WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING IN THE DRC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is located in central Africa and is bordered by the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania to the east, Zambia and Angola to the south, and the Republic of the Congo to the west.
There are two kinds of climate:
– equatorial, hot and humid all year round with no dry season, in the central area crossed by the Equator and occupied by a vast rain forest (the second largest in the world after the Amazon);
– tropical, hot all year round but with a dry season, usually of short duration, in both the areas to the north and south of the Equator. The dry season occurs in opposite periods, from December to February (i.e. the boreal winter) north of the Equator and from June to September (i.e. the austral winter) south of the Equator.
The rains occur in the form of downpours or thunderstorms (actually, Congo is the country that receives the greatest number of lightning strikes in the world), usually in the afternoon, all year round in the equatorial zone, and in the long rainy season in the two tropical areas.
The amount of sunshine in much of the Democratic Republic of Congo is not very good because the strong solar radiation often causes cloudiness during the day, most likely by noon and in the afternoon. On the other hand, because of moisture evaporating from the ground, mists often occur in the early morning, while on the coast, fog and low clouds often form because of a cool sea current. The situation is different in the southernmost part (see Lubumbashi), where the dry season is more pronounced, and during the austral winter (May to September), the sky is often clear.
French is the official language and widely used in education and government, there are four national languages: Kituba (Kikongo), Lingala, Swahili, and Tshiluba.
The local currency is the Congolese Franc but US Dollars are widely used. US Dollars should be in good condition and issued after 2001 or they will not be accepted or changed at banks. There are a number of ATMs that dispense US dollars in Kinshasa
At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Congo.
WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILM LOCATIONS IN DRC
The DRC is the second largest country in Africa is situated on the equator in Central Africa. Much of the country is covered by the Congo River Basin, a vast expanse of lush undeveloped tropical rainforest. The Congo Rainforest is the second-largest rainforest in the world. This area is surrounded by plateaus merging into savannas in the south, by mountainous terraces in the west, and dense grasslands in the north. High, glaciated mountains are found in the extreme eastern region. The country also has a very short coastline where the Congo River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. In terms of film locations the DRC is best known for its bustling cities, Pygmy villages, dense jungles, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, volcanic landscapes, and wildlife parks. Many productions come to film the mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas that live in the east of the country.
Agricultural film locations include plantations of cassava, plantains, corn, peanuts, bananas, mangos, pineapples, sugarcane, tobacco, palm oil, rubber trees, coffee, tea, cocoa and rice. Industrial locations include mines for cobalt, coltan, copper, diamonds, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tin, uranium, and coal. Timber is widely harvested. Energy locations include hydroelectric dams.
When We Were Kings (1996), Virunga (2014), War Witch (2012), and The African Queen (1951) filmed in the DRC.
The DRC is divided into the following provinces: Kinshasa, Kongo Central, Kwango, Kwilu, Mai-Ndombe, Kasaï, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental, Lomami, Sankuru, Maniema, South Kivu, North Kivu, Ituri, Haut-Uele, Tshopo, Bas-Uele, Nord-Ubangi, Mongala, Sud-Ubangi, Équateur, Tshuapa, Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba, and Haut-Katanga.
WHAT HOODLUM FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT PERMIT AND VISA REQUIREMENT WHEN FILMING IN THE DRC
The Journalist Accreditation Permit serves as a film permit to shoot in public locations across the country. On arrival in the DRC, Congolese film fixer make application for a Journalist Accreditation Permit for each crew member. This allows crews to film at public locations across the country.
The DRC has no specific location permitting system in place. Congolese film fixer negotiate all required permits based on the specific needs of each shoot. Additional permission is often required for shoots that require exclusive use of public space, traffic control, filming in markets, national parks, and drone filming.
Photography of government buildings, military installations, key infrastructure such as ports, train stations, and airports, and along border areas, is only allowed after all relevant authorities have given their permission. Penalties for illegally filming these locations may include fines, arrest and confiscated equipment.
FILM EQUIPMENT IMPORT PERMITS FOR FILMIMG IN DRC
Film equipment will have to be declared and cleared at the port of entry. Local Film fixers will require a list of the film equipment with values for customs.
Most passport holders require a visa to enter the DRC. Apply for a regular tourist visa at your closest DRC consulate or embassy. As well as all of the usual documents applicants must also include an invitation from local DRC fixer, as well as proof of vaccination against yellow fever. On arrival in the DRC, our DRC fixer make application with the Ministry of Communication and Media for a Journalist Accreditation Permit for each crew member. This permit allows crews to film at public locations across the country.
WHAT HOODLUM FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE TALENT WHEN FILMING IN DRC
Talent day rates and buyouts are reasonable and negotiated on a personal level. French is the official language. Hundreds of local languages are spoken.Home to over 200 ethnic groups, the DRC’s largest groups include the Kongo, Mongo, Luba, Mangbetu, and Azande people. The country is also known for its unique Pygmy tribes. Kinshasa is famous for its community of well-dressed sapeurs. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.
WHAT HOODLUM FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT TRANSPORT AND ACCOMMODATION WHEN FILMING IN DRC
The terrain and climate of the Congo Basin present serious barriers to road and rail construction, and the distances are enormous across this vast country. With thousands of kilometres of navigable rivers, water transport is a popular means of getting around in the DRC. Ferry services operate between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, which is located just across the Congo River. Taxis are available 24 hours a day in Kinshasat. They are recognizable by their sky blue and yellow color. Price must be negotiated with the driver before entering the vehicle. Kinshasa being a very extended city, the fare and the duration depend therefore on the destination and on the road traffic. The fare is between US$20 and US$50.
Travel in many sections of Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lubumbashi and most other major cities is generally safe during daylight hours, but travellers are urged to be vigilant
Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Kinshasa:
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.