Back in October 2003, there was international news about a new movie studio to be built in Cape Town. And then, nothing except silence, rumour and doubt. So it’s something of a relief that South Africa’s Mail & Guardian Newspaper is finally able to report:
“The City of Cape Town is making R30-million available to restart the development of the Dreamworld Film City project, which is still hoping to turn the eastern suburbs of Cape Town into a southern-hemisphere Hollywood. …..Simon Grindrod, mayoral committee member for economic development and tourism, said “This project represents the single biggest opportunity to secure billions of rands’ more income for the city in terms of film production and associated industries,” he said. “The Cape Town film industry is estimated to be worth R20-billion.”
Now, this is all very lovely. The folks behind Dreamworld are some of our industry’s finest, and if anyone can make this studio work, it’s them.
But the City’s approach – funding a film studio when the City’s own Film Permit Office remains under-funded, ill-equipped, understaffed and restrained by all sorts of bureaucratic nonsense – is wrong-headed. Indeed, the film industry’s lack of confidence in the City is at such high levels that some 250 Cape-based producers and locations professionals issued a manifesto via the CFC to the Department of Economic Development Councillor just before Christmas, in a desperate attempt to get the city to listen to their concerns.
Funding for the Film Studio is really great news. Being able to reliably and professionally access permits to film in City streets, parks, buildings and beaches would be even better. Or maybe I’m just living in a dream world?