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Bhutan

Bhutan 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 Bhutan? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Bhutan

For an introduction to shooting in Bhutan 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.

Bhutan Film Locations

As a result of government restricted levels of tourism, Bhutan remains one of the most un-spoilt countries in the world. Bhutan is best know for the Himalayan mountains, glaciers, lakes, forests, mountain villages, Buddhist temples and monasteries. 

Buddhist temples and monasteries of note include Paro Taktsang, Trongsa Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, Gangtey Gompa, Punakha Dzong, Kichu Lhakang, and Dechen Phrodrang.

National parks of note include Manas National Park and Jigme Dorji National Park.

Gangkhar Puensum is the highest peak in Bhutan, and the 40th highest in the world. It has never been summited. It is widely claimed to be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.

Bhutan has hosted films including The Snowman Trek (2018), Happiness (2013), Little Buddha (1993), and Travelers and Magicians (2003).

Bhutan Film Location Permits 

Filming Bhutan is very restricted. Contact us for specific advice on your project. Mountaineering in Bhutan is not allowed.

When To Shoot?

Northern Bhutan is cold with year-round snow on Himalayan summits. The inner Himalayan valleys of the southern and central regions are temperate. In the southern plains and foothills, the climate is humid, subtropical and affected by monsoons.

Winter (December to February) is very cold at higher elevations but it offers the clearest conditions for photographing the Himalayas. Spring (March to May) is a great time to film in Bhutan for weather. Summer (June to August) is the monsoon season. At this time of year rockslides make mountain travel difficult and low hanging clouds obscure views of the Himalayas. Fall (September to November) is another good time to film in Bhutan for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Most festivals in Bhutan are based on events in the Buddhist calendar. Events of note include:

• Chorten Kora Festival in February / March
• Gomphu Kora Festival in March / April
• Ura Yakchoe in May
• Haa Summer Festival in July
• Thimphu Tshechu in October
• Black-necked Crane Festival in November
• Trongsa Tshechu in December

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

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.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Local costs are very expensive compared to the rest of the region. Travel to and around Bhutan is restricted and expensive. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists, all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. On the whole, unless your project needs something only Bhutan can offer, there are far easier places to film in the region. Of course our Bhutanese fixer will do all possible to negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Bhutan.

Film Crew & Talent

Crew. Bhutan has a very small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew should be brought in from abroad.

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 Bhutan.

Talent day rates and and buyouts are negotiated on a personal level. Most citizens are ethnically Bhutanese with some Nepalese looks also available. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.

Bhutan Film Equipment

Equipment. Must bring in all camera, grip and lighting equipment from abroad.

Communications. 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.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

All foreigners (except for citizens of Bangladesh, India, and Maldives) must obtain a visa before visiting Bhutan. Entry is free for citizens of Bangladesh, India and Maldives, but all other foreigners are required to sign up with a Bhutanese tour operator and pay a fee of $250 per day in country during the high season, or $200 per day during the low season. This includes the guide, accommodation, transportation, meals, and special entry fees.

Upon entering Bhutan, all foreigners are issued a 7 or 14 days “Entry Permit”, valid for Thimphu and Paro only. The rest of Bhutan is considered a restricted area, and foreigners need a “Restricted-Area Permit” to enter. Immigration checkpoints are located at important road junctions throughout the country, where police check the permits of all foreigners they find. In addition, foreigners wishing to visit Buddhist temples must obtain a “Temple Permit” from the Ministry of Culture.

Contact your local Bhutan embassy or representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are in a fair condition. Rural and mountain roads are slower going. Druk Air is currently the only airline operating flights in Bhutan. Several international airlines service flights into Thimphu.

Accommodation. Best options in Bhutan include:

Uma Paro
Taj Tashi

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time.

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 Bhutan, please see below:

Hire Bhutan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Bhutan, 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.