Film and Filming

May 4, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Activities

has long been a perfect location for filming the perfect African scene, and it has hosted its fair share of film crews. The safari for the 1950 film version of H Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, starring Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger, was described as “the most ambitious location trip in Hollywood history” and involved a 14,000 mile round trip and a crew of hundreds.

The filming of Mogambo, a romantic adventure starring Clark Gable, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner was described as “like running a small war.” One day during filming, none other than Frank Sinatra turned up on the set and cheered up the crew on Christmas Eve with a rendition of ‘White Christmas’. John Wayne, also had his time on a Tanzanian set for the action comedy Hatari!. Following the experience, actor Hardy Kruger bought the farmhouse used in the film for himself and briefly turned his back on Hollywood for a life of hunting and farming around present-day Arusha National Park.

But times have moved on since filming in Tanzania was considered “ambitious,” and no longer is it “like running a small war,” yet the allure of the African set remains in the mind of viewers the world over. Infrastructural development in the country over the last half-century has turned what was a logistical nightmare into a relatively simple task. Add to this a wide variety of landscapes and settings, from jungle to plains to tropical beaches, and a safe environment with political stability, Tanzania provides the scope and flexibility to get a perfect shot.

The Tanzanian film industry – the so-called ‘Bongo Movie’ – has grown substantially over the last few years. emboldened by the success of the Nigerian industry. While quality has been a problem in the past. it has improved dramatically with the establishment of high-quality, professional production houses and the development of skills in the country. The production houses have begun attracting individuals from around the world, with actors and technical crews from India and the USA joining local teams, bringing their skills and experience, and teaching Tanzanians in the art of film production.

Recently, a few travel companies have opened up packages to assist those wanting to film in Tanzania. From scouting locations and recruiting actors, to arranging transport for equipment and crew, to handling the cumbersome task of clearing equipment through customs. Some travel companies will even arrange local, multi-lingual guides to stay with the crews and help with day-to-day requirements, translating and smoothing over any
local difficulties.