Sri Lanka has earned a rave review as a destination for movie and broadcast productions in the 2011 edition of The Location Guide, the film industry’s bible for selecting movie and commercial production locales.
The latest edition of The Location Guide featured a separate ‘Focus’ on Sri Lanka, highlighting the island’s natural beauty, a film-friendly government and its reasonable production costs. The Guide noted Sri Lanka’s wildlife parks, central-highlands tea plantations, miles of pristine beaches and the colonial architecture found.
“Dubbed the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, my feeling is that Sri Lanka deserves this title and there is no question that it has great locations for filming and excellent production values with crew rates which would have to be considered the most competitive in the region,” Murray Ashton, the founder of the London-based The Location Guide, wrote in the latest edition.
“If you need to film anything remotely associated with the tropics, then you are in the right place.”
The annual guide has provided film and production companies, directors and producers with essential information and location contacts for filming worldwide since 1998.
Sri Lanka boasts an impressive history of filmmaking. It was the setting for such memorable movies as Bridge on the River Kwai, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Jungle Book and Tarzan the Ape Man.
“When you visit Sri Lanka, it is plain to see why the world’s best directors chose it as a location,” The Location Guide states.
Natural Beauty is just one advantage Sri Lanka offers filmmakers. The Guide also noted the abundance of talent in Sri Lanka, where 300 commercials were filmed in 2009. “The production community is also made of around 700 film professionals working across all production categories,” the guide stated.
While in Sri Lanka, Ashton was assisted by Gopi Darmaratnam of Sri Lankan film actor Ravindra Randeniya’s company The Film Team (Pvt) Ltd. Driver Anton Gomes drove Ashton nearly 3,000 kilometres around Sri Lanka in order to complete his report.
The lack of red tape for production companies and a lack of film unions are other huge pluses for Sri Lanka, according to the guide. Sri Lanka recently established a 235-acre tele-cinema studio facility, the guide states, and the Government and recently re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa “strongly support the film and television industries”.
Relatively few film permits are required, and those needed to film in Government or historic buildings, or for street scenes, are easy to obtain with a minimum of paperwork, the guide adds.
“Sri Lanka can be considered film-friendly as Government institutions increasingly realise the importance the role of filming plays in the promotion of tourism to the country,” it states.
“I am pleased that The Location Guide sees a bright future for the film industry in Sri Lanka,” said Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States. “Sri Lanka has a rich tradition of hosting a variety of film projects over the years, and we have the facilities that will make our country a world leader in film production.”