Nigeria has a booming local industry, known as Nollywood, but is yet to tempt many international productions. Lack of infrastructure and security concerns have put off many, but there are opportunities to take advantage of some great scenery.
In the north, there is the semi-arid region of Sahel, which borders the Sahara desert, transitioning into the Savanna. Plus, the state of Niger with its national parks and game reserves, and Plateau state, known for its natural rock formations, hills and waterfalls.
While in the south there are rainforests and sandy beaches, including the golden sands of Ndibe Sand Beach, and the stunning Ogbunike Caves in the state of Anambra, which are an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, is a newly created city with wide boulevards, but it is Lagos that is the hub for production services and productions in Nigeria.
A film permit from the Nigerian Film Corporate is required to film in Nigeria. The permit costs $450 per production and is usually processed within 3 days.More lead time is required for larger footprint productions such as shoots that involve traffic control or large setups.
“Nigeria is a film-friendly country that is very much open to any business that promotes the country, especially film and photography projects,” insists Aderemi Ogunpitan at local outfit IBST Ltd. “Pretty much anything is possible as long as you approach the right people in the right way. For projects shooting outside of Lagos or Abuja this may also involve a local fixer/producer arranging permits in person, on the local level, so make sure to allow extra time and money for that.
“Filming in sensitive government areas, national parks, historic sites or with drones may also require extra permits. For instance, filming with drones in Abuja requires special permits.”
Nigeria has a tropical climate with variances in different regions. The dry season runs from October to April. The end of the dry season is the best time to film wildlife with animals congregating around water sources. May to September is the wet season. It is best to avoid the heaviest rains from April to July as roads outside of cities become impassable.
Nigeria has all of the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally (Arri Alexa, Red Dragon, Sony F55, large cranes, tracks, dollies etc), but more specialised equipment, such as high-speed cameras need to be brought in from abroad.
There are no official studios, but converted warehouse spaces with basic facilities are available.
Be aware that Lagos has extreme traffic congestion so allow plenty of time to get from location to the next.
Aderemi Ogunpitan, managing director, IBST, email@example.com