The Hollywood-style studio complex currently under construction in Cape Town was introduced to the global market at the Cannes Film Festival by co-owners producer Anant Singh (Yesterday, Cry, the Beloved Country) of Videovision Entertainment and e.tv CE Marcel Golding.
CEO of Cape Town Film Studios (CTFS) Nico Dekker was also present to announce that the complex is due to open in March 2010. “CTFS will consist of over 75,000 square feet of high-specification soundproof stages, each with a roof height of more than 65 feet, lighting gantries at almost 40 and 50 feet. With five-foot-wide walkways, a hanging capacity of 150kg/m² and a point load of 1.8 tonnes, we are confident that we will be able to meet the technical needs of any production. CTFS will also have the ability to transmit dailies electronically anywhere in the world.”
In addition, the complex will boast two fully equipped workshops of 31,000 square feet each for set construction, art department, wardrobe and storage, as well as an extensive backlot for exterior set building. Production offices and support buildings will make up the offering in phase 1.
Said Singh: “CTFC is the first custom-built Hollywood-style studio complex of its kind in Africa. This country has great potential as a production venue and we are delighted to offer producers and directors the opportunity of a one-stop-shop to maximise everything that South Africa has to offer. CTFS is a world class facility and will be among the best on offer anywhere in the world. We believe that it will be the dedicated hub for media, new media, entertainment and film on the continent.”
Dekker announced that companies representing all aspects of production servicing are planning to move on to the site, which will provide the full range of production support. The studio already has a short list of more than 80 companies that want to move permanently on the site and these include post-production, special effects, specialised film equipment, casting, props, crew, crew agencies, lighting, camera, grips and a full range of transport and motion vehicle services
South African production services costs, according to Dekker, are 30 to 50% less than elsewhere in the world, offering a huge incentive for companies to use CTFS. Dekker and Singh emphasised that CTFS in time will also be a production partner that will provide financial incentives, distribution deals, and gap and equity financing.
CTFS is backed by the South African government and will also facilitate applications for tax rebates and refunds as well as financial support from the South African government, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) and the Department of Trade and Industry, the DTI.
Another aspect that makes South Africa attractive as a production destination is that, according to Singh, “South African crew, cast and production support are experienced, non unionised, creative and universally English speaking. In terms of cast, talent deals are done on a buy-out basis with no residual fees”.
The majority shareholders of CTFS are Videovision Entertainment and Sabido Investments, owner of independent free-to-air channel e.tv.