A Comprehensive Guide to filming in Rwanda

This is a comprehensive guide to filming in Rwanda with vital information about hiring top fixers in Kigali with vast knowledge about processing filming permits, location finding, and scouting, how to hire local talent, kit customs clearing, government laws and policies on the movie industry, transport and accommodation in Rwanda and all the questions that need answers before and during shooting in location Rwanda. Should you need more information, contact us.

Can I film in Rwanda as a foreign filmmaker?

Yes, foreign filmmakers can film in Rwanda. Rwanda is generally a welcoming country and has hosted numerous film crews over the years. However, for anyone to film in the country you need to obtain a media filming permit.

What are the Media filming permits and regulations in Rwanda?

To film in Rwanda, all international crew have to apply for a filming permit this is applied for from the Rwanda Development Board(RDB); they are responsible for issuing all filming permits, and depending on what kind of shoot you are planning to carry out, they will issue out a permit for you. You will have to fill out a data collection form which we, as film crew fixers, will submit on your behalf and follow up the process to ensure that a timely response is given and issue you with the media passes that allow you to film in the country. Without these, you are operating illegally.

How much is the Media filming permit, and how do I apply for it?

The filming permit is charged USD100.00 per person on the crew, and all crew members are required to have the filming permit. Process takes about 3-5 working days to be issued but we help follow up the process to ensure that you get it in the quickest time possible. 

To apply for a Media filming permit in Rwanda, you will typically need to fill in and submit an application to the RDB, which we do for you on your behalf. The application form requires details such as the purpose of the shoot, filming locations, dates, crew information, equipment list, and a script or storyboard. Contact us to provide you with a form to fill out and also for guidance on how to go about it.

What is a general filming permit?

After you have obtained a media filming permit, you will need to get a general filming permit, and this depends on where you are planning to film. The general filming permit mostly applies if you are planning to film in cities, public spaces, and government installations; you need to seek for further permission to allow you access and film here. A fee might be charged, but this varies from one location to another.

Are there any restrictions on filming locations in Rwanda?

Whereas it’s free to film around the country once you have the media filming permit, it should be noted that some areas in Rwanda are restricted, and this may come as a result of cultural, security, and environmental concerns as a country. Therefore it’s very important that you find out which part of your shoots is okay to shoot and what is beyond the limits. That’s why, as film crew fixers, we always encourage our clients/crews to always embrace the services of a fixer, as he knows the ins and outs of the country and can advise you on how best to go about shooting in different locations.

Do I need a fixer while filming in Rwanda?

I would advise that for any shoot in Rwanda, you get a fixer attached to the team. It’s very important to get someone who can provide valuable assistance and navigate the local regulations, handle logistics, and help you navigate the cultural aspects of the country. Our fixers come in handy as they will help you with all the shoot pre-production arrangements, like obtaining filming permits, arranging transportation and accommodations, securing local contacts and resources, and ensuring a smooth production process. We will also provide you with a valuable service of a local translator while shooting. 

Do I need to hire local crew or production services in Rwanda?

It is not mandatory to use local crew, but it’s advisable that, where possible, work with them as the country has a host of an experienced crew that has been in the industry for a while and knows their way around things. They understand the country’s rules and regulations and can provide you with valuable expertise and resource for the shoot.

Are there any restrictions on Temporarily importing filming equipment into Rwanda?

You are free to import filming equipment into the country for your shoots, and through working with us and our trusted customs agents, we will facilitate the entire process of customs equipment temporary importation. The Rwanda Revenue Customs charges a 10% non-refundable fee for temporary importation of filming gear. Through our trusted customs agents, we facilitate this for you and ensure that the process is done within 3-4 working days of receiving your gear list. The requirement is that you provide a comprehensive list of all the gear you are coming with and include the serial numbers and values of each item. The bonded agent then will submit this on your behalf and have all the paperwork. On your arrival in the country, you will meet with the bonded agent, and he will take you through the customs process and ensure that you come through with minimal disturbance. PLEASE NOTE: Whereas importation of filming equipment is allowed, DRONES are not allowed to come into the country, and you are required to use a drone registered and licensed in the country by licensed operators.

Are we allowed to import a drone in Rwanda, and what are the regulations on the use of Drones?

Drone importation is restricted in Rwanda, and film crews are not allowed to come with drones when they are planning a shoot. Drones are considered security threats, and if you intend to use a drone as part of your shoot, you will need to hire one from a person who is locally registered in the country. You will need to apply for location permissions for all the areas where you will be using the drone, and this application has to be submitted at least 3 working days before the date you want to fly it. Also, please bear in mind that the pilot has to adhere to the country’s drone regulations and guidelines.

What are the safety and security considerations when filming in Rwanda?

Rwanda is generally considered safe for filming with many years of prevailing peace, This is a safe filming country for all. However, it’s advised to take extra precautions with your gear and belongings follow the laws and customs of the locals, and also be mindful when working in crowded places.

What are some popular filming locations in Rwanda?

Rwanda boasts a diverse range of picturesque locations, and this makes it a major visit destination for filming crew around East Africa. Some popular filming locations include Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu, Kigali City, and historical sites like the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

Are there reliable transportation and accommodation options for film crews in Rwanda?

Infrastructure has been developed in the country which means most of the access roads to key destinations have been developed. Also, accommodation options are available depending on your budget, with the country hosting the budget, mid-range, and luxury accommodation options. As a person, you are spoilt for choices. We help our crew make the right choice when booking accommodation, considering factors like budget, proximity to the shooting sites, and not neglecting the security of crews.