Hanuman Films Blog

A proven track record of production success in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and across the Southeast Asia region

Behind-the-Scenes with Hanuman Films on Top Gear Vietnam

Hanuman Films was selected as the partner for the BBC Top Gear Vietnam special in 2008 with Nick Ray tackling the role of Line Producer.

 

 

Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most popular programmes. The Vietnam special involved an epic bike journey from Saigon to Hanoi with Jeremy Clarkson on a Vespa, Richard Hammond on a Minsk and James May on a Honda Cub. After an epic journey passing through Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An and Hue, the boys jump a night train to Hanoi. The show climaxes with the conversion of the bikes into amphibious vehicles to explore Halong Bay. It was quite the James Bond experience filming with six speedboats and a helicopter to capture all the angles.

Hanuman Films ran the shoot on the ground and coordinated everything from filming permissions to motorbikes and amphibious with a crew of 15 production staff in Vietnam. The shoot was a great success and the show received rave reviews in the UK press and around the world.

Dragonair at Angkor Wat, the first major commercial at the temples of Angkor

Hanuman Films became the first local production company to organise a major international television commercial at the temples of Angkor with this Dragonair commercial.

Kulikar Sotho worked with Hong Kong-based Moviola Productions as Line Producer, taking responsibility for the entire production in Cambodia. Hanuman arranged all filming permissions, including the sensitive dragon dance shoot at Angkor Wat, and arranged all logistics, such as accommodation, transport and import/re-export of equipment. During the five-day shoot, Kulikar also acted as interpreter for the 15-strong production crew. The commercial covered four countries, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, but, according to the Moviola crew, it was in Cambodia that things ran most smoothly.

Looking Back on Tomb Raider: 15 Years After the Circus Came to Town

In the first of our retrospective look backs on shoots we have hosted in Southeast Asia, we turn the clock back 15 years to the Millennium when Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig and the Tomb Raider crew came to Angkor.

 

Tomb Raider was the first major Hollywood film to shoot in Cambodia since Peter O’Toole starred in Lord Jim in 1964. The Tomb Raider crew were all set to travel to China to film the Terracotta Army coming to life, when the sequence was pulled at the last minute, as it had already been featured in a Chinese movie. Cambodia was next on the list and Hanuman Films was chosen for scouting at Angkor. Following a successful scout with a full technical crew, Paramount British Pictures appointed Hanuman Films as their local servicing partner in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Our previous experience involved shooting the Lonely Planet TV Cambodia episode with Presenter Ian Wright and a crew of five!

Kulikar Sotho worked as Local Liason Manager, or Line Producer, arranging all filming permissions, script approval, temporary import/re-export of equipment, visas, accommodation, transport and catering for the production. Nick Ray worked as Location Manager on the film, selecting locations for the shoot, building a photographic inventory of the temples used in shooting, approving all sets or alterations to be made at each site and working with local authorities every step of the way to ensure this first sensitive shoot at Angkor passed without incident.

Hanuman Films also took responsibility for recruitment ofa large team of translators, hundreds of extras, site security and an army of labourers.

Tomb Raider premiered on June 15th 2001 at Mann’s Theatre in Los Angeles. Nick and Kulikar were both invited to the premiere and stayed with Producer Lloyd Levin.

Notable milestones passed during production included:

  1. Securing the support of the Council of Ministers for the project to go ahead, despite some high level objections;
  2. Obtaining permission to build a traditional floating village on the royal pond at Angkor Wat;
  3. Getting nine containers over the roads from hell in the middle of the wet season, taking five days for the trucks to cover just 320km;
  4. Juggling the shooting schedule around the state visit of President Jiang Zemin of China and King Norodom Sihanouk to Angkor;
  5. Arranging the safe arrival of 30 or so servicing vehicles from Thailand, another nightmare journey that required two army units to build bridges along the way.

Locations: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm temple, Phnom Bakheng, East Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Phnom Kulen

Actors: Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, hundreds of local extras, the temples of Angkor

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