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Kyrgyzstan filming incentive may broaden appeal

Mountains

Kyrgyzstan intends to boost its international production profile from its position in landlocked Central Asia.

The country borders Tajikistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kazakhstan to the north and China to the east, and secured independence from Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Landscapes of rocky wilderness are the country’s main appeal and the government is aiming to attract productions from around the world with a 20% cash rebate, launched earlier this year.

“The country is targeting all kinds of productions that can promote the country, be that a reality show, documentary or a feature film,” says Stanislav Solovkin of service company Soar Productions, which has an office in capital city Bishkek. “For the time being – until next year – there are no budgetary limits in terms of the rebate.”

Kyrgyzstan is looking to attract shoots from around the world, including the US, Australia and India, and the intention is for the new incentive to deliver ancillary benefits as well.

“We do expect this will grow – that’s for sure. We are also expecting a secondary impact to be tourism growth and general investments.”

Kyrgyzstan still has close ties with Russia and indeed the new rebate applies to production expenses incurred across the border. The easy transit of personnel and equipment between the two countries can benefit filmmakers.

Plains and mountains“You can hire basic equipment locally – likewise you can hire a secondary crew,” Solovkin says. “However, you do not necessarily need to bring your own equipment. Russia has all of it with very competitive prices. 

“There are no customs regulations between Russia and Kyrgyzstan, so you’d save a lot on carnet formalities. It is very important to add, that all in-Russia spending, including manpower and equipment, do qualify for the rebate.”

Kyrgyzstan has international airports in Bishkek and further south in its second city Osh, with regional travelling generally by road.

The country is dominated by the Tian Shin mountain range – which roughly translates to Mountain of Heaven – and these dramatic landscapes could be the key to attracting filmmakers searching for striking backdrops to adventurous films, TV shows and commercials. 

Images: Stanislav Solovkin