Challenges for Film Production in Nepal

Film production is a creative and challenging process. Filming through days and nights, under the sun and the rain is no easy job. Pulling the raw footages together and editing them to depict a compelling story is one of the most difficult tasks. There is a much more challenge for film production in Nepal with difficulty in getting permit, lack of resources to play from.

As a film producer, we have always done our best to win over the challenges that present themselves while filming. Whether it’s the weather betraying us, or the difficult locations that have no access to electricity, we have everything covered.

To give you just a tiny glimpse of the challenges that we face while we’re out in the field everyday, we have compiled the following list.

Pre-production

Before the actual production, or filming, starts, we have to prepare a number of things before-hand.

Acquiring permits

Permits for filming in Nepal can be differentiated into various types. ‘Nepal Filming Permit’ is mandatory while different other permits are required if you wish to film in national parks or public places.

These permits can be acquired through Home Ministry, Defense Ministry, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Ministry of Tourism in Nepal. So far, Kathmandu Films has made sure to get these permits in time and without problems. As with the political instability of Nepal, it can sometimes be hard to get the permit at all, or very late. WE have always managed to get the permits as per our schedules.

Briefing the crew

At Kathmandu Films, we always manage to pull together the best crew with respect to the timing and schedule. We believe that a happy crew makes the production perfect. We aim to take care of their needs throughout the production phase.

Managing equipment

Only filmmakers know the struggle of locating a misplaced equipment during filming. To avoid just that, we keep track of all our filming gears. We know what equipment we have and which ones of those we actually need for the project. This accounts for an efficient use of the equipement. We also have regular status updates to ensure that our equipment are in the best working conditions.

Transportation

Filming in Nepal, especially outside Kathmandu depends heavily on the availability of transportation. Since the remote areas haven’t been explored for filming yet, it is difficult to take appropriate measures for a hassle free transportation of equipment as well as the crew. Our major focus is to have a well experienced driver who know what kind of vehicle is appropriate for the given route to our destination. For locations like Lo-Manthang, we have a local and well-experienced driver who has knowledge about the area.

Scheduling

The schedule and itinerary is made according to the needs and demands of the client. We also keep our crew’s availability and needs in mind when we plan the project. Usually, the number of days required for the production depends on the location and the content. If it is a new location, research/recce is required to be done for days.

Recce/Research

This has to be one of the most challenging situation that we face in every shoot. If required, our team spends days for research about the location discussed for the shoot. Many factors are taken into consideration, such as the local weather, management of crowd and garbage for the shoot.

Production

The production phase requires the right setup of equipment and actual filming procedures. It includes everywhere from the director yelling “Lights, Camera, Action” to “Pack up!”

Equipment setup

For an indoor shoot, it isn’t a lot of hassle. We get the equipment to the location, set it up in a few minutes and can begin the shoot.

But, for outdoor shoot, it can get quite difficult. The main challenge is to manage the sound for the shoot and to keep the background noise as low as possible. While we can’t just go around and throw the vehicles off the road like superman can, or tape people’s’ mouths shut with a duct tape, we still have to manage crowd and the noise in a proper adult-like way.

In cases where we are filming on a public road, it is essential to talk to the local traffic police regarding the shoot and how to continue the shoot without disrupting the entire traffic system. Also, here in Nepal, we can often find garbages dumped on the road. While the government has been trying to implement laws,

Post-production

Footages to infrastructure dept

After the production phase, it is required to provide footages to the infrastructure department. This is mandatory as they have to regulate that our work does not go against any values or does any harm to the country and its people.

Editing

This is where the magic happens! Not literally.

The footages are pulled together to form a meaningful film along with special video and sound effects. The editor is responsible for the color grading and correction and to ensure that the sound is in sync with the video.

Marketing

When we make films for clients, we believe that it is our responsibility to make it known among the right viewers. A good marketing strategy according to the content of the film ensures higher viewer rates.

Challenges are always going to be there, but we are always prepared. Years of filming and overcoming the challenges have taught us a lot, but the same experience or knowledge cannot be applied in other shoot, as the scenarios are completely different.

Did we miss out any challenges that you have to go through in your journey of filming in Nepal? We would be very pleased to hear your words!

Permits in Nepal

Filmmakers wishing to be able to film in Nepal need to have the filming permits first. And where you do get that, you ask?

Government of Nepal – the Ministry of Information and Communications provides foreign film shooting permits in Nepal, of which all the papers and documents will be processed and easily available to you by Kathmandu Films. We help your crew to not just obtain film permits, but also give you advice on tax payment and customs clearance.

Before you request for a permit, it is to be made sure that your film doesn’t demean Nepal or Nepali people’s values or cultures in any way.

The Ministry of Information and Communication grants the permit for the shooting of any kind of TV commercials, documentaries, music videos, feature films, and other films that do not spread unfavorable messages about Nepal.

The filming permit comes with a government-assigned Liaison Officer, who’ll remain with the filming team for the entirety of the shoot and will monitor all filming activities. He ensures that the filming is not impacting the environment, the society or the people in any negative way. The liaison officer holds full authority to suspend all filming activities if s/he thinks it is unlawful or is impacting the country and its image in any negative way.

Documents required for Filming Permits

The documents needed to process the permit are:

  • A Letter made by the assigned local coordinator informing the Audio-Visual Section, Ministry of Information and Communications of the purpose of applying for the shooting permit.
  • An assignment letter made by the foreign filmmaker showing that they have already chosen and hired a local coordinator.
  • An application form.
  • Supporting documents needed for permit consideration:
    • Storyboard for TV commercials
    • Treatment for documentaries
    • Theme (concept) and Lyrics for music videos
    • Details of content and objectives of the programme
    • Presentation for TV programmes.
  • A schedule of filming in Nepal specifying exact dates and locations (for all types of productions).
  • Name-list, passport numbers, positions and arrival dates of all foreign film crews.
  • Equipment list with values for custom clearance.

Different types of filming permits in Nepal

Different filming locations require different types of filming permits. While the Nepal Filming Permit is mandatory, other permits are supposed to be requested depending upon the location of the shoot.

  • Nepal Filming Permit (mandatory)

This is a one-time permit, which is mandatory regardless of where your location is in the country. This permit is issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications.

  • National Parks Filming Permit

Nepal has a total of 20 national parks and conservation area that require a separate filming permit and some amount to be paid as filming charge in the location.

  • Heritage Areas Filming Permit

Filming in cultural heritage areas like temples, monuments and other figures need to be endorsed by the municipality or the district office. However, the permit can be suspended anytime should the officers feel the film is rendering harm to the cultural heritage.

  • Public Area Filming Permit

Public area filming permit is endorsed by the local police authority as long as no harm is being done to the public.

  • Private Property Filming Permit

Filming in privately owned properties like hotels and restaurants, cafes, recreational halls, movie halls etc needs to have the permit from the owner himself.