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Pakistan

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

Filming in Pakistan

For an introduction to shooting in Pakistan 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.

Pakistan Film Locations

Pakistan is a country in South Asia known for its mountains, glaciers, green valleys, desert, rivers, lakes, coastline, beaches, forts, ancient temples, mausoleums, archaeological sites, bustling cities, mosques, museums, British colonial architecture, cricket ovals, ports, ship breaking yard, and an extensive rail network. The Indus river runs from the Himalayas down to the Arabian Sea. Pakistan has a rich architectural heritage dating back thousands of years crossing religions and cultures. Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are cities of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers.

Agricultural film locations include rice paddies, wheat, sugarcane, and cotton fields. Fishing boats are available for filming. Industrial film locations include textile factories, steel mills, chemical plants, coal mines, and oil and gas fields. Energy locations include oil, gas and coal burning power plants as well as hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, solar and wind plants.

Vertical Limit (2000) filmed its background shots of K2 in Pakistan.

Karachi and Lahore are Pakistan’s main film production centres.

Pakistan’s film locations of interest can be divided into the following regions:

Islamabad Capital Territory

The federally-administered Islamabad Capital Territory is located in the northeast of the country.

Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. It is a quiet city known for its greenery and government buildings. Film locations of note include Faisal Mosque, Pakistan Monument, and Margalla Hills National Park. Daman-e-Koh offers city skyline views. Islamabad is the main entry point and basecamp for productions looking to film in northern Pakistan.

Punjab

The province of Punjab is located in the east of the country.

Lahore is second largest city in Pakistan. Lollywood, the Urdu and Punjabi-language film industry of Pakistani cinema, is based in Lahore. Locations of note include Badshahi Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore Fort, Tomb of Jahangir, Shalimar Gardens, Bagh-e-Jinnah park, Lahore Museum, Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, Minar-e-Pakistan, Chauburji, and the Tomb of Ali Mardan Khan.

Rawalpindi is adjacent to Islamabad, with the two forming the Twin Cities. Film locations of note include Ayub National Park, Jinnah Park, and Rawat Fort. Liaquat Bagh is the park that both prime ministers Liaquat Ali Khan and Benazir Bhutto were assassinated.

Derawar Fort is an impressive structure.

Rohtas Fort is located near the city of Jehlum.

The Noor Mahal is a palace in Bahawalpur.

The Amb Temples, and Katas Raj Temples are abandoned Hindu temple complexes.

The Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam, Hiran Minar Tomb, and Tomb of Bibi Jawindi are also located in Punjab.

Taxila is an archaeological site.

The Khewra Salt Mine is one of the largest salt mines in the world.

The Thar Desert is located in Punjab.

Sindh

The province of Sindh is located in the southeast of the country.

Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. Locations of note include Mazar-e-Quaid mausoleum, Mohatta Palace, Empress Market, Tooba Mosque, St Patricks Cathedral, National Museum, Frere Hall, Pakistan Air Force Museum, Karachi war cemetery, Pakistan Maritime Museum, Clifton Beach, Hawke’s Bay Beach, French Beach, and the Port of Karachi. Karachi’s National Cricket Stadium is the largest cricket oval in Pakistan.

Outside of Karachi you can find:

Makli Necropolis is one of the largest funerary sites in the world.

Chaukhandi Tombs are also located in Sindh province.

Mohenjo-Daro is an archaeological site.

Ranikot Fort is a historical fort near Sann.

Kot Diji Fort is located in the Rohri Hills.

The Shah Jahan Mosque is located in Thatta.

Balochistan

The province of Balochistan is located in the southwest of the country.

Balochistan offers looks similar to the North West Tribal Areas and Afghanistan but is a much safer place to film.

Hingol National Park is known for the Makran Coastal Highway that passes through the dry lunar landscape and unique rock formations.

Chandragup is an active mud volcano.

Train tunnels through the rugged Bolān Pass landscape look like they could be in an Indiana Jones film.

Chiltan Mount is located in the Chiltan mountain group of the Sulaiman Mountains.

Gadani has a ship breaking yard.

Gwadar has a deep water port.

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is located in the northwest of the country.

FATA is an autonomous tribal region with a predominately Pashtun population.

The area is known for its green mountain valleys.

Darra Adam Khel is a city dedicated to illegal gun manufacturing.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is located in the northwest of the country.

Some of Pakistan’s most beautiful film locations are in the Chitral Valley and Swat Valley where bright green forested valleys and rushing glacial rivers are set against towering snow-capped high mountain peaks.

Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Locations of note include Mohabbat Khan Mosque, Peshawar Museum, and Peshawar University.

The The Khyber Pass is a mountain pass on the border with Afghanistan.

Mahodand Lake is a spectacular film location in the upper Usho Valley.

Ansoo Lake is a tear-shaped lake located in Kaghan Valley.

Saif-ul-Maluk Lake is located in Saiful Muluk National Park.

Takht-i-Bahi is an archaeological site of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Mardan.

Samsons Resort Malam is a ski resort in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Tarbela Dam is located in this region.

Pakistani-administered Kashmir

Pakistani-administered Kashmir is located in the northeast.

Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are self-governing autonomous regions of Pakistan. The region has many beautiful panoramic views of green valleys, lush green forests, rushing rivers, high-altitude lakes, and snow-capped mountains.

Fairy Meadows is the picturesque point where the Himalayas, the Karakorams, and the Hindu Kush meet.

K2 is the world’s second highest peak.

The Great Trango Tower is an impressive rock structure popular with big-wall rock climbers.

The Karakoram Highway is one of the world’s most dangerous roads.

Deosai National Park and Khunjerab National Park are beautiful film locations.

The Biafo Glacier and Hispar Glacier are located in this region.

The Hunza Valley is a lush location surrounded by towering mountains.

Baltit Fort is located in the Hunza Valley.

Neelum Valley and Jhelum Valley are scenic film locations.

Rama A lake offers an awe-inspiring view of the eastern side of Nanga Parbat.

Attabad Lake is a turquoise mountain lake in Hunza Nagar.

Shangrila Lake is located in Kachura village.

The valley of Punial is known for its trout fishing.

Hussaini Hanging Bridge is a rickety cable and plank bridge that crosses the Hunza river.

The Katpana Desert in Skardu is a high-altitude desert.

The Shandur Polo Ground is a spectacular location that hosts the Shandur Polo Festival.

Pakistan Film Location Permits

Ease of permits depends on the location. Areas in conflict such as Kashmir and the North West Tribal Areas are dangerous to film in and difficult to permit. The rest of Pakistan usually takes around two weeks to process permits, providing the government doesn’t reject the subject matter. Please contact us for more location specific information.

When To Shoot?

The weather in Pakistan depends on the altitude and proximity to the coast. The Arabian Sea coast is warm all year round whereas the Himalayan Karakoram Range is so cold that it can only be accessed by climbers a few weeks each year.

Pakistan has three seasons. Winter (November to March) is warm on the coast and extremely cold in the mountains. This is the best time to film in the south. Summer (April to July) is very hot. The monsoon season (July to September) is very wet with flooding common. April through to September are the best months to film in the north. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Pakistan hosts a variety of interesting festivals and events throughout the year:

• The Wagah-Attari border ceremony takes place daily.
• Basant kite flying festival in February.
Shandur Polo Festival in July.
• Chitral Festival in September.

Pakistan is the world’s second largest Muslim country. Ramadan is observed with many services closed during this period. There are also small Hindu, Christian, and Ahmadiyya minorities.

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

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. Locations, local crew and talent are inexpensive. The need to bring in all key crew and equipment is the major cost of shooting in Pakistan. Our Pakistani fixer will negotiate local 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 Pakistan.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Pakistan has a very small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. It is recommended to bring in your key crew.

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 Pakistan.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Day rates are very reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis. Casting facilities are undeveloped in Pakistan and street casting is required.

Around 74 languages are spoken in Pakistan. English and Urdu are the official languages. Urdu is the main language spoken between locals, even though it’s the primary language of only a small percentage of the country.

Pakistan is made up of many ethnic groups with the Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi, Saraiki, Muhajir, and Baloch being the main groups. The Kalash people, who live in the remote valleys in north-west Pakistan are a pagan people that are said to be descendants of the conquering Macedonians of Alexander the Great. All other looks are best cast abroad.

Pakistan Film Equipment

Equipment. Pakistan is Arri based but the cameras are very old. Some basic grip and lighting equipment is available locally but it is recommended to bring in all other equipment from abroad. Bringing equipment from India can be problematic. Dubai is the closest place to bring in equipment. Equipment clearing customs is time consuming. It’s easier to bring equipment with you on the flight over. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Pakistan is an ATA carnet country.

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 slow but the quality is good. 

Studios and Backlots don’t exist.

Post Production. Basic facilities are available. It is recommended to post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Most Western passport holders need to apply for a visa prior to travel. US passport holders see here for more information. Others can obtain a business visa on arrival. Our local fixer / service producer will provide you with additional documentation in support of your application. Note, some parts of Pakistani-administered Kashmir are off-limits to visiting productions. Contact your local Pakistani embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads in cities are chaotic and rural roads are poorly maintained. The best way to travel long distances around Pakistan is by plane. On the ground our fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Pakistan is serviced by several international airlines flying into Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Pakistan include:

Islamabad:
Serena Hotel
Avari Xpress

Karachi:
Avari Towers
Sheraton

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. Kashmir is a beautiful, under-explored destination.

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 Pakistan, please see below:

Hire Pakistan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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