Filming in New Bedford
Film production permits for the City of New Bedford currently are issued without charge. Authorization is granted by the Mayor’s Office, after review of the project by the City of New Bedford Office of Tourism & Marketing.
If the project is a feature film, the permit procedure should begin as soon as a location has been chosen.
A permit is not required if filming on private property only although all production companies are requested to notify the City of New Bedford Office of Tourism & Marketing regarding their intentions, whether on private or public property.
If the production company desires to film in or on public property (i.e. park, beach, city building or structure, public land, etc.) or on a public way (i.e. street, sidewalk, alleyway, bike path, walkway, plaza, pedestrian overpass, etc.) The City may require a current certificate of insurance indemnifying the municipality for a minimum of $1 million.
Location fees may apply for use of government buildings and parks and may require requests for use in writing to the appropriate board or commission (i.e. the Board of Park Commissioners, Cemetery Board, School Committee, etc.).
Permits will not be issued with less than 48 hours notice for any film production. It is advisable to provide at least three (3) weeks notice when the request includes closing a street or any public way. The City may require production companies to hire police details to ensure public safety, traffic and spectator control.
For optimal planning, adjacent, businesses and/or residents should be contacted in person by the film production company and receive a written letter or flyer relating the extent of the project as it may impact their hours of operation or private events.
For use of state roads and bridges within Bristol County, separate requests must be submitted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Highway Office, District 5. The production company must also notify the Massachusetts State Police.
If production requires filming on the waters of New Bedford harbor (inner harbor, outer harbor, Acushnet river estuary, the head of the river, or adjacent shores, piers, wharves, boardwalks, etc.), the New Bedford Harbor Development Commission must also be notified in writing for a request to film, detailing the activity and timeframe. This request must be received at least six (6) weeks prior to filming.
If production requires filming in adjacent waters, the United States Coast Guard, as well as the Harbormaster of nearest town or boat landing used, needs to be advised of the activity in writing prior to filming.