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Myanmar (Burma)

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

Filming in Myanmar

For an introduction to shooting in Myanmar 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.

Myanmar Film Locations

Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country rich in culture and photogenic landscapes including Buddhist temples, pristine white sand beaches, turquoise seas, islands, coral reefs, rivers, waterfalls, virgin jungle, snow-capped mountains, and an extensive rail network.

Agricultural film locations include rice paddies, rubber plantations, sugar plantations, and poppy fields. Myanmar is a major supplier of the world’s methamphetamines and opium. Industrial film locations include garment factories, oil and gas facilities, and gemstone mines for sapphires, pearls, rubies, and jade. Energy locations include coal and gas fired power plants, and hydroelectric dams.

Film locations can be divided into the following states and regions:

Mandalay Region

The Mandalay Region is located in the centre of the country.

The royal city of Mandalay has many beautiful palaces, stupas, temples and pagodas within a drive of the city. Film locations in Mandalay include Kuthodaw Pagoda, Mahamuni Buddha Temple, Shwenandaw Monastery, Bagaya Monastery, Sanda Muni pagoda, Maha Atulawaiyan, Ein Daw Yar Pagoda, and Su Taung Pyae Pagoda. U Bein Bridge which crosses the beautiful Taung Tha Man Lake is the world’s oldest teak bridge.

Inwa is an ancient city outside of Mandalay, known for Me Nu Brick Monastery, Daw Gyan Pagoda Complex, and Nanmyint Tower.

The ancient city of Bagan, located a 4hr drive from Mandalay, is home to over 2,000 ancient Buddhist temples, pagodas, and stupas. Of note are Dhammayan Gyi Temple, Ananda Temple, Thatbyinnyu Phaya, Shwesandaw Pagoda, Shwezigon Pagoda, Htilominlo Temple, Bu Phaya, Manuha Temple, and Sulamani Temple, to name a few.

Other locations of note in the Mandalay region include Thanboddhay Pagoda, and Mount Popa. Snake Pagoda has large pythons who live happily coiled around the Buddha statue within. Shwenandaw Kyaung Temple is a grand example of 19th century Burmese teak architecture. Goteik viaduct is an impressive single track trestle bridge over a jungle valley.

Naypyidaw Union Territory

The centrally located territory is home to Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. The city is a strange and unique place. Built by the military junta, the vast and secluded planned city feels like a ghost town. Hotels and homes are unoccupied, 20-lane highways are empty of traffic, and an expansive complex of government buildings sits sterile.

Yangon Region

Located in the south, the largest city, Yangon (Rangoon) is known for its bustling markets and British colonial architecture. Film locations of note include Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Chauk Htat Kyi Pagoda, Swe Taw Myat Pagoda, Kyauk Taw Gyi, Bogyoke Aung San Market, National Museum, Karaweik Palace, Thiri Mingala Kabar Aye, Yangon City Hall, The Secretariat, Yangon Heritage Trust building, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kheng Hock Keong, Independence Monument, Yangon International Airport, and Myanma Port Authority, and Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple reclining Buddha.

Ayeyarwady Region

This southwestern coastal region is known for Chaung Thar Beach, Ngwesaung Beach, Lovers Island, and Shwe Moke Htaw Pagoda.

Bago Region

This southern region is known for the Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda, Kyaik Pun Pagoda, and Shwe San Daw Pagoda.

Chin State

This western state is known for Nat Ma Taung National Park.

Kachin State

This most northern state is known for Indawgyi Lake Wildlife Sanctuary and Hkakabo Razi which is said to be Southeast Asia’s highest mountain.

Kayah State

This eastern state is known for Taung Kwe Pagoda.

Kayin State

This eastern state is known for Mahar Sadan Cave and Kaw Ka Thaung Cave.

Magway Region

This western region is known for Yokesone Monastery, Minhla Fortress, Kyaung Taw Yar Pagoda, and the mud volcanoes of Minbu.

Mon State

This coastal southern state is known for Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, Kyeik Tha Lan Pagoda, and Zin Kyaik Waterfall.

Win Sein Tawya is the largest reclining Buddha in the world.

Rakhine State

Rakhine State is located in the west of the country.

Mrauk U is another archaeologically significant ancient city known for Shitthaung Paya, Htukkant Thein Temple, and Koe Thaung Pagoda.

Ngapali Beach is a paradise beach location.

Shan State

Shane State is located in the east of the country.

Inle Lake has picturesque stilt villages, markets and ruined temples. The Floating Gardens are a picturesque location. Buddhist locations in the Inle Lake area include Kyaung Daw Pagoda, Mwe Taw Kakku Pagodas, Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda, Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, and Shwe Yan Pyay. Nyaung Ohak is a jungle village of crumbling temples.

Other film locations in Shan State include the Pindaya Caves, Tachileik Shwedagon pagoda, and Baw Gyo Pagoda.

Sagaing Region

The Sagaing Region is located to the west of Mandalay Region.

Mingun Pahtodawgyi and Hsinbyume Pagoda are located near the city of Mandalay, on the other side of the Irrawaddy river.

Other film locations in the Sagaing Region include Thanboddhay Pagoda, Umin Thonze Pagoda, Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung Standing Buddha, and Taukkyan War Cemetery.

Tanintharyi Region

This south eastern region is home to many paradise island locations throughout the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 islands. Cocks Comb Island is a unique limestone atoll with a stunning lagoon centre. Other unspoilt paradise islands include Nyaung Oo Phee Island, Myingun Island, and Horse Shoe Island to name a few.

Myanmar Film Location Permits

Filming in Myanmar is heavily restricted. Contact us for more information.

When To Shoot?

Myanmar has three season. The cool, dry season runs from November to February. This is the best time to film for weather. The very hot season runs from March to May. The wet, humid monsoon season runs from June to October. Typhoons occasionally occur between April and October. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Most Burmese are devout Buddhists so there are many colourful Buddhist festivals all year round. The Manaw Festival takes place in January. The Mahamuni Ceremony is held in February. The Water Festival (similar to Songkran in Thailand) takes place in April. October has the Thadingyut Light Festival, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, and Elephant Dance Festival. November has the Hot Air Balloon Festival, Tazaungdaing Fullmoon Festival, and the Bagan Temple Marathon.

Myanmar is predominately Buddhist. A minority also practice Christianity and Islam.

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

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 inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. This can add considerably to the cost of shooting. Our Burmese fixer will 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 Myanmar.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Myanmar has a small pool of 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 Myanmar.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

Burmese is the official language.

Myanmar offers mainly ethnic Tibeto-Burman looks. It is home to 135 different ethnic groups including colourful hill tribes. The Bamar people are the largest group. Ethnic minorities of note include the Shan, Karen, Rakhine, Han-Chinese, Mon, Kachin, Indians, Chin, Kayah, Pa’O, Wa, Naga, Lahu, Lisu, Palaung, Jingpo, Moken, Padaung, and Rohingya. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.

Myanmar Film Equipment

Equipment. Some very basic camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally. You will need to bring in most equipment from abroad.

Communications. Some websites are blocked from access.

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

Western passport holders can apply online for eVisas for tourism and business travel. An eVisa is issued within 3 working days, is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allows a stay for up to 28 days (for tourists) or 70 days (for business travellers). The fee for a business eVisa is US$70, while a tourist eVisa costs US$50. Contact your local Burmese embassy or representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads through politically sensitive areas are off-limits to foreigners. Many roads are poorly maintained and become impassable during the rainy season. Avoid road travel by night. Domestic flights are an efficient and relatively cheap way to get around Myanmar. Several international airlines service flights to Myanmar.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Myanmar include:

Yangon (Rangoon):
Chatrium Hotel Yangon
The Strand
The Governor’s Residence

Mandalay:
Mandalay Hill Resort
Sedona Hotel Mandalay

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. For those looking to stay with local communities our Burmese fixer also organises hosted accommodation.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. Visit Bagan during sunrise and sunset.

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 Myanmar, please see below:

Hire Myanmar Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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