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Benin Film & Photography Production Services & Camera Crews

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Benin? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Benin

For an introduction to shooting in Benin see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Benin Film Locations

Benin is a nation located in West Africa. The coastline is marked by marshy lakes and lagoons. Heading inland the landscape becomes plateaus, green valleys, rocky hills, turning into the Atacora mountain range in the northwest. Other film locations of note include French colonial architecture, churches, mosques, national parks, rivers, lakes, and beaches. Voodoo is widely practiced with signs of it across the country, such as fetish markets.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of cotton, cocoa, cassava, yams, corn, palm oil, rice, pineapples, peanuts, and cashew nuts.

Benin has hosted productions including Adú (2020), and Cobra Verde (1987).

Benin is divided into the following departments: Alibori, Atakora, Atlantique Borgou, Collines, Kouffo, Donga, Littoral, Mono, Ouémé, Plateau, and Zou.

Cotonou is the largest city in Benin. The best known fetish market is the Grand Marché de Dantokpa in Cotonou, which sells everything from monkey heads to elephant feet. Cotonou Cathedral and Saint Michel Church are religious locations.

Porto Novo is the capital. Known for its colonial architecture Porto Novo is home to the Royal Palace and Great Mosque.

Ouidah is known for its museums on transatlantic slavery and voodoo. Locations of note include the Temple of Pythons, and the Door of No Return.

Abomey, capital of Ancient Dahomey, is known for the Abomey Royal Palaces ruins. The Behanzin Statue was designed by North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Projects.

Ganvie stilt village is the Venice of Africa.

Some of the best wildlife areas in West Africa are found in North Benin at Pendjari National Park and ‘W’ National Park which are home to wildlife including cheetahs, hippos and crocodiles.

Mont Sokbaro is the highest point in Benin.

Benin Film Location Permits

Most locations are possible given time, money and the right approach. Photography of government buildings and official sites is prohibited without the consent of the Government of Benin. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

In the north the hot and dry seasons occur from January to April and during the month of August. The rainy seasons occur from May to July then September to December. In the south the hot and dry season is between November and June with cooler and very wet weather between July and October. In general, the coolest and driest months to film in Benin are from November and February. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

• Voodoo Day takes place every year on January 10.

Christianity, Islam and Voodoo are the main religions, so those holidays are observed.

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

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Local costs such as talent, supporting crew and locations are inexpensive. Our Beninese fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad.

The West African CFA franc (XOF) is the official currency.

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

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Benin has very few directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew should 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 Benin.

Talent day rates and buyouts are reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis.

French is the official language.

Benin has mainly West African looking talent. There are 42 local ethnic groups with the Fon, Adja & Mina, Yoruba, Bariba, and Fula being the largest groups. All other talent is best cast abroad.

Benin Film Equipment

Equipment. Must bring in all camera, grip and lighting equipment from abroad.

Communication. Internet access is mostly restricted to Cotonou.

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.

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

Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Crew travelling on Western passports are required to obtain a visa prior to travel. Applications must include proof of yellow fever vaccination. US citizens see here for more information. Contact your closest Benin embassy or representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are in a fair condition. Rural roads are slower going and in a poor condition. Many rural roads are impassable during the rainy season. Best not to travel by road at night. Our film fixer in Benin organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Cotonou.

Accommodation. Recommended film friendly hotels in Cotonou include:

Benin Marina Hotel
Novotel Orisha Cotonoul
Hotel Du Lac

Please contact us for corporate rates.

For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments. Our Benin fixer can also organise stays with local tribes.

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. See here for vaccinations required for Benin.

Down Time. Visit a voodoo market.

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 Benin, please see below:

Hire Benin Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Benin, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Benin, 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.