AFS Productions shooting an international commercial at Atlantis Dunes, outside Cape Town. See commercials feature on page 40
On 16 May at the Cannes International Film Festival, South Africa’s Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana, signed an audiovisual co-production treaty with French Minister of Culture and Communication, FrŽdŽric Mitterrand.
As per the treaty, South African filmmakers entering into official co-productions with French partners will be able to access French financial instruments and vice versa. Discussions around the treaty began several years ago and gained momentum in 2008, when South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its French counterpart, the National Centre of Cinematography and the Moving Image (CNC).
Before a treaty could be negotiated there had to be an MoU in place, explains NFVF CEO Eddie Mbalo. Prior to the MoU the two countries had agreed to co-operate on arts and culture. Creating a treaty is a lengthy process because, as an official agreement between two governments, each country has to make sure the treaty does not conflict with any respective state laws. Once the treaty is signed by the two ministers, its administration is then negotiated between the CNC and the NFVF.
Mbalo believes the treaty will be beneficial to South Africa because France has had a policy around cinema development for many years and is a leading film producer in Europe. “Furthermore, France has an interest in South African stories and themes as the two countries are linked historically. Under the treaty, French filmmakers co-producing with South African partners will be able to access the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) rebate.”
Read more in the June 2010 issue of Screen Africa