INTRODUCTION TO FILMING IN KENYA
Kenya, a cauldron of heritage, cradle of mankind and a feral theatre of the wild and has over decades been a preferred filming destination for Hollywood hits such as “Tomb Raider”, “The Constant Gardener”, ”The First Grader”, ”Cry Freedom” and so much more.
Kenya is situated on the East Coast of Africa and is bordered by Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
FILM PERMITS FOR KENYA
Two government agencies responsible for the film and television industry.
1. Kenya Film Commission (KFC)
2. Kenya Film Classification board (KFCB)
Kenya Film Commission mandate is to promote and market Kenya as a film destination while KFCB’s role is to licence and rate movies.
To film in Kenya you will need a film licence, this license can only be applied through a registered film agent.
You will need a film licence to clear your equipment at the airport or to start filming in any public space. You will need to provide the following:
- A document listing all the Foreign Crew & Talent Names and Designations.
- A list of all the film equipment that you plan to bring into the country with their serial numbers and estimates value in USD for each piece and a total value of all equipment.
- Passport copies of all foreign film crew and passport size pictures in soft copy.
- A copy of the Script and Synopsis for the intended production
- Estimated budget to be spent on local production in the country.
- A document indicating the Schedule for the filming from incoming flights to final film wrap.
- A company letter detailing intent to film in Kenya.
- International Film Crew Special Passes.
- Short term work permits for your foreign crew herein referred to as ‘Special Passes’ are required and these are issued by the Immigration Department.
- Normal visas to enter Kenya are required which you can apply through the Kenyan Embassy in your country or at the passport control in Nairobi when you land.
Besides the above there are permits required for filming in certain locations such as heritage sites. If you plan to shoot in a national park, then we need to apply for Kenya Wildlife Film license along with the KFCB one.
Besides the film permits, Kenyan film fixers are able to assist you with all your filming needs locally and include:
- Film equipment.
- Film crew (Kenya has very experienced crew who have worked on many international films).
- Local ground transport (9-seater tourist vans which can also be converted into an equipment van for smaller productions).
- Arrange castings and negotiate rates and usage.
- They can facilitate your film location scouting needs.
- Arrange film friendly accommodation and assist with visa applications.
- Source set caterers or arrange meals on the go.
- Supply chaperones.
- Arrange post-production services.
- Arrange show reels and CV’s for local musicians and voice samples for local voice artists.
HOTELS AND CASH WHEN FILMING IN KENYA
Most hotels will allow you to pay via your card but you can also withdraw some local currency from any Visa, American Express or Mastercard ATM. We recommend that you use ATM’s stations serviced by the well-established banks. Please note that you will only be able to withdraw a maximum of KSH50,000 daily, so we suggest you make prior arrangements with your film agent. Please do not carry large amounts of cash with you.
Terms of payment are 50% of your agreed budget as a deposit upon commencement of preproduction, 25% by the first shoot date and the balance on the handing over of the shoot tapes.
FILM CREW & CAST FOR FILMING IN KENYA
Kenya has a large pool of skilled technicians and film crew, available locally for most Film productions and post-productions. While film crew hire costs are increasing in Kenya, they are still low compared to other countries. With the increase of foreign productions taking place in Kenya, the local production industry is staying competitive with international production standards by investing in the latest technology, training and development.
CAMERA & AUDIO EQUIPMENT IN KENYA
Kenya offers a full range of state-of-the-art film equipment for both production and post-production. Sound and stage studios can be hired through several production and broadcast companies.
LIGHTING AND GRIP EQUIPMENT IN KENYA
Kenya has a number of lighting suppliers and studios that are experienced in renting lighting equipment to audio-visual productions and have a broad product list, including an extensive generator supply. Certain specific lighting gears may not be available in Kenya and would have to be shipped from overseas. A number of cranes varying in dimensions are available for rent from service providers based in the county and with the additional option of larger cranes such as the Techno Crane 50 as well as more specialized equipment such as dollies and other key grip equipment are directly available for rent from Film production houses.
The Kenya’s film production companies also offer a number of key grip/sparks/gaffers with a great deal of experience. Specialized crew members can be provided both with the equipment as well to supplement the various departments in terms of crew members.
Film professionals with years of experience servicing international production companies locally are able to source the props and dressing to create a production design to satisfy the most discerning director.
POST-PRODUCTION SERVICES IN KENYA
Facilities for post-production in Kenya are readily available and able to offer the latest technology to assure an intuitive integration with all other applications that are considered industry norm.
With post-production houses on the rise, Kenya is able to provide offline and online editing facilities to production companies looking to complete their productions locally, Dailies/Rough cuts or Full production. Over the past few years, Film Production companies have invested in various NLE (Non-Linear Editing) systems to accommodate any creative or technical need imaginable. Furthermore, through the use of colour correcting and VFX tools and the addition of music and sound studios in the country can offer a whole package.
Several specialized Visual Effects companies are available to offer their services locally. The growth in VFX in film productions has sparked an increase in the facilities offered. These facilities allow film companies to bring expensive concepts to the screen within an affordable budget and provide the necessary expertise and knowledge to ensure that the Directors creative vision is easily achieved.
SAFETY AND SECURITY IN KENYA
Kenya is generally safe to visit. The Film and tourist industry is very established, and visitors are well looked after. There is crime in big cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa, but most issues can be avoided by following basic safety precautions. More than a million tourists/filmmakers visit Kenya every year, and most visits are trouble-free.