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Kazakhstan

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

Kazakhstan Film Locations

Kazakhstan is a large Central Asian country and former Soviet republic that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east. The country is known for its majestic Silk Road locations, wild steppes, snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, deep forests, winding rivers, and inland seas.

In terms of agricultural film locations Kazakhstan is known for its wheat, barley, cotton, sunflower, and rice fields. There are also many wineries. Industrial film locations include oil and natural gas facilities, as well as a range of factories and mines.

Kazakhstan has hosted long-form productions including Marco Polo, The World Is Not Enough, Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan, and Baikonur.

Film locations in Kazakhstan can be divided into the following regions:

Kazakhstani North

The region is known for its wild steppes, industrial cities, and the nation’s capital. Much of Kazakhstan’s Russian minority lives in the Kazakhstani North.

Akmola is a centrally located province. Burabay National Park is known for its mountain lakes and forests. Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve is known for its steppes and lakes, the largest of which is Lake Tengiz. The lakes are home to a diversity of birdlife including the pink flamingo. Kokshetau is the capital of Akmola province.

Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) is Kazakhstan’s capital. Although it is located within the province of Akmola, Nur-Sultan it is administered separately from the province. Nur-Sultan film locations of note include unique post-Soviet architecture including the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, Golden Towers (The Beer Cans), Bayterek Tower, Ak Orda Presidential Palace, Parliament Building, Palace of Independence, Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Nur Astana Mosque, Triumph of Astana skyscraper, Metropolitan Circus, Headquarters of KazMunayGas building, Shabyt Palace of Creativity, Kazakhstan Central Concert Hall, Astana Music Hall, Nazarbayev University, National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center.

Kostanay. Naurzum Nature Reserve, known for its old pine forests, is located in this province.

North Kaz. Petropavl is the capital of the province.

Pavlodar. Bayanaul National Park is known for its green valleys and granite peaks. Ekibastuz and Aksu are coal mining cities. Pavlodar city is the provincial capital known for Mashkhur Jusup Mosque and the Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation.

Caspian Basin

Looking west you find the Caspian Sea. The Ural River runs through western Kazakhstan.

West Kaz. Oral is the capital of the province.

Atyrau. The provincial capital, Atyrau city, is the centre for mining and canning of caviar.

Mangystau. The Ustyurt Nature Reserve is home to a diversity of flora and fauna. The Karagiye Depression is the lowest point in Kazakhstan. Silk Road caravanserais of note include Sartash, Alta, and Ketyk.

Central Highlands

This central region is known for its vast, sweeping steppes.

Aktobe. The capital of the province, Aktobe is a young, fast-growing city fuelled by oil and gas exploration.

Karagandy. Karkaraly National Park is known for its lakes, forests and biodiversity. Karaganda, a coal mining city, is the capital of the province.

Kazakh Desert

This southern region is known for its Silk Road locations and ancient desert cities spanning the vast Qyzylqum and Aral Karakum deserts.

Kyzylorda. The Aral Sea is located in this part of Kazakhstan. Barsa-Kelmes Nature Reserve is a wildlife refugue located on an island in the Aral Sea.

Inside the province of Kyzylorda you can find the Russian administered city of Baikonur, home to the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Turkistan. Shymkent is Kazakhstan’s third largest city. Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve is the oldest nature reserve in Central Asia.

Jambyl. Taraz is known for its mausoleums.

Almaty

The province of Almaty is located in the south-east of the country.

Taldykorgan is the capital of the province.

The city of Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest. It is a major cultural and economic hub for Central Asia. Almaty is also Kazakhstan’s main production service centre where film crew and equipment are based. Locations of note in Almaty include Central State Museum, Zenkov Cathedral, Panfilov Park, Central Mosque, Green Market, The Arasan Baths, and a modern metro available for filming.

Big Almaty Lake is a beautiful location just south of the city.

Chimbulak, located in Ile-Alatau National Park, is a ski resort located just outside of Almaty. As well as ski runs it also has an open-air ice arena.

Charyn Canyon is Kazakhstan’s answer to the Grand Canyon.

Altyn-Emel National Park’s dry desert terrain is known for the Singing Dunes and Aktau mountains.

Tamgaly-Tas Petroglyphs rock painting date back to the Bronze Age.

Turgen gorge is rich with hot springs, waterfalls, rivers, and pine forests.

Lake Balkhash is one of the the world’s largest lakes. Other lakes of note include Issyk Lake, Kolsai Lake, and Kaindy Lake.

Khan Tengri is a mountain of the Tian Shan mountain range located on the Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and China border. Almaty is a popular starting point for filmmakers to access the Tian Shan mountain range.

Altai

The Altai region is known for its remote and beautiful alpine scenery.

East Kazakhstan province is famous for the rolling meadows, snow-covered peaks, forested hillsides, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, and pristine lakes of the Altai mountains. Belukha Mountain on the Kazakh-Russian border is its highest peak. Katon-Karagay National Park is located in the south of the Altai mountains.

Lakes of note in this province include Markakol, Alakol, and Bukhtarma.

The Kiin-Kerish Valley offers visiting productions a Martian landscape of red, orange and white clay structures.

Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site is located near the town of Kurchatov.

Kazakhstan Film Location Permits

Most locations are possible given enough lead time, budget, and the right approach. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Kazakhstan is a very large country so weather patterns vary by region. Generally speaking, winters (November to March) are very cold and snowy. Spring (April to May) is mild with desert flowers coming into bloom. Summer (June to August) is very hot and dry. Fall (September to October) is harvest time with mild, rainy conditions. May through to September are the best months to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Navroz, Islamic new year celebrations, take place in March. The Chabana (Cowboy) Festival, held in August, includes an event where cowboys chase women on horseback. The Khan Tengri Mountain festival is a grueling climbing event held in August.

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

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Since only some filming infrastructure exists some key crew, equipment and talent may need to be brought in from abroad. This will add to cost of shooting. Shoots outside of Almaty incur additional travel costs. Our Kazakh service producer / fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. Kazakhstan offers a tax rebate of up to 30% on qualifying spend.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Kazakhstan has a very small pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Some 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 Kazakhstan.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Kazakhstan offers mainly ethnic Kazakh and Slavic looks. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad. Casting facilities are basic and street casting is often required.

Kazakhstan Film Equipment

Kazakhstan has a range of standard camera, lighting and grip gear available locally. More specialized equipment needs to be brought in from abroad.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Basic facilities exist. Best to post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Crews travelling on Western passports do not need a visa to enter Kazakhstan for stays of up to 30 days. Contact your local Kazakh embassy or representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are up to international standards but given the size of Kazakhstan, travel times can be very long (Almaty to the Caspian Sea is a 35hr non-stop drive, for instance). Rural roads are often in disrepair. Roads outside urban areas are often closed in winter months due to high winds and drifting snow. Planes are new so domestic flights are a safe and fast way to get around. Several international airlines service flights to Kazakhstan.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Almaty include:

Intercontinental
Rixos Almaty
Holiday Inn

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.

Down Time. Fermented horse milk is the national drink.

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 Kazakhstan, please see below:

Hire Kazakhstan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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