Filming in Inyo County
The Inyo County Film Commission promotes the high desert of the Owens Valley, Death Valley and High Sierra regions to the film industry as an accessible site for on-location filming for commercials, feature films, television shows, music Videos, and still photography, and assists production companies with all their needs when they choose to film in Inyo County.
Why Shoot in Legendary Inyo County
- Over 400 Hollywood films have been shot in Inyo County, many near Lone Pine in the dramatic Alabama Hills, the home of the Western
- More than 10,000 square miles of unique landscapes (deserts, sand dunes, waterfalls, forests, ranchland, boulders, dry lakes, etc.)
- Only 3 hours from Hollywood
- Easy permitting process
- Film-friendly communities
- Abundant local resources and services
- Competitive incentives
- Response from Inyo Film Commissioner within 24 hours guaranteed
- Professional service
If you’re interested in bringing your production to Inyo County, please contact:
Jesse Steele, Inyo County Film Commissioner
When do I need a film permit?
Filming: Filming activities that may require a permit include the use of motion picture, videotaping, sound recording, or other moving image or audio recording equipment on public lands that involve the use of actors, models, sets, and/or props.
Public land users do not require a permit for short-term filming activities unless the activity would:
- cause appreciable damage or disturbance to the public lands, their resources, or improvements, or
- is prohibited by closure of the lands to such activities.
Still Photography: Still photography activities that require a permit are those that:
- use models, sets, or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities (portrait subjects such as wedding parties or high school graduates are not considered models), or would:
- take place where members of the public are generally not allowed, or
- would require onsite management and oversight for resource protection or to minimize visitor conflict.
Filming or still photography will NOT be permitted if it is determined that:
- There is likelihood of resource damage or public health and safety risks that cannot be mitigated, or
- There would be an unreasonable disruption of the public’s use and enjoyment of the site (beyond short-term interruption).
To determine where to obtain your permit, you need to consider that Inyo County has multiple agencies owning the land, both public and private. Each agency is responsible for authorizing filming on the public lands within their jurisdiction, and each location has distinct conditions to adhere to. Begin by reaching out to the Inyo County Film Commission for clarification. After that, the Film Commissioner will assist you in contacting the appropriate land management agency, county authorities, or private landowners for any inquiries related to filming on lands within Inyo County.
Located within 3 hours from Hollywood
Encompassing more than 10,000 square miles, Inyo County features an epic landscape of unparalleled variety, natural wonders and stunning vistas, recreational opportunities, cultural amenities, and rich indigenous, pioneer, mining, water, and movie-making histories.
Inyo County’s unrivaled beauty and diversity have allowed filmmakers to bring far away locales – such as Afghanistan, the Far East, and even distant planets – to the screen without ever leaving the state of California.
Located fewer than three hours from Los Angeles, the epicenter of the entertainment universe, Inyo County has for decades provided the ideal locations for hundreds of motion pictures, television shows, commercials, music videos, and print advertisements, as well as countless amateur endeavors that have spring boarded many careers.
The County’s popularity with the film industry and its film-friendly legacy – dating back to the 1920s – earned it the nickname “Hollywood’s backlot.”
Often synonymous with Westerns, Inyo County served as the home away from home for some of the genre’s biggest names, including Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Tim Holt, John Ford, Clint Eastwood, Jack Palance, Gregory Peck, Charleton Heston, and a little known actor named Marion Morrison aka John Wayne, just to name a few! Some of these stars shot here so frequently they were considered part-time residents!
But Inyo hasn’t always just been Hollywood’s Horse Corral. It is known for many famous movies in all cinematic genres. During the Silver Age of Hollywood, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon, and Natalie Wood also frequently graced the camera-ready landscape of Inyo County, in everything from thrillers and mysteries to epic period pieces.
Classic films shot here include How the West Was Won, High Sierra, Around the World in 80 Days, Joe Kidd, Nevada Smith, Gunga Din, Yellow Sky, The Long, Long, Trailer, and A Star is Born.
In the modern age of film, Inyo remains the home of some of the most coveted locations around. Inyo County has served as the setting for blockbusters, critically acclaimed films, and cult hits alike, including Tremors, Star Wars ep. 4 A New Hope, Star Trek V and Star Trek Generations, The Lone Ranger, plus modern mega hits such as Gladiator, G.I. Jane, Iron Man, Django Unchained, Captain Marvel, and Gone in 60 Seconds. Inyo County has welcomed such stars as Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Minnie Driver, Josh Brolin, Kevin Bacon, Brie Larson, Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jamie Foxx … the list goes on.
Advertisers love Inyo County! You have not watched aa Super Bowl in the last 30 years that did not include at least 2 or 3 commercials filmed in Inyo. Agencies put the big money into productions for the Super Bowl, the biggest event on television each year. Where do they go to guarantee they put their money to epic use? Inyo County.
Budweiser, Ford, Toyota, Chevy, Dodge, Geico, Progressive, Nissan, Jack in the Box, Pier 1, Anthropologie, and Kia are just a few of the companies who trust investing their advertising dollars in Inyo County.
Feature/ Short Films
Inyo County has been and will continue to be a trusted friend of the film industry. We have everything you need to shoot anything from a Western to a space opera, to a romantic comedy to a psychological thriller. We have the resources and experience to make your shoot simple, cost-effective, and pleasurable. We have the legendary status to let you film where the greats once shot Silver Screen classics. Best of all… we’re just a quick drive from Hollywood …beat that Georgia!
Dozens of short films are shot in Inyo each year. We pride ourselves on helping the blockbuster filmmakers of tomorrow, today.
Extreme Sports/Adventure Films
Many Climbing and extreme sports films are shot in Inyo each year. Inyo County is a worldwide climbing destination. The Buttermilks and Owens River Gorge are visited by thousands of climbers each year. Many are shooting documentaries or even Youtube videos about the pristine climbing conditions we have in Inyo. With our sister county, Mono, being the home of Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort, there is no shortage of extreme athletes looking to film in our area.
So when is your next shoot in Legendary Inyo County?
The Inyo County Film Commission and Film Commissioner Jesse Steele are your “one-stop shop” for production companies’ needs.