Everyone attending and presenting at the afternoon session of the Screen Africa Talent & Technology Conference (23 July, Coca-Cola Dome, Northgate Johannesburg) was in agreement that South Africa’s film sector had to go the low budget route in order to grow.
Traditionally a tough film funding environment, the situation has deteriorated recently with the global credit crunch. Basil Ford of the Media & Motion Pictures division of the parastatal Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) stressed that the division’s aim was to see a viable and sustainable industry, with willing contributions from other funders. To this end the IDC had entered into discussions with the Department of Trade & Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and public broadcaster SABC.
Filmmakers Jann Turner and Charles Sapadin presented fascinating case studies on their low budget films, the box office hit White Wedding and the successful straight-to-DVD release, Swop! respectively. Aryan Kaganof, award winning filmmaker who shot his film SMS Suger Man on a mobile phone camera (a word first) provided an intriguing case study of the South Korean filmmaking model, where in the 1960s, filmmakers had to produce one film a week to meet the government mandate.
For more on how low budget films offer the solution to creating a sustainable film industry see September issue of Screen Africa.