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.

 

 

How To Get Filming Permits in Nepal

Yearly many filmmakers flock to Nepal due to the versatility the country offers in terms of landscape and culture. However, wishing to just film in Nepal is not enough, since a lot these shots are captures in heritage sites, and showcase the life of Nepalese people, the Government of Nepalkeeps a watchful eye. Making sure filming permits are issued and used when required.

Therefore, here are a few things related to receiving filming permits in Nepal that you need to understand

 

How We Play A Part

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

 

Your Content Matters

Before you request for a permit, it is to be made sure that your film does not 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 the country.

 

What You Can Expect To happen

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.

 

The 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 co-ordinator.

● 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.

Based on type of storytelling there are different types of filming permits you may need. Moreover, 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.

 

There different types of filming permits in Nepal include:

● 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.

 

 

Spectacular Filming Locations in Nepal That Will Have You Mesmerized

Nepal might be a small, landlocked country but that description does not do justice to the aerial visuals it has to offer. A result of being culturally rich, religiously secular and home to three very distinct geographical landscape the country offers diversity for filmmakers like no other.

The lush green forests, silver mountains, ancient monuments, historically and culturally rich heritage, and diverse yet picturesque landscapes make for an exciting location that is bound to leave your viewers in awe.Therefore, it makes sense that every year, a big number of film crew flock in to Nepal in search of these locations . Still not convinced? Well, here is a guide to give you a better insight of the what the country really offers you filmmakers out there.

 

Wonders Of 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 is beautiful to look at.

 

Swayambhunath Temple

Situated atop a hill, this ancient architecture is a sight to behold. The buddhist stupa is sacred, beautiful with heavy influence of Tibetan culture. A complex surrounds this temple consists of shrines and devotees looming about to give their prayers. But, what makes this temple more special is perhaps the monkeys that are housed here, Swayambhunath Temple is fondly named the Monkey Temple.These mischievous little creatures keep you fascinated with their mannerism and interactions with human, a sight that really needs to be experienced to be believed. The character, history and religious importance this temple has definitely makes it a spot discovering and capturing.

 

Kathmandu Valley

Oh my the diversity! Unlike varied places where you need to travel far and wide for historic monuments Kathmandu Valley has everything within reach. The views are stunning, the historic architecture mesmerizing and the culture enchanting. A package that is a mix of the urban and the simple life, wrapped to make this beautiful valley.

 

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 mostof them have since been rebuilt, illuminated with craftsmanship that even today holds relevant.

 

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 is not open to non-Hindu people, however, thevicinity of this temple is open to all. The area around is as religiously embedded temple inside is though so you won’t miss your chance to capture some of the most ethnically rich shots.

 

Streets of Thamel

Here comes the local and tourist favorite Thamel, one of the most-hyped and touristy spots in Kathmandu. Back in the 70’s this area became the true home of the hippies and the influence of the area can still be felt all around. The psychedelic wall hanging, airy hipster wear hangs loose in area amidst busting bars, restaurants, hotels and guest houses. On fridays the area lights with live music. The cultural appeal to this place is great as well, with its busy streets covered with colorful prayer flags, beautiful “Om Mani Padme Hum chants coming from the nearby CD shops, there is just a whole different vibe to Thamel that is unmatched.

 

Filming Outside Kathmandu valley

The valley is just the beginning, the versatility of Nepal actually shines through when you leave the urban comfort and venture into the cities and locations outside of the valley.

While the roads and remoteness can at times pose some threat, it always worth it to venture furthers as the charm extends and so does unrealistically beautiful landscapes that take your breath away. Once you step outside the valley, you have an 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 is 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. Name one of the best budget cities in the world by tripadvisor the place definitely worth a visit!

 

Mustang

Mustang was once an old, independent Tibetan kingdom but still retaining its mystical reputation to this day. While not really on the greener side with lush forests, it is perhaps more favored because of the stone walled hedges, high altitude deserts rich red and ocher, with deep gorges set against an infinite blue sky.

 

Everest

This place needs little to no explanation, the highest mountain in the world and seven natural wonder of the world will obviously provide you will all the spectacular shots. Its tall stature stands at 8847m making it the highest peak in the world. Many filmmakers aspire to have shots captured from here but that does entail withstanding of the dangers of travelling there along with the temperature which drops to -60° winter with around i-19° in summers. In such cases travelling with a expert filming company that knows the area is advised such as Kathmandu Films makes sure that all your needs are met and permits are managed for a wonderful filming experience in your desired locations.

 

 

Equipments Put Magic Into Your Filming

While the landscape of Nepal has already laid out the groundwork for you with beautiful cinematography, backdrops that starkly mimic the sets of Games of Throne. All of these natural aids will go to utter waste if you do not capture it with correct equipment. At Kathmandu films, we put grave importance in quality equipments and even provide hiring service, where you can hire our skilled professionals and equipments for a set a period of time.

Most filmmakers get stumped where to get all the equipment to film their project in Nepal. With over 12 years in the filming industry, Kathmandu Films is your one-stop solution for all your filming needs in Nepal. We provide high-quality equipment including cameras, lenses, tripods, jibs, dollies, gimbals, sound equipment, lighting, drones and everything else that you may need for your project.

 

Filming equipment that we provide includes :

● RED CAMERA PACKAGE

● WEAPON BRAIN w/HELIUM 8K S35 Sensor and items/accessories below (or
equivalent)
○ DSMC2 Standard OLPF
○ DSMC S35 PL Mount 2.0 (Magnesium)
○ DSMC S35 Canon Mount (Aluminum)
○ DSMC2 Sidekick (Woven Carbon Fiber)
○ DSMC2 Side Handle
○ DSMC2 Top Handle
○ DSMC Outrigger Handle
○ DSMC2 Base Expander
○ DSMC2 REDVOLT XL Module
○ RED Pro Touch 7.0” LCS Display
○ Wooden Camera 7.0” Display Shade
○ Wooden Camera wifi sideplate
○ Wooden Camera Easy Riser Plate
○ Wooden Camera Easy Top
○ Wooden Camera LWS Rods Bracket (15mm)
○ Wooden Camera A-Box for wireless audio tap
○ (5) RED 480GB Mini Mags
○ (2) RED STATIONs Mini-Mag (USB 3.1)
○ (2) USB Cable
○ 8 to 12 REDVOLT XL batteries
○ 2 REDVOLT Quad Chargers w/AC Cable
○ DSMC AC Power Adapter w/AC Cable
○ RED Sidewinder

● Arri Clip on LMB Matte Box or equivalent

● Preston or similar Remote Follow Focus setup

● Ikan Thumb Wheel Follow Focus

● Lens package

● Arri Ultra Primes full set

● Canon L Series prime set, and zoom lenses 70-200mm and up to 1000mm

● Filtration

● ND Filter set

● Grad ND FIlter set

● Phantom Flex4k Slow motion camera (we might need this for several shoot days)

● Lens mount for our lenses above (Canon and/or PL)

● Wireless video monitoring system

● Teradek Bolt or better with multiple receivers

Didn’t see what you need in the list? Tell us and we can manage it for you! Contact us at +977
980 101 2432 or email us at workofchandan@gmail.com for more information.

 

 

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).

 

 

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 for Lion’s Club – Pieter Miller from Image Base

At Kathmandu Films, we strive to provide the best filming services in Nepal and that sets us apart. We thrive in challenges and make a way through to get the best results. Whether it is days-long shoot or managing filming permits or talking to local people, we do it all and that is why our clients entrust us for their projects.

As of such a case, we had a chance to prove ourselves on an international platform again. Pieter Miller is a producer from Image base, Chicago based video, and event agency. He traveled to Nepal to film some of the projects the local Lions Club in Nepal were participating in. This was for Lions Club International, and a thrilling experience stocked for us in the future. We made plans and the shoot lasted for 8 days in total.  

The onset of filming journey: day 1

Inspection and Introduction

All the equipment had to be checked thoroughly by the Cinematographer himself and one of the specialists from the production company. After inspection, some more equipment was required. We had it delivered in time on the same day.

 

Understanding our location: day 2

  1. Koirala Lions Center for Ophthalmic Studies

It was May 6th, Sunday. The journey started from our hotel to BP KOIRALA LIONS CENTRE FOR OPHTHALMIC STUDIES. All the equipment were already loaded on the vehicle. We started early in the morning at 7. We reached the hospital and was welcomed by the Director Mr. Anand Sharma. He briefed the crew about the institute and after that, we went to scout the premises.

While half of the crew were out scouting, the other half were setting up the equipment for the interview. So when the scouting was over, we started the interview. There were 5 interviews in total. After the interview, we started shooting V-rolls. And that was it for the day.

 

Interviewing students and doctors: day 3

  1. Koirala Lions Center for Ophthalmic Studies Rural Clinic

The next morning, we headed to the Insitute for the Rural clinic team. We traveled with the team to Nepal-Korea Friendship Hospital, Bhaktapur. There, we got some interviews with the patient and the doctors who were running the rural clinic. After the shoot at the hospital, we headed for the town of Bhaktapur where Lions club had established an eye care center. There were children coming for inspection and diagnosis there. We shot some V-rolls and had interviews with students and the Doctor who was conducting the treatment.

 

Unfortunate weather and Gurkhali spirit: day 4

Travel to Gorkha and Interview with Engineers (2 Interviews)

Our day started early in the morning at 7, with all the luggage and equipment packed and ready to go. We made our way towards Gorkha, famous as the home to the brave troops of Gurkhali soldiers. However, we stopped to get some lunch in the daytime. As soon as we reached Gorkha, we checked into a hotel a. Since it wasn’t dark already, we decided to look around for a location to shoot the interviews.

Later, we found out that the hotel we had checked in earlier was owned by one of the founding members of Lions Club in Nepal and in Gorkha.  We were supposed to travel for 2 more hours off road for the next day. But unfortunately, we decided not to travel because of the poor condition of the roads and the weather. Luckily, we found a better option to film: the school.

 

A sweet gesture at work: day 5

School shooting interviews and V-rolls

The next day we got up at 7 in the morning and headed towards the school for filming. The students would not be there till 9 so we had a little time. We prepared the equipment and set it in place. We started interviewing the Lions from Gorkha. After the interviews, the first school bell rang. We started filming the classes. It was the usual: the students were studying what the teacher was teaching. 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 while the principal was handing us a small token of love. We spent the night in Gorkha.

 

Traveling back to Kathmandu: day 6

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.

 

An inspirational story: day 7

Mobility Cart 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 guy in himself. Gurung narrates his story of how he received the three-wheeled cart that changed his life, which was very inspiring. After the shoot, we said goodbye to Chatra Bahadur Gurung and head back to the hotel.

 

Done with filming for the project: day 8

Travel to Dhulikhel Lions Club Global Action Team Meeting

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.

The whole experience was mesmerizing. Working with international clients always teaches us something we never knew before. It was amazing to work with such a talented crew and to also prove our worth. Even our clients agree on that.

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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