Turkmenistan 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 Turkmenistan? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Turkmenistan
For an introduction to shooting in Turkmenistan 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.
Turkmenistan Film Locations
Turkmenistan is a desert country located in Central Asia with the Caspian Sea bordering to the west. Sitting at the crossroads of civilisations for centuries, the country is known for its Silk Road locations, grandiose national monuments, Soviet architecture, and the Karakum Desert which covers much of the country.
Agricultural film locations include farms that produce cotton, wheat, potatoes, rice, apples, silkworms, Akhal Teke horses, and Karakul sheep. Turkmenistan primarily has an oil and gas extraction based economy. The country also manufactures textiles, especially its traditional carpets. Energy locations include thermal power plants, and hydroelectric power plants.
Film locations can be divided into the following provinces:
Located in the south of the country, Ashgabat is the capital and largest city. Ashgabat is known for its white marble buildings, wide boulevards, green parks, residential towers, magnificent government buildings, mosques, and museums.
Mosques of note include Gypjak Mosque, and Ertuğrul Gazi Mosque.
Government buildings of note include Oguzhan Palace, Wedding Palace, Rukhiyet Palace, National Press Building, Turkmen Health Ministry, and Turkmen State University.
Cultural buildings include Alem Cultural and Entertainment Center, National Museum of Turkmenistan, Turkmen Museum of Fine Arts, Turkmen Carpet Museum, and Main Drama Theater.
Monuments of note include the Independence Monument, Arch of Neutrality, Constitution Monument, a revolving golden statue of the late President Niyazov, Monument to President Berdimuhamedow, and a golden Alabay dog statue.
Towers of note include Turkmenistan TV Tower, and Meteorological Tower Ashgabat.
Unique hotels include Oguzkent Hotel, and Yyldyz Hotel.
Altyn Asyr Bazar is the country’s largest market.
Sporting venues include Olympic Stadium, Ashgabat Stadium, and the National Olympic ice rink. The Ashgabat hippodrome hosts Akhal-Teke horse race.
Ashgabat International Airport is a beautiful modern structure.
The province of Ahal, which surrounds Ashgabat, is located in the south of the country.
Just outside of Ashgabat, the ruins of Nisa was once a Parthian settlement.
The Serdar Health Path, built by Niyazov, is a 37km concrete path at the foothills of the Kopet Dag Mountains just outside of Ashgabat.
Köw Ata is an underground sulphur lake.
Saparmurat Hajji Mosque is located in Geok Tepe.
Nature reserves of note in Ahal province include Köpetdag Nature Reserve, and Bereketli Garagum Nature Reserve.
Balkan province is located in the west of the country, on the Caspian Sea.
Turkmenbashi is an oil rich port city located on the Caspian Sea coast. The Avaza tourist zone is an area modelled on Dubai. Turkmenbashi is the terminus of the Trans-Caspian Railway.
Yangykala canyon is a beautiful film location.
Garabogazköl Aylagy is a shallow, highly-saline lagoon connected to the Caspian Sea.
Nature reserves of note in Balkan province include Hazar Nature Reserve, and Sünt-Hasardag Nature Reserve.
Daşoguz province is located in the north of the country.
The Darvaza Flaming Crater is a natural gas field in a vast desert landscape that has burned continuously since 1971.
Konye-Urgench was an important stop along the Silk Road.
Sarygamysh Lake is the country’s largest lake.
Gaplaňgyr Nature Reserve is home to Turkmenian kulans, Central Asian gazelles, saiga antelopes, Ustyurt mountain sheep, ratels, and a diversity of birdlife.
Lebap province is located in the northeast of the country.
Nature reserves of note in Leabap province include Repetek Biosphere State Reserve, Amyderýa Nature Reserve, and Köýtendag Nature Reserve.
Mary province is located in the southeast of the country.
The ancient town of Merv was an important stop along the Silk Road. Archaeological film locations include Erk Gala, Gäwürgala, and Soltangala.
Badhyz State Nature Reserve is home to the Turkmenian wild ass.
Turkmenistan Film Location Permits
Photography of public locations is strictly monitored by the extensive police presence so you will definitely need to have prior permission from all the relevant authorities prior to setting up your shots. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Most of Turkmenistan has a desert climate with little rainfall. Summers (May to September) are very hot and dry. Winters (January to May) are very cold and dry. Spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) are the best seasons to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:
• Nowruz Bayram is celebrated in March.
• Turkmen Horse Festival takes place in April.
• Buzkashi is played throughout the year.
• Turkmen Goresh wrestling contests take place throughout the year.
Ramadan is observed by the majority Muslim population with some services closed during this period.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Turkmenistan.
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 talent and support crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Our Turkmen 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 Turkmenistan.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Turkmenistan has a very small pool of directors, videographers 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 Turkmenistan.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.
Turkmen is the official language. Russian is also widely spoken.
Turkmen are the main ethnic group. The major modern Turkmen tribes are Teke, Yomut, Ersari, Chowdur, Gokleng and Saryk. Minority groups of note include Uzbeks, Russians, and Kazakhs. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.
Turkmenistan Film Equipment
Equipment. Some very basic camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally. You will need to bring in most equipment from abroad.
Communication. Internet is slow and unreliable outside of major population centres. 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
Citizens of all countries require a visa to enter Turkmenistan. A Letter of invitation is required which our local fixer / service producer will arrange for visiting crew. Once you have that letter you will need to apply for a visa at your closest Turkmenistan embassy along with other required documents. US passport holders see here for more information. A special permit, issued prior to arrival by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is required if visiting the Atamurat, Cheleken, Dashoguz, Serakhs, or Serhetabat. Each crew member is required to register with the State Migration Service within 3 days of arrival.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are up to international standards. Remote areas are best travelled by 4WD which our Turkmen fixer can organise. Avoid road travel by night on rural roads. Domestic flight fuel costs are subsidisedf helping make flying a cheap way to get around. Several international airlines service flights to Turkmenistan.
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Ashgabat include:
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
Down Time. The famed Akhal-Teke horses are native to Turkmenistan. Go ride one! Try local cuisine such as doğrama, fitçi, shurpa, shashlyk, chorek, kovurma, gutap, kazanlama, pilaf, and pishme.
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 Turkmenistan, please see below:
Hire Turkmenistan Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Turkmenistan, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Turkmenistan, 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.