WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM PRODUCTION IN CAMEROON
Cameroon is a Central African country situated on the Gulf of Guinea. A film producer’s dream with its varied terrain and wildlife. Cameroon’s inland capital, Yaoundé and its biggest city, the seaport Douala, are transit points to ecotourism sites as well as beach resorts like Kribi, near the Chutes de la Lobé waterfalls, which plunge directly into the sea and Limbe, where the Limbe Wildlife Centre houses rescued primates. Recognised regional languages: Cameroonian Pidgin English, Fula, Ewondo, Camfranglais Official languages: French, English
Cameroon has all the major climates and landscapes found in Africa including tropical forests, lakes, beaches, savannah, deserts and mountains. Wildlife including lions, elephants, hippos and giraffes can be found throughout the country.
Agricultural film locations include cocoa, coffee, corn, sugarcane, banana, rubber, and cotton plantations. Industrial film locations include oil facilities, aluminium and textiles factories.
Film locations, local talent and support film crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key film crew and equipment must be brought in from neighbouring countries. Local film fixers will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.
The Central African CFA franc (XAF) is the official currency. Local ATM’s are unreliable, so make sure to bring USD or Euros to exchange.
At present there are no tax incentives for foreign film production in Cameroon
WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM LOCATIONS IN CAMEROON
Film locations in Cameroon are divided into approximately ten regions namely Adamawa, Central, East, Far North, Littoral, North, Northwest, South, Southwest, and West.
The vibrant city of Yaoundé with its lush green terrain is the capital. The city is known for its unique government buildings and is amongst the most beautiful cites in Africa.
Douala is the economic hub. It’s the busiest and largest city in the country. Douala has a large airport and shipping container port available for filming.
Waza National Park is located in the far north of the country. The landscape is semi-arid Sahel transitioning into savannah forests. Waza National Park is home to lions, elephants, hyenas, cheetahs, and giraffes.
Lobéké National Park is sitated in the southeast in the Congo Basin. The lush green landscape is home to elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, leopards, as well as hundreds of species of birds and butterflies.
Korup National Park located in the west of the country is one of Africa’s oldest and richest tropical forests.
Dja Faunal Reserve is located in the south of the country. It is home to elephants, buffalos, leopards, and a diversity of birdlife. Baka pygmies live within the boundaries of the reserve.
Mefou National Park, located just south from Yaoundé is a rehabilitation centre for chimpanzees and gorillas.
Campo Ma’an National Park is located in the southwest of the country. It is home to elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, hippos, giant pangolins, black colobus, mandrills leopards, and sea turtles.
Bénoué National Park in the north of the country is home to elephants, hyenas, buffalos, wild dogs, hippos, and crocodiles.
Bouba Njida National Park located in the north of the country is home to the painted hunting dog.
Faro National Park located in the north of the country is home to cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, and hippos.
The south is home to the splendid Lake Chad, Kribi a Cameroons most beautiful beach and Lobé Falls cascade directly into the sea.
Mount Cameroon is an active volcano.
Rhumsiki is a traditional village located in the Mandara Mountains.
Foumban is a city in the west with a large Muslim population. The city is known for the Grand Mosque, Royal Palace, and colourful market.
WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM PERMITS AND VISAS IN CAMEROON
Most locations are available for film production. The use of privately owned locations are negotiated by local films fixers who also manage the costs for these. All other locations require a blanket shooting permit that takes about 2 weeks to obtain and cost $500.. It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings and military installations. Unauthorised photography may be punished with fines, arrest and confiscation of your photographic equipment.
Crews travelling on Western passports are required to apply for entry visas at their closest Cameroonian embassy or mission. The application must include an invitation letter from a locally based film fixer, as well as proof of polio and yellow fever vaccination. Processing times vary. Allow at least 2 weeks.
WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM CREW AND EQUIPMENT IN CAMEROON
Over 230 languages are spoken with English and French being the official languages. Cameroon has a small local pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. The region can offer good art department, hair and makeup, camera assistants (focus pullers), sound operators, grips, gaffers, stylists, hair and makeup, PA / runners, production drivers and local film fixers.
Most film equipment will need to be brought in from neighbouring countries or abroad.
If the equipment is minimal and able to fit into your hand luggage or check-in luggage, then all you need is proof of value and ownership. However if the equipment is bulky and carried in several equipment boxes, then you will need to clear with customs and provide documentation explaining the reasons the equipment is being brought into the country. You will pay a small fee at the discretion of the customs officer to get a document that clears your equipment. Local film fixers will be at the airport to assist you with this process. For drones you will require a permit and it is therefore best to use a local drone pilot
WHAT OUR FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT LOCAL TRAVEL,ACCOMMODATION AND COMMUNICATION
Major roads are paved. Rural roads are less easy to navigate and is particularly challenging to cross during the rainy seasons. Travel by night outside of major towns is considered dangerous. Local film fixers organise safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Cameroon.
Recommended film friendly hotels in Cameroon:
Yaoundé: Hilton Yaoundé
Douala: Le Meridien Douala
Internet can be slow and unreliable.
The virtual video villages work well, and web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing are on offer.
Dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple time zones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the teams on ground. Separate systems can be set up for the private client links.
Cameroon has a tropical climate which is humid in the south and dry in the north. In the south, the dry season runs from November to February, the lighter rainy season is from March to June and the big rains come between August and October. The dry season is the best time to film for weather. In the north the rainy season runs from May to September.
Cameroon celebrates both Christian and Muslim holidays. Cameroonian festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:
• Nyem-Nyem Festival held in the city of Ngaoundéré in July. • African Music Market (Le Kolatier) is held in Yaoundé every two years in October. • Ngondo Festival in Douala every December. • Nguon Festival of Foumban every two years in December