Challenges in Filming in Nepal For Foreign Filmmakers

ARTICLE BY NEPAL FILM PRODUCTION TEAM

Nepal is considered to be one of the safest countries in the world but there are certain challenges in filming in Nepal for foreign filmmakers while filming in Nepal.

In terms of crime, politics, and people, Nepal is not a risk for filmmakers across the globe but regular changing policies and random strikes on a national level might arise at the time of your next filming project in Nepal.

But there are some challenges in terms of geography, land topography, altitude sickness, permits for filming, custom clearance, and many more factors, but the best possible way to outcome from this problem is to collaborate with Nepal based film production company

Intro – Filming in Nepal

Nepal is a lot like a Bermuda Triangle, the ancient architecture, landscapes, culture, Himalayan ranges, history, arts, temples, shrines and many more attractive venues which manage to attract thousands of people from across the globe for film-making purposes.

Nepal has become the center of attraction for foreign filmmakers for various reasons such as mind-boggling locations along with it being an affordable filming destination for foreign film-makers.

Each year thousands of filmmakers arrive here in Nepal, to capture and reflect the beauty into their movies, documentaries, travel videos, television commercials.

Why Filming in Nepal is So Popular Among Foreign Filmmakers?

Some of the reasons why filming in Nepal is budding are:

  1. Nepal in general is comparatively cheaper and more affordable for most film-makers from around the world, considering acquiring permits and logistical based costs.
  2. Various popular destinations like Everest Region, Annapurna Region, Mustang, Kanchenjunga, Durbar Squares, National Parks, etc.
  3. Varied terrain ranging from the world’s highest point (8848m) to lowlands (60m) 
  4. A country full of cascading rivers, waterfall, glacier lakes, and other water sources
  5. Rich in culture and History (over 500 years old)
  6. Home to yogis, tantric, and shamans
  7. The country formed with 100 ethnic groups, languages and corresponding rituals each with their own festivals running throughout the year
  8. Various species of plant and wildlife

Challenges Foreign Filmmakers Might Face While Filming in Nepal 

When it comes to traveling or carrying implementations for filming projects in a foreign land, the foremost thing that comes to mind is “Safety”. Politically, Nepal has been in a stable condition for decades but never has a film-maker ever faced such threats in Nepal. So, in conclusion you don’t have to worry about the political clashes that might risk your filming project in the future in Nepal. 

Similarly, when it comes to crime, there hasn’t been any record of crimes involved in foreign travelers or movie makers to date, as Nepal is known to be a country known for tourism and safety.

In recent days, the Nepalese government is aggressively promoting tourism in Nepal. The Nepalese government is very active in promoting Nepal as one of the best options for tourists and film-makers to promote travel and filming locations in Nepal.

The Nepalese government is also supporting international film-makers by providing them a subsidy following certain criteria. In most cases, the Nepalese government tends to provide accommodation for your filming crew members if the criteria’s fit the grant in terms of promoting in Nepal.

1. Geography and land Topography of Nepal

Nepal is known to be blessed with the Himalayas and high hill. Most of the locations like Annapurna and Everest Regions fall under this land topography. So, going there for shooting along with your crew members and heavy equipment is not as easy as you have imagined. Even though you succeeded to reach there, it will be hard for most of the members to spend weeks over there not having experienced team members that know the locations in all ways to prevent any negative impacts.

Altitude sickness, uneven trails, frostbite, and natural calamities are a risk to your projects. 

The best strategy to overcome such risks is to collaborate and consider advice from the film production houses who have acquired years of experience in such harsh conditions and filming at such locations. Make sure your production is insured and all equipment and filming crew members before travelling to such locations and considering travel insurance sometimes, emergency medical help might be needed. In such cases, Nepal Mountaineering Association and Himalayan Rescue Association are there to rescue in such times. No matter which fixer or filming company you work with, tell them to initiate research of the location and ask about the challenges you might face there without hesitation. 

Nepal Film Production strongly believes in advance preparation in order to prevent such situations therefore while filming with us in Nepal, we always are known to have a back-up for a back-up, which has concluded to being one of the most reliable filming companies in Nepal.

2. Custom Fees and heavy charge for extra luggage

This problem is what you are going to tackle as soon as you land Nepal’s airport. 

If you are working with some independent fixer or local co-coordinator, it might cost your arms and legs for custom fees and extra baggage. This might significantly impact the budget of your projects. In addition to that, you might go through the problem of shipping large filming equipment in Nepal. 

Therefore, as a solution it’s always advantageous to work with an experienced film production company with years of experience such as Nepal Film Production who would be able to advise you on how to bring in your equipment from the very start and how to have overall acquire necessary permits according to specific clauses of the Nepalese government.

Here, you can team up with a local filming company based in Nepal to cut out all the extra charges and the trouble-free shipping of filming equipment in Nepal. Only they can help you with this matter. Considering working in this field for so many years, they have good networking with the ones who handle all these issues in the custom section.

3. Transportation

In the remote locations of Nepal, the conditions of the local roads are known to be very rough, uneven and quite dangerous as well. Traveling in such a location can be risky and rather uncomfortable.

The best option would be to hire private vehicles in coordination with your local fixer or contact your filming company to ask about the best methods of transportations to your filming location considering the possible unpredicted traffic or a random strike which may occur. As you will be cooperating with your filming fixer of Nepal, they should take all responsibility related to transportation. 

Nepal Film Production generally provides and recommends different vehicles for luggage, domestic film technicians, filming equipment and international production crew, considering the easy coordination for filming in Nepal and also depending on the numbers of units the filming project has in Nepal.

Transportation is also a very important factor while filming in Nepal considering the different types of locations available for most filming locations in Nepal.

4. Acquiring permits for Filming

Even though it is easy to acquire a national film permit for your filming project in Nepal, the process and paperwork is rather challenging considering the rules & regulations that need to be fulfilled in order to acquire all necessary permits for your next film production in Nepal. If you wish to acquire a permit independently, I am afraid to say, the permit will get rejected.

The reason being is because of one of the major rules is that you’re in order to acquire or apply for a filming permit, an international project but have collaborated with a filming company in Nepal which is registered and has acquired a minimum of three international productions as clients in the past. The reason being is because the filming company will be liable for leakage of any illegal footage filmed by force and also any damages done to public properties if this may occur.

There-fore the relevant ministries allocate a liaison officer who will act as a supervisor to your film production in Nepal, and according to their duty it is a must to report any types of suspicious activities or any sensitive footage filmed by the international production. 

Filming companies are generally very careless, but Nepal Film Production will give you an alternative solution to your fil production with legal guidance.

FAQ

  1. What are the challenges foreign filmmakers having to face while filming in Nepal?

    Challenges like land topography, custom fees, acquiring permits, logistics, dealing on a government level are the challenging factors for a foreign film-maker in Nepal.

  2. How easy is the transportation facility in Nepal?

    Due to geographical conditions, road conditions in remote places are rather difficult. Nepal Film Production will handle all your logistics when it comes to managing your vehicles for your next filming project in Nepal, and will create a detailed plan of how to plan your production according to the topography of Nepal.

  3. Do I face problems with the customs clearance at Nepal’s airport?

    Yes, while arriving in Nepal with your filming equipment, the customs clearance department at the airport which is an independent authority, will question your equipment’s, but Nepal Film Production and the team will be sure to come inside the airport and clear all your equipment with ease considering our network at the airport.

  4. Can I easily get the permit for filming in Nepal?

    Yes, you can but you have to legally collaborate with a filming company from Nepal like Nepal Film Production. Then they will be responsible to handle all filming related matters from your arrival to departure.

  5. Can I use a drone for filming in Nepal?

    Flying a drone without permission is considered illegal in Nepal. For this, you need to have a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Home Ministry, Ministry of Information & Communication & Defense Ministry.