Minister Rob Davies enhances relations between South Africa and major United States Film and Television studios

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies said the film sector in South Africa has been making significant progress across the board. He was briefing the media in Pretoria on his visit to Hollywood, Los Angeles in the United States.

"Our film sector is also making progress in the hosting of foreign films in South Africa which are using South African technicians, camera crews, actors, film stages, locations, as well as post-production services like animations capacities and so on," said Minister Davies.

He said government’s efforts of enhancing the film sector were fruitful.

“We have been developing capacity in South Africa and this includes the establishment of a film studio in Cape Town. The Cape Town Film Studio (CTFS) is widely recognised as a world class facility, and for the quality of the services it provides,” said Davies.

Minister Davies added that the dti introduced the incentive programme in 2004 with subsequent amendments in January 2008, which saw the introduction of milestone payments and the increase of the rebate cap which has since been removed.

According to Davies, the overall impact of the reforms, since 2008 has led to a substantial improvement in the number of productions shot and produced locally from 49 projects to 398 projects.

"Of the 398 projects, 256 were SA productions, 77 co-productions and 65 foreign productions, which in total led to the generation of total qualifying South African production expenditure of R8 billion with the incentive pay-out of R2 billion. The increase in the number of approved productions is indicative of the growth and capability of the SA film production, with the film sector having contributed R3.5 billion to South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GPD)- both direct and indirect spend-  and created more than 25 000 full time equivalent jobs," said Davies.

He emphasised that the support provided by the dti has extended beyond the film rebate, with support being provided in the construction of the CTFS, a mega complex studio in 2009. Davies said a further R6 million was made availablein 2012 for the construction of a water tank facility currently being used for the block buster production Black Sails currently aired in the US.

"To date, more than 10 productions, including Safe House, Chronicle, Judge Dredd and the Borrowers, have already utilized the studio facilities creating in excess of 30 000 job opportunities," he added.

Davies' visit was to further cement ties between South Africa film sector and major Hollywood studios such as the 20th Century Fox, Marvel, Sony, NBC Universal and Disney, amongst others, and to profile the countryas the location of choice for the production of films from the US in particular Hollywood. 

Minister Davies mentioned that all the studios were extremely positive about the experiences they have had in shooting productions in South Africa including the environment, local production crew and interactions with government on the rebate. 

As an outcome of his visit, the dti would be leading a return mission to Los Angeles where world class South African companies in the film industry value chain would be showcased and have the opportunity of engaging with the major Hollywood studios and independent film makers’ guild.

Sidwell Medupe