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Kyrgyzstan

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

Filming in Kyrgyzstan

For an introduction to shooting in Kyrgyzstan 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.

Kyrgyzstan Film Locations

An under-explored film destination, Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country located in Central Asia known for its mountainous landscapes, glaciers, lakes, pine forests, hot springs, open plains, and ancient nomadic cultures.

Kyrgyzstan offers locations that easily double for Switzerland, Scotland, Kashmir, and the Middle East.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of cotton, tobacco, corn, wheat, and barley. Other agricultural products include sheep, goats, cattle, wool, and dairy. Industrial locations include gold, mercury and uranium mines. In terms of energy locations Kyrgyzstan has several hydroelectric dams.

Films hosted include Finding Mother (2017), and Heavenly Nomadic (2015).

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Bishkek City

Located in the north of the country, Bishkek is the capital, the largest city, and the main production service centre where crew and equipment are based. Known for its leafy parks and wide boulevards the city also has a rich history of Soviet-era buildings including Ala-Too Square, Bishkek Circus, Wedding Palace, National Library, Opera and Ballet Theatre, State History Museum, National Museum of Fine Arts, Bishkek-2 railway station, and the White House. Osh Bazaar is a colourful market. Dordoy Bazaar is a market made of old shipping containers.

Chüy

The Chüy region surrounds the city of Bishkek.

Ala Archa National Park is located in the Tian Shan mountains. The alpine park is known for its mountains, glaciers, forests, and rivers. The Adygene gorge is a wooded valley with waterfalls, springs and abundant trout. The park is also home to the snow leopard.

Burana Tower is a large minaret in the Chüy Valley.

Issyk-Kul

The northeastern region of Issyk-Kul is known for its spectacular alpine locations.

Karakol is the largest city in Issyk-Kul. Film locations include the Dungan Mosque and Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church.

Lake Issyk Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world. Aalam Ordo is a complex of abandoned yurts on the shores of lake Issyk-Kul. Fairytale canyon is a beautiful rugged film location.

Lake Tuz-Kol is one of the highest salt content lakes in the world.

Jengish Chokusu, located in the Tian Shan mountains, is Kyrgyzstan’s highest peak.

Karakol Ski Base is the highest ski resort in Central Asia.

Barskoon waterfall is a beautiful film location.

Kumtor gold mine is one of the highest gold deposits in the world.

Naryn

The Naryn region is located in the centre of the country.

Lake Song Kul is one of the highest mountain lakes in the world.

Tash Rabat is a well-preserved 15th century stone Silk Road caravanserai.

Ming-Kush is an abandoned uranium mining town.

Talas

The Talas region is located in the northwest of the country.

Jalal-Abad

The Jalal-Abad region is located in the northwest of the country.

Sary-Chelek Nature Reserve is a beautiful film location.

Toktogul hydroelectric power station is located in this region.

Osh

The region of Osh is located in the south of the country.

Osh is the second largest city. The National Historical and Archaeological Museum Complex Sulayman is a Soviet-era structure built into the side of a cliff on Sulayman Mountain. The locations would make for a great Bond villain lair.

Batken

The Batken region is located in the southwest of the country.

Kyrgyzstan Film Location Permits

Kyrgyzstan is relatively relaxed when it comes to film location permits with most locations only taking a couple of days to permit. Larger-footprint shoots and requests to film in sensitive government locations require more lead time to permit. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Kyrgyzstan’s climate varies by region. Tien Shan has a dry to polar climate. The Fergana Valley is subtropical with very hot summers. The northern foothills are temperate. Most of the country receives little rainfall with winters experiencing very cold conditions and heavy snowfalls. Kyrgyzstan’s short summer from May through to September is the best time to shoot for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Kyrgyz festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:

• Navroz Spring Festival in April.
• National Horse Festival in July. Ulak tariysh is the Kyrgyz national game involving two teams of 6 riders and one beheaded sheep carcass.
• Birds of Prey Festival in August showcases the traditional nomadic art of falconry with Golden Eagles and falcons.
• Kyrgyz Kochu Festival in August.

Ramadan is observed with some services closed during this period.

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

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 such as crew, equipment, talent, meals, and accommodations are inexpensive. Since local equipment options are limited and most key crew do not speak English, most visiting productions will bring in their own equipment and key crew, which will add to those travel costs. Our Kyrgyz fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. Visiting feature films, documentaries, television series and commercials can receive a 20% cash rebate Kyrgyzstan. For more information see here.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Kyrgyzstan has a small pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Most key crew beyond the production team do not speak English.

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 Kyrgyzstan.

Talent. Kyrgyzstan’s largest ethnic group are the Kyrgyz, a historically semi-nomadic people. Other ethnic minorities include Russians, Uzbeks, Dungans, and Uyghurs. All other talent looks need to be cast abroad. English speaking talent options are limited. Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable on the personal level.

Kyrgyzstan Film Equipment

Equipment. Some standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally. Most visiting productions bring in their own camera equipment. Kyrgyzstan customs authorities are relatively relaxed about visiting crews bringing in their own gear.

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 basic.

Studios and backlots. Basic studio facilities exist. Warehouses and industrial spaces can be converted into studios if needed.

Post Production. Some basic local facilities exist. More complex post and VFX work is best done abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Projects reporting on sensitive subjects may require a journalist visa. Visiting crews travelling on Western passports that are coming to film commercial projects can enter visa-free for stays of up to 60 days.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Many roads are mountainous and in a poor condition making land travel slow going. Winters receive heavy snowfalls which limits travel options during those months, particularly on mountain roads. Our Kyrgyz fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to the capital Bishkek.

Accommodation. Bishkek has several good options for visiting crew. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Outside of Bishkek yurt accommodations are popular with intrepid productions.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Experience nomadic culture – Stay in a yurt, horseback across the plains, watch a traditional falconry performance, or a game of Ulak tariysh. Beshbarmak (horse meat noddles) are a traditional dish.

Projects. For an example of brand narrative, online content, TV commercials, stills campaigns, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Kyrgyzstan, please see below:

Hire Kyrgyzstan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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