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How to apply for a filming license in Kenya fast

Are you asking yourself how to apply for a filming license in Kenya? In this article we break down everything for you. It is a simple process.

The film industry here is nascent but attracts both local and international producers. Tens of famous films shot in Kenya fully or partially, for example Out of Africa, Nowhere in Africa, The Constant Gardener, The White Maasai, and many others.

Local films that have gained international attention include The First Grader, Rafiki, Super Modo, among others. Many nature productions by National Geographic, the BBC, DW and other reputable media houses continue to produce documentaries in Kenya’s world famous parks and reserves.

Movie streaming services such as Netflix and Showmax have offices in Kenya too, just to illustrate how promising the movie industry is here.

The KFCB has made it easier to get a filming license for anyone planning to shoot a movie or documentary in Kenya. We break down the process below:

How to get a film license in Kenya

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) is in charge of issuing film licenses in Kenya. It is also mandated to regulate and classify any content showcased on the screens, TV, and play theatres.

The KFCB license application is a process completed within 48 hours. You do the application online on the Kenya Film Classification Board website. For short feature films your application is licensed within 25 minutes.

The cost of a filming license in Kenya depends on the category of your production. There are three categories for the Kenya Film Classification Board fees:

CategoryFees (KES)
1.Documentary, TVC/ Advertisement, Music Video, Corporate Video, Infomercial, Travelogue, short film, Testimonial, TV Series Episode, Webisode etc.5,000.00
2.Full-length feature film, TV Series Per Season and Web Series Per Season15,000.00
3.Filming fees per day1,000.00

You should plan well about the number of days you wish to film because the license expires immediately the period you indicated in your application lapses. However, you can apply for extension before expiry. However you will pay the daily fees on the number of extra days given.

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Once you have paid the required license fees, the cost of producing a movie in Kenya will largely depend on you and your production.

Requirements for filming license in Kenya

The KFCB will ask you for the following when you apply for a filming license:

CategoryRequirements
1.Documentary, TVC/ Advertisement, Music Video, Corporate Video, Infomercial, Travelogue, Testimonial, etc.a Synopsis, Screenplay, Treatment, Script Outline, Running Order or Storyboard and shooting schedule
2.Full-length feature film, Short film, TV Series, TV Series Episode, Web Series and WebisodeA Synopsis, Screenplay and Shooting Schedule

While these are requirements for all filmmakers, you will be required to work with a local film agent if you are a foreigner.

How to apply for filming license in Kenya as a foreigner

You may not be able to get a filming license directly as a foreigner, but this can be facilitated by your local agent. The KFCB registers and certifies film production companies and individuals who can also act as agents for foreign producers.

Filming agent roles include facilitating your permit; arranging your entry through customs; scouting local locations; scouting required talent; sourcing for crew; sourcing for equipment; facilitating accommodation; organising other logistics.

You can easily find licensed film agents by checking the Kenya Film Commission database.

Required documents for film agent in Kenya

All film agents and companies must have a KFCB permit of operation renewable annually. You should also be a Kenyan citizen and have a company registered under Kenyan law for you to get this permit. The requirements for one to become an agent are:

  1. Certificate of Registration/Incorporation of Company
  2. Kenya Revenue Authorty (KRA) PIN Certificate
  3. Professional Certificate in audio-visual media production/ film making
  4. List of Equipment (for those who own equipment ONLY)
  5. KES 12,000 (every annual renewal for the license costs the same amount)
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If you want to become an agent, apply through the Kenya Film Classification Board website.

Using drones for filming in Kenya

Using drones is allowed during filming in Kenya. If your filming will require a drone for aerial shots, you must get a license from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA). Foreigners are not allowed to operate drones in Kenya, that is why it is important for you to collaborate with a local production company/agent.

There are also restrictions on locations for drones use during filming. Your agent should get clarity and permissions from relevant authorities before your shoot. Otherwise, you will land into problems with law enforcers. This is especially sensitive in cities and towns or near security facilities and installations in the countryside.

There are a number of certificates required before your application to use a drone is approved. These have varying fees and your local film agent should help you through the hurdles. Documents on regulations and fees for drone filming in Kenya can be downloaded from the KCAA website.

Other requirements for filming in Kenya

Applying for a license at KFCB may be the only requirement to shoot a film in Kenya, if the filming location does not overlap on the jurisdictions of other authorities. For instance, you’ve seen that you require clearance by KCAA for drone operations.

Likewise, you will require permits from bodies such as the County Governments to shoot in the streets of a city or town, Kenya Wildlife Service to shoot in the game parks, Kenya Forest Service to shoot in the game reserves, among other possibilities.

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Sometimes even residents may have to give consent for you to shoot in some locations such as Karen. Just make sure your local film agent has acquired all the necessary documents to avoid inconveniences.

The best locations for filming in Kenya

Kenya has some of the best locations for filming in the world. For cities, villages, old towns, the ocean and lakes, forests and villages. The Kenya Film Commission which is charged with promoting the film industry (this is a different body from KFCB) inventory is the best place to start when looking for recommendations.

The good people at the Kenya Film Commission also have a directory of licensed film agents in Kenya. The commission will guide on certified agents and production companies, locations, permits, as well as general and special requirements.

The Kenya Film Commission contacts

Phone contact is +254 020 2714073 / 4
+254 729 407497,733 650068

Email: info@filmingkenya.com
Complaints: complaints@filmingkenya.com

Office location: Jumuia Place,
Lenana Road, P.O. Box 76417-00508, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Kenya Film Classification Board contacts

KFCB phone contact is 0711 222204/ 0777753355 /020 22 50600

KFCB email is info@kfcb.go.ke

Office location is Uchumi House 15th Floor, P.O Box 44226-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.