Obtaining a permit to shoot a film in Tanzania has always been an expensive and time-consuming process. Film producers need to allow plenty of lead time, as the permit usually takes eight weeks to process. An expedited permit, arranged by an African Fixer, costs $ 3,000 but only takes two weeks.
The difference between the regular $1,000 permit and the expedited $ 3,000 permit may seem prohibitive, but it is worth paying the extra amount. Tanzania’s Film Censorship Board restricts the locations in which productions can be filmed and the procedures for applying for a film permit are daunting without a film fixer.
A Film Fixer company can assist producers by putting together all the information needed to apply for a permit, getting it endorsed by the relevant embassy and liaising with the Tanzanian authorities. Permits restrict filming to a maximum of three months, after which film producers can only get a Last-Minute Permit to extend the shoot if there are mitigating circumstances. There are also additional permits required to shoot a film inside a national park or conservation area, drone filming and night filming.
It is important to remember that Tanzania is a developing country that has to stretch its budgets to ensure the preservation of wildlife locales. The government created a strict regulatory framework for filming in certain locales because of the high volume of crews that apply to film on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Until 2018, climbers who wanted to do filming on Kilimanjaro could apply directly to the Ministry of Tourism for a permit and bypass the requirement to pay legal fees. However the process was so bureaucratic and taxing that African Film Fixer clients were increasingly disgruntled, and the Tanzanian government does not want to alienate any foreign producers. The government therefore works closely with African Fil Fixer companies to expedite the process of applying for permits to shoot a film or television show in Tanzania.
Realm Africa Safaris, a Tanzanian Film Crew company, has now compiled a Guide To Filming In Tanzania on its website, to help film producers plan the process. With thirty years experience within the safari industry, Tanzanian film fixers are able to assist crews with all camping logistics and bringing in film equipment in addition to obtaining the appropriate permits.
In The Serengeti, a popular film location, lightweight camps are set up for mobile shoots that need to move daily. The most important feature of these camps is the dedicated and skilled crew that will ensure all of a client’s needs are met.
As a result of the success that film fixers have had in expediting permits, more international film producers are now attracted to Tanzanian locales. In particular, Tanzania attracts many film-makers who accompany scientists, anthropologists and geologists on expeditions.
A major advantage of using an African Film Fixer when shooting an expedition is that the company will produce a Trip Report to publicise the achievements resulting from filming projects. The most well-known Trip Report produced by a Tanzanian film fixer is Tango Above The Clouds, the story of Russian climber Angela Vovobeva, who is the oldest person to have reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and established a Guinness Standard in high-altitude trekking.
There have been many shifts in the global entertainment industry in the last five years due to shrinking economies in The West, growth opportunities in BRICS partnerships (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), innovations in technology and of course Covid-19. As a result, numerous emerging African economies are seizing opportunities to become players in the film, television and content production arenas.
The Best African Fixer follows market trends on the continent to match clients with the ideal environment for a production. Tanzania’s locales, infrastructure and government regulations are geared almost exclusively towards documentary films and Nature Conservation television programming, so that the country is therefore not as popular with film producers as Kenya or South Africa. However we continue to watch the space in the Tanzanian film industry, as platforms such as Peoples’ Weather are becoming increasingly popular amongst environmentalists and scholars for whom the country’s locales would be ideal for shooting authentic stories.