SA-serviced Hollywood blockbuster


Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 BC, Warner Bros Pictures pre-historic epic which was mostly shot in South Africa and Namibia and serviced by South African company Moonlighting films, releases in South Africa on 21 March.

This feature film is the largest scale international production to have been shot in Southern Africa and required an unprecedented level of fabrication, construction and production resources.

“What really set this production apart for us was the extensive manufacturing and fabrication required to create the prehistoric era,’ explains Moonlighting Films producer Genevieve Hofmeyr. “From set build to costumes and weapons, everything was done to the highest level of detail and authenticity. It not only mobilised a huge work force in South Africa but really jumped up our skills base in these areas.”

Construction manager Brendan Smithers recalls just a few of the challenges. “The massive scale of the production meant that we had to come up with manufacturing techniques that could handle both the vast sizes of the sets – and the volume. This was hugely challenging.

We created a jungle for the Lost Valley with gigantic trees made from moulds from real bark and moss; we created over 4,000 mammoth bones, hand-carving the masters for the moulds; we built a massive eight-storey Palace exterior in the Namibian Desert while contending with high winds; and we made huge mammoth skins from latex and hemp wire.’

In Namibia, the production employed around 240 local, unskilled labour for the construction work alone and trained them in various areas of manufacturing.

Shooting for eight weeks in Namibia and four in South Africa the production utilised a crew of over 500 that worked simultaneously in the two countries.

Moonlighting FIlms Philip Key comments: “As with Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, which shot with Moonlighting Films in South Africa and Mozambique, 10,000 B.C was a formidable two-country production that again emphasizes the ease with which a production of this scale can work across Southern African countries. It also highlighted the need for a large studio space which is a facility that Cape Town will have by the end of 2009.”

Set in prehistoric times, 10,000 B.C. follows the story of a young hunter (Steven Strait) who discovers a lost civilization while pursuing a warlord who has kidnapped his wife (Camilla Belle).

A Centropolis Entertainment production of a Roland Emmerich film, 10,000 B.C. is directed by Roland Emmerich from a screenplay by Emmerich & Harald Kloser, and is produced by Michael Wimer (Welcome to America), Roland Emmerich and Mark Gordon (The Day After Tomorrow). The executive producers are Tom Karnowski (Everything is Illuminated), Harald Kloser, Thomas Tull (Superman Returns) and Bill Fay. The co-producer is Ossie von Richthofen (Welcome to America). The director of photography is Ueli Steiger (The Day After Tomorrow), and the production is designed by Jean Vincent Puzos (Lord of War).


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