Few places exemplify tropical East Asia filming locations better than Thailand or Vietnam but there is a hidden gem, a lesser thought of South Asian film location that rarely crosses the minds of directors, producers, or location scouts, my home, Sri Lanka.
Typically Asia Filming Locations Galore
With unique exotic locations located throughout the island, Sri Lanka allows you to go from the rugged, raw beaches in the east, to the beautifully green mountains of the center of the island to the historical/cultural locations situated further north, all within a few hours drive of each other.
But, for the purpose of this blog, I will be focusing on the best positioned and most visually beautiful potential reality TV Hub in the whole of Asia, the south of Sri Lanka.
Cities stretching from Hikkaduwa all the way to Tangalle, covering Galle, Unawatuna, Mirissa, and almost the entire south of the country and is an absolute tourist hot bed, this means that everything needed to full off a reality show of any format is already in place, including amazingly beautiful villas, some featuring Sri Lanka’s own architectural style of “Tropical Modernism”, large hotels for the crew, stunning date locations, a range of activities/excursions and an excellent road network making travel easy.
Having helped line produce shows here for “Banijay” Asia with their remake of “The Night Manager” as well as “F Boy Island – Spain” and “F Boy Island – Sweden” in specifically the south of Sri Lanka for Warner Brothers International, I can tell you that Sri Lanka is the perfect place for a reality TV Hub because I have seen it happen and I know it is ready to host a reality format for any region in Asia film locations.
How Does The Cost Compare To Other Asian Film Locations?
The big elephant in the room is that No, Sri Lanka does not officially offer any film incentives or rebates, the country has only ever mainly looked at tourism in its traditional sense but with the increase of reality shows being shot on the island over the last year, the country is starting to understand the benefits of film tourism and is starting to be more receptive to the idea of helping filmmakers promote the country by providing them with waivers or discounted rates on a variety of commodities and services like permissions, airfares, accommodations, etc.
It also must be said that the lack of rebates or incentives did not stop entire large-scale shows produced by international filmmakers from being filmed in the tropical locations of Sri Lanka as it is already more financially beneficial to film in Sri Lanka when compared even with countries that offer filming incentives.
Sri Lanka is also surprisingly well staffed to handle any scale of production with young, experienced, and highly capable crew available on the island who are sure to leave you with lifelong friendships, Sri Lanka is also well stocked in lighting equipment, the only real drawback is the lack of high-end camera equipment readily available on the island, even still, being a carnet country makes it easy for filmmakers to bring in any equipment on a low cost.
Why Not Until Now?
Sri Lanka has got a bad rap over the last few years, although admittedly, understandably so. Years of bad economic policy have finally caught up to it which resulted in the country’s worst plight in its history, which resulted in a widely covered civilian uprising that was portrayed to make the country look unsafe and dangerous, but in all honesty, it is a moment in our country’s history that brings me immense pride, that even after years of idly standing by and being oppressed, nothing can stop the voice of the people, not even their so-called rulers and to overthrow them in uniquely Sri Lankan fashion, while swimming in the president’s pool.
Sri Lanka is now back on the rise, with economic stability and tourism booming once again, it is the perfect opportunity for formats to take advantage of Sri Lanka’s tropical and exotic film locations, the existing infrastructure, and the benefits that are there to be experienced by foreign filmmakers as a result of the depreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee.
In a world where producers are constantly striving to find the balance of filming in a unique location perfect for their format in an environment that has the infrastructure already set up to allow them to do so without breaking the bank, Sri Lanka provides them with an opportunity that comes across so rarely it almost seems too good to be true.