International Ties & Outstanding Results

The Google : Polarsteps Project With Gramafilms

To be recognized in the global scale had always been a dream of ours, and over the years working with many international clients has allowed for this dream to be materialized. Our international standards of working is what enabled us to reach that goal and we were over the moon when one such company Grama flims, one of the best london based creative agency reached out to us be a part of their filming in Nepal.

The Google: Polarsteps project with Gramafilms was a chance for our company to learn, grow and provide some vital filming in Nepal tips to one of the creative agencies out there! To say that we were thrilled to be a part of this team would be an understatement.

Here is a walkthrough of our Journey with Gramafilms and Algor Lieman the man with immense creative talent!

Lets give you sneak peak of how we make things happen!

 

Adjust To Last Minute Changes!

Our initial plans were to shoot the film in Kathmandu. But, the plans changed and the next morning, we were all on a bus to Pokhara. Having been a part of the industry for so long there is no question we are used these changes and embraced it with full vigour and excitement!

 

Rain, Rain Go Away? Please We Need to Film. Seriously.

The location change was not the only thing that would catch off guard, the heavy rain that followed the day we were supposed to film did as well. But, did that stop us? If you know us, you know that “rain never bothered us anyway” or any weather conditions to be honest. Hence, amidst that rain we started our filming on the road on our way to Sarangkot. Our cameraman, Tiago, was wearing a special harness to film through the open door of a moving van. The roads were narrow and difficult, but we pulled in our creative abilities and made it happen.

 

The Filming Begin!

After getting some filler shots, it was time for the real deal. Finally, the filming day was here!It was around 5 in the morning when we left for the shoot. The road to our location was ruined by the rain last night, we had to leave our bigger cars behind. So, we took the four-wheel vehicles with us and filmed our travellers. We knew all the hassle in the long run would be worth it and it seemed true with the warm welcome we received at Pumdi Bhumdi.

 

Greeting From Breathtaking Damauli

Our next location was much farther from Pokhara. We left early in the morning and reached the riverside of Damauli. And trust us when we say this — everything about Damauli is beautiful.

The rivers running. The beautiful highway. The cool wind. Just about everything! We filmed all day by the river and returned to the hotel in the evening. On our way back,
one of the vehicles broke down but we had contingencies planned for that. Finally, the whole team united back at the hotel by 10 in the evening. We were all enjoying everything about the shoot despite the challenges.

Who won this ? The Cruel weather or Our Team at Kathmandu Films?

The weather had been cruel to us ever since we started this journey. Our hopes to get the perfect shot of the himalayas even brought us to Pokhara. Our persistence to find the perfect shot had us atop Sarangkot Hill by 4:30 am, we did everything in our power to deliver and win our war against the cruel weather. Turns out all that perseverance was worth it as we produced quality end results that impressed both of our clients, Google and Gramafilms.

 

 

Filming in Nepal

Everything You Need To Know About Filming As Told By A Filmmaker

 

Filming in Nepal efficiently can be a hard nut to crack. There’s everything — all at once!

One minute you are enjoying the happy summer sun, sipping yummy tea somewhere, and the next thing you know you are running to save yourself from the rain. It’s a visual explosion of alluring Himalayas and enchanting greenery. It’s a chaotic pot of religions, languages, cultures, ideas, history and landscapes that contribute to the mind-boggling diversity in Nepal.
Perhaps, this is exactly what has been driving so many creative minds in Nepal over the years. It’s almost impossible to run out of ideas.

But with all this excitement comes with responsibility as well, before you begin to start your journey of filming in Nepal, you must allow plenty of time for yourself to fully prepare and plan. Making sure the film shoots comply with the current laws in force and not hinder the country or its people in any way.

That being said, Nepal still proves to be a worth-while filming journey to take and in order to experience this chaos you have to live it, tell your story through it! Therefore here is 101 on filming in Nepal that will make this journey all the while easier.

 

The permits for filming in Nepal

A filming permit is the first thing you have to get if you want to be able to film in Nepal. Government of Nepal – the Ministry of Information and Communications provides foreign film shooting permits in Nepal. The tedious paperwork and documents that Kathmandu Films can help you with. We help your crew to not just obtain film permits, but also give you advice on tax payment and customs clearance.

While Nepal Filming Permit is mandatory, there are further permits required to film in national parks, heritage areas, private property and public Places.

 

Suitable Travelling options

Choosing the right routes and the proper vehicles is essential in Nepal. The roads and the traffic are quite challenging so a well-experienced driver is very important. While most main roads are in proper conditions, the other roads may have potholes and confusing routes. Find a trusted driver and production house like Kathmandu Films that aids you in the logistics providing you proper vehicle options based on your needs.

 

Striking Locations

Nepal offers visually pleasing locations for you to film your projects. While the most popular places to shoot in nepal are Kathmandu, Pokhara, Mustang, Everest etc, many locations in Nepal that still remain undiscovered by the filming industry. To know more about these hidden gems it is best advised to contact an expert line producers that can give you more information about them.

 

Diverse Language and Tradition

For a rather small country, over 123 languages are spoken by the local people in country, diversity is rampant here. Cultures and traditions vary from one group of people to another as well. Even the people belonging to the same cast or the same religion observe social traditions differently. A local guide can help you understand this diversity better, translate the language and communicate ideas effectively. Moreover, if you are willing to shoot about or during certain festivals, it’s best to check in with your fixer before you make plans of your filming in Nepal.

 

Cash Over Cards

Using visa and master cards in Nepal is tricky, you should never rely fully on them to pay your bill. Sure the major cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara have cards systems installed in most places, but the efficiency of these places are questionable. Furthermore, when travelling outside of the valley you will rarely come across any ATMs. Therefore, always opt for cash over cards but be safe about it.

 

Seasonal Weather in Nepal

The weather conditions in Nepal varies every few kilometers and you’ll never truly know if it’s going to rain or the sun will be out. It’s best to always ask your local guide about the weather conditions in the locations you are planning to visit. Also, a country that enjoys all four seasons, you have to know your way around it; opting for weathers that provide better skin captures.

 

Precautions From Wild Animals

One of the best aspects of Nepal is its rich wildlife but while filming near them you have to take proper measures of safety. Leopards, snakes, foxes are a very common sight in Nepal when travelling to remote areas. Talk to your guide or fixer about the wildlife threats in your preferred location and stay vigilant and prepared. Also mosquitoes are pretty common during the summer so it’s advisable to take needed measures for your protection from these pesky insects as well.

 

Keep An Open mind

Nepal’s distinct cultural aspects could be shocking to many people who come down from other parts of the world. The best way to handle any such culture shock is to keep an open mind and be respectful of the practices even if you do not agree with them. This will ensure that both parties feel comfortable in each others company and the exchanges be it in the form of friendships or interviews happen smoothly.

 

 

What To Expect When Working With Us

Filming for Lion’s Club – Pieter Miller from Image Base

At Kathmandu Films, we strive to provide the best filming services in Nepal. Our connection with the local community, expertise in handling equipment, understanding of permit structures and staff capable visionaries all combine to make a package that is undeniably make your filming process smooth.

This why we have continuously had the chance to work in international platforms and deliver the best.

As Pieter Miller a producer from Image base, Chicago based video, and event agency traveled to Nepal with visions of telling the Lion Clubs stories, it was on us to film some of the local Lions Club in Nepal.

 

The 8 day shoot that followed:

Day 1: The onset of filming journey

The equipments were thoroughly checked, inspections made by our expert Cinematographer himself. There is no room for errors. We arrive prompt and ready and add in a few more equipments suggested by our experts.

 

Day 2: Understanding Our Location

BP. Koirala Lions Center for Ophthalmic Studies

It was May 6th, Sunday. We started early in the morning at 7 The journey started from our hotel to BP KOIRALA LIONS CENTRE FOR OPHTHALMIC STUDIES. We reached the hospital and was welcomed by the Director Mr. Anand Sharma. He briefed the crew about the institute and after that, we got busy! Scouting the area to find spots that delivered the best shots. Delegations were in place and other half of the team began with equipment setting and interviews, there is no time to lag here, only diligence and efficiency. The 5 interviews went by smoothly giving us enough time to V-rolls.

 

Day 3 Interviewing The Subjects i.e students and doctors

BP. Koirala Lions Center for Ophthalmic Studies Rural Clinic

The next morning, we headed to the Institute for the Rural clinic team. We traveled with the team to Nepal-Korea Friendship Hospital, Bhaktapur. Interviews all lined up with professionals and students running the rural clinic, trying hard to capture their unique perspectives on working in such clinics.

We planned this tightly to get the most out of each day hence we did not stop there, heading to the town Bhaktapur where Lions club had established an eye care center. There were children coming for inspection and diagnosis there and it was perfect opportunity for us to capture some V-rolls and interviews with students and the Doctor who was conducting the treatment.

 

Day 4 Unfortunate Weather and Gurkhali Spirit

As usual day 4 started early at 7 am, when working in a schedule like this it imperative that we make the most of our time, no time waster or spare. The travel that happened on this day to Gorkha was marked by challenges and triumph. While our competent team went ahead got the interviews from 2 Engineers, we battled the questionable weather that did not lets us work beyond sunset. The plan was drive past in the dark to 2 hours more off the road but we had to make a judgement call, to rest recuperate start afresh. When working with heavy equipment and a big team we have take a lot of things into consideration. As an ethical company it is our utmost duty work in a manner that is safe for our team, not over exert them. This worked out well for us in the end as with a rested self and an open mind we were able to quickly locate a place that beckoned to be filmed; a school.

 

Day 5 All Work & Then Fun

A Sweet Gesture At Work

The schools were a great example of what the Local Lion Clubs were able to achieve hence we made it our priority to do our best to illustrate that. We filmed the teachers and classes. After the V-roll we started interviewing students. When we were wrapping up, the school prepared a nice farewell program for us. The whole school was singing songs for us and the principal was handing us a small token of love. Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of venturing into the rural areas for filming is our connection with the locals, handling big equipment is an immediate ice and breaker and from then on the bonds keep forming.

 

Day 6 Traveling Back To Kathmandu

Travel Back to Kathmandu Next day, we traveled back to Kathmandu. The weather was nice. The wind was cool. We took a much-needed rest on our way back.

 

Day 7 An Inspirational Story

We are filming in the streets of Teku for the day. It was for a Mobility Cart story. Specifically, Chatra Bahadur Gurung’s story. He received the mobility cart from Lion Ramchandra Dahal, who is an amazing person himself. Gurung narrates his story of how he received the three-wheeled cart that changed his life, enabling him to be independent. The essence that we captured through this story was heartwarming and great representation of what Lions Club Stood for.

 

Day 8 The Last Day Time To Wramp Up!

Wrapping up a shoot is always bitter sweet but it needs to be done. Hence, we started our day early in the morning, heading towards Dhulikhel where the Global action team meeting was being held. We filmed the whole event and interviewed some of the members of the Global Action team. After the shoot, we headed straight to the airport to drop our clients off.

Working with international clients always exciting because it makes for a great exchange of knowledge they teach us international techniques while we educate them on filming in complex climates like Nepal. At the end both parties grow and become embody a unique blend of skills. A work exchange that translates skill development, teamwork and an an amazing film.

Meta description:
Kathmandu Films always strives to provide the best filming services in Nepal. Some time back, we worked with Pieter Miller, a producer from Image base, to film some of the projects the local Lions Club in Nepal were participating in.

 

Blog 8 Post Earthquake Filming in Nepal

Our Response To The Biggest Trauma Nepal Ever Experienced

The filming scenario in Nepal was rattled after the major earthquake of 2015. While the local film production carried on shortly after, the international crew reduced greatly due to the posed danger of after shocks. Although some filmmakers persevered even they had difficulty adjusting to the new changes in filming process and the legal processing for permits and other required documents that happened post earthquake.

 

The Impact the Earthquake Brought To Filming

It is now 2018 and things are slowly changing, we are past the 2015 earthquake and that *almost* claimed that the filming industry in Nepal. But which damage at such a great intensity came with came with a few changes all filmmakers needed to adhere to.

 

Drones prohibition

Filming with drones without a legal permission has been deemed as an illegal practice in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. The drone permit costs more than the drone itself. At the same time, it is incredibly difficult to obtain any drone permission.

Despite these changes through storytellers like National Geographic and Kathmandu Films kept going, sharing the stories of people post the earthquake educating the world of the damage it had done.

 

Working Through Consistent Fear

The number of international filmmakers coming to Nepal reduced greatly after the earthquake. The locations were deemed unsafe, rumors were a blaze of recurrent quakes. Nepal has moved on since then but for the entire world who viewed the quake from the lenses of new channels trusting Nepal is still relatively harder.

That being said, post 3 years things do seem to be changing, evolving as more international companies flock to Nepal for the versatility it offers.

 

Traveling Is The Biggest Challenge

A third world nation infrastructure in Nepal has been questionable, however with slow responsive government and the earthquake coupled with unique landscapes, travelling with all that equipment always requires a lot skill, determination and grit. Something we have plenty of!

 

Damaged History

The quake left a mark on many monuments, although officials are working hard to restore these historic places the imprint of the great earthquake will perhaps always remain. Ingrained both deep in memory and some of the rather artistic monuments.

While locations outside of the valley are now in the clear, the effects of the quake rings in our memory causing the filming crew to work with caution and contingency.

The earthquake of 2015 brought some changes to our lives and in the filming scenario in Nepal. However, Kathmandu Films had been actively working and filming to bring the stories into light even during and post the earthquakes. The earthquake shook our country, but we stood strong through it, filming for over 90 channels covering the devastation. Despite the sadness of the calamity, we were able to add to our knowledge and skill to our experience.

 

 

An investigative project for The US Reality TV Show Celebrity Charity Exposed

Kathmandu Films Collaboration With Lulu Sanders

Kathmandu Films has been providing total film support and service in Nepal since 2007 and we take pride in our flexibility to work to suit all kinds of budget. Services like Line Production, Fixing, Translation, Research, Location, Logistic support and Investigation among others make us a complete and one stop filming service provider in Nepal.

We collaborated with Lulu Sanders from LA, USA filming her reality TV show called ‘Celebrity Charity Exposed’, which was majorly focused on showing what celebrities are doing for charities. The Nepal edition showcased the contributions of Petra Nemcova a Czech model and television host, who tragically lost her fiancé in a tsunami. This event impacted her life greatly and she decided to found the ‘Happy Hearts Fund’, a charity with the aim to help natural calamity- inflicted people all around the world.

 

The Notable Fund Affecting Hundreds

Happy Hearts Fund, in collaboration with All Hands Volunteers, has been building schools all around Nepal, after the country was shaken and devastated by the major earthquake of April 2015. We traveled to Sindhupalchowk and Nuwakot, the most affected districts, where we witness the massive impact this project has made. With a shoot schedule of 3 days and constant travelling we were able to capture the essence of the charity by interviewing teachers and students.

 

A Good heart bridges all barriers

There were memorable moments throughout the journey. One such experience was when we witnessed the construction of Shree Bachchhala Devi School in Nuwakot, where volunteers from over 28 countries have gathered to build the school in less that for around 3 months and people from everywhere were wearing traditional Dhaka Topi, during the School Handover Program, immersing themselves into the local culture.

 

Filming Is The Most Prominent Way To Showcase Noble Work

It was great to be part of this project, it was highly fulfilling to know that our filming would help highlight the efforts of so many people, help others appreciate the effort of Petra Nemcova. A lot of filming is educating the masses, we hope that this project did just that educate on the importance of charity work and prompted those who watched it to take action as well.

 

 

How Filming Came To Nepal

The Very Beginning

The making of Nepali films is said to have begun with D. B. Pariyar’s Satya Harishchandra, which was the first Nepali language film to be shot. It was produced from Kolkata, India, and was released on September 14, 1951. Aama was the first film produced in Nepal and was released on October 7, 1964. It was produced by the Information Department of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal (now Government of Nepal), directed by Hira Singh Khatri with Shiva Shankar Manandhar and Bhuwan Thapa as the lead actors, who are regarded as the first actors in the history of the Nepali film industry.

 

The Private Banner Films Took Over

The first film to be produced under a private banner was Maitighar, which was released at the end of 1966 by Sumananjali Films Pvt. Ltd. Although being a Nepali movie, it had many Indians contributing toward the making of the film. Mala Sinha had the lead role, along with CP Lohani.

It had special appearances of Sunil Dutt and comedian Rajendra Nath. It was directed by BS Thapa and music composed by Jaidev, a veteran music maestro. It had established Indian singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, and Manna Dey playback- singing along with the household names of Nepali music, like Narayan Gopal, Prem Dhoj Pradhan, CP Lohani, and Aruna Lama.

 

Royal Nepal Film Corporation (1971)

The government later established the Royal Nepal Film Corporation in 1971 which produced Mann Ko Bandh with Prakash Thapa as the director of the film and Nati Kaji and Shiva Shankar as the music composers. Amber Gurung scored the background music. The film premiered in 1973 in Kathmandu. It was followed by Kumari (the first color Nepali film) in 1977, Sindoor in 1980, and Jeevan Rekha in series. The success of these films opened up an avenue for private parties to enter into filmmaking as an industrial endeavor.

 

The Impact Of Political Instability

The Nepali film industry started to fall down during the Maoist revolution. Fewer films were made with low budgets and even lower performance during that period which resulted in even smaller audiences. In the later years of the conflict, the production and release of Nepali films had come to a standstill with many actors and filmmakers leaving the country in search of work because there were no films being made.

 

The Rise Of The Industry

However, with Maoists coming into mainstream politics by 2006, the Nepali film industry started to develop. Now, more and more films are being made and released. The production companies and people in the industry are enthusiastic about the country’s new situation. Also, the quality of the films being produced is improving, however, in comparison to Bollywood, it still lags far behind and the competition is tough with maximum youths preferring Bollywood and Hollywood to Kollywood. Nevertheless, the production of movies like Loot, Highway, Apabad, etc. that are based on contemporary subjects have good content and presentation. Well, the future of Nepali Film Industry looks prosperous.

 

How Filming Evolved

Even though Nepal does not have a very long filming history, the industry has its own place in the cultural heritage of this country. Most of the Nepali films use Bollywood-style songs and narratives and are shot on 16-millimeter film. In the film industry idiom, Kathmandu, the capital and the center of the Nepali-language film industry, is called Kollywood within Nepal (which is different than India’s Tamil-language film industry, Kollywood, based in Chennai).

 

 

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!

 

 

Post Earthquake Filming in Nepal

The filming scenario in Nepal changed after the major earthquake of 2015.  While the local film production carried on shortly after, the international crew was seen very less relative to before the earthquake. Sure there were national and international filmmakers filming documentaries about the violent earthquake and its damages to people and properties but Filming in Nepal took a major hit after the Earthquake.

However, there were subtle changes in the filming process and the legal processing for permits and other required documents. Some areas were declared as unsafe and were out of bounds.

Skip to two years later and here we are with our filming adventures through these years to 2018. We are past the 2015 earthquake and can *almost* claim that the filming industry in Nepal is thriving on an international level again. Hundreds and thousands of international filming crews visit Nepal every year to portray its breath-taking locations and typical Nepali aspects in their films.

 

Drones prohibition

Filming with drones without a legal permission has been deemed as an illegal practice in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. The drone permit costs more than the drone itself. At the same time, it is incredibly difficult to obtain any drone permission.

 

Foreign coverage in impacted areas

Most filmmakers, although there weren’t many, who dropped in during the time of earthquake were there to cover the damages in the impacted areas. They were there to capture the stories of the lives of Nepali people and how it changed after the devastating earthquake. Filming in Nepal was greatly affected, yet somehow documentaries were made by channels as prestigious as National Geographic.

 

Assumed to be unsafe

The number of international filmmakers coming to Nepal reduced greatly after the earthquake. While people were back at their lives, doing the normal things, it was still hard for people outside Nepal to believe that it is safe now. However, things have changed in the last 3 years. Hundreds of filmmakers come to Nepal every year to film their projects.

 

Traveling is difficult

Many roads have been obstructed due to the landslides because of earthquake. Some roads have been cracked from deep down while some had large dirt and stones covering all the way. This created difficulty in driving and in some cases, blocked the route to get to the destination.

 

Damaged locations

Nepal is a mix of rich culture and natural beauty. The filming locations in Nepal are many, including but not limited to Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Mustang, Lumbini and Everest. Some of such locations may have been damaged by the earthquake. However, they are fully safe to film in and retain their originality and beauty.

The earthquake of 2015 was sad and brought changes to our lives and in the filming scenario in Nepal. However, Kathmandu Films had been actively working and filming to bring the stories into light even during the earthquakes. The earthquake shook our country, but we stood strong through it. We filmed for over 90 channels for the coverage of the earthquake in Nepal at the time.

Despite the sadness of the calamity, we had more to add to our knowledge and experience. The hard times make us stronger and today we are more than prepared to help you with your project.

 

 

Filming Locations in Nepal

Are you planning to film in Nepal?

Nepal might be a small, landlocked country but it offers visually pleasing locations for you to shoot your beautiful projects. The lush green forests, silver mountains, ancient monuments, historically and culturally rich heritage, and diverse yet picturesque landscapes make for an exciting location that’s bound to leave your viewers in awe.  

Every year, a number of film crew visit Nepal in search of best locations to shoot their documentaries, commercials, movies and what not. Well, here’s a guide to give you a better insight of the locations that are feasible to shoot in Nepal.

 

Filming inside Kathmandu valley:

Kathmandu valley comprises of three major cities: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur. All these three cities hold to themselves the richness of cultural diversity and heritage that’s beautiful to look at, as is its long history. Well, there are lots of locations within the valley, and we are going to discuss a few of them.

Swayambhunath Temple

Renowned as the Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath Temple rests atop a hill, glancing over the Kathmandu valley. The views are stunning and it makes for a lovely place to just sit and admire as the sun goes down. The local people visit the temple every morning/evening, rotating the prayer wheels as they go around it.

Durbar Squares

There are three Durbar Squares within the valley: Basantapur Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, and Patan Durbar Square. Each as beautiful as the other, but with their own origin and history. These squares underwent some terrible damages during the 2015 earthquake but most of them have been rebuilt while some are still standing with bamboo or scaffolding support.

Pashupatinath Temple

With Bagmati river on the side, Pashupati temple is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindu people. Thousands of people come to visit this temple every year, most to worship while some to film. The main entrance to temple isn’t open to non-Hindu people, however, the vicinity of this temple is open to all.

Streets of Thamel

Thamel is one of the most-hyped and touristy spots in Kathmandu.  You can say, it’s the most ‘happening’ place in all of Kathmandu. With its busy streets covered with colorful prayer flags, beautiful “Om Mani Padme Hum” chants coming from the nearby CD shops, there’s just a whole different vibe to Thamel that’s to get from anywhere else.

 

Filming outside Kathmandu valley

The Kathmandu valley holds its charm, we know. And at first thought of filming outside the valley may shake you up: where else would you get to experience such natural and cultural beauty? Well, the answer is everywhere, in Nepal. Once you step outside the valley, you have even better chances of catching those sunlit golden snowy peaks early morning. You have so much to explore and find an ideal location for you to cover your film.

Pokhara

There’s plenty to enjoy in Pokhara: the serene lake reflecting the beautiful Himalayas, adrenaline packed adventure sports or visiting the cultural villages. The ambience of peace and magic this place gives off is truly felt by the people who visit it — the experience is unreal.

Mustang

Mustang was once an old, independent Tibetan kingdom, still retaining its mystical reputation to this day. While Mustang isn’t really on the greener side with lush forests, it’s more of a high altitude desert of rich red and ocher, with deep gorges set against an infinite blue sky.

Everest

Well, Everest is the most popular mountain in the world — afterall, it stands tall at 8847m making it the highest peak in the world. As exciting as filming in Everest sounds, it comes with its risk factors. The average temperature in winter is around -36° and maybe drop down to -60°, while it’s around -19° in summer.

Kathmandu Films makes sure that all your needs are met and permits are managed for a wonderful filming experience in your desired locations.

 

 

Filming the Sky Burials Documentary

We were heading towards Upper Mustang for filming the sky burial documentary. Needless to say, we faced a lot of challenges en route, mainly due to road maintenance and unpredictable wind. Funny, some of my friends lost their favorite socks and some other clothes on the first day of arrival at Jomsom and Kagbeni while letting it sun-dry after washing.

Even with direct sunlight during the daytime, there was freezing temperature at night. Nevertheless, the people at the hotel we were staying at welcomed us and our clients with local wine and food.

We faced some difficulties to obtain the filming permits as the location we had chosen was also the border area of Nepal and China. However, we are always prepared for the worst, with backup plans for any challenges that might arise. So, getting the permit was like a piece of cake for Kathmandu Films.

 

Filming better: what inspires us

Our clients were very friendly, which made us proud as well as happy to work harder for them every day. We strive to perform our tasks the best way we can in each day that we work. We open up to them with our creative and new ideas that help us form a good bond with our clients, and it helps us become more positive towards the work that we do.

Further, after the shoot, we set up a few interviews with the local people but they were hesitant to share anything as sky burials was a lost tradition, as well as a very sensitive topic to many.

 

Making our way through the problems

At our selected location, there was neither internet nor electricity. We did have a backup generator but it had troubles starting up due to high altitude and freezing cold. We had to wake up in the middle of the night every day to start our jeep and generator to keep it warm and workable enough to run. After a total of 21 days of the shooting schedule, we finally managed to complete the shoot 5 days earlier, because of good coordination within the team and our hard work.

 

Final thoughts

As a Line Producer and Fixer, I am filled with immense pride and love as I say that Kathmandu Films team is a really lovely team to work with. The sky burials shoot was one of the most memorable shoots for us because of all that we learned and all the challenges that we met. Through this shoot, we along with our clients got to learn about the lost tradition in Nepal, sky burials.

 

 

Filming in Nepal: History

History of Filming in Nepal

Even though Filming in Nepal does not have a very long history, the industry has its own place in the cultural heritage of this country. Most of the Nepali films use Bollywood-style songs and narratives and are shot on 16-millimeter film. In the film industry idiom, Kathmandu, the capital and the center of the Nepali-language film industry, is called Kollywood within Nepal (which is different than India’s Tamil-language film industry, Kollywood, based in Chennai).

 

The emergence of Nepali film industry

The making of Nepali films is said to have begun with D. B. Pariyar’s Satya Harishchandra, which was the first Nepali language film to be shot. It was produced from Kolkata, India, and was released on September 14, 1951. Aama was the first film produced in Nepal and was released on October 7, 1964. It was produced by the Information Department of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal (now Government of Nepal), directed by Hira Singh Khatri with Shiva Shankar Manandhar and Bhuwan Thapa as the lead actors, who are also regarded as the first actors in the history of the Nepali film industry. This was the most important event in history of filming in Nepal.

 

The first private banner film

The first film to be produced under a private banner was Maitighar, which was released at the end of 1966 by Sumananjali Films Pvt. Ltd. Although being a Nepali movie, it had many Indians contributing toward the making of the film. Mala Sinha had the lead role, along with CP Lohani. It had special appearances of Sunil Dutt and comedian Rajendra Nath. It was directed by BS Thapa and music composed by Jaidev, a veteran music maestro. It had established Indian singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar, and Manna Dey playback-singing along with the household names of Nepali music, like Narayan Gopal, Prem Dhoj Pradhan, CP Lohani, and Aruna Lama.

 

Royal Nepal Film Corporation (1971)

The government later established the Royal Nepal Film Corporation in 1971 which produced Mann Ko Bandh with Prakash Thapa as the director of the film and Nati Kaji and Shiva Shankar as the music composers. Amber Gurung scored the background music. The film premiered in 1973 in Kathmandu. It was followed by Kumari (the first color Nepali film) in 1977, Sindoor in 1980, and Jeevan Rekha in series. The success of these films opened up an avenue for private parties to enter into filmmaking as an industrial endeavor.

 

Fall of the industry

The Nepali film industry started to fall down during the Maoist revolution. Fewer films were made with low budgets and even lower performance during that period which resulted in even smaller audiences. In the later years of the conflict, the production and release of Nepali films had come to a standstill with many actors and filmmakers leaving the country in search of work because there were no films being made.

 

The rise of the industry

However, with Maoists coming into mainstream politics by 2006, the Nepali film industry started to develop. Now, more and more films are being made and released. The production companies and people in the industry are enthusiastic about the country’s new situation. Also, the quality of the films being produced is improving, however, in comparison to Bollywood, it still lags far behind and the competition is tough with maximum youths preferring Bollywood and Hollywood to Kollywood. Nevertheless, the production of movies like Loot, Highway, Apabad, etc. that are based on contemporary subjects have good content and presentation. Well, the future of Nepali Film Industry looks prosperous.

 

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