIEJ. 

First person to contact: Diana Alvarez Segoviano, Mexican Film Commission — /

Overview and productions


Mexico boasts a stunning array of locations, from historical sites to modern cities, lakes to beautiful beaches, and plenty of sites that can be taken over by productions. 

Mexico City is the country’s production hub and its greater metropolitan region is home to some 20 million people. The capital offers a broad range of modern and historic architecture that gives producers a lot of options within a manageable distance of each other.

The opening sequence of Bond film, Spectre, was filmed in Mexico City’s Zócalo, a grand square in the megalopolis’s downtown zone, while Sicario 2: Soldado took advantage of some of the city’s neighbourhoods, as did Cuaron’s Roma.

There are also two studios available, Gabriel García Márquez, which offers six sound stages and post-production facilities, and Churubusco Azteca with eight stages. Guadalajara is also growing in popularity. It offers great animation and post-production services. Guillermo del Toro filmed part of his Pinocchio in the city.  

Mexico has nearly 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which is the highest number of any country in the Americas. The majority are of cultural significance and are clustered in central Mexico City. They include the Zocalo, or main plaza, which is the largest space of its type in the whole of Latin America. Other UNESCO sites include the biosphere reserve Sian Ka’an in the state of Quintana Roo in the far south-east of the country.

Playing double

For commercials, Mexico is a favourite destination for shoots that need to be 'tropicalised' for Latin America. Those looking to shoot jungle scenes should head to Veracruz and Chiapas, which is where the film Apocalypto was shot. While productions aiming for a Western (as in Old West) look could film in Durango, which has sets ready to use.

Mexico also offers a lot of locations that can double for Spanish, French or Italian towns, even small German or Northern European villages. Plus, locations that can double for US locales, especially California.

Location location location

Mexico is a country with a rich and diverse natural and cultural landscape, making it a popular destination for filmmakers, commercial producers, and photographers. Baklight's Herrera lists some of the top locations in Mexico:

  • Beaches: Mexico is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, with crystal-clear waters, white sand, and tropical landscapes. The popular tourist destinations of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Los Cabos are just a few of the many beautiful beach locations in Mexico.
  • Mountains: Mexico is also home to a number of stunning mountain ranges, including the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental. These mountain ranges offer breathtaking views, as well as opportunities for outdoor adventure and recreation.
  • Coastal regions: The Pacific and Gulf coasts of Mexico offer rugged and diverse shorelines, from rocky cliffs to sandy beaches. These coastal regions are popular for water sports, as well as for their natural beauty and wildlife.
  • Architecture: Mexico is home to a rich cultural heritage, with a wealth of historic and contemporary architecture, including colonial-era cities like San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, as well as modern cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Wildlife: Mexico is home to a rich and diverse array of wildlife, including species like jaguars, sea turtles, and various species of bird and marine life. These species can be found in a range of habitats, from tropical forests to deserts to coastal ecosystems.
  • Demographics: Mexico is a culturally rich and diverse country, with a mix of indigenous, European, and Afro-Mexican populations. This demographic diversity provides a wealth of opportunities for filmmakers and photographers looking to capture the essence of Mexican culture in their work.

Untapped filming locations

Mexico has a vast array of untapped and underutilised filming locations, ranging from modern cities to remote natural landscapes, such as:

  • The Copper Canyon: A group of six canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental, with rugged, untouched beauty that makes for a unique and breathtaking filming location.
    The Yucatan Peninsula: A peninsula that's home to a variety of landscapes, including jungles, cenotes (sinkholes filled with crystal clear water), and ancient ruins like Chichen Itza.
  • San Miguel de Allende: A colonial city with well-preserved architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and vibrant cultural life, it's often considered one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico.
  • The Gulf of California: Known for its stunning marine life and diverse landscapes, this region offers a variety of filming opportunities, from underwater scenes to deserts and mountainous terrain.
  • The Baja California Peninsula: A desert peninsula with rugged coastline, secluded beaches, and unique rock formations that could provide a distinctive look for any film production.

Permits and logistics

Getting permission to shoot at these locations is generally easy if you follow Mexican Film Commission requirements. There is also a network of regional commissions throughout the country.

In the few states where there are no local film commissions, or they are brand new and still not working at full speed, it is especially important to have a local company on the ground to get the permits from the police, and municipal authorities.

It’s worth noting that for shooting at archaeological sites it can take up to a month to get a permit. Mexico plays host to several climates that have individual weather patterns throughout the year, although you can find year-round warmth and sunshine in specific regions.

Infrastructure and crew

Mexico’s renowned crew base brings vast experience from international and Hollywood productions and local projects. Netflix has situated its Latin American headquarters in Mexico City, and a little over an hour’s flight from Los Angeles is Baja Studios, where Titanic was shot, one of several world-class facilities. Mexico’s world-class crews and a deep base continue to attract business and reduce the need for productions to pay large amounts bringing in their own crews.

Camilo Falcon, producer at Central Films, says: "Our team of experts understands the complex requirements of international film crews and is equipped with the experience and knowledge necessary to help make your project a success. We strive to offer an all-inclusive production package, ranging from location scouting, permits, film equipment, crew, transportation, legal, accounting and more. Mexico, in particular, has a well-established film industry with experienced crews, talented actors, and modern production facilities."

José Cohen, executive producer at Mexico's Cactus Film and Video provides specialist equipment available to rent for all types of projects. “Our cinematic lenses are a customer favourite of which we have a vast collection depending on the needs of the DP of the project. At Cactus Film and Video, we make sure to always have the up to date industry standard cameras and equipment. Another thing which distinguishes us is our rich experience in news and live transmissions,“ he explains.

Falcon also adds that Mexico has “state-of-the-art“ film equipment offered by rental houses that have presence both in Mexico and the USA. Falcon says, the country has become a “production hub that caters not only to commercials but to television series and films.“ Adding that “most of the streaming giants have offices in Mexico and from there attend the region and produce for global audiences. In a smaller scale but the same is happening in the other countries where we are present.“

Mexico also has "developed transportation infrastructure, making it relatively easy to access different filming locations. This accessibility can save time and resources during production, allowing filmmakers to focus on the creative aspects of their projects," Falcon says. 

Size matters

Mexico is large, approximately one fifth the size of the US, and has more than 7,200 miles of coastline. Mexico City International Airport is a major regional hub with flights to Los Angeles (four hours) and New York (five hours), while travellers can reach western Europe in 11-13 hours. The new Felipe Angeles International Airport has increased infrastructure capacity. Cancun, Guadalajara and Los Cabos also have regional airports. 

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