Written by Shona Smith on Mar 23, 2020. Posted in Interviews

On location in Bali, Indonesia with Josh Patil, co-founder of production services company Baliprod.

How did you become involved in the film business and what has been your career path to get you to your current role as Co-Founder / Executive Producer of Baliprod?

My production career started in Los Angeles, California. I started as an Audience Coordinator at Jimmy Kimmel Live! working in TV production. Working on hundreds of shows, short and long, I moved up into different positions from audience to casting and after time ended up producing for TV and advertising production. In 2015, I made the move to Bali, Indonesia after having been there a handful of times and in love with the place. After arriving I quickly realized that there was a huge lack of legitimate production services here on the island. When I met my partner’s Omri Ben-Canaan and Romain Cailliez we decided to bring the western style of production to the eastern hemisphere.

Please tell us about Baliprod.

Baliprod was founded in 2016 by Omri Ben Canaan (CEO), Josh Patil (Executive Producer) and Romain Cailliez (Director of Photography). We aimed to bring the high-standard of production from our original countries to Asia and focus solely on international clients in the advertising industry, TV and film. I would say most of our business is made up of advertising clients that want to come take advantage of the huge diversity of locations that Indonesia has to offer. With 50+ full-time employees, Baliprod is one big family of production-loving and hard-working talented individuals. Since opening we have also launched a few sister brands in Bali Model Agency - a talent and creatives agency, Balishoot - content provider, and Bali Film Gear - a cinema gear rental house.

What types of production do you service?

When people first think of Bali, I would assume that they picture only beaches and temples, and man are they wrong. Bali and the rest of Indonesia has so much to offer in one country that we really set ourselves apart as a film destination for all. With the heavy influence of western expats here, we have so many options - from incredible architecture that resembles many different places in the world and mountains that look as though they could be somewhere in the alps.

From which countries are you getting most of your production service business and why

I would say as of now that MOST of our clients come from Europe, Australia and America. There are so many different flight options to Bali from around the world that it makes it quite accessible for such an exotic location. That being said, from time to time we have clients trickle in from Asia and other countries as well.

What can you tell us about Bali as a filming destination?

Bali and Indonesia is unique in the fact that Indonesia is the biggest Archipelago in the world. With over 17 thousand islands, 54,720 kilometers of coast line, 877 mountains, 524,000 kilometers of roads, 21,579 kilometers of rivers and 1,331,270 square meters of forest - Indonesia is setup to shoot for almost any brief that comes in.

The crew here is incredible and on top with the best film crew I have worked with anywhere in the world. Their attitude matches the culture in the respect that they enjoy their job, work hard and are perfectionists with everything that is in or not in their job description.

Bali has a giant population of expats living on the island and that in turn makes our talent pool very different from the rest of the Asia. We have talent from all around the world and that group continues to grow and grow as Bali becomes more and more of a tourist destination with so many living here.

Indonesia also is very production friendly as location permits are fast, easy and incredibly low-priced compared to the rest of the world. We are also home to industry standard film equipment and honestly the weather here couldn’t get any better!

What locations are most commonly used by foreign or out of state film and TV crews when they come and film in Bali?

This changes so much from job to job. Obviously we do have those that come here for the pristine beaches, ocean views and jungles. But also we have many clients coming here for unique architecture in homes and commercial properties, beautiful endless roads and landscapes, western or eastern style bars and restaurants and a never-ending list of never before seen unique locations that could be seen as anywhere in the world.

We have many clients that come here when they have a brief that needs to be seen by viewers as shot in many parts of the world, but let’s face it, ad budgets are not what they used to be and gone are the days for most clients of being able to foot the bill for a crew flying around the world to multiple countries to achieve this. It reminds me of this spot we did for IBM where we gave the impression of us being in 10 different countries by using a mix of locations and talent.

What are the more unusual locations that Bali has to offer that our readers would not necessarily associate with the island? What locations worldwide can Bali easily double for?

We have deserts that look like Joshua Tree National Park in California, Mountains that look like European peaks, caves that match the grand canyon, water and underwater spots that look identical to the Maldives, forests that look like Europe in the fall, beaches to die for, stadiums, metros, theaters, marinas, rice fields, volcanoes and upscale nightclubs and restaurants.

What are the advantages of filming in Bali?

There are many advantages of shooting here in Bali, but I’d have to say on the top of the list is price, as we all know budgets are an important factor. Besides that we have an incredible crew with can-do attitude and the locals here have such a nice, friendly spirit and always are interested in what we are doing and happy to help. It is really cool to see how honored the Indonesians are when we pick their locations for our projects. Even the police love to get in on the action when we have assistance in blocking for city or road scenes, and we get our permits very quickly which makes for an easy and smooth pre-production.

What productions / production companies have used Bali locations in the past five years

So many in the past 5 years! Maybe best to start with some notable Baliprod clients then we can mention some other productions that have used Bali / Indonesia for it’s exotic locations.

Recent Baliprod Jobs:

Client: Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Production House: Stink Films
Producer: Sophie Brooks
Agency: Anomaly
Agency Producer: Chris Styring
Director: Matilda Finn
Type: Commercial

Client: Unilever (Pepsodent Tooth Paste)
Production House: Blur Films
Producer: Pablo Herraiz
Agency: The Cyranos
Agency Producer: Ana Tejada
Director: Alvaro Pastor
Type: Commercial

Client: IBM
Production House: Heckler
Producer: Charu Menon
Agency: Ogilvy
Agency Producer: Simone Greentree
Director: Tim Kindler
Type: Commercial

Client: American Express
Production House: Flint
Producer: Rachel Ryder
Agency: Ogilvy Sydney
Director: David Smith
Type: Commercial

Client: Allianz
Production House: Favorite
Producer: Dominique Faviez
Agency: Insign
Agency Producer: Marion Pottier
Director: Romy
Type: Commercial

Client: Unilever (Pepsodent Tooth Paste)
Production House: Blur Films
Producer: Pablo Herraiz
Agency: The Cyranos
Agency Producer: Ana Tejada
Director: Alvaro Pastor
Type: Commercial

To name a few! Also we have had some incredible films shot in Indonesia such as:

Film: King Kong
Director: Peter Jackson
Actors / Actresses: Naomi Watts
Production House: WingNut Films
Type: Film

Film: Eat Pray Love
Director: Ryan Murphy
Actors / Actresses: Julia Roberts
Production House: Plan B Entertainment
Type: Film

Film: Savages
Director: Oliver Stone
Actors / Actresses: John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Blake Lively
Production House: Ixtian Productions
Type: Film

Film: Java Heat
Director: Conor Allyn
Actors / Actresses: Kellyn Lutz, Mickey Rourke
Production House: IM Global
Type: Film

Film: Blackhat
Director: Michael Mann
Actors / Actresses: Chris Hemsworth
Production House: Forward Pass
Type: Film

How many ‘location shoot days’ did Bali record for 2016, 2017, 2018?

Can’t say for Bali as a whole but for Baliprod alone in 2016 we had 74, in 2017 we had 116, in 2018 we had 147 and in 2019 we had over 200 days shooting on location just here in Bali!

What has been your most difficult Bali location assignment or request to date and why?

I’d say for us the most difficult was for a German TV show called Dad Duel um die Welt or Duel Around the World in English. As this show involves crazy physical stunts, originally we were trying to find an active volcano that we could have our contestants bungee jump over from a helicopter floating over the peak. It was a crazy ask to begin with, but we were determined to find a way to make this happen and the location to match for such an epic stunt. In the end, although we found the right helicopter operator and volcano we ended up changing the challenge to our talent cliff jumping from a high cliff into the Indian ocean, while on fire.

Are there any particular tips that you would like to share with our readers about filming in Bali?

The most important tip I could give is to plan locations and shooting days well. As everyone thinks, Bali is a small island but depending on the time of day and where we are shooting on the island, distances between locations can always be a struggle if we don’t plan correctly. Luckily in Bali, there are groups of amazing, varying locations on different parts of the island to fit any brief. But, whether we are only shooting a couple of days or a week, we need to plan to stick to one area of the island per day to maximize shooting time and decrease travel time.

What do you enjoy most about living and working in Bali?

Whats not to enjoy! Perfect weather year round, incredible people from around the world, insane local and international food, the most beautiful and exotic locations for day trips and shooting and very humble and joyful local people that always make me smile. Bali has everything that I am looking for on a personal and career level. I couldn’t be in a better place.

What would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax on down days or pre / post filming in Bali?

On the Island of the gods there are endless options. I’d have to say that most of our clients tend to spend down days enjoying the various beach clubs Bali has to offer as they are beat from the previous days working. Many others take in the sights, temple tours, hike Mt Batur volcano for sunrise and breakfast cooked over the steam of the volcano on top, go for a surf or surf lesson, head to local markets to bring some goodies back home for their family and friends and of course INDULGE in the food!

What do you do to relax and chill out yourself after looking after a big production coming in to shoot in Bali?

I’m a family man! All of my off days are devoted to my wife and daughter and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Same as any other production daddy around the world, this career is cut-throat, tiring and takes up a considerable amount of your time. I feel very lucky to have a very understanding wife and daughter that always support me, but the time we have away from jobs goes directly to them. Laying by the pool at home with some lemonade, nice music and a whole lot of love.

Where did you last take a vacation?

Well well! Is anyone really ever on vacation when they work in production? My answer is no, I see it more as moving to a short-term temporary office abroad. That being said, I was just in Russia for the first time late last year and it was incredible. Very cool place with an interesting culture that I have never experienced and the food was incredible (I’m a foodie traveler, isn’t everyone?).

What was the last movie you saw and loved ?

For recent flicks, I would have to say Bohemian Rhapsody. Being a Queen fan my entire life and a musician, it was a very cool biopic to watch. Inspiring to say the least!

Thank you Josh. It has been great talking to you and finding out about you, Baliprod and what makes Bali such an attractive filming destination.

Related Posts


Not Logged in

You must be logged in to post a comment

    There are no comments