South Africa’s film sector offering to the international market is robust. The Department of Trade and Industry for instance offers globally competitive financial incentives in the form of cash rebates for international productions shot anywhere in the country, and Industrial Development Corporation funding, and South African Revenue Service tax benefits also encourage filming in South Africa. South Africa now has eight co-production treaties – with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, France and Italy – and the DTI’s incentive specific to these co-productions is a generous 35% rebate on local spend.
• There is a diversity of geographic and architectural locations, both public and private. Cape Town has played stand-in for places as diverse as California, the Caribbean, Bolivia, Russia, Iran, India, Sierra Leone, Israel and New Jersey as well as playing itself.
• American filmmakers comment on the quality of South African light. It is, apparently, a match to southern California, but without the smog. There’s also a lot of it: 14 hours of daylight in summer means long shooting days.
• It’s summer when it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Although this is becoming less important, this nevertheless was responsible for the growth in fashion / commercial productions.
• The locations diversity is matched by the diversity of the people; producers are able to access people who look Asian, African, Scandinavian, Mediterranean, Arabic and more. However we also speak English.
• The industry is extremely well integrated, vertically, and there is a depth of quality crew, equipment and talent and the businesses that generally supply them. This means that the amount of goods and equipment needing to be shifted from abroad, and the costs associated with that, is limited.
• The sheer volume of production allows film sector businesses to re-invest and modernise. This also allows suppliers to support BEE filmmakers.
• The industry is self-regulating and non-unionised; there are well-established locations codes of conduct, crew and talent conditions and contracts etc.
• Local training and development is offered by establishments such as
AFDA and local universities. As well as creative courses in filmmaking, there are business skills opportunities; Accounting; Economics, Development & Tourism; Industrial Psychology & Human Resources; Management Sciences; Business School
• The new Cape Town Film Studio is world class.
• There are few on-going existing mechanisms to bring the industry together to capitalise on horizontal integration activities. There is no sustainable not-for-profit association co-ordinating industry needs.
• There are positive international linkages, notably with Japan, India, Germany and the UK, which may be better explored and exploited in future.
• Fewer producers / content creators means less training and production opportunities, which results in fewer career pathways for industry entrants. Lack of production and career pathways creates difficulties retaining talent and technical crew
• There is a wealth of local stories and local heroes.