Nauru is a special case. This Micronesian country experienced an economic boom in the 1970s and 1980s when, after purchasing back its phosphate reserves from the United Kingdom, its per capita GDP rose to $50,000, making it second only to Saudi Arabia.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”
―John Milton, Paradise Lost
Nauru is a special case. This Micronesian country experienced an economic boom in the 1970s and 1980s when, after purchasing back its phosphate reserves from the United Kingdom, its per-capita GDP rose to $50,000, making it second only to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, Nauru’s phosphate reserves eventually dried up, its funds were mismanaged and by 2005 its per capita GDP had shrunk to $5,000. With an annual average of 160 tourists a year, Nauru is the least-visited country on the planet.
We do not mean to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but if we are being honest, to spend time on Nauru evokes John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. Nevertheless, surrounded by coral and jagged rock, and with its crumbling phosphate mines and forty-year-old infrastructure, the island possesses myriad interesting locations for filmmakers and a compelling history for any documentary filmmaker looking to tell the tale.
Any filmmaker looking to shoot on Nauru should be aware that filming permissions are sensitive due to the country’s housing of political refugees seeking asylum in Australia. Its detention centers attracted international attention and, though many refugees have been relocated, Nauru’s government remains cautious in its approach to the media. That said, based on our experiences in the country, filming permissions are not impossible.
Nauru is an extremely small, volcanic island country with deserted beaches and empty factories, and is surrounded by coral and jagged rock. Filmmakers looking for a one-of-a-kind, isolated island location with an extremely unique look and feel can find such a place in Nauru.
The Martian-esque landscape of volcanically-formed Anibar Bay, WWII relics at Command Ridge, abandoned phosphate plants, and tropical scenery at the landlocked, freshwater Buada Lagoon are all unique enough to grab the attention of any screenwriter or director looking for a compelling setting for their story ideas.
FILM PERMITS & PERMISSIONS:
Due to the issues surrounding negative reporting of the country with regard to the Nauru refugee centers, Nauru can be difficult to navigate for filmmakers. Officially, at least, journalists are required to pay $5000 for a visa to Nauru.
However, Pioneer Media are able to arrange journalism visas to Nauru. Also depending on the project, we are happy to negotiate with our partners in Nauru to lower the visa fee.
Nauru currently has no official visa policy for narrative film projects. However, Pioneer Media will negotiate with our local partners to lower fees for any narrative filmmaker who wishes to film in Nauru.
FILM TALENT, CREWS & EQUIPMENT:
There is a local TV station, so there is some limited equipment available for hire. For those bringing in film equipment to Nauru, permits can be arranged. As of 2019, it is not possible to bring in drones to Nauru without special permission.
FILM COST, TAX INCENTIVES & CO-PRODUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:
There is no official co-production or tax incentives to film in Nauru. However, being a small, island nation, the government tend to be open to collaborations that benefit the local economy. Pioneer Media can happily talk to our government contacts on your behalf.
ACCOMADATION & TRANSPORTION FOR FILMMAKERS:
Nauru has one major hotel – the 3-star Hotel Menen – which is large enough to accommodate a moderately-sized crew.
The Menen Hotel also provides vehicle and driver rental. The roads in Nauru are well maintained.
VISAS & TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR FILMMAKERS:
Almost all nationals require a visa to travel to Nauru, with some (such as Australia and New Zealand) needing a letter of invitation. Pioneer Media can assist in all facets of your visa to Nauru.
PIONEER MEDIA'S PREVIOUS PROJECTS & FILMS SHOT:
Pioneer Media have filmed promotional videos in Nauru, and are currently working on a project with CONIFA to create a football (soccer) team in Nauru.