Shooting on the Isle of Man is easy; below you’ll find answers to common questions. If you have other questions or concerns please get in touch with the Isle of Man Film office by phone or email.
- Where and what is the Isle of Man?
- How do I get to the Isle of Man?
- Are there Freight links?
- What equipment, kit and facilities can I find on the Isle of Man?
- Are there any issues I should know around Mobile Phones, data upload, communications or internet?
- What issues do I need to consider around Payroll, NI, VAT, Immigration & Work Permits?
- Can I close a road for filming?
- Are there Sound stages on the Isle of Man?
- Can we use Pyrotechnics or Firearms?
- My production features Child Actors, are there any issues to be considered?
- Do I need to employ Local Trainees?
- Do I need filming permits to film on public or private land?
- What Laws and Regulations should I be aware of?
- What things are there to see and do on the Isle of Man?
- Where can I find suitable crew accommodation?
- What are the issues around the use of aerial drones for filming purposes?
The Isle of Man is situated between the coastlines of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, in the middle of the Irish Sea. Blessed with an extensive coastline, stunning natural landscapes and unspoilt beaches, the Isle of Man is a unique and diverse location with an ancient Celtic and Norse history, all within easy reach of the rest of the British Isles.
Due to the influence of the sea the Island’s climate is temperate making it an ideal year round visitor destination. It measures just 33 miles in length and 13 miles in width, but is not densely populated given its land mass (approx 85,000 people).
Despite its small size the Isle of Man has a varying landscape. The coastline stretches for 100 miles. Across the northern plain you’ll find long sandy beaches which contrast markedly with the rocky cliffs and sheltered bays around the rest of the Island.
Snaefell – which is 2,036 feet above sea level – is the Island’s only mountain. You’ll also spot a number of smaller Islands located off the Island’s coast including the Calf of Man at the southern tip, which is home to a nature reserve and bird observatory, and St Patrick’s Isle on the west coast. The Island has a diverse selection of wildlife including sea birds, seals and basking sharks.
The Isle of Man is part of the British Isles, but not part of the UK – and therefore has political and constitutional independence.
Wherever you live, travelling to the Isle of Man by air is easy. The Isle of Man has strong air links to major airports situated in the UK and Ireland. Most airlines operate daily flights to the Island, with some flights from the North West of England taking less than 30 minutes.
Flight arrival/departure times and weather announcements can be checked at the Isle of Man Airport website. Please check with the following individual flight operators for timetables, fares and detailed booking information.
Fly between the Isle of Man and Dublin. For more information phone 0871 718 2020 or visit www.aerlingus.com.
Fly between the Isle of Man and London City Airport. For more information phone 0844 493 0787 or visit www.britishairways.com.
Fly between the Isle of Man and Belfast City, Blackpool, Glasgow, Gloucester, Jersey and Newcastle. For more information phone 0871 200 0440 or visit www.citywing.com.
Fly between the Isle of Man, Liverpool and London Gatwick. For more information phone 08431 041200 or visit www.easyjet.com.
Fly between the Isle of Man and Birmingham, London Gatwick, Liverpool, Manchester and seasonal flights to Jersey and Geneva. For more information phone 0871 700 2000 or visit www.flybe.com.
Freedom Travel are an Isle of Man-based travel agency who can handle bulk travel arrangements on a production’s behalf.
Bookajet offer private jet hire from their base in Farnborough.
The Steam Packet Company Steam Packet Company operate ferry routes from the following ports to the Isle of Man:
- Heysham is a crossing time of between 3h 15m and 3h 45m
- Liverpool has a fastcraft service with a crossing time of 2h 45m
- Birkenhead (12 Quays Berth) Services has a crossing time of 4h 15m.
- Belfast takes approximately 2h 45m
- Dublin takes approximately 2h 55m
All journey times are approximate and subject to tidal and weather conditions. View Steam Packet Company’s online timetable and book routes on their website: www.steam-packet.com. Alternatively contact the Reservations Team on t: +44 (0)8722 992 992 or e: email@example.com. The freight office can be reached at t: +44 (0) 1624 645620 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recommend you make every effort to establish your exact requirements before loading to travel to the Island. Whilst most camera and lighting equipment is imported for each production during feature film shoots, there are a number of small production facilities and freelancers on the Island who may be able to help out with small camera / lighting requirements at short notice. Items that are often sourced locally include:
- Rigging tubes and experienced riggers
- Local construction companies
- Tree surgeons and landscapers
- Hoist and crane equipment for short hire
- Action vehicles and 4x4s
- Trailers and honeywagons
Contact the Isle of Man Film office for more information or visit our Crew and Facilities directory.
The Isle of Man has an excellent telecoms and power infrastructure which has benefited from hundreds of millions of pounds worth of public and private sector investment in recent years. We are now a major centre for e-business and digital communications. A 4G data network was recently introduced across the Island and many public areas offer free WIFI connections.
Before you use a UK or overseas phone whilst roaming on the Island, you should ensure that your network provider has a roaming agreement with Manx Telecom.
Mobile coverage is available in most places in the Isle of Man.
Productions using Walkie Talkies/radio sets usually hire them in the UK from the standard industry vendors such as Wavevend.
Some productions choose to upload their rushes or store their camera drives securely with local datacentres. The Island is served by five state of the art data-hosting centres, owned and operated by Manx Telecom, WiManx, Domicilium, Continent 8 and Netcetera.
- Payroll / National Insurance: Employers and employees on the Island are required to pay National Insurance contributions. NI rates on the Island are not the same as the UK rates and we recommend you contact Isle of Man Treasury to discuss arrangements. Visit the Isle of Man Treasury website t: +44 (0) 1624 685400.
- VAT: The Isle of Man operates a VAT regime which is essentially identical to, and interlinked with, that of the UK and VAT in the Isle of Man is levied at the same UK standard rate, currently 20%. An important difference is a 5% VAT rates for hotel accommodation and this should factor into your budget. As per the UK there is 0% VAT for food, certain charitable activities, children’s clothing and written media amongst others. All Customs & Excise applications/enquiries can be directed to the IOM Customs & Excise e: IOM Customs & Excise t: +44 (0)1624 648100
- Work Permits: A work permit exemption is granted to all British and EU Citizens providing specialist services to any specific production. Anyone working who is not a British Citizen or a National of the European Economic Union requires an Overseas Labour Permit which should be applied for well in advance of arrival. Please contact t: +44 (0)1624 682390 if you require an application form for the Overseas Labour Scheme.All Work Permit applications/enquiries should be directed to the Work Permit Dept e: Work Permit Dept t: +44 (0)1624 682392
- Immigration: Enquiries should be directed to the Immigration Office e: email@example.com t: +44 (0) 1624 685203
Film productions requiring a road closure should apply to the Highways office at the Department of Infrastructure
e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: +44 (0) 1624 686687.
Local legislation allows for:
- Temporary Road Closure – Lane or Footway Closures
- Suspension of Parking
- Traffic Control
Please note that you should advise the office one month in advance and apply three weeks in advance of the requested date. Local law requires that road closures are advertised in the local press 7 days before the event. A plan showing the area and extent of the road closure must accompany an application and there is typically a cost of approximately £200.
Based in the north of the Island and only twenty minutes drive from the capital, Island Studios features a dedicated 11,000 sq ft soundstage. Island Studios has a comprehensive range of facilities in a secure and private location. In recent years it has hosted Dom Hemingway and The Christmas Candle. Details of the sound stage are:
- Length: 42.7m (140ft)
- Width: 24.4m (80ft)
- Height: 14.3m (47ft)
- Area: 1040.3sq m (11200 sq ft)
- 1000 KVA supplied to 4 distribution panels with 12 x 63 amp and 24 x 125 amp outlets
- Drive in access is via a large electric door
- 2 personnel doors
- Mains sprinkler system installed at roof level
Facilities also include:
- Additional construction stage
- Large backlot
- Green Rooms
- AD offices
- Make up and wardrobe rooms
- Production offices
Please contact David Dorricott, t: 01624 811747 e: email@example.com or the Isle of Man Film office for further information.
Kennaa Studios, situated halfway between the main town and the airport has serviced productions including Revolver, Lassie and Heartless. Facilities include:
- Construction bay
- Backlot and parking for large vehicles
- New small production office with Kitchen, modern bathrooms and wheelchair access
Sound Stage Dimensions:
- Length: 31m (102ft)
- Width: 13m (42ft)
- Height: 4.5m (15ft) at lowest point
- Area: 403 sq m (4,337 sq ft)
- Insulated with 75mm Rockwool Sound-Pro
Contact Lesley Ingham the Estates Manager on t: ++ 44 (0) 7624 460067 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Productions may also be granted permission in some cases to film with firearms and replica firearms, seek guidance in the first instance from Mark Dimsdale, the Force Firearms Coordinator at Isle of Man Constabulary’s Firearms Licensing Department t: +44 (0) 1624 631378 or e: FirearmsEnquiry.email@example.com.
Any production employing child performers will be required to apply for a licence for a Performance by a Child. The application should be submitted to the Department of Education at least 21 days prior to the first date the child will begin their performance. For further information call t: +44 (0) 1624 685792 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Films supported by the Isle of Man Media Development Fund must employ a minimum of four trainees in recognised disciplines during the duration of an Isle of Man shoot. They should be at least 18 years of age and should qualify as an Isle of Man worker. Employers should note the minimum hourly wage at the Employment and Skills website. Trainee candidates can be found via the Crew Directory or Isle of Man Film.
In the Isle of Man it is not necessary to obtain a permit to film on public land, provided that you are considerate to the public, have notified the local authorities and do not cause an obstruction. If members of the public are in shot and their faces are clearly visible, or if they are recorded whilst speaking, please ask them to sign release forms.
You are permitted to film on private land provided the owner is in agreement and a contract is in place. Please be mindful not to block highways or rights of way, and to follow general health and safety practice.
Many of the Island’s ancient monuments and landmarks are under the management of Manx National Heritage (the Island’s national trust), t: + 44 (0) 1624 648000
- Parking: the Island operates a policy of disc parking zones for vehicles in the Island’s Towns and Villages. You must display a parking disc in your vehicle showing the time of arrival in the parking place. Discs are usually available from vehicle hire firms, the Sea Terminal, Douglas, Police Stations, Post Offices and local Commissioners’ Offices throughout the Island.
- Possession or use of illegal substances: Legislation on the Island is similar to that of the UK but Courts here have been allowed by Courts of Appeal to impose higher sentences. Possession of any drug including cannabis usually results in a custodial sentence. Drink driving is not tolerated on the Island and sentences meted out for such offences are often custodial. Please also note that use of hand held mobile telephones whilst driving any vehicle is against the law.
- Health Services: the Island operates a National Health Service that is free at the point of use and a reciprocal agreement is in place with the UK, should any member of crew require treatment.
Lots.. there’s great restaurants and bars, areas of outstanding natural beauty, museums, galleries and outdoor sporting events.. the Island has an electric railway and a steam railway in operation during the summer months and the high-octane drama of the TT Motorcycle Road Races every June.. check out the Visit Isle of Man website for more ideas and information.
The Visit Isle of Man website has an excellent directory of hotels and self-catering accommodation. Contact the Isle of Man Film office for further support on t: +44 (0) 1624 687173.
The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry has recently reviewed policy on drones given the recent increase in use and popularity. CAA licensed operators from the UK should obtain permission to use IOM airspace from the registry, and non-commercial users should seek advice. Contact the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry office for further information on t: +44 (0) 1624 682358.