All around the world, the production of international films on location has become a multi-billion dollar business, with countries globally developing the capacity to attract and facilitate international film and television shoots in their locations so that they can benefit from the job creation and tourism promotion that arises. However our research has shown that:
- Accessing information about the African film industry and its offerings is extremely difficult,
- International producers have no easy way of connecting to the locations, services, skills and equipment available to them on the continent,
- It is very expensive for African industries to reach international producers.
- It is very difficult for African government to find the necessary skills to attract the film business,
- It is very difficult for African producers to find production partners elsewhere on the continent,
- Local businesses have few opportunities to acquire the skills to engage proactively with the sector.
To respond to this gap and opportunity, we created LOCATIONS AFRICA as a new Pan-African initiative to harness the power of the global film industry for local African development – and to build the brand identity of Africa through exposure on film and television in a way that boosts tourism and investment.
LOCATIONS AFRICA began life as a concept for a Locations Show to be held in Johannesburg later this year. However, as we built the components, we realized that the African industry is not well connected at this time, and that work would need to be done to ensure that the appropriate partners might participate in a meaningful way that ensured the event was sustainable and repeatable in future.
Recognizing this, we changed direction, and we re-launched LOCATIONS AFRICA as a number of inter-connected projects that are delivered throughout the year. These are designed to combine to improve sector coordination across the continent, increase the number of films shot on location, grow the skills of both private and public sectors in meeting the needs of filmmakers, build the economy by increasing the numbers of African businesses and individuals participating in the sector – and of course increase the tourism exposure of the country as a result. The Locations Africa Expo is now the grand culmination of these activities, rather than the activator.
The current activities planned as part of the Locations Africa include:
YEAR ONE (CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR)
- An introductory event, featuring an education session on Service Production, to be held at the Durban Film Festival in July 2014
- A “Heads of Industry” conference to be held in March 2015 in Johannesburg, to gather industry leaders in one place to identify challenges and opportunities and to craft ways forward.
- An initiative to the Cannes Film Festival, launching the event globally and providing a platform for African film industries at Cannes
- Launch of the AFRICAN ASSOCIATION OF FILM COMMISSIONS
YEAR TWO (NEXT FINANCIAL YEAR)
- A sidebar event held alongside DIFF 2015 exploring the Hollywood / commercial model of filmmaking, and how that can be exploited in Africa,
- Training and Market Readiness activities for HDI businesses and individuals,
- Film Commission training for government agencies responsible for sector growth
- Film Tourism Training
- Plus: Heads of Industry conference 2016
As mentioned, all of these exciting and interconnected activities build towards our premier event, the Locations Africa Expo, a convention and tradeshow to be held in Johannesburg in October 2015. We will be targeting participation for this event from the 15 African film countries (film institutes, producers organizations etc.) we are now working with to prepare their attendance. We also hope to attract 100 African and international production companies, 80 African supply businesses and hundreds of industry stakeholders, and to highlight the locations and services of film commissions and other film sector service providers from across the continent. The goal is to connect visitors with key industry decision makers – production service companies, Film sector organizations, independent finance companies, crew, talent and equipment companies – who can move their projects forward, wherever on the continent they may want to shoot.
Although it will take us a little longer to get there, our extensive research and experience in the field leads us to believe that this deliberate and methodical approach is best suited to the complexities of African production today. Without strong intra-African linkages – between governments, between producers, between locations owners, between clients – our ability to build a coherent and comprehensive platform that benefits the whole continent is constrained. We firmly believe that these relationships cannot be rushed. Therefore we aim to work constructively with our partners from the very beginning, ensuring that the Heads of Industry from across the continent are fully briefed on the challenges and the opportunities, and are properly prepared to participate in the October 2015 LOCATIONS AFRICA EXPO.
As part of this, we have further structured the activities with a definitive transformational agenda, and our activities include a comprehensive range of training and development, for governments wishing to build film sector capacity, for private sector stakeholders wishing to gain access to the lucrative business, and for tourism bodies wishing to develop film tourism programmes that can effectively brand and promote the country through film exposure. Training opportunities – on line and in person – continue throughout the programme.
If you’d like to know more about any part of the project or its various elements, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or my partner Azania Muendane. Alternatively, please also feel free to use the form below to get in touch.
[contact-form 1 “Contact form 1”]