A Guide To Filming In Burkina Faso

A guide to filming in Burkina Faso compiled by our producers and fixers in Ouagadougou. Find all the information about filming permits, kit customs clearing, when to film, how to hire a drone and fly it, where to stay and get to Burkina Faso plus so much information about film and production industry. Burkina Faso, nestled in the heart of West Africa, offers filmmakers a diverse range of captivating filming destinations that showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant communities. With its busy streets, vibrant marketplaces, and iconic buildings offering a window into Burkina Faso’s urban life, Ouagadougou, the country’s vibrant capital, is a dynamic filming location. The colonial-era architecture, thriving arts scene, and traditional craftsmanship of Bobo-Dioulasso’s historic city also present filmmakers with chances to showcase the nation’s artistic traditions and cultural diversity.

Moving outside of the towns, filmmakers can discover Burkina Faso’s natural treasures, such as the attractive landscapes of Banfora in the Cascades Region, which offer breathtaking filming locations with verdant forests, quaint waterfalls, and serene lakes. Arli National Park in the east, on the other hand, provides chances to photograph Burkina Faso’s varied fauna and immaculate natural environments, which include lions, elephants, and several bird species. Filmmakers wishing to portray Burkina Faso’s colorful culture and stunning landscapes on screen can find a multitude of storytelling choices among the country’s filming locations, whether they are shooting urban bustle, calm natural beauty, or traditional celebrations.To find out how we can assist you with bringing your production to Mozambique, get in touch with us right now.

Do I Need Filming Permission To Filming In Burkina Faso

Yes, you typically need filming permission to film in Burkina Faso. This permission is usually obtained from the relevant authorities,  the Burkina Faso Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Tourism or the National Film and Audiovisual Centre (CNCB). The process for obtaining filming permission involves submitting a formal application that outlines details about the filming project, including the filming locations, dates, crew size, equipment, and any special requirements. Additionally, you pay permit fees associated with obtaining permission to film in certain locations or for specific types of projects. It’s important to adhere to local regulations and obtain the necessary permits before commencing any filming activities in Burkina Faso to ensure compliance with the law and to avoid any potential legal issues. Working with our fixers/ local producers to help facilitate the permitting process and ensure a smooth filming experience in Burkina Faso. Nevertheless, it may take several weeks to finish the application procedure. You must apply for a permission and include details about the project, the places for filming, and the equipment you want to use. You must also pay the required fees and present documentation of your liability insurance. The following is needed for the application to be done.

  • Name of Production Company or organization
  • Topic and title of the shoot
  • Filming dates
  • The location you are interested in filming
  • List of equipment
  • Biodata information and passports
  • Any other pertinent information or contacts or host organization
  • Accommodation details
  • Emergency Contacts

Visa Requirements Of Burkina Faso

An eVisa can easily be obtained online for those traveling into the country and for filmmakers from America and Europe can obtain their visa by contacting the Burkina Faso embassy or consulate in their country of origin. You will need a local production company to write you a recommendation letter which is submitted along with for approval of your visa, this we provide it to you to ensure the process is smooth. Requirements for this include

Completed visa application form

Copy of passport valid for at least six months

two passport-sized photos.

Sometimes with these visa process it takes time so we advise that you give yourself and the crew ample time to start the process, atleast one month is well in advised to avoid any last-minute panic and cause potential delays.

Filming Permit And Location Permissions

To obtain filming permits and location permissions for Burkina Faso, film crews typically need to follow a formal process administered by the relevant authorities, such as the Burkina Faso Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Tourism or the National Film and Audiovisual Centre (CNCB). This process usually involves submitting a detailed proposal outlining the nature of the filming project, intended filming locations, duration of filming, crew size, equipment list, and any special requirements. Filmmakers may also need to provide proof of liability insurance coverage for the duration of the filming project. It’s essential for film Crews to obtain all necessary permits and permissions before commencing any filming activities in Burkina Faso to avoid any legal issues and ensure a smooth filming experience. Our team has a good and continuing working relationship with CNCB and through this we guarantee that your paperwork will be attended to and responded to in a timely manner.

Equipment Importation In Burkina Faso

Bring in your equipment, Burkina Faso also does not operate on the ATA Carnet system, which means that you will require temporary import permits to bring equipment into Burkina Faso. It is a fairly complex – and manual – process which also involves a lot of negotiation. We know our way around the system and can take that headache away from you, and have good ground support to ensure that things move through the system. We work with a reputable customs agent who has over the years facilitated clearing in of equipment for countless crews and will offer the same to you for a retainer fee.

Hiring Equipment In Mozambique

Although there might not be as many possibilities for crew and equipment within the nation, our team of English-speaking producers with more than ten years of expertise will help you bring in the required personnel and equipment from overseas and can walk you through the entire process. You may feel confident that your film production in Burkina Faso will go off without a hitch thanks to our effective communication and knowledge.

Hiring Production Support For Shoots

We take great satisfaction in meeting global work standards by only hiring people who have undergone extensive screening. Our production helpers, local contributors, and fixers are hand-selected for their expertise, dependability, and love of what they do. Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

Additionally, we provide production liability insurance to guard against unanticipated mishaps that could happen during shooting, safeguarding your business, yourself, and the local rental film crew equipment. You can concentrate on crafting a masterpiece knowing that you are covered by our Insurance Policy.

Drone Importation In Burkina Faso.

Planning beforehand and following local laws are essential when bringing a drone into Burkina Faso for filming. First, film crews need to get the required licences and consents from the appropriate government agencies, like the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC). Providing information regarding the scheduled filming operations, such as the locations, flight paths, and intended applications of the drone footage, is usually part of this procedure. Film crews should also be aware of any special limitations or forbidden locations, particularly those that are close to sensitive places, military installations, or government buildings. Cultural sensitivity is also necessary because certain communities can be worried about drone intrusion or privacy. A smooth filming procedure can be ensured and potential disputes can be reduced by interacting with local stakeholders and getting their agreement. Lastly, film crews should put safety first by following recommended drone operating procedures, which include keeping a clear line of sight, avoiding crowded places, and abiding with airspace laws. Using a drone in Burkina Faso can help create engaging and culturally sensitive video content, if it is planned ahead of time and complies with local laws.

Rules And Regulations Of Drone Filming In Mozambique.

Burkina Faso as a country has several drone laws that need to be followed when flying in the country. Drone Operators should ensure that they follow the drone laws when flying in Burkina Faso to avoid any complications with the authorities.

  • Drones must be registered with ANAC before they can be legally operated in Burkina Faso.
  • Do not fly your drone over people or large crowds
  • Respect others privacy when flying your drone
  • Drones are generally not allowed to fly above a certain altitude in Burkina Faso.
  • Drones are not allowed to fly over airports or in areas where aircraft are operating.
  • Drone flights have to be operated during daylight hours and only fly in good weather conditions.
  • Drones are prohibited in sensitive areas including government or military facilities, military installations, and other sensitive areas is typically prohibited.

Access And Affordability

International flights to and from Burkina Faso are primarily served by Ouagadougou International Airport (OUA), located in the capital city of Ouagadougou. The airport handles both passenger and cargo flights, connecting Burkina Faso to various destinations across Africa and beyond. Airlines such as Air Burkina, Ethiopian Airlines, and Turkish Airlines operate regular international flights to cities such as Abidjan, Accra, Paris, Istanbul, and other major hubs. The airport offers modern facilities and services for travelers, including customs and immigration clearance, baggage handling, lounges, and ground transportation options.

In terms of road transport, Burkina Faso has an extensive network of roads connecting major cities and towns within the country, as well as border crossings with neighboring countries. The road infrastructure consists of paved highways, gravel roads, and rural tracks, with varying levels of quality and maintenance. It is usually advisable to travel with a local fixer who has the technical know-how and will help you deal with the political and social bonds in the country. Using a 4×4 or a vehicle with adequate clearance is always advised.

Filming Locations In Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso provides a wide variety of filming settings suitable for different kinds of productions. Here are a few noteworthy Burkina Faso filming locations:

Ouagadougou: Burkina Faso’s capital city features a bustling street market, modern infrastructure, and metropolitan surroundings. The city’s dynamic culture, day-to-day activities, and striking architectural contrasts can all be captured by filmmakers.

Bobo-Dioulasso: This second-biggest city in Burkina Faso offers a blend of rural and urban environments. It has colourful street sceneries, typical mud-brick buildings, and architecture from the colonial past. The Grand Mosque of the city and its busy marketplaces make for striking movie locations.

Banfora: Known for its breathtaking natural landmarks like the Sindou Peaks, Lake Tengrela, and Karfiguéla Waterfalls, Banfora is a region in southwest Burkina Faso. These stunning settings provide for ideal backgrounds for nature-focused films, adventure documentaries, and outdoor filmmaking.

Nazinga Ranch: This southern-most wildlife refuge in the United States provides an ideal setting for wildlife documentaries and nature-themed productions. A wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, antelopes, monkeys, and other bird species, can be found in the reserve.

Gorom-Gorom: Located in Burkina Faso’s Sahel area, Gorom-Gorom is well-known for its traditional marketplaces, arid scenery, and cultural celebrations. Filmmakers can depict the region’s distinctive mud-brick hamlet architecture, camel caravans, and nomadic way of life.

Loropeni Ruins: The UNESCO-designated Loropeni Ruins, situated in the southwest of Burkina Faso, are home to constructions and stone walls that date back to the eleventh century. Documentaries and period plays examining Burkina Faso’s rich legacy might use these archaeological remains as a historical setting.

Pô: Located in Burkina Faso’s central-south region, Pô offers scenes of agriculture, traditional communities, and rural scenery. This region’s rural inhabitants’ seasonal festivals, agrarian lifestyle, and cultural customs can all be captured by filmmakers.

National Parks In Burkina Faso

Arly National Park: Located in the southeastern part of Burkina Faso, Arly National Park is part of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, a transboundary conservation area shared between Burkina Faso, Benin, and Niger. Arly National Park is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, lions, and various antelope species. The park’s savannah landscapes, riverine forests, and waterholes provide scenic backdrops for wildlife documentaries and nature-themed productions.

Nazinga Ranch: Nazinga Ranch is a private wildlife reserve located in southern Burkina Faso, near the border with Ghana. The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and numerous bird species. Nazinga Ranch offers opportunities for filming wildlife in their natural habitat, as well as capturing the unique landscapes of the Sudanian savannah and riverine forests.

Pendjari National Park (adjacent in Benin): Although Pendjari National Park is technically located in Benin, it is part of the WAP Complex and shares a border with Burkina Faso. Pendjari is one of the largest and most well-known national parks in the region, renowned for its populations of elephants, lions, leopards, and other large mammals. Filmmakers may find Pendjari National Park to be an ideal filming location for capturing African wildlife and landscapes.

Poaching Rehabilitation Center (Centre de Réhabilitation des Primates de Nazinga): This center, located within Nazinga Ranch, provides a sanctuary for rescued primates, including chimpanzees and monkeys. It offers opportunities for filming conservation efforts, rehabilitation programs, and the interaction between humans and primates.

Historical Sites:

Burkina Faso has several historical filming sites that offer rich cultural and architectural heritage, providing filmmakers with unique settings for period dramas, documentaries, and historical recreations. Here are some notable historical filming sites in Burkina Faso:

Loropéni Ruins: The Loropéni Ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in southwestern Burkina Faso. These ancient ruins consist of stone walls and structures dating back to the 11th century, representing the remains of a fortified settlement and evidence of early iron-working activities. The Loropéni Ruins provide a captivating backdrop for filming historical dramas and documentaries exploring Burkina Faso’s early civilizations and ancient societies.

Tiébélé: Tiébélé is a village in southern Burkina Faso known for its elaborately decorated traditional mud-brick houses. The painted designs on the walls of these houses depict cultural symbols, historical events, and ancestral stories, reflecting the artistic traditions and heritage of the Kassena ethnic group. Filmmakers can capture the architectural beauty and cultural significance of Tiébélé’s historic buildings, offering a glimpse into the region’s artistic and architectural traditions.

Ruins of Tiebele: The ruins of Tiebele, located near the village of Tiébélé, are remnants of ancient settlements dating back to the 15th century. These archaeological sites include stone foundations, walls, and other structures that provide insights into the region’s past civilizations and historical development. Filmmakers can use the ruins of Tiebele as a backdrop for filming historical documentaries or reenactments, highlighting the area’s archaeological significance.

Bobo-Dioulasso: Burkina Faso’s second-largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, is home to several historical landmarks and architectural gems. The city’s colonial-era buildings, such as the Grande Mosquée and the old railway station, offer glimpses into Burkina Faso’s colonial history and architectural heritage. Filmmakers can explore Bobo-Dioulasso’s historical districts and landmarks to capture the city’s vibrant past and cultural diversity.

Ouagadougou Grand Mosque: The Ouagadougou Grand Mosque, located in the capital city of Ouagadougou, is one of Burkina Faso’s most significant religious and historical landmarks. Built in the early 15th century, the mosque features traditional Sudano-Sahelian architecture characterized by mud-brick walls, wooden pillars, and intricate decorative elements. Filmmakers can showcase the architectural beauty and cultural importance of the Ouagadougou Grand Mosque in historical and cultural documentaries.

Are There Any Limitations On The Type Of Content That Can Be Filmed In Burkina Faso?

When organizing their projects in Burkina Faso, filmmakers should take local laws and cultural sensitivities into consideration. Respecting regional customs, traditions, and values is crucial, even though there are no explicit restrictions on the kinds of content that can be filmed. Filmmakers ought to refrain from presenting material that could be interpreted as derogatory or offensive to the social, cultural, or religious norms of the nation. Furthermore, it’s important to proceed cautiously when discussing delicate subjects like politics, religion, and ethnicity in order to prevent misunderstandings or possible conflicts. To make sure that the content complies with any applicable rules or guidelines and is appropriate for the cultural setting, it is advisable to get advice from local authorities or cultural specialists. In general, filmmakers can produce content that honors Burkina Faso’s rich cultural legacy and promotes understanding and appreciation between people by practicing cultural sensitivity and taking local sensitivities into consideration.

Best Time To Film In Burkina Faso.

The best time to film in Burkina Faso is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April. During this period, the weather is generally dry and sunny, with lower humidity and minimal rainfall, creating optimal filming conditions. The dry season offers clear skies, abundant natural light, and pleasant temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor filming and capturing the country’s diverse landscapes, cultural festivals, and wildlife. However, filmmakers should be aware that temperatures can vary significantly between day and night, so it’s essential to plan for appropriate clothing and equipment. Additionally, certain cultural events and festivals, such as the International Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), may take place during the dry season, providing opportunities for filmmakers to showcase their work and immerse themselves in Burkina Faso’s vibrant cultural scene.

Language Spoken In Burkina Faso

French is the official language of Burkina Faso and is the main language used in the country’s administration, media, education, and government. Burkina Faso, on the other hand, is a linguistically varied nation where several ethnic groups speak more than 60 indigenous languages. Indigenous languages including Moore, Dioula (Jula), Fulfulde, Gourmanchéma, and Bissa are among the most often spoken ones. Particularly in rural areas and among particular ethnic groupings, these languages are frequently used in everyday communication. Despite the fact that French is the official language of the country and the language of teaching in schools, many Burkinabé are multilingual and speak both French and their local tongue with ease.

Filming Wildlife In Burkina Faso

Generally speaking, you would want authorization in order to film animals in Burkina Faso. Typically, this authorization is acquired by the appropriate government agencies in charge of protecting wildlife and protected areas, including the National Parks and Wildlife Service or the Ministry of Environment, Green Economy, and Climate Change.

You would probably need to file a formal request explaining the specifics of your filmmaking project—such as the sites you want to film in, the species you want to catch, the dates and length of the filming, and the intended use of the footage—in order to get approval. Information regarding the filming equipment you plan to use and any special procedures you may follow to minimize disturbance to wildlife may also be requested by the authorities.

Additionally, you might have to abide by laws pertaining to protected regions, endangered species, and conservation initiatives, depending on the precise filming sites and the species being filmed. This can entail following rules for moral wildlife filming techniques and securing permits to enter national parks or wildlife reserves.

To minimise environmental effect, comply with local legislation, and assist conservation efforts, make sure you have all the required documents and licences in place before you start filming wildlife in Burkina Faso. Collaborating with nearby conservation groups or wildlife authorities can offer significant direction and assistance in managing the permission procedure and guaranteeing conscientious filming methods.

Safety Precautions When Filming In Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso can be safe for film crews with careful planning, situational awareness, and adherence to security protocols. While the country has experienced periods of political instability and occasional incidents of crime, particularly in urban areas, many regions are generally safe for filming with the right precautions in place. It’s essential to research the areas you plan to visit, work with reputable local fixers, and implement security measures to protect your crew, equipment, and valuables. By being vigilant, respectful of local customs, and prepared for potential challenges, film crews can have a safe and successful filming experience in Burkina Faso.

Why Use Africa Fixers For Your Shoot In Burkina Faso

Africa Fixers is an African fixing company. We support production companies and filming companies in Burkina Faso and other countries that are listed on our website. Over the years, we have worked with many production firms on several projects, making us quite experienced in this area. We manage all fixer services required with our skilled staff of local fixers. We have all required relationships with various service providers and government authorities in Burkina Faso to ensure that accreditation and filming permissions are processed fast. For further information and other necessary specifics for a successful filming experience, get in touch with us.