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DRC – Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in the DRC? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in the DRC? See below for an introduction to DRC locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

DRC Film Locations

The DRC is the largest and most populous country in Central Africa. It is known for its African wildlife parks, mountain gorillas, dense jungles, volcanos, and Pygmy villages. The DRC can be divided into several regions of interest to visiting productions:

Western DRC. Kinshasa is the capital and main entry point by air. Located on the banks of the mighty Congo River, Kinshasa is one of the largest and most vibrant cities in Africa. After Paris, Kinshasa is world’s second-largest French-speaking city.

Outside of Kinshasa, the landscape is mostly tropical forests and grazing lands. Western DRC is home to famous waterfalls including the Inkisi Falls, Livingstone Falls, and Zongo Falls. Lola Ya Bonobo is a sanctuary for orphaned bonobos.

Katanga is mostly agricultural and ranching land. Lake Tanganyika is located in the east of this region. Lofoi Falls are a beautiful location in Kundelungu National Park. Upemba National Park is home to a variety of bird life, crocodiles and hippos.

Kasai. The Kasai region is known for its diamond mines.

Kivu is known for its volcanoes, and mountain gorillas.

Bukavu is the capital of South Kivu. From Bukava you can film lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park, Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu, and Minova village.

Goma is the capital of North Kivu. From Goma you can film Virunga National Park mountain gorillas, elephants, lions, hippos and buffaloes. Volcanos in the Virunga Mountains include Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Mikeno, and Nyamuragira. Mount Nyiragongo is home to the world’s largest lava lake. Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is home to one of the last troops of eastern lowland gorillas, a subspecies indigenous to the country.

Congo Basin. The Congo Basin has the world’s second largest jungle, after the Amazon. National parks of note include Garamba National Park (home to giraffes, lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards), Maiko National Park, Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Rusizi National Park, and Salonga National Park. Boyoma Falls (Stanley Falls) are located in the Congo Basin. The snow covered Pic Marguerite in the Rwenzori Mountains is home to mountain gorillas and the endangered okapi. Mount Stanley is the highest peak in the DRC. The unique compound of former President Mobutu’s in Gbadolite is also located in this region.

Given that most national parks are located in the east of the country, from a logistics point of view, visiting productions are better off accessing them through Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

The 1951 film The African Queen was filmed in the DRC.

DRC Film Location Permits

The Journalist Accreditation Permit serves as a film permit to shoot in public locations across the country. See the visas and work permits section below for more information.

The DRC has no specific permitting system in place so location permits are negotiated on a case by case basis. Unauthorised filming of government buildings, military installations, and along border areas is illegal and may result in arrest and confiscation of film equipment.  Additional permission is also required for shoots that require exclusive use of public space, traffic control, filming in markets, national parks and drone filming. Our DRC fixer will negotiate this on the local level and make sure local police are there to assist. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

South of the equator, the rainy season lasts from October to April and the dry season runs from May to September. North of the equator, the rainy season lasts from April to November and the dry season runs from December to March. The dry season is the best time to film for weather and wildlife. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in the DRC.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Locations, local talent and support crew are inexpensive but since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. The poor transport infrastructure means traveling around the entirety of the country can be very expensive and time consuming too. Our DRC fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in the DRC.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. DRC has no local pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Crews must be brought in from abroad.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in the DRC.

Talent day rates and buyouts are reasonable and negotiated on a personal level. DRC has as many as 250 African ethnic groups including Pygmy tribes. Kinshasa is known for its well dressed sapeurs. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad. There are no established casting facilities or talent agencies in the DRC, so all casting is done in-house, at the local level.

DRC Film Equipment

Equipment. You will need to bring in all camera, lighting and grip equipment from abroad.

Communication. Web posted casting, scouting and videoconferencing. Internet access is limited to Kinshasa. Regular power outages are a problem.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

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 our local DRC fixer, as well as proof of vaccination against yellow fever. For film crew travelling on US passports see here for more information. Once you arrive in the DRC, our DRC fixer makes an 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.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Outside of the cities, most roads are not drivable, even with an off-road vehicle. During the rainy season, many roads become impassible. Note, there is no road network connecting major cities and towns so some journeys may require multiple modes of transport including plane, car, boat and train. It is best to avoid travelling at night. Our DRC film fixer organises safe and reliable transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Kinshasa. Domestic flights tend to be on the expensive side. Plan well ahead as some domestic flights are only available on some days. Patience and good planning is required.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Kinshasa:

Grand Hotel

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. See here for vaccinations required for the DRC. There are few facilities outside of Kinshasa, so if travelling outside of the city, make sure you are well prepared for all eventualities. To ensure safety on set, our DRC fixer will arrange the appropriate level of local security personnel / police.

Down Time. Dance Congolese rumba, ndombolo, and soukous.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in the DRC, please see below:

Hire Democratic Republic of the Congo Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.