WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING ON LOCATION IN LAOS
Laos is a landlocked country, small but diverse. There are lush jungle blanketed mountainsides and deep river valleys. The Mekong River roams along the Laos- Thai border, where many small villages sit, preserved in time, tradition and heritage. Urban options include, Vientiane, although small boasts many modern and historic architectural styles and landmarks. Laos was once part of French Indochina, so due to this, there are boulevards, shophouses, and monuments preserved from over a century ago. As far as natural attractions go, the Khone Phapheng Waterfalls near Luang Prabang cant be missed. These falls are the widest in the world and the largest by volume in South East Asia.
The official currency in Laos is the Lao Kip, although United States Dollars and Thai Baht are widely accepted. Currency exchange is only permitted at official bank outlets.
SAFETY AND TRAVEL
While filming it is a requirement that foreign film crews are accompanied by a government watcher and usually at least 1 x government security person. Laos is not considered a dangerous country.
FILM PERMITS IN LAOS
It is a legal requirement in Laos for all foreign film crews to obtain a filming permit issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Media Department. Separate permissions are usually required for specific locations such as national parks, historical parks or religious establishments that have their own administrations. Permits in Laos take 3 to 4 weeks to process, the application process requires all documentation to be translated and submitted to the central government departments who issue the filming permits.
Film crews can arrive in Loas on a regular tourist visa. For most nationalities a tourist visa is obtained on arrival at the international airport. At the immigration arrival area, the crew will be issued with a media ID card from the ministry of foreign affairs representative who will accompany the shoot.
LAOS FILM CREW AND EQUIPMENT RENTAL
Vientiane remains the main hub for the acquisition of basic camera, grip and lighting equipment. Higher standard gear and more specialized items would have to be sourced from abroad. Bangkok is the closest major production centre, conveniently connected to Laos via land and air.
Key filmmaking crew is best brought in from abroad, although some local resources can be hired.
DRONE REGULATIONS IN LAOS
According to Laos’s national aviation authority, the Department of Civil Aviation of Laos (DCAL), flying a drone is legal in Laos, we recommend being aware of and compliant with the drone regulations before doing so.
A permit is required for recreational drone use in Laos. The operators of drones that weigh one kg or more must obtain a certificate from the Radio Frequency Department.