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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

Filming in Sierra Leone

For an introduction to shooting in Sierra Leone 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.

Sierra Leone Film Locations

Sierra Leone is a West African country known for its beautiful beaches, islands, jungles, mountains, rivers, and wildlife parks.

Agricultural film locations include rice paddies and plantations of cocoa and coffee. Fishing boats are also available for filming. Sierra Leone mines diamonds, titanium, gold, and bauxite for aluminium. Energy locations include hydroelectric and solar power plants.

The Reason I Jump (2020) filmed in part in Sierra Leone.

Film locations can be divided into the following provinces:

Western Area

This includes the districts of Western Urban, and Western Rural.

Known for its bustling and colourful streets the port city of Freetown is the capital and largest population centre. The city’s most famous landmark is an impressive Cotton Tree that dates back 500 years. Cape lighthouse is an interesting old film location. The King’s Yard Gate is a historic location where formerly enslaved Africans returned to freedom. Nearby Bunce Island was a key departure point during the slave trade.

John Obey Beach and Bureh Beach are two popular surf beaches in this province.

The Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located just outside of the city.

The Banana Islands are located just off the coast.

Eastern Province

This includes the districts of Kailahun, Kenema, and Kono.

Gola Rainforest National Park is a dense forest home to wildlife including chimpanzees, pygmy hippopotamuses, African forest elephants, a diversity of birdlife, and hundreds of species of butterflies.

The Kono Diamond Mining Fields are located in this part of the country.

Northern Province

This includes the districts of Bombali, Falaba, Koinadugu, and Tonkolili.

Mount Bintumani in the Loma Mountains is the country’s highest peak.

Mamunta Mayosso Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the endangered Dwarf Crocodile as well as a diversity of birdlife.

Bumbuna waterfall is a beautiful film location.

North West Province

This includes the districts of Kambia, Karene, and Port Loko.

Outamba-Kilimi National Park has a jungle and savanna landscape that is home to a large number of chimpanzees, pygmy hippos, elephants, and over a hundred species of birds.

Southern Province

This includes the districts of Bo, Bonthe, Moyamba, and Pujehun.

Kangari Hills Forest Reserve is home to the endangered forest elephant.

Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary is home to pygmy hippos, monkeys, and a variety of birds and butterflies.

Sherbro Island and the Turtle Islands are located in this part of the country.

Sierra Leone Film Location Permits

Permits are often worked out on the local level, in person. If you are shooting street b-roll having a press pass is enough. When filming in public markets it’s always a good idea to film with local permission.  Allow plenty of time for permitting of shoots that require exclusive use of public space such as controlling traffic, laying track or setting up lights. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Sierra Leone has a humid, tropical climate. Coastal areas tend to be wetter and inland areas tend to be drier. The hot, dry season runs from November to March. This is the best time of year to film for weather. The wet season runs from April to October. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

The Tangains Festival celebrates traditional music, dress, and food in December.

Sierra Leone is a majority Muslim population. Ramadan is observed. The country also has a large Christian community.

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

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 Sierra Leonean 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 Sierra Leone.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Sierra Leone has a small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key crew are most often 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 Sierra Leone.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

English is the official language and Krio is the most widely spoken language between locals.

The Temne in the north and the Mende in the Southeast are the largest ethnic groups. Other ethnic groups include the Limba, Kono, Koranko, Fula, Susu, Kissi, Loko, Mandingo, Sherbro, Creole, Yalunka, Krim, and Vai. All other talent looks are best cast abroad.

Sierra Leone Film Equipment

Equipment. Some basic camera, lighting and grip equipment is available locally, including drones for aerial filming.

Communication. Internet access is slow.

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. No dedicated facilities at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

Non-shooting crew members can enter Sierra Leone with a regular visa. You will need to send our local fixer the information page of your passport and a per person visa fee.

Filming crew members should enter on a press permit. Our local fixer / service producer can also arrange this locally. You will need to send the information page of your passport, a one page description of the project, passport photo scan, list of equipment being brought in, and a per person press permit fee. Note, the press permit is also used to clear gear through customs, as well as permission to film in public locations, providing you are not taking exclusive use of public space.

US passport holders applying for visas at the Sierra Leone embassy see here for more information. Travellers require proof of vaccination against yellow fever.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads between cities are in a good condition. Rural roads are slower going, especially in the wet season. Best to avoid travel by night. Our Sierra Leonean fixer organises safe and reliable 4WD transportation. Several international airlines service flights to Sierra Leone.

Accommodation. See here for film friendly hotels in Sierra Leone:

Hotel Barmoi
Country Lodge

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 Sierra Leone.

Down Time. Visit Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

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 Sierra Leone, please see below:

Hire Sierra Leone Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

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