At a workshop held at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on 29 July, it was revealed that public broadcaster SABC wishes to engage with the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in order to come up with a common set of guidelines relating to the DTI’s recently launched South African Film and Television Production and Co-production Incentive.
The incentive is not applicable to any productions commissioned by the SABC in which the broadcaster retains 100% ownership. Nor is it applicable to any productions where the Special Purpose Corporate Vehicle (SPCV), which is set up for that production, be owned by the broadcaster. It is, however, applicable for projects that are licensed by the SABC (which is akin to a pre-sale) or productions or co-productions in which the broadcaster takes an equity stake.
Said the DTI’s Deputy Director: Creative Industries Julia Nzimande: “Our new incentive scheme was designed to empower producers during their negotiations when raising finance for their productions. In doing so the DTI adhered to the Copyright Act which holds that the ownership of copyright should be in the hands of the creator. If the SABC commissions a production it retains 100% ownership and is therefore not eligible for the incentive because it would be like government funding government. The economic value of a film product lies in intellectual property (IP) – he who owns the goods can trade the goods and sell the goods. Therefore, in our incentive guidelines, the producer must own at least 35% of IP.’
The SABC’s head of Commissioning & Special Projects Kamscilla Naidoo noted that the SABC had been inundated with a flurry of queries on how the incentive works. “It’s crucial that producers understand the benefits that the incentive offers. The question now is how the various agencies (ie. SABC, IDC, DTI and NFVF) can work together in setting the legal and financial parameters for cashflowing the incentive.’