Government is committed to supporting the film industry to ensure that it continues to contribute to South Africa’s economic growth, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Davies said the country has recognised the significance of the film industry which not only tells South African stories but also contributes to job creation.
“As a department we recognise that like in other sectors, one cannot be a successful player in the film industry if there are no incentives to support the industry,” he said.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of the revised guidelines of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) film and television production incentives which took place at the Durban International Film Festival.
“In order to ensure that our incentives are competitive and relevant to the needs of the industry, we have conducted a review to see what revisions were necessary. Working with Industry and stakeholders in government we believe we have achieved the right balance to grow investment and foster transformation,” he said.
He said the department assessed the incentive programme with extensive participation from industry and partner stakeholders in government.
“[This was] in order to try to be competitive, and to ensure that the incentives support the development of sustainable value chains and inclusive ecosystems. We are looking forward to seeing more new productions including productions that will find their way onto the world stage,” said Davies.
Some of the amendments include those made to the guidelines of the Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production Incentive, South African Film and Television Production Incentive, South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive, and the South African Film and Television Co-Production Incentive.
The new guidelines will be effective from 1 September 2018.
The revised incentive facilitates growth of the sector, building on South Africa’s shooting location advantages as a quality service provider for both local and international shoots.
Key in this value chain is the post-production work in which the dti would like to see more players and significant investment.
“We have also introduced a requirement for transformation which will be at different levels, in the actual film itself and also in accordance with the general architecture of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment,” said Davies.
He singled out the South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive as particularly important for achieving transformation in the film industry.
To this end, the minimum investment required for qualifying for the incentive has been dropped from R1 million to R500 000 in order to allow more filmmakers to participate in the programme.
Under this scheme there will also be a once-off purchase grant of R2 million for the purchase of production assets.
“We are looking at having a dialogue with stakeholders on the effects on the 4th Industrial Revolution on the film industry. We will engage on various interventions such as the establishment of relevant infrastructure like film studios, film schools and other facilities to support the long-term development and evolution of the film industry,” said the Minister.
The dti said South African films keep attracting attention from international film festivals. This is demonstrated by productions such as Ayanda winning a Special Jury Prize at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Revolting Rhymes being nominated for an Oscar, Miner’s Shot Down being nominated for an Emmy Award and Tell Me Sweet Something winning an award at the Black Star Film Festival.
These productions have been funded by the South African Film and Television Production Incentives. Through this incentive, 530 productions with a total Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) valued at R15.8 billion were supported between 2013 and 2017.