In 2015, a quarter of the twenty top-performing live action films from were shot on location in Africa, including Mad Max Fury Road, which spent nearly US$20 million on location in Namibia, and The Avengers Age of Ultron which shot in Johannesburg. International TV series such asHomeland and Black Sails also shot in South Africa and Sense8 shot in Nairobi. The continent also attracts hundreds of international TV commercials and stills shoots each year. However the opportunity exists to create an even more film-friendly environment continent-wide that will encourage even more productions to Africa, “growing the pie” of available work and raising living standards across the continent.
So how do we do that? What do foreign producers expect from their shooting destinations? How do we reach them to tell them what we have to offer? And how can African countries work together better to attract more feature films, television programmes, advertising commercials, stills photography, corporate and business-to-business video and digital media production to African locations?
Locations Africa (an initiative of Martin Cuff Consulting and Zesan Film and Events) has been awarded grant funding by the Department of Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy programme to identify ways that improved coordination, networking and marketing of African locations and production services to international film, television and commercial shoots can increase the number of productions that are attracted to the African Continent. Further project goals include:
- Increasing the economic investment into Africa, stimulating job creation, small business development and tourism / national brand promotion.
- Making African locations more readily-available to international productions
- Increasing the capacity of African governments and their agencies to support film sector development and drive marketing
- Improve the coordination of African film industry bodies
- Create better linkages between African companies to stimulate seamless cross-border production on the continent
- Increase the number of suppliers able to provide quality services to the industry
Following a Southern African sector meeting at Durban Film Mart / Durban Film Festival in June, Martin Cuff and Azania Muendane next undertake a fact-finding and information-sharing trip to East Africa. In each locations we will be hosting three formal sessions with sector stakeholders. These include
SESSION ONE: GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS TO SUPPORT FILM SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
Aimed specifically at Film Commissions, Film Institutes, Investment Promotion Agencies, Economic Development Initiatives and Tourism Organizations, this session addresses the multiple arguments for aggressive sector participation, including the growth of jobs, skills and tourism.
SESSION TWO: SERVICE SECTOR OPPORTUNITIES
Aimed at filmmakers and producers, this session will look at the economic value of adapting existing skills to the facilitation and servicing of international productions, as well as addressing what international producers look at when selecting their filming locations, and how to reach them
SESSION THREE – THE CONTENT REVOLUTION
The production and distribution of film content is in the middle of immense upheaval, simultaenously making is both easier AND harder to reach audiences and drive revenues. In this session we will look at some of the transmedia opportunities now available for filmmakers, that allow for the closer connection of content to viewer, and the better connection of filmmaker to earnings.
The travel schedule for these activities is currently as follows:
1. NAIROBI, KENYA
- Monday 12th September: 10am @ Kenya Film Commission – Government Session 1
- Tuesday 13th September: 10am @ Kenya Film Commission – Industry Sessions 2 & 3
2. KIGALI, RWANDA
- Thursday 15th September: 10am @ Rwanda Development Board – Government Session 1
- Friday 16th September: 10am @ Kwetu Film Institute – Industry Sessions 2 & 3
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
- Monday 19th September: 2pm @ Ethiopia Tourism Organization- Government Session 1
- Tuesday 20th September – to be confirmed.
This programme continues in West Africa in October 2016.