Filming in South Sudan

Filming in South Sudan

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency, or production company looking for filming in South Sudan or photography production support or shooting crew in South Sudan? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored to the specific needs of your project.

For an introduction to shooting in South Sudan 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.

South Sudan Film Locations

South Sudan is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa known for its landscapes of tropical forests, swamps, and grassland. The White Nile passes through the country. The Sudd Wetland is a swampy region in center of the country. The Imatong Mountains are located in the south.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of cotton, peanuts, wheat, sugarcane, mangos, papaya, bananas, and sesame seeds. Loka Teaks is home largest teak plantation in Africa. The Dinka people herd long-horned cattle. South Sudan mines oil, iron ore, copper, zinc, silver, gold, and diamonds. Energy locations include hydroelectric dams.

Film locations can be divided into the following states: Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes, Warrap, Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, Abyei Area, Pibor Area, and Ruweng Area.

Juba is the capital and largest city. Located in the south of the country, film locations of note include Wau Cathedral, All Saints Cathedral, Juba International Airport, University of Juba, and Juba Game Reserve.

Nimule National Park is located in the south of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, crocodiles, hippos, leopards, baboons, monkeys, chimpanzees, and a variety of birdlife.

Lantoto National Park is located in the south of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, buffalos, baboons, antelopes, and a diversity of birdlife including ostriches, and shoebills.

Kidepo Game Reserve in the southeast of the country is home to elephants, wild dogs, lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, buffalos, and giraffes.

Southern National Park is located in the southwest of the country. Wildlife of note include crocodiles, buffalos, giraffes, rhinos, and lions.

Bengangai Game Reserve is located in the southwest of the country. The park is known for its chimpanzees.

Bire Kpatuos Game Reserve is located in the southwest of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, buffalos, bongo antelopes, yellow-backed duiker, badger bats, and African golden cats.

Mbarizunga Game Reserve is located in the southwest of the country. Wildlife of note include Bongo antelopes, bushbucks, and yellow-backed duikers.

Mount Kinyeti, located in the Imatong Mountains, is the highest peak in South Sudan.

Shambe National Park is located in the center of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, rhinos, hippos, monkeys, lions, gazelles, giraffes, and ostriches.

Boma National Park located in the east of the country has a landscape of grasslands and floodplains. Wildlife of note includes buffalos, elephants, leopards, giraffes, oryx, hartebeests, and cheetahs.

Bandingilo National Park located in the east of the country is home to a vast migration of reedbuck, tiang, and white-eared kob. Predators such as wild dogs, cheetahs, caracals, lions and hyenas live in the park.

The white-eared kob and tiang migration is one of the largest mammal migrations in the world.

Radom National Park is located in the northwest of the country. The park is home to herds of roaming elephants and a diversity of birdlife.

Ashana National Park is located in the northwest of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants and giant elands.

Chelkou Game Reserve is located in the northwest of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, buffalos, and giant elands.

Numatina Game Reserve is located in the northwest of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, giant elands, and roan antelopes.

Ez Zeraf Game Reserve is located in the north of the country. Wildlife of note include elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and zebras.

Fanikang Game Reserve is located in the north of the country. Wildlife of note include hippos, Nile lechwe, and sitatungas.

Lake No, located in the north of the country, is home to hippos, crocodiles, and a diversity of birdlife.

Filming in the Protection of Civilians (POC) locations is best arranged with your NGO sponsor. Locations of note include the Yida Refugee Camp, Tierkidi Refugee Camp, Leitchuor Refugee Camp, and Pugnido Refugee Camp.

South Sudan Film Location Permits

Unauthorized photography of any public area is illegal with penalties ranging from arrest to fines, to confiscation of film equipment.

A photography permit must be held by all directors/cameramen. Our South Sudanese fixer will apply for this with the Ministry of Interior on your behalf. The film permit application must include the below information:

• Name of production company/agency
• Name, address, and phone number of local South Sudan fixer
• Title of Film
• Format (video, 8, 16, 35mm)
• Duration of film on the screening
• Intended audience
• Shooting schedule
• Number of days
• Location and dates of shooting
• Estimated total budget of the film ($ or SSP)
• Number of expatriate artists (on camera presenter=1)
• Number of expatriate film crew (director, producer, cameraman, etc)
• Type of construction/improvisation on locations
• Equipment to be imported (put this comprehensive list on a separate piece of paper for customs purposes)
• Equipment to be hired locally
• Raw film/video stock
• Type of accommodation, hotel, guest house, camping, etc
• Name of Hotel
• Approximate time for depositing the final copy of the film
• Special requests, if any

If you have a specific location or list of locations you would like to film or photograph, please contact us for notes and a quote.

Filming with drones is illegal in South Sudan, however, some options may be available depending on the specifics of your shoot.

Note, South Sudan authorities are known to be mercurial with their permitting. Be sure to have all permits in writing. As the situation is fluid, expect the unexpected and plan to film your footage as quickly as possible.

Best Time To Film in South Sudan?

South Sudan has a tropical climate. The south sees more rain than the north. South Sudan has hot, rainy summers (June to November) and warm, dry winters (December to May). For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Independence Day celebrations take place in July.

South Sudan is a predominately Christian country. Many people also practice traditional faiths. A minority are Muslim.

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

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 South Sudanese fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. Note, many services do no accept credit cards, so it’s good to have USD on hand.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in South Sudan.

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. South Sudan has a very small pool of directors, videographers, and stills photographers. Key crew should 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 South Sudan.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable.

South Sudan has over 60 indigenous languages. English is the official language, but Dinka and Nuer are the languages with the greatest number of speakers.

The country is home to 64 tribes with the largest ethnic groups being the Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, and Zande. All other talent needs to be brought in from abroad.

If you wish to embed with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), applications must be made in writing directly to the SPLA, and our local fixer will follow up on the local end.

South Sudan Film Equipment

Equipment. South Sudan has a very limited amount of camera, lighting, and grip equipment. Best to bring in from abroad. If you are bringing in your film gear a temporary import permit is required. Our South Sudanese fixer will arrange for all required permits and once these are granted the Ministry of Information will apply for a Temporary Import Permit for the equipment. This permit is then filed with customs awaiting your arrival at the airport.

Communications. Slow internet and unreliable access.

Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allow us to customize 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 time zones 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.

South Sudan Visas & Work Permits

Crews traveling on Western passports need to have visas to enter South Sudan.

To apply for a visa, you first need to apply for a Letter Of No Objection from the South Sudan Media Authority. The application letter must be on your company letterhead and must include visiting crew names, copies of passports, the role of each team member, and production houses. A project synopsis must also include the nature of your story; locations, and filming schedule. The South Sudan Media Authority will want to see the script/content before approving the Letter Of No Objection. They will not approve any projects they suspect aim to portray governing authorities in a negative light. Once the Letter Of No Objection is issued, you then take this letter to apply for a visa at your closest South Sudan embassy.

Once the visa is issued, each crew member is then required to apply for a Press Pass. Application information must include each visiting crew member’s Name, Sex, Place and date of birth, Nationality, Mobile number, Email address, Postal address, Profession, Name of Media House, Reason for visit, Specific area(s) to be visited, Local contact number, Website, Arrival and departure dates, and name of base hotel in South Sudan.

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter South Sudan.

All visitors to South Sudan must register at Immigration within 3 days of arrival.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads outside of Juba are poorly maintained. In particular, roads to the north often become impassable during the rainy season from July to September. Avoid road travel by night. Some off-road are yet to be cleared of landmines. Our South Sudanese fixer organizes safe and reliable 4WD transport. Several international airlines service flights to South Sudan. Commercial flights within South Sudan are limited. You will need an NGO or UN member/sponsor to use the UN/WFP flights.

Accommodation. Recommended film-friendly hotels in Juba include:

Logali House
Acacia Village

Hire South Sudan Production Support & Shooting Crew

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

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in South Sudan, 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.