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Afghanistan

Afghanistan Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Afghanistan? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Afghanistan

For an introduction to shooting in Afghanistan see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Afghanistan Film Locations

Afghanistan is landlocked country located in Central Asia. It has a rich architectural heritage that dates back thousands of years across religions and cultures. The country is famed for its great depth of beautiful green and arid landscapes.

Major agricultural products include wheat, fruits, nuts, wool, and poppies.

Decades of war and the ongoing security situation means most films about Afghanistan choose to double the country elsewhere. The Kite Runner (2007) filmed in Western China. 12 Strong (2018) and Lone Survivor (2013) filmed in New Mexico. War documentaries such as Korengal (2014) and Restrepo (2010) filmed in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Central Region

This region includes the provinces of Kabul, Bamyan, Kapisa, Logar, Parwan, Urozgan, and Wardak.

Central Afghanistan is known for its high mountain peaks, beautiful river valleys, narrow mountain passes, and shallow central plains.

Kabul is the capital and main entry point by air. Film locations of note include the Gardens of Babur, National Museum of Afghanistan, Skateistan (Afghanistan’s first skatepark), Tajbeg Palace, and Darul Aman Palace ruins. Mosques of note include Abdul Rahman Mosque, Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque, Pul-e Khishti Mosque, and Eidgah Great Mosque.

Bamyan Province is famed for the deep blue lakes of Band-e Amir National Park, the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan, and the imposing ruins of Shahr-e Zohak where it is said Genghis Khan’s grandson was killed.

Bagram Air Base in Parwan province is the largest US military base in Afghanistan.

Northern Region

This region includes the provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, Takhar, Panjshir, Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Faryab, Jowzjan, Sar-e Pol, Balkh, and Samangan.

Northern Afghanistan is known for its snow-covered mountains and green river valleys.

The Blue Mosque is located in Mazar-e Sharif, Balkh province.

The subterranean Stupa of Takht-e Rostam is located in Samangan province.

Panjshir is known for its deep verdant valleys surrounded by towering mountains. The picturesque landscape is littered with the remains of Soviet tanks. 

Noshaq, Afghanistan’s highest peak, is located in the Hindu Kush Range along the Pakistani border.

The Wakhan Corridor in Badakhshan province is a narrow strip of land wedged between China, Tajikistan, and Pakistan. The area is known to more adventurous hikers for its spectacular high mountain passes, glorious lakes, and ancient petroglyphs.

Southern Region

This region includes the provinces of Kandahar, Ghazni, Zabul, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Nimruz, Helmand, and Daykundi.

Known for opium and hashish cultivation, the southern region has a landscape marked by rugged mountains and desert.

Locations of note in this region include the Shrine of the Cloak in Kandahar, Great Mosque of Khost, Ghazni Minarets, and the ruins of the Citadel of Ghazni.

Eastern Region

This region includes the provinces of Laghman and Nangarhar.

Eastern Afghanistan is known for its rugged mountain peaks and narrow mountain passes.

Highway 1 from Jalalabad to Kabul is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world. 

The famed Khyber Pass runs along the border with Pakistan.

Western Region

This region includes the provinces of Herat, Farah, Badghis, and Ghor.

Western Afghanistan offers a mix of snowy mountains, green river valleys, and deserts.

The city of Herat is known for the Great Mosque of Herat (Friday Mosque), Herat Citadel, Herat National Museum, Herat bazaar, and the Khwaja Abd Allah Ansari Shrine. The Jihad Museum is dedicated to the defeat of the Soviets.

The Minaret of Jam (65m-tall) is a spectacular film location located in a remote rugged mountain landscape, next to a river.

Afghanistan Film Location Permits

A well connected fixer is essential as security is an issue and permission to film is often obtained in person, on the local level. The Taliban strongly opposes filming so appropriate security measures are required. Filming on or near coalition military bases requires permission from those authorities. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Afghanistan has a four-season climate. Winters (December to March) are cold and snowy with mountainous areas difficult to access. Spring (April to May) is mild with fields green and wildflowers in full bloom. Summers (June to September) are very hot and dry. Fall (October to November) is mild and the ideal time to film harvest looks. Spring and fall are the best seasons to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Nowruz Islamic new years celebrations take place in March. Festivities include music, dancing, ceremonies and a Buzkashi “goat dragging” tournament.

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 Afghanistan.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Afghanistan Costs & Tax Incentives For Filming

Costs. Most local costs including locations, supporting crew, and talent, are inexpensive. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists in Afghanistan all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Additional security requirements will also add to costs. Safe hotel accommodation is also on the expensive side. Our Afghan fixer will negotiate 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 Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Afghanistan has a very small pool of local directors, directors of photography, videographers, and stills photographers. Some English speaking supporting crew is available locally, however it is recommended to bring in your main crew from abroad.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DoP / cinematographer, videographer / camera operator, stills photographer, or any other film crew for your shoot in Afghanistan.

If you are an exceptionally talented Afghan director, DoP / cinematographer, videographer / camera operator, or stills photographer, introduce yourself here.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiated on a personal basis. Casting facilities are undeveloped in Afghanistan so street casting is required. The Pashtun are the largest ethnic group followed by Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaq, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, and Nuristani. All other talent looks are best cast abroad. Pashtun and Baloch dominate the south. Hazara are mainly in the central areas. Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimaq, Pashai, and Nuristani are in the north.

Afghanistan Film Equipment

Equipment. Best to bring in your camera, grip and lighting equipment from abroad. Some basic equipment is available locally. 

Communication. Outside of cities, phone and internet communications are very limited. It’s a good idea to bring satellite phones or handheld radios.

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

Afghanistan Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and Backlots. Only basic facilities owned by TV stations.

Post Production. Best to post abroad.

Afghanistan Visas & Work Permits For Filming

Visas are required to enter and film in Afghanistan. Media personnel and journalists are required to provide an introduction letter stating the purpose, duration and places intended to visit in Afghanistan. Travelers are expected to register with a representative of the Ministry of Interior’s Foreigners’ Registration Office upon arrival in Kabul. The traveler will be issued a card that he or she must surrender upon departure. US passport holders applying for an Afghanistan Entry Permit can see here for more information.

Afghanistan Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Local roads are basic. Our Afghan fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Some airlines service Afghanistan internationally.

Accommodation. Best options in Kabul include:

Serena Hotel
Intercontinental Hotel
Safi Landmark Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Watch a Buzkashi tournament.

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 Afghanistan, please see below:

Hire Afghanistan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a director, DoP, videographer, or photographer in Afghanistan please contact us.

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