SA shines as film industry venue

2011-07-03 15:58

Cape Town - The South African film and television industry is currently valued at around R12bn a year, says Sebastian Ndayi, research manager at the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC).

This creates direct and indirect jobs for more than 30 000 people.

Danny Bryer, the sales, marketing and revenue director at the Protea Hotels Group, estimates that there was a 20%-odd increase in the number of bed nights used by film producers in Cape Town in the last summer season compared with the previous high season.

Most came from Britain and Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian countries) but also from the US and increasingly India.

Terence Isaacs, head of the Cape Town municipal office for films and presentations, said by the third quarter of the 2010/11 financial year 3 793 permits had been issued for, inter alia, South African, Italian, Dutch, American, British and Indian productions.

Cape Town’s city centre, beaches and coastal roads were the most popular filming sites.

Toni Monty, acting head of the Durban Film Office, said there had been a definite decline in the city’s film industry over the past two years, but it saw a slight improvement so far this year.

She attributed this mainly to the global recession and therefore wanted to ensure that the domestic production industry toughened up to reduce dependence on international producers.

Ndayi said there had been a significant decline in the number of Gauteng productions during the financial year to end-March 2011 –  334 compared to the 742 in the 2009/10 financial year.

He attributed this to the World Cup soccer tournament last year which had resulted in 23.5% more being spent on filming in the country.

“Competition between the provinces is inevitable,” said Denis Lillie, chief executive of the Cape Film Commission (CFC).

“In Los Angeles about 1 000 film commissions are operating and there is fierce competition between the American federal states.”

Lillie therefore finds it heartening to see increasing rapport between the CFC, the National Film and Video Foundation, the Gauteng Film Commission and the Durban Film Office.

He has felt encouraged by Cape Town Film Studios having been singled out by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the world’s top 10 film studios. 

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