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Malaysia

Malaysia Film & Photography Production Services.

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Malaysia? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Malaysia? See below for an introduction to Malaysia locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Film Locations. Malaysia offers a great depth of impressive locations.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and main production centre. The city is an interesting cultural melting pot where Malay mosques, Chinese joss-houses, Christian churches and Hindu temples stand next to bustling markets and towering modern skyscrapers such as the famous Petronas Twin Towers.

Outside of Kuala Lumpur, there are many locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers. The Perhentian Islands offer untouched paradise looks with white sand beaches, turquoise waters and reefs with impressive underwater photography opportunities. Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands known for its beaches, rainforest, mountains, mangrove estuaries and unique nature. Beautiful rainforests and jungle looks can be found in Borneo’s Gunung Mulu National Park and Kelantan’s Taman Negara National Park. Malaysia has a wide biodiversity including Asian elephants, Indochinese tigers, Borneo orangutangs and Sumatran rhinoceros. Deer Cave is one of the largest caves in the world. Mount Kinabulu is one of South East Asia’s highest peaks located an easy 3 hours drive from Sabah’s capital, Kota Kinabalu. The city of Ipoh is known for its British colonial architecture and Buddhist cave temples. Malaysia also has a Formula One race track in Sepang and a French theme park that can double as a small village in Alsace. Agricultural looks of interest include rubber tree plantations, palm oil plantations, and rice paddies. The Cameron Highlands offer picturesque tea plantations.

Malaysia has played host to Hollywood films such as Entrapment and Fair Game, TV series including Marco Polo, and a long list of Bollywood movies.

Malaysia Film Location Permits. In general, Malaysia has a film friendly and streamlined permitting process. There are no extraordinary restrictions or rules. Shooting inside the Petronas Towers is difficult to permit but not impossible. It’s easier to get permission if it’s a Bollywood production due to the Indian connection. Please contact us for location specific information.

When to shoot? Generally speaking Malaysia has a tropical climate with warm, humid days and cool nights. The west coast Malaysian peninsula has a dry season from November to April, light rains from April to August and a wet season from September to November. The east coast Malaysian peninsula has a dry season from April to October and a wet season from November to March. Malaysian Borneo receives high rainfall throughout the year with heaviest rains from October to March. Visibility for underwater photography is best during the dry season on the Malaysian peninsula and good all year round on Malaysian Borneo. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Malaysia’s cultural diversity is on display in several interesting festivals and events including:

• Chinese New Year in January / February.
• Thaipusam Hindu Festival in February.
• Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix in March.
• Diwali (Festival of Lights) in October / November.

Malaysia’s majority Muslim population observe Ramadan. Many services still remain open during this time.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Malaysia.

Costs. On the whole, Malaysia is a cost competitive country to shoot in. It is roughly around the same price point as Indonesia, which is less expensive than Singapore but more expensive than Thailand or the Philippines. Our Malaysian fixer / service producer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. The main looks in Malaysia are Malay, Chinese, East Indian and Pan-Asian. There is also a pool of younger Middle Easterners who are studying in Malaysia. Malaysian Borneo has several interesting indigenous tribes including Sea Gypsies. All other talent needs to be cast abroad.

See here for examples of locally available talent looks:

Andrews Models
Base Model Management
Faces Models
SP Models

Crews. Malaysia has a small but good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Malaysian crews are hard working and experienced in servicing international productions. Local crews speak English. Most projects do not require key crew to be brought in from abroad. If additional crew needs to be brought in this can be easily sourced in nearby Bangkok and Singapore.

Contact us if you are looking for a Kuala Lumpur based director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Malaysia.

EquipmentMalaysia is Arri based. All the standard camera, lighting and grip equipment is available locally. Specialized equipment is easily brought in from Singapore or Bangkok. Singapore is connected to Malaysia by a land bridge and is a 4 hour drive to Kuala Lumpur. 

For productions looking to bring in film equipment Malaysia is an ATA carnet country. Bringing in gear for non-carnet member countries is a quick and easy process once visiting crews have work permits.

Art department and set construction is of a good standard. Set construction is particularly good. Malaysia is known to have very good riggers.

Studios and backlots. Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios have a large studio complex offering film stages, TV studios, post production services, production offices, backlots, 30 acres of natural forest, interior and exterior water filming tanks. KRU Studios also offer a variety of studios specializing in TV productions. Malaysia also has a French theme park with a design based on a small village in Alsace.

Tax Incentives. Malaysia offers a 30% tax rebate for qualifying foreign feature films, TV productions, documentaries, animations, post-production and TV commercials.

Post Production. Some good post facilities. Telecine is lacking. Best to use graders in Bangkok or Singapore. See here for local facilities:

MFX
Twisted

111 Eye

Visas and Work Permits. Malaysian film work permits must be applied for through a FINAS licenced company or approved government agency. Work permits can take up to 8 weeks to process but this can be expedited in some circumstances. Additional permits are required if filming in Malaysian Borneo. National Parks also require additional permits.

Crew travelling on Western passports that enter as tourists can stay visa-free for up to 90 days.

The eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak (on the island of Borneo) have special entry requirements.

Transportation Infrastructure. Traffic congestion can be bad in major cities so allow plenty of lead time to travel between locations, particular during peak hours. Roads on the Malaysian peninsula are paved. Roads in more rural areas are in a poorer condition and may become impassable during the rainy season. Our Malaysian service producer / fixer organizes safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Helicopters are available but are very expensive in more remote areas. Several domestic carriers offer low-cost flights around Malaysia. Many international airlines service flights to Kuala Lumpur.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Kuala Lumpur include:

Mandarin Oriental
Shangri-La
The Piccolo
Boulevard Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing.

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Malaysia, please see below:

Down Time. Delicious street food.

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer in Malaysia, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.