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External film and photography policy

The following applies to all non-media filming and photography, including projects commissioned by the University. Media who wish to film on Northwestern's campus should notify Northwestern media relations by calling (847) 491-5001 or emailing Bob Rowley, assistant vice president of media relations, at storer.rowley@northwestern.edu

General Information

The following documents must be provided before any filming can commence on Northwestern University's campus. 

Northwestern University Global Marketing and Communications approves and coordinates all external and commercial filming and photography requests for the University’s Evanston and Chicago campuses, except for athletic facilities. All still photography and filming, other than that being done by news organizations for news purposes, is considered to be commercial work. This includes photography and filming for nonprofit organizations. Please contact Kayla Stoner at (847) 491-5753 or kayla.stoner@northwestern.edu to begin the approval process and arrange location scouting. Contacting individual schools or departments initially will complicate communications and slow the approval process.

Photography and filming will be allowed only during those times least likely to be disruptive to the academic process and to student life. As a general policy, Northwestern University does not allow commercial filming the week before and during the University’s final exams period. Exceptions are rare and must be reviewed and approved by Global Marketing and Communications and the person responsible for the area where the photography or filming is requested. In addition, it is Northwestern’s policy to NOT allow commercial filming in the University’s residence halls or libraries.

Filming at Northwestern University Athletic Facilities

Northwestern University’s Department of Athletics and Recreation coordinates commercial filming at athletic facilities, including Ryan Field, Welsh-Ryan Arena, etc. Those wishing to film in the University’s athletic facilities should contact Scott Arey, Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities, at (847) 491-7887 or s-arey@northwestern.edu.

Statement of Intent

A statement of intent must be received by Global Marketing and Communications at least seven days prior to the commencement of any shooting. The statement should include as much relevant information as possible, including the date, times and location requested; crew, talent and vehicle numbers; the intended audience for the film or photographs; if Northwestern will be represented and how; and other pertinent information and/or particular requests. The statement of intent will be reviewed by Global Marketing and Communications staff. Statements of intent should be emailed to Kayla Stoner.

Certificate of Liability Insurance

A Certificate of Insurance (COI), naming Northwestern University, its officers, employees and agents as additional insured, providing comprehensive general liability insurance, including personal injury and property damage, automobile liability (when applicable), and aviation liability (for drone filming and photography) in amounts not less than $3,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 in the aggregate or a combined single limit of $3,000,000 shall be submitted to Global Marketing and Communications at least five days before the shoot. Additionally, the COI shall state that the coverage provided therein shall be primary to any other coverage available to Northwestern University.

Release and Indemnity Form

Upon agreement to use Northwestern University as a location, an authorized agent shall sign and submit a Release and Indemnity Form to Kayla Stoner at least five days before the shoot. Evidence of insurance as described above and in the Release and Indemnity Form shall be submitted at the same time.

The Northwestern University name, seal, marks and logos are registered trademarks and may not be used without the written permission of the University. The University’s name, symbols and locations may not be used in any manner to endorse any product or service, either explicitly or implicitly, without written permission from Global Marketing and Communications.

Requests for use of sweatshirts, t-shirts, pennants, etc. for use as costumes for characters or as set dressing should be directed to Kayla Stoner.

Requests for use of trademarked symbols for licensing purposes should be directed to Ellen Barnes, Manager of Trademark Licensing, (847) 491-3274 or e-barnes@northwestern.edu.

Fees and Expenses

All location fees are due prior to the commencement of any shooting. There are no exceptions. Fees for film shoots are $5,000 per day, plus expenses; fees for still photography shoots range from $1,000 to $1,500 per day, plus expenses.

Additional expenses (e.g., those incurred as a result of the necessary use of University Police and Facilities Management) will be the responsibility of the requesting agency or production company. A final invoice will be sent upon completion of filming, and payment will be due within 60 days.

A setup fee will be charged in the event that extra time is required for the area to be prepared the day before the shoot.

A parking fee will be required for vehicles parked on campus for the shoot. This includes motor homes, vans, etc. The fee will be based on the number of vehicles. Owners of vehicles must obtain a parking permit from Global Marketing and Communications on or before the day of the shoot.

Additional Information

All scripts that include references to Northwestern University must be approved by the Vice President for University Relations. No mention is to be made of, or recognition given to, Northwestern University unless specifically authorized.

The University will encourage the use of Northwestern University students as extras, as appropriate and necessary.

Drone policy

Parties wishing to capture photography or video using a drone should review the University's unmanned aircraft systems policy  and application form before contacting Kayla Stoner to begin the approval process.

For more information, contact Kayla Stoner at (847) 491-5753 or kayla.stoner@northwestern.edu.

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