WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM PRODUCTION IN BENIN
The Republic of Benin is in West Africa, situated east of Togo and west of Nigeria, it is bordered to the north by Burkina Faso and Niger and in the south by the Bight of Benin, in the Gulf of Guinea.
Benin’s climate is hot and humid. Annual rainfall in the coastal area averages 1,360 mm which is not particularly high for the coast of West Africa. Benin has two rainy and two dry seasons. The main dry season is from December to April, with a short cooler dry season from late July to early September. The rainy season due to the African monsoon runs from May to September in the extreme north and from mid-March to October in the south. Along the coast it does not rain in August.
In general, the coolest and driest months to film in Benin are November and February. Public holidays must be taken into consideration. The local film fixer in Benin will advise on these.
The currency in Benin is the West African CFA franc. The best foreign currency to carry is euros, which are easily exchanged at banks, hotels or bureaux de change.
French is the official language in Benin and is spoken by about 4 million people, constituting around 35% of Benin’s population. Fon, Yoruba, Dendi, Aja, Bariba and more than 50 local languages are also widely used in the region. English is emerging as an important language of trade in Benin due to its being the national tongue of Benin’s regionally powerful neighbour Nigeria. Spanish is taught and German is also taught in many Beninese secondary schools.
At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials, documentaries, TV series or Feature films being shot in Benin.
Main roads are in a fair condition, rural roads less so. Many rural roads are impassable during the rainy season. Several international airlines service flights to Cotonou. Local fixer arrange vehicles with drivers at reasonable rates.
Recommended film friendly hotels in Cotonou include:
Benin Marina Hotel
Novotel Orisha Cotonoul
Hotel Du Lac
Benin is considered a friendly and peaceful country, and though its people really are nice and welcoming, you should be aware of the fact that petty theft, violent crimes and fraud occur here.
WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM LOCATIONS IN BENIN
The coastline is marked by marshy lakes and lagoons while further inland the landscape becomes plateaus, green valleys, rocky hills, turning into the Atacora mountain range in the northwest. Other film locations of note include French colonial architecture, churches, mosques, national parks, rivers, lakes, and beaches. Voodoo is widely practiced with signs of it across the country, such as fetish markets.
Agricultural film locations include plantations of cotton, cocoa, cassava, yams, corn, palm oil, rice, pineapples, peanuts, and cashew nuts.
Cotonou is the largest city in Benin. The best-known fetish market is the Grand Marché de Dantokpa in Cotonou, which sells everything from monkey heads to elephant feet. Cotonou Cathedral and Saint Michel Church are religious locations.
Porto Novo is the capital. Known for its colonial architecture and is home to the Royal Palace and Great Mosque.
Ouidah is known for its museums on transatlantic slavery and voodoo. Locations of note include the Temple of Pythons, and the Door of No Return.
Abomey, capital of Ancient Dahomey, is known for the Abomey Royal Palaces ruins.
Ganvie stilt village is the Venice of Africa.
Some of the best wildlife areas in West Africa are found in North Benin at Pendjari National Park and ‘W’ National Park which are home to cheetahs, hippos and crocodiles.
Mont Sokbaro is the highest point above sea level in Benin.
The local film location scouts can elaborate on many other choice film locations. Benin is indeed interesting and unchartered!
WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS IN BENIN HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM & IMPORT PERMITS AND VISA APPLCATIONS
Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Film crew must obtain a visa prior to travel unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries. This can be done by visiting the Benin Embassy in their country of origin or applying online for an e-Visa.
To apply for a Beninese visa, you will need:
Passport Photos that meet the Consulate of Benin’s Requirements.
Proof of Travel Arrangements or Proof of Sufficient Funds to Support Your Stay.
Properly Completed Benin Visa Application Form.
International Certificate of Vaccination (yellow fever)
Allow 5 days for the visa to be approved.
Film permit are required to film at any location that is state owned. The application will be done by the local fixer. Please allow at least a week for this process. Private film locations attract location fees and is once again negotiated by the local fixers in Benin.
MORE FROM LOCAL FILM FIXERS ABOUT FILM PRODUCTION IN BENIN
It is recommended that you bring in equipment from neighbouring Nigeria or abroad.Local film fixer will arrange this and advise on hoe best to do this.
A small pool of local film crew is available but for bigger productions it is recommended to bring in HOD’s from Nigeria or abroad
The local film fixers will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of film production support to match every budget.
Talent day rates and buyouts are reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis.
French is the official language.
Benin has mainly West African looking talent. There are 42 local ethnic groups with the Fon, Adja & Mina, Yoruba, Bariba, and Fula being the largest groups. All other talent is best cast abroad.