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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.

Film Locations. Pakistan offers a great variety of landscapes including desert (Sindh & Punjab), sea (Sindh & Balochistan), green mountains (North West Province), dry mountains (Balochistan) and ice covered mountains such as the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Gilgit-Baltistan & Kashmir). K2 is the world’s second highest peak. Some of Pakistan’s most beautiful looks are in the Chitral Valley and Swat Valley where bright green forested valleys and rushing glacial rivers are set against towering snow-capped mountains. The Karakoram Highway is one of the world’s most dangerous roads. 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. Balochistan offers looks similar to the North West Tribal Areas and Afghanistan but is a much safer place to film. Pakistan’s agricultural looks of interest include rice paddies, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton fields.

Karachi and Lahore are the main production centres.

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. 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.

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 are descendants of the conquering Macedonians of Alexander the Great. All other looks need to be brought in.

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.

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 and set construction is slow but the quality is good. 

Studios and Backlots don’t exist.

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

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

Visas and 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. Contact your local Pakistani embassy / representative for more information.

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.

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 Pakistan, please see below:

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

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