Country boasts an experienced crew base

Kenya’s landscape has a screen history that spans more than 50 years, from 1950’s “King Solomon’s Mines” to 2005’s “The Constant Gardener” and small screen fare such as “Survivor 3: Africa.”

The country’s film commission serves as a liaison between the government and filmmakers to smooth any bureaucratic speed bumps. An extensive database is available with a vast array of locally and internationally trained producers, directors, writers, crew and actors, in addition to service providers and production houses.

A license for a feature film is issued within 48 hours of submitting one copy of the script and a synopsis to the Dept. of Film Services. Feature license fees, including reality TV shows, are computed at a U.S. rate of $210. Documentaries receive on-the-spot licensing after an application is completed and are computed at a $70 U.S. rate.

Although Kenya boasts an experienced crew base, expatriate crew members and artists are welcomed, with work permits issued at $28 per person.

In addition to over half a million foreign inhabitants residing in the country, extras are available from a population amassed from 4,500 years of migration that evolved a unique cultural diversity ranging from the coastal Swahili and Arabic people to a multiracial community of Asian and European descendants together with Highland Bantus, Lake Basin Nilotics and Desert Cushites.

Kenya also boasts unique variations in altitude, terrain and location that includes white sandy beaches, mountains, dense forests, arid deserts, savannah grasslands, lakes and rivers. Some of these served as the backdrop for “Out of Africa,” “Love Actually” and Stephanie Zweig’s “Nirgendwo in Afrika” (Nowhere in Africa), winner of the 2003 Oscar for foreign-language film.

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California’s Inland Empire has upped its film production ante with the addition of the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa as a filming destination.

Since 2004, the $250 million resort run by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has drawn films such as the Nicolas Cage starrer “Next” and the upcoming Tom Hanks dramedy “The Great Buck Howard.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled that the Morongo tribe has embraced filming. The casino has become our answer to Vegas,” said Sheri Davis, director of the Inland Empire Film Commission. “Michael Potts, the casino sales director, is very knowledgeable about filming, so it’s a win/win situation.”

Taking a bite out of the production biz for Las Vegas locales, the Morongo Casino, located 90 minutes East of Los Angeles, offers a variety of settings — high and low desert, forest, residential and commercial — on the surrounding 32,000-acre reservation.

CBS Paramount Network Television in association with Sony Pictures Television shot its series pilot “Viva Laughlin!” at MCRS with roughly 300 crew members. “Viva Laughlin!,” an Americanization of the BBC’s “Viva Blackpool.”

TV skeins such as Showtime’s “Huff” and Fox’s “Bones” have also found a production home at the Morongo Casino.

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