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Pakistan

Pakistan 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 Pakistan? 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 Pakistan? See below for an introduction to Pakistan 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.

Pakistan Film Locations

Pakistan offers a great variety of landscapes including desert (Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, Sindh & Punjab), coastline (Sindh & Balochistan), green mountains (Northwestern Pakistan), dry mountains (Balochistan) and ice covered mountains such as the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Gilgit-Baltistan & Kashmir). Pakistan’s agricultural looks of interest include rice paddies, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton fields.

Pakistan also 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.

Karachi and Lahore are Pakistan’s main film production centres.

Pakistan’s locations of interest to filmmakers and photographers can be divided into the following regions:

Sindh. Karachi is the capital of Sindh province and the largest city in Pakistan. Locations of note include Mazar-e-Quaid, Mohatta Palace, and Empress Market.

Outside of Karachi you can find Makli Hill and Chaukhandi Tombs. Mohenjo-Daro is an Indus Valley Civilization archaeological site built around 2500 BC. Ranikot Fort is a historical fort near Sann. Kot Diji Fort is located in the Rohri Hills.

Punjab. Lahore is the largest city in Punjab province. Locations of note include Badshahi Mosque, Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, Lahore Museum, Chauburji, and the Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan. Punjab locations outside of Lahore include Derawar Fort, Hiran Minar in Sheikhupura, and Katasraj temple in Choa Saidanshah.

Islamabad Capital Territory. Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. It is a quiet city known for its greenery and government buildings. Faisal Mosque is a modern structure and Islamabad’s best known landmark. Islamabad is the main entry point and basecamp for productions looking to film in northern Pakistan.

Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are self-governing autonomous regions of Pakistan. The region has many beautiful panoramic views of green valleys, lush green forests, rushing rivers, high altitude lakes, and snow-capped mountains.

Fairy Meadows is the point where the Himalayas, the Karakorams, and the Hindu Kush meet. K2 is the world’s second highest peak. The Great Trango Tower is an impressive rock structure popular with big-wall rock climbers. The Karakoram Highway is one of the world’s most dangerous roads. Deosai National Park and Khunjerab National Park are beautiful locations. Rama A lake offers an awe-inspiring view of the eastern side of Nanga Parbat. Punial valley is known for its trout fishing. Neelum Valley and Jhelum Valley are scenic film locations. The Katpana Desert at Skardu is also known as the “Cold Desert”.

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 mountains. Saiful Muluk in the Kaghan Valley is another beautiful film location in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Locations of note include Mohabbat Khan Mosque, and Peshawar University.

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Located in northwestern Pakistan, FATA is an autonomous tribal region with a predominately Pashtun population. Darra Adam Khel is a city dedicated to illegal guns manufacturing.

Balochistan province offers looks similar to the North West Tribal Areas and Afghanistan but is a much safer place to film.

Balochistan has many interesting locations. Gadani has a ship breaking yard. Hingol National Park is known for the Makran Coastal Highway. Train tunnels through the rugged Bolan Pass landscape look like they could be in an Indiana Jones film. Chandragup is an active mud volcano. Chiltan Mount is a peak located in the Chiltan mountain group of the Sulaiman Mountains.

Pakistan Film Location Permits

Ease of permits depends on the location. Areas in conflict such as Kashmir and the North West Tribal Areas are dangerous to film in and difficult to permit. The rest of Pakistan usually takes around two weeks to process permits, providing the government doesn’t reject the subject matter. Please contact us for more location specific information.

When To Shoot?

The weather in Pakistan depends on the altitude and proximity to the coast. The Arabian Sea coast is warm all year round whereas the Himalayan Karakoram Range is so cold that it can only be accessed by climbers a few weeks each year.

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. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Pakistan hosts a variety of interesting festivals and events throughout the year. The Basant kite flying festival is held in February. The Chitral Festival is held in September.

Ramadan is observed by the majority Muslim population with many services closed during this period.

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

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. 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. Our Pakistani fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. There are no tax incentives for foreign feature films or commercials shooting in Pakistan.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Pakistan has a very small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. It is recommended to bring in your key crew.

Contact us if you are looking for a 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 Pakistan.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Day rates are very reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis. Casting facilities are undeveloped in Pakistan and street casting is required.

Punjabis, Pashtuns and Sindhi are the largest ethnic groups. Pakistan is made up of many ethnic groups including the Kalash people, who live in the remote valleys in north-west Pakistan. A pagan people, they are said to be descendants of the conquering Macedonians of Alexander the Great. All other looks need to be brought in.

Pakistan Film Equipment

Pakistan is Arri based but the cameras are very old. Some basic grip and lighting equipment is available locally but it is recommended to bring in all other equipment from abroad. Bringing equipment from India can be problematic. Dubai is the closest place to bring in equipment. Equipment clearing customs is time consuming. It’s easier to bring equipment with you on the flight over. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Pakistan is an ATA carnet country.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is slow but the quality is good. 

Studios and Backlots don’t exist.

Post Production. Basic facilities are available. It is recommended to post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Most Western passport holders need to apply for a visa prior to travel. US passport holders see here for more information. Others can obtain a business visa on arrival. Our local fixer / service producer will provide you with additional documentation in support of your application. Note, some parts of Pakistani-administered Kashmir are off-limits to visiting productions. Contact your local Pakistani embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads in cities are chaotic and rural roads are poorly maintained. The best way to travel long distances around Pakistan is by plane. On the ground our fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Pakistan is serviced by several international airlines flying into Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Pakistan include:

Islamabad:
Serena Hotel
Avari Xpress

Karachi:
Avari Towers
Sheraton

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

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 Pakistan, please see below:

Hire Pakistan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Pakistan, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

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