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shooting in Africa


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#1 ian roe

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 04:58 PM

I am heading to Uganda in July to shoot a piece on Cervical Cancer. I have Panasonic DVX-100. The client is quite worried that if I bring too much gear I might become a "target" by Customs officials for bribes etc. I was wondering if I could connect with anyone who has had expereince shooting in Africa and if they had any advice on how to mitigate this risk. Most of the shooting will be 'in the field' with a ME 66 microphone or lav mics. I have a small lighting kit as well that I would also like to take along but this will depend on what I can find out before leaving.
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#2 James Compton

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 05:39 PM

Dig up reciepts of your camera purchase or make fake ones that show the value. Look into getting a carnet. A carnet is a document that allows you to bring your "tools of the trade' into the country without hassle.

http://www.osec.doc..../atacarnet.html

Edited by James Compton, 12 May 2008 - 05:40 PM.

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#3 Tom Lowe

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 09:31 AM

If they do hit you up for bribes, they probably won't ask for much, especially if you yourself are dressed down and don't look like a businessman or whatever. I've spent some time in that area, and after a while you just learn to live with this sort of stuff. If a $5 bribe can get you a decent seat on a bus or train or passage across a border, etc, just haggle for a while.. and then pay it with a smile. :) These "officials" also just like to be treated like they are important. If you flatter them and treat them like they are important, that can go a long way too.
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#4 James Ewen

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 10:10 AM

Hi Ian,

I live and work in Uganda, travel with large amounts of equipment a lot in the region and have done so for the past 6 years. We only have issues if travelling with a big crew and a lot of gear (10+ Pelican cases). I have never been hit up for a bribe and have never used a carnet as there are few customs officials here that are aware of the ATA carnet system. Generally a smile and some good manners help. Remember that accountability and anti-corruption procedures are being pushed throughout Africa and customs officials at the airport are very visible, thus are not likely to try anything.

Two things that might help you allay your clients fears and your own...

Judging by the subject matter you will be working within the health system and/or with organizations that would be able to write you an official letter explaining why you are bringing the equipment in.

If you are only bringing a DVX and a few lights then say you are a tourist coming to video gorillas in Bwindi. So many people come through Entebbe with huge amounts of expensive camera gear so it is completely feasible.

Good luck,

James
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#5 Lahoma Thomas

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 08:33 PM

Hi
Shouldn't be a problem. I am actually heading over to Kitgum to film a doc in July. It might be helpful for you to get a letter from the Uganda High Commission in your country. That is what I am in the process of doing.
Good Luck
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#6 Frank Gardner

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 11:16 AM

Hi
I am a South African 1st Ac who has shot in various African countries travelling out of South Africa.

In My experience do the following.

1. Get a letter from the Ugandan consolate in your country stating what and where you are going to shoot.
2. Get you production company tro draw up a carnet... this helps with insurance and any confusion at arrivals and customs.
3. Be as friendly as possible and stay away from "bribes" ( Africans have a huge interest in film making and often will be greatful if you inform them as to what you are doing in their country.
4. Trea ;) t these people with respect, after all its their country.

Regards

Frank
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