Also called the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a versatile filming destination – and very cost-effective too
Few places in the world can offer filmmakers such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location, as Sri Lanka does. Within a mere area of 65,610 sq km, lie eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 km of coastline – much of it virgin beaches – 15 national parks with an abundance of wildlife, 5,00,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, and a culture that extends back over 2,500 years.
Sri Lanka is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. The pearl-shaped isle in the vast Indian Ocean, located about 31 km off the southern coast of India, is immensely popular for its cricketing skills. Well, the magnificence does not stop there. It is also celebrated for astonishing world heritage, wildlife, flora and fauna, ayurveda and spas, festivals and an amazing diversity which forced Marco Polo to describe Sri Lanka as ‘the finest island of its size in all the world’.
This small island is a miracle as within its compact shore enfolds multi-cultures and multi-religions, which are so similar, yet so different. As for filming, this serene location has plenty to portray, whether the elephant orphanage or the turtle hatchery, grazing land or 200-year old heritage buildings, beaches or jagged mountains, every piece in this miniscule land is quaint.
Since Sri Lanka is a tropical country, you can expect the rain any time of the year in most parts. The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. However, the two major rainy seasons are North-East monsoon (October to January) and South-West monsoon (May to July).
Mean temperature ranges from 17 °C in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C in other low-altitude areas. Average annual temperature ranges from 28 °C to 31 °C. Day and night temperatures may vary by 14 °C to 18 °C.
WHY FILM IN SRI LANKA
• Exceptional Locations: Travel from north to south or east to west, every region has something exquisite to offer, from serene beaches on the South coast like Bentota, Beruwela, Kalutara, Hikkaduwa and Galle to lush green tea plantations and hill stations of Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. The only thing missing is snow-capped mountains. But making up for this loss are picturesque monuments like grottos embellished with massive Buddhist statues and paintings, The Lion Fortress and the eighth wonder of the world, Sigiriya Rock.
Apart from the major cities, the countryside also tempts people to explore its hidden features.
Top-notch hotels spread across the country also double as tourist attractions. With private beaches, glorious past and heritage edifice, Sri Lanka presents perfect backdrops for any scene.
• Friendly Neighbour: The distance makes this place just the thing. Merely 2.5 hours away by flight from India, it is very easily accessible. Also, Sri Lanka, being a small nation, can be covered quickly. What’s more – due to affable relations with India, filming is trouble-free.
• Low-cost: A bonus of shooting here are the affordable rates. As the Indian rupee is 2.5 times higher than the Sri Lankan currency, it cuts costs by half. Labour and other crew requirements are also made available at economical prices.
• Film Shooting Catalyst: Two agencies – Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau and National Film Cooperation of Sri Lanka – work collectively to promote this tranquil country. The facilitators are always present to help the producers and make all the necessary arrangements. From local production houses to high-tech equipment and other conveniences like venue arrangements, on-ground transportation and lodging at special rates, the organisations can execute any requests made by filmmakers.
A list of identified vendors and selected hospitality partners is present with the agencies that can ensure smoother operations.
• Tax Incentives and Rebates: To encourage shooting, tax incentives and rebates are offered to producers. The amount depends on the budget and the details of the project to be carried out in Sri Lanka.