WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING ON LOCATION IN PAKISTAN
Pakistan offers the film-maker a wide variety of suitable locations, from its bustling capital Karachi, to the beautiful mountains of Skardu, Gilgit and Murree. Snow-capped mountains in the north, sunny beaches in the south, as well; as lakes and parks. Archaeological and other historic sites include Mohenjodaro and Taxila – the seats of the ancient Indus Valley and Gandhara civilizations- the architectural monuments of the Moghuls; and Khyber Pass; and the ancient traditions of the Kafir Kalash of the Chitral Valley. The Indus river runs from the Himalayas down to the Arabian Sea. Pakistan has a rich architectural heritage dating back thousands of years crossing religions and cultures. Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are cities of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers.
Pakistan has three seasons, Winter (November to March) is warm on the coast and extremely cold in the mountains. This is the best time to film in the south. Summer (April to July) is very hot. The monsoon season (July to September) is very wet with flooding common. April through to September are the best months to film in the north.
Pakistan’s film locations of interest can be divided into the following regions:
- Islamabad Capital Territory: the capital of Pakistan, a quiet city known for its greenery and government buildings.
- Punjab: the Thar Desert is located in Punjab.
- Sindah: Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan.
- Balochistan: offers looks similar to the North West Tribal Areas and Afghanistan, but is much safer.
- Pakistani-administered Kashmir: located in the northeast. The Karakoram Highway is one of the world’s most dangerous roads.
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: some of Pakistan’s most beautiful film locations are in the Chitral Valley and Swat Valley where bright green forested valleys and rushing glacial rivers are set against towering snow- capped high mountain peaks.
Around 74 languages are spoken in Pakistan. English and Urdu are the official languages. Urdu is the main language spoken between locals, even though it’s the primary language of only a small percentage of the country.
Safety & Travel
Areas in conflict such as Kashmir and the North West Tribal Areas are dangerous to film in and difficult to permit.
COSTS & TAX INCENTIVES
Locations, local crew and talent are Inexpensive. The need to bring in all key crew and equipment is the major cost of shooting in Pakistan.
There are no tax incentives in Pakistan.
WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM EQUIPMENT CLEARNCE , FILM PERMIT ,VISAS AND WORK PERMITS
General film permits
Ease of permits depends on location. Areas in conflict are dangerous to film in and difficult to permit.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Islamabad is the organization responsible for the issuing of permits. Timing may take between 6-8 weeks. Documentation required for application include: passport scan; picture; synopsis; CV of each crew member; commissioning letter from the broadcaster.
Film equipment clearance into the country
Pakistan is a Carnet country.
Accreditation for international film crew
Journalist visas are accepted at a cost of $500.
Visas & Work Permits
Western passport holders need to apply for a visa prior to travel.
WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM CREWS, EQUIPMENT AND TALENT
Equipment available locally is outdated, recommended to bring in equipment from abroad. Dubai is the closest place to bring in equipment. It is easier to bring equipment with you on the flight over as clearing customs is time consuming.
Day rates are reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis. Casting facilities are undeveloped and street casting is required.
Pakistan is made up of many ethnic groups with the Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi, Saraiki, Muhajir, and Baloch being the main groups.
Required information / documentation for application of a local Drone
Drone regulations are a grey area, they can however be used. Pakistan is a Carnet country and therefore are allowed to be imported on Carnet.