Ethiopia 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 Ethiopia? 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 Ethiopia? See below for an introduction to Ethiopia 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.
Ethiopia Film Locations
Ethiopia is a fascinating country offering a wealth of cultures and undiscovered, otherworldly locations ranging from rivers, desert, forests, to the lowest point on earth. Locations of particular interest include the Danakil Depression, Lalibela monolithic rock-cut churches, Nechisar National Park, Simien National Park (home to Gelada baboons), Blue Nile Falls, Fasilides Castle, Lower Omo Valley, Konso Villages, Harar walled city (hyena feeding at night). Lake Abbe is a salt lake on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border. Abuna Yemata Church is an inspiring location that can only be reached by climbing barefoot up a vertical cliff, crossing rickety bridges and narrow ledges. Agricultural locations available for filming including coffee plantations, as well as teff, wheat and corn fields. Addis Ababa is the capital and main entry point by air.
Ethiopia Film Location Permits
In most cases there are no set fees. Donations are often required for local assistance. Some regional governments will charge location fees. In many cases, our fixer will need to travel to negotiate location fees in person. National parks fees are quite high, especially if filming aerial shots. Aerial filming in Ethiopia requires the pilot have a flight permit from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
The rainy season runs from April to September. The dry season runs from October to May. The best time to film for clear, sunny days is from January to March. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Ethiopia is home to many colourful events and festivals that celebrate its rich diversity of cultures. Of particular interest to filmmakers and photographers include:
• Ledet (Genna) Festival in January.
• Timkat Feast in January.
• Meskal Festival in September.
• Irecha in September.
• Great Ethiopian Run in November.
• Kullubi in December.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Ethiopia.
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. 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. Our Ethiopian 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 Ethiopia.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Ethiopia has a very small pool of local pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key crew must be brought in from abroad. Kenya is the closest place for good crews.
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 Ethiopia.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Ethiopia has over 80 different ethnic groups and 140 different dialects. Of particular interest are the colourful Hamer and Mursi people. All other talent needs to be cast abroad.
Ethiopia Film Equipment
Equipment. You will need to bring in all camera, grip and lighting equipment from abroad. Kenya is the closest place for standard equipment. Bringing in gear is an easy and inexpensive process. Our Ethiopian fixer will need a full gear list with serial numbers. This will be submitted at the same time as the Foreign Media Accreditation application. Their Ethiopian customs broker will process all in preparation for your arrival and meet you at the airport to ensure all runs smoothly.
Communications. 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 beyond traditional Ethiopian looks.
Studios. None exist at present.
Post Production. Post abroad.
Visas & Work Permits
Visiting crews need to apply for Foreign Media Accreditation at their closest Ethiopian embassy. The application must include the project synopsis, locations list, crew details, local fixer details, equipment list, budget, and shoot duration information. After submitting your application you will be required to go to the Ethiopian embassy for a briefing with the Press Office. The Press office then sends your application on your behalf. Once the Foreign Media Accreditation is approved in Ethiopia, the embassy will then contact you to come an apply for a business visa. You will need to bring your passport, copy of passport, a complete business visa application form, visa fee payment, and the original documents used for your Foreign Media Accreditation. Once your business visa is issued, you’re all set to travel.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Major roads are paved. Rural roads are slower going especially in the south of the country during the rainy season. Road travel by night is not recommended. Our Ethiopian fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transport. Several international airlines service flights to Ethiopia.
Accommodation. Film friendly hotels in Addis Ababa:
Please contact us for corporate rates.
For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.
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 Ethiopia, please see below:
Hire Ethiopia Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Ethiopia, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Ethiopia, 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.