Filming in Bir Tawil is not the easiest thing in the world to do, due to the location and political status of the area, but it is also these two points that potentially also make it the most rewarding.
Bir Tawil is the only truly unclaimed piece of land in the world, a not so tiny pinch of African that neither Egypt or Sudan want.. This is due to a historical anomaly while both were colonies of the British Empire, whereby both wanted the Hala’ib Triangle, but neither side wanted Bir Tawil. In short to claim one means to disavow the other, so it remains locked in a weird state of purgatory.
You can read more about the historical elements of Bir Tawil here.
The region though is extremely well-known because of its status as being unclaimed, which has led to a number of eccentric people declaring it a “country”. This has also led to fairly extensive interest in people wanting to film here.
The area is essentially mostly desert, with some hills, mines and almost no settlements. This leads Bir Tawil to be fitting for a number of film scenarios, but of course the main thing about filming in Bir Tawil is the fact that you are filming in Bir Tawil.
There are also a few settlements here that deal with the mining in the area, with the desolation of them having a somewhat “Mad Max Town” feel to them.
FILM PERMITS & PERMISSIONS:
Bir Tawil is not unpopulated and you cannot just turn up and film, from both a legal and safety perspective. Although technically unclaimed Bir Tawil is gotten to from Sudan and essentially falls under Sudanese authority. This means that filming here needs not only Sudanese permission, but also the permission of the local tribe. Pioneer Media are the only company who have arranged shoots here, and can arrange filming shoots in Bir Tawil.
FILM TALENT, CREWS & EQUIPMENT:
There are a number of Sudanese TV stations as well as a limited number of film companies who can provide film equipment. Permits can be arranged with the Sudanese authorities if equipment needs to be brought into the country.
FILM COST, TAX INCENTIVES & CO-PRODUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:
Sudan is currently slowly democratizing after many years as a dictatorship, so there are not only currently no tax incentives, but there is still a lot of bureaucracy. As things though do progress the chances for co-productions and things easing in the country are likely to improve.
Sudan itself is also an extremely promising film location, offering more pyramids than Egypt, but with next to no tourists relative ease with making closed sets around them for example.
ACCOMADATION & TRANSPORTION FOR FILMMAKERS:
Khartoum has a number of hotels covering a number of different price ranges. When outside of Khartoum hotel options are much more sparse, but can be arranged.
Bir Tawil has no infrastructure for guests, but there are towns wishing about 6 years drive, as well as the ability to arrange high-end camping inclusive of generators and catering facilities.
VISAS & TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR FILMMAKERS:
There is no such thing s a visa to Bir Tawil, for Sudan visa on arrival is available for tourists. Due to the current transition the country is going through guerrilla filmmaking is not recommended.
Film crews do need specific media visas to film in the country, Pioneer Media can arrange Sudanese Media visas. To film in Bir Tawil special permission is required from the local tribe, which again Pioneer Media arrange.
Pioneer Media also arrange armed security for the trip. You can read more about our security section here.
PIONEER MEDIA'S PREVIOUS PROJECTS & FILMS SHOT:
FILM PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY:
Due to the proprietary nature of our filming in in Bir Tawil we have only published a limited number of photos from our trip.