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Film Sri Lanka Tea Plantations

Written on September 29, 2016

Tea Plantations

The humidity, cool temperatures, and rainfall of Sri Lanka’s central highlands provide a climate that favors the production of some of the world’s best tea.

Be it commercials for tea products or feature films about the romance of British Ceylon, the tea plantations of Sri Lanka’s are a highly sought after film location that visiting productions come from all over the world to shoot.

The best locations for the scenic beauty of vast rolling hills of bright green tea leaves and the colourfully dressed workers who harvest them are outside of the towns of Hatton, Haputhale, and Ella.

One of the world’s most scenic train journeys runs the length of the highland tea plantation area. You can start the train journey in Colombo, although many start it in the city of Kandy. From Kandy, the old train winds its way up and through the hills reaching Hatton in 3 hours, Haputhale in 6 hours, and Ella in 8 hours.

Tea leaves are harvested throughout the year. December to March are the best months to film to avoid the monsoon rains. Nights in the hill areas can be chilly, with temperatures sometimes falling close to freezing.

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Permits

Given the importance of the tea industry to the Sri Lankan economy, the government is very sensitive about what kind of filming they allow in tea plantation areas. Crews may be required to enter Sri Lanka under a journalist visa. Filming tea plantations requires the approval of the Sri Lanka Tea Board. Filming on the train requires permission from Sri Lanka Railways. Additional permits may be required from one or more government departments and / or private owners, depending on the specifics of your shoot. Having a local fixer handle the often complex permitting process is essential. Contact us for referrals.

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Sri Lanka Production Support

Sri Lankan crew and equipment all need to come from Colombo. Sri Lanka has a good pool of key crew as well as most of the standard camera, lighting and grip equipment required for a commercial shoot. Additional equipment can be easily brought in from India.

The drive from Colombo to Hatton is 4 hours, to Haputale is 5 hours and to Ella is 6 hours. Be warned, the last hours of the drive are very windy.

Nuwaraeliya or Bandarawela are the main major towns to serve as basecamp and sleep crew.

Contact us if you are looking for a Sri Lankan film fixer or production service company to service your tea plantation shoot. We also have Colombo based directors, DoP’s, videographers, and photographers, should you prefer to have a local team shoot the project for you, as many of our brand clients do.

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