Economic Development Portsmouth


Portsmouth and the Film/Media Industry

The City of Portsmouth has a thriving arts and culture sector which contributes significantly to the city's overall economic vitality. Filmmaking, film viewing and media production are significant contributors this creative industry. Annually, the City is host to the Telluride by the Sea Film Festival that draws audiences for a weekend-long event while generating patronage to local downtown businesses. In addition, the city is home to the NH Film Festival ( and its annual mid-October event that brings independent filmmakers, producers, editors, videographers and film viewers from the state and nation for a week of lectures and film viewing.

Why shoot a film in Portsmouth?
There are three main reasons to shoot a film in Portsmouth:

  1. This resplendent, historic waterfront city has a diverse array of film locations including a lively downtown with its authentic historic architecture, public art and colorful residents, a bustling waterfront with a fish pier for lobster, fishing and tour boats, a waterfront park with formal gardens and summer outdoor theatre, a busy calendar of events that include open markets, parades, bike races, foot races, street performers, and vendors.
  2. The municipality welcomes filmmakers and media professionals and has a free, streamlined permission process for scheduling film shoots.
  3. There are experienced film professionals locally. If you need production assistance, the city and the NH Film and Television Office can collaboratively help out.

Process for Requesting Permission to Shoot Film/Media in Portsmouth

  1. Write a letter or call the City Manager (603-610-7202), to request permission to shoot a film, television or media scene in the city. Include in your request the date, time, location, and a brief description of the shoot and if there is a need for street closure. For large shoots include a map. The City Manager may refer the request to the Economic Development Program Manger to discuss details.
  2. If necessary the City Manager invites representatives from city departments to the meeting with film or media producer to discuss logistics and municipal support. City staff invited to the meeting varies depending on the request. Considerations include location, the anticipated influx of people and the type of management required such as traffic control, street closure, parking needs, and police, fire, ambulance or health department support/oversight.

Shoots that require street closures may require approval from the City Council in advance of the event. Request letter should be submitted well in advance of event to allow adequate lead time for City Council consideration.

  1. A Certificate of Insurance that meets city insurance requirements and that name the city as certificate holder as well as an additional insured for the duration of the shoot is required.
  2. If an shoot requires street closures or generates significant traffic, police must be hired for traffic control at the organizer's expense. This arrangement and cost will be discussed at the event meeting cited above.
  3. Media producers are required to pay for use of metered parking spaces that are taken out of service during events.
  4. In most cases, filmmakers are required to pick up trash on public streets following filming.

Film/Media Shoot Planning Considerations

  1. Check the City's event calendar (click here) before scheduling or publicizing an event to avoid conflicts with other events.
  2. Avoid filming on significant religious days that generate traffic to religious institutions located downtown.
  3. Promote use of public transit and remote parking for participants.
  4. To the extent possible, street closures should be avoided.