Somalia 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 Somalia? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.
Filming in Somalia
For an introduction to shooting in Somalia 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.
Somalia Film Locations
Located on the Horn of Africa, Somalia is known for its rugged coastline, undiscovered beaches, coral reefs, high plateaus, and savanna.
Agricultural locations include scenes of nomadic pastoralists who keep goats, sheep, camels and cattle. Local fishing boats are also available for filming.
The Insanity of God (2016), and Mogadishu Soldier (2016) filmed in Somalia.
Film locations can be divided into the following states: South West, Puntland, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, Galmudug, and Somaliland.
Mogadishu is capital and largest city. Film locations of note include Sayid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan monument, Lido Beach, Isbahaysiga Mosque, Bakaara Market, and the Mogadishu Lighthouse in the Old Harbour.
Merca is ancient port city located in the south of the country.
Kismayo National Park is located in the south of the country. Wildlife includes lions, zebras, and wild boars.
Lag Badana-Bushbush National Park is located on the far southern end of the country. Wildlife includes kudu, monkeys, and hyenas.
Bosaso is a port city located in Puntland.
Located in the far north, Somaliland is an autonomous region of Somalia. Hargeisa is the self proclaimed capital of Somaliland. Berbera is a deep sea port city. Laas Geel is known for its ancient cave paintings. Lamadaya are beautiful waterfalls. The Zeila Archipelago is also part of Somaliland. It is known for its untouched coral reefs, turquoise waters, white sand beaches and mangroves.
Somalia Film Location Permits
In most cases permission to film is arranged on the local level, often on the same day. Allow extra location fees if need be. More complicated shoots that require street closures or larger setups or travel to unsafe locations require more lead time. Note, some locations are still off limits for film crews. Unauthorised filming of government buildings, military installations, and public infrastructure, is illegal. Penalties may include arrest, fines and confiscation of equipment. Shoots in more remote locations such as the autonomous region of Somaliland are generally more expensive and require more preparation. Please contact us for location specific information.
When To Shoot?
Much of Somalia is desert, with hot, dry, and dusty conditions throughout the year. Gu, the heavy rain season runs from April to June. Jilal, the summer dry season runs from July to September. Dayr, the light rain season runs from October to November. Hagaa, the winter dry season runs from December to March. Hagaa is the best time to film for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.
Somalia is a predominately Muslim country. Ramadan is widely observed with most services closed during this period.
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Somalia.
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 most key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. Our Somali 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 Somalia.
Film Crew & Talent
Crews. Somalia has very small local pool of directors, videographers and stills photographers. Key crew need to 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 Somalia.
Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.
Somali and Arabic are the official languages.
Somalia offers mainly ethnic Somali talent with some Arab and Bantu looks also available. All other talent needs to be brought in from abroad.
Somalia Film Equipment
Equipment. Somalia has some basic camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally. For productions bringing in their own equipment, the Press Visa is sufficient for gear customs clearance.
Communication. Internet slow and unreliable.
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
All nationals are required to have visas to enter Somalia. Each visiting crew member is required to have a Press Visa to film in Somalia. Our fixer will require you to provide them with the project synopsis, copy of passport information pages, imported gear list, and any other relevant information. Once the application package is complete our fixer will submit this to the Ministry of Information. An accreditation letter is generally issued same day. Our fixer will then email you a copy of this letter which you will need to print out and present at the airport on entry. The Press Visa is then stamped into your passport.
Filmmakers, photographers and journalists who expect to travel to the United States in the future ought to also bear in mind the possible repercussions of having a Somali visa stamped in their passport.
Transport & Accommodation
Transportation Infrastructure. Roads are in a poor condition. Avoid road travel by night. A handful of airlines service flights to Somalia.
Accommodation. We recommend film crews base at the Peace Hotel or Jazeera Palace Hotel.
Safety. See here for up to date travel advice. Recommended security detail depends on the specifics of the project. In most cases we arrange a lean, two 4WD vehicle approach with one vehicle for crew and equipment and the other for the security team. For an alternative approach, armoured vehicles are also available.
Down Time. Try some traditional Somali dishes such as Sambusa, Bariis iskukaris, Malawah, Anjero, Halwa, and Sabaayad.
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 Somalia, please see below:
Hire Somalia Production Support & Shooting Crew
If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Somalia, please contact us.
If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Somalia, 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.