Film permits are required for production projects that affect public property, equipment or facilities in Lee County. A company or individual may shoot on private property without a permit, unless it involves the use of pyrotechnics, explosives, firearms or other incendiary devices, and stunts of any kind.
Who Needs a Permit?
Feature film, TV special, commercial, pilot, series, documentary and one-off video crews of five (5) or more individuals using equipment that is not hand held. Projects requiring street closures, stunts, special effects and other unusual circumstances should allow substantial lead-time for arrangements and approval.
Still photography does not need a permit.
Flying drones above nature preserves and federal lands requires permits and clearances. The drone service provider must be willing to work with Lee County Visitor & Convention staff to secure the required permissions through relevant federal, state and county agencies before shoot dates, and maintain required licenses and registrations.
The Film Permit Application Process
The number of applications that need to be submitted depends on which locations are included in the production schedule. A Lee County Film Permit covers shoots taking place in Estero and on Captiva Island, all Lee County parks, as well as in public spaces and on beaches. It carries no fee. However, additional forms and fees may be required for major cities like Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, and state parks.
Filming in Florida State Parks requires separate applications, and any productions scheduled for J.N. “Ding” Darling require a special use application that we already have in-house. In all of the abovementioned instances, a lead time of 30 days is preferred, but at the very least, please allow for a minimum of 10 business days for processing.
Requirements for an Application
The following list outlines the requirements needed to secure a film permit in Lee County.
- A locations breakdown and production schedule, which should include times, dates, type of equipment being used, special arrangements or needs for parking, and city/county services requested.
- The permit must be submitted by an authorized representative of your company and include size of cast and crew, number and types of vehicles, and approximate budget. Depending on the size of the project, a script or story board will help officials in determining what special services may be needed.
- Prior to the issuance of the permit, you are encouraged to discuss your project directly with the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau film office representative for guidance in completing the required applications. Contact Jason Boeckman at JBoeckman@leegov.com.
To gain film permit approval, the applicant must have a Certificate of Insurance which provides at least $1,000,000 of Comprehensive General Liability for each instance of claim to protect against bodily injury and/or property damage relative to applicant’s use of aforementioned event within Lee County.
Additional info required:
- The name of the insured production company.
- The name of the insurance company.
- Lee County Board of Commissioners and Municipalities must be listed as a certificate holder. If filming within Fort Myers, Sanibel, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers Beach, the cities must also be listed as certificate holders and additionally insured. This can be done on the same certificate of insurance.
- The policy number and dates of policy coverage, including expiration date.
NOTE: Projects requiring street closures, stunts, special effects and other unusual circumstances should allow substantial lead-time for arrangements and approval. There may be additional permits/fees required for the City of Fort Myers, City of Sanibel, the town of Fort Myers Beach, and state parks.