Filming in Nepal

ARTICLE BY NEPAL FILM PRODUCTION TEAM

Filming in Nepal is a wonderful opportunity for foreign filmmakers to incorporate the rich diversity of nature, culture, and lifestyle in a small country in a limited amount of time.

filming in nepal - Nepal natural wonders

Nepal has got its exposure as a filming hub for filmmakers around the world. Some of the reasons why filming in Nepal is getting popular are:

  • Varied terrain ranging from the world’s highest point (8848m) to lowlands(60m) 
  • Country of fast-flowing rivers, lakes and other water sources 
  • Rich in Culture and History (over 500 years old) with exemplary architecture and art
  • A melting point of more than 100 ethnic groups, languages and corresponding rituals each with their own festivals running throughout the year
  • Secular Country: Majorly Hindu population, Birthplace of Gautam Buddha & Buddhism, as well as home to other religions
  • A spiritually enriched country with home to Yogis, tantric, shamans
  • Rich in flora & Fauna along with species that are found nowhere else on earth
  • Comparatively Cheaper from all dimensions 

Nepal, a Cheaper Filming Destination

Well, obviously a filming project is not cheap. However, Nepal is comparatively on the cheaper side if you are considering it for a filming destination.
The transportation and accommodation are cheap. 

The food is cheap. 

However, you may have to incur heavy costs at Customs, Permits as well as on other official authorities.  

Besides these regions, filming in Nepal is an experience in itself as you immerse yourself in the nature and culture of Nepal. With the increasing popularity of film shooting in Nepal, there are professionals who will provide every related service you require while filming in Nepal.

Best Destination for Film Shooting in Nepal

Are you looking for a filming destination? Do you want to film it in Nepal?

If you are looking for filming in Nepal then you must know these places that make up for the best destination for shooting in Nepal. 

  • Durbar Square: The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, is situated in the valley, along with two other districts: Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. Each of these districts boasts beautiful palace areas known as Durbar Square. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these palace areas were built during the Malla Period (around 300 years ago) and are a magnificent masterpiece of art, craft and architecture protected till the date. Add it with the chaos of the everyday activities of the local people, all 3 Durbar square makes up for an excellent visual story for your filming project. Besides some of the sacred temples, almost all of the palace area is accessible for filming.    
  • National Parks & Conservation Areas: National Parks in Nepal is home to diverse floras and faunas including those found nowhere else. Even though not all parts of these national parks can be filmed, you can film the major accessible parts. 2 of the National Parks of Nepal are listed on the World Heritage Sites, namely, Chitwan National Park(CNP), and Sagarmatha National Park(SNP). CNP is home to the One-Horned Rhino, Royal Bengal Tiger, Elephants, Crocodiles as well as many other wild animals and plant species. Sagarmatha National Park is where the highest peak of the world, Mount Everest is situated, along with other 8000m peaks like Cho Yu, If you want to film in Everest, you would have to visit Sagarmatha National Park and get permits from the concerned authority. Learn more about filming on Everest. All of these areas offer unique perspectives into nature and wildlife if you want to capture it in your storyline. Filming in these protected areas require special permission from the Ministry and the local authority

Did You Know? Nepal also has a hunting reserve: Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve 

  • Adventure Sports Places: Nepal is also popular for all the adventure sports. Adventure sports could be part of your movie if you want to show capture the raw thrill in life. Mountaineering would definitely top the list but you can also capture the Bungee Jump at the Last Resort Bhote Koshi, or Raft through the fast currents of Trishuli, Or Paraglide over the city of Lakes, Pokhara. Other Major Adventure Sports available in Nepal are: Rock Climbing, Canoeing 

Did you know? You can also skydive from Everest! That sure would make for a good plot to your story.  

filming in nepal - film shooting in remote areas of nepal - nepal film production
  • Remote Untouched Places (Manang Mustang): Considered one of the wild terrains in Nepal, Mustang, and Manang has recently evolved as a tourist destination for domestic and international tourists alike. It has also become a favorite for moviemakers in Nepal and abroad to film because it offers terrain that is nowhere else found. From dry arid grounds, stone basins, along with high altitude vegetation, an entry point to the major mountains, as well as settlements that are among the oldest and most protected in Nepal. 

Major  Mountains and Places to Film In Nepal:

  • Annapurna & Machhapuchhre (Mountains & Base Camp Area):

From three-week trekking to three-day ones, the Annapurna region offers one of the most diverse trails according to your interests. Named after the mountain range, Annapurna Massif, you could find one peak over 8000m while thirteen above 7000m and sixteen are above 6000m, including the famous fishtailed mountain: Machhapuchchhre 

Besides the breathtaking views of the mountains, the region is also famous for the small Gurung villages along the trail and the diverse flora-fauna. Annapurna region is also home to Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), which is a treasure house for 1,226 species of flowering plants, 105 mammals, 518 birds, 40 reptiles and 23 amphibians. From the deepest gorge of Kaligandaki to the largest forest of rhododendron in Ghorepani, the region is also rich in cultural diversity with Gurungs and Magars living in the southern areas while Manage, Thakali and Loba living in the northern ones, each having their own dialect, tradition, ritual, and culture.

  • Manaslu Mountain (& Circuit Trek) / Gorkha: 

Nepal is popularly known all over the world as the land of the brave Gurkha soldiers. Gorkha is where everything started. Before King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu Valley in the 18th century, Gorkha was his home. A small town in Western Nepal, Gorkha now is the gateway to many beautiful places and trekking routes, mostly the Manaslu circuit. The trekkers mostly enjoy the small bazaar with the Gorkha Palace, which serves as the palace, a lot and a temple of Gorakhnath. The current structure with Newar architecture replaced the old palace where King PN Shah was born and brought up in after he conquered the valley.

Gorkha is also famous as home to Gurkha soldiers, named after the warriors of Gurung ethnic group who have fought under the British regiment and later in another army too. Gorkha is home to the Gurung community along with the Brahmin/Kshatriya community. In current times, it is also known as the epicenter of the great earthquake of April 2015 in Nepal.

The palace, the majestic mountain, serene natural beauty as well as the story of recovery can be the next thing to capture for your movie. 

Other World Heritage Sites

  • Lumbini: Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha, and Buddhism itself. It is preserved as a world heritage site and could be part of your movie as a reference to the unique perspective of Buddha incorporating his origin story.  There is something about Lumbini that will make you feel at peace. While the highway would heat up with the temperature, the surrounding area might irritate with the dust, traffic, and pollution, everything changes the moment you enter the holy place. The air would feel fresher, the number of people wouldn’t matter, and no matter how long you will have to walk around (or take the rickshaw), you will still have no complaints. That is the magic of this birthplace of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
  • SwayambhuNath & Boudhanath: Swayambhunath is a famous Buddhist Stupa situated atop the hill overseeing the crowded and chaotic yet beautiful Kathmandu Valley. It is a world heritage site and offers a unique perspective into Nepal and the lives of Nepali. It is also known as the Monkey Temple and you can find monkeys playing through Swayambhunath. Similarly, Boudanath is another famous Buddhist Stupa situated amidst the settlement but is a different consecrated space in Nepal. 

Tips for Foreign Film Maker

  1. Plan Ahead: Of Course you would plan ahead for your filming project. But, you need to plan to keep into consideration Nepal and the scenario of Nepal. Know where you want to film. Prepare details of your film crew visiting Nepal for Visa Processing. Finalize your concept. Schedule your stay in Nepal and finalize the dates. Know which equipment you will require and carry accordingly. Hire a local coordinator to represent you in Nepal. 
  2. Hire an experienced fixer in Nepal: To process your permits as well as to coordinate with the local people, you will require a fixer in Nepal. You need to be careful while choosing a fixer. First of all, make sure they are good with English, even better if they speak your mother tongue. Secondly, check how many years of experience they have and what sort of projects they have been involved in. Thirdly, know about their working process. Also, keep in concern how well they can collaborate with your film crew. 
  3. Be Open to Experiences: Nepal is a country of chaos, in the sense that there are so many elements for you to experience in your short stay. Be it riding through the busy roads of Kathmandu or experiencing a thrill ride onto the Himalayas. Be it drinking tap water or living in a cowshed, you must be open to different experiences. Nepal offers a raw and natural experience that may not be normal for anyone who is used to living in a sophisticated environment. 
  4. Opt for Cash instead of cards: The main form of payments in Nepal is Cash. Cards and Online transactions have recently surfaced out but in the core, especially in the remote areas of Nepal, people are comfortable only with cash. So, make sure to carry cash with you during your filming in Nepal 

Acquiring Film Permits in Nepal

Filming in Nepal requires different film permits, including the onetime filming permit issued by the Ministry of Information and COmmunication. 

You will require a heritage area filming permit to shoot in 10 different places listed in the WHO World Heritage Site such as Durbar Square, Lumbini, etc. 

To film in open spaces and public areas you require a public area filming permit 

Nepal has 12 national parks and 6 conservation areas that you can film in, which requires a different filming permit. 

Similarly, if you want to film in private properties like resorts, houses, etc, you will have to contact the property owner for a filming permit. 

Learn  more about film permits in Nepal and how to acquire them

To acquire all of these film permits, you will need to prepare a detailed document including the details of your concept (storyline/script) team members, and equipment. You will require a local coordinator who will handle your work and process with the concerned authority. 

Location Scouting: 

There are different locations offering different visuals for your project. Do you want to capture the natural beauty of the mountains? Or do you want to explore the wild? Are you interested in art, architecture or culture? Or on the untold stories of the rich and diverse communities of Nepal? It is best that you know beforehand your requirements so that you can easily find the places that fit your film.  Location managers in Nepal can easily recognize your requirements and find places required.

Know more about location scouting in Nepal

Filming Equipment:

You can find all the necessary filming equipment and also order from foreign countries if necessary for the filming process. The equipment ranges from the most elite cameras and lenses and all supporting equipment that will be needed for any filming purpose whether it be a television commercial or a documentary. Getting your filming equipment in Nepal can help you be free from air cargo. You can get cine Arri III 35 mm, super 16, RED Camera, other cameras, HDSLR< HDV to Audio Equipment, Grip Equipment, etc. 

Filming Crews in Nepal: 

While filming in Nepal, it may not be always feasible to bring every individual crew or artist over to Nepal. However, that will not trouble you much because there are experienced film crews in Nepal who have worked on multiple projects with foreign film producers and directors. 

You can get the best possible technicians in-house including Directors, Fixers, Line Producers, Cinematographers, Casting Agent, and Sound Engineers among many who are not only experienced but also are experts in their field and readily available whenever required.

Explore the no.1 Film Crew in Nepal

Challenges in Filming in Nepal

  1. Difficult Topography: Nepal has a landscape that stretches from 60m lowlands in Terai to the tallest mountain 88848M. The major portion of Nepal is covered by mountains and hills rather than plain lands. This means a lot of places are remote and you would have to go through and across the hills to reach places. People of the region have adapted well to the difficult terrain, however, when you are filming in Nepal, your team may have a difficult time navigating through the terrains. 
  2. Diverse Culture, Ethnicity, and Languages: Nepal is home to more than 100 ethnic groups speaking 100+ languages and each with their own customs, traditions, and culture. Nepal is also a secular country with religious harmony. This means you may have to take your time to immerse and integrate the experiences of different communities while filming in Nepal. But, all of these people are friendly and welcoming and will treat you with the utmost respect. Having a local person in your team will help you tremendously through the operations. 
  3. Transportation and Accommodation: As mentioned earlier Nepal has a difficult topography full of rocky hills and mountains. Due to this, transportation has not evolved to reach all places. Almost all districts of Nepal are connected with roadways; however, many of them are just paved roads and runs across the hills, which is kind of risky! Be ready for the thrill ride if you want to shoot somewhere remote in Nepal. Similarly, besides the major tourist destination in Nepal, you will have a hard time finding the right accommodation while filming in the remote areas of Nepal. Most of the time you will have to request the locals to accommodate you. Be ready for the true “homestay” experience in Nepal. 
  4. Unclear and Hectic Paper Works: Be it processing your Visa or acquiring filming permits, the process and system of Nepal are not properly managed and you will find a hard time navigating through the process if you are doing it for the first time. Numerous authorities to visit, all at different places and concerned with other authorities means too much hassle moving here and there to get your documents approved. 
  5. Transactions: From accommodation to food, permits to documents, you will have to adapt to the way Nepali does the transaction. Mostly it is done in cash and you must be carrying Nepalese Rupees (1 US$ = 115 Nrs). You may be charged extra just because you don’t know about it. In such cases having a local fixer definitely helps. 

How NFP will coordinate in End to End Filming in Nepal

filming in nepal with nepal film production
  1. Location Scouting in Nepal: Nepal Film Production can provide the best locations for the filming/fixing project while also suggesting the right kind of cultural background for it. Not only production services but we can initiate surveys to see whether the locations are suitable or not for your filming/fixing project, we also get permission to shoot where required, and make sure of smooth movement of the crew to and from the locations in consideration on logistics to prevent and solve any problems that might arise, and even coordinate the parking areas for the crew during the shoot. Our team has prior experiences of filming in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Pokhara, Chitwan, Everest, ABC, Manang, Mustang, as well as on remote villages of Dolpa. Film With Nepal Film Production for the best locations in Nepal.
  2. Fixer in Nepal: If you are looking for an experienced fixer in Nepal who can handle all your logistics, management and operations while filming in Nepal, we assure you that we can meet your expectations. As your fixer in Nepal, we can work closely with your team and help you immerse and integrate easily into the Nepali landscape during your film shooting in Nepal. From managing transportation, food, and Accommodation to representing you in front of authorities, local people and filmmakers, Nepal Film Production can help you as a fixer in Nepal. 
  3. Acquiring Filming Permit in Nepal: You will require a local coordinator to acquire a film permit in Nepal and Nepal Film Production can help you acquire it in the easiest, fastest and safest way. Our prior experiences have made us adept at the documentation and processing of permits from general filming permits to those required at National Parks, Heritage Sites, Public Areas as well as for private properties. 
  4. Filming Crew in Nepal: The film crew of Nepal Film Production is experienced and diverse with up to 13 years of experience. We have the finest line producers in Nepal as well as the top talents of Nepal. Our filming crew can easily handle production, direction, videography as well as style makeup. Being passionate at what we do our film crew will work to provide the best quality in their service and a great final product as your desired movie scene. 
  5. Filming Equipment in Nepal: Unlike other companies, Nepal Film Production provides the latest equipment available for renting upon inquiry. Have you forgotten the extra card for your camera or you realized you need a different lens when you get to the location, we can cover it all? Ranging from camera’s potential requirement to equipment regarding certain projects, we can guide you to the best equipment available with us and are dedicated to going the extra mile to get you what you need. For filming, equipment based inquiries do get in touch with us.