For the first time post-production has been included in the financial incentive offered by the South African Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to foreign-based film productions shooting on location in South Africa. The incentive also accommodates productions shot in other countries that post-produce in South Africa.
In another first, video game production has also been included as an eligible genre in addition to feature films, tele-movies, television drama series and mini-series, documentaries, documentary series, documentary features and animation.
Additionally, the Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production Incentive, which is an uncapped rebate, offers an incentivised sum totaling 20% (the percentage in the previous incentive was set at 15%) of the Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) of R12m and above.
For a foreign production shooting on location in South Africa with a QSAPE of R12m and above and conducting post-production with a Qualifying South Africa Post-Production Expenditure (QSAPPE) of at least R1.5m, the incentive will be calculated at 22.5% of QSAPE and QSAPPE (an additional 2.5% cumulative 22.5%). Thus the rebate calculation is: 22.5% of R12m = R2.7m; 22.5% of R1.5mil = R337 500; total rebate = R3 037 500.
If shooting in South Africa and conducting post-production with a QSAPPE of R3m and above the incentive will be calculated as 25% of QSAPE and QSAPPE (an additional 5% cumulative 25%). Rebate calculation is: 25% of R12mil = R3m; 25% of R1.5mil = R750 000; total rebate = R3 750 000.
For a foreign production that is shot elsewhere and post-produced in South Africa with a QSAPPE of R1.5m, the incentive is calculated at 22.5% of QSAPPE (rebate = R337 500). If the QSAPPE is R3m and above the incentive is calculated at 25% of QSAPPE (rebate = R750 000).
Significantly, feature films and feature length documentaries now only need to be a minimum of 80 minutes in length (instead of 90 minutes as stipulated in the previous incentive) to qualify for the rebate.
Over the past few months several industry stakeholders, including Refinery’s Tracey Williams, Rudi van As of Film Afrika and Moonlighting Films’ Marvin Saven, have lobbied the dti to include post-production in the Foreign Film and Television Production Incentive and consulted in the drawing up of the new guidelines.
Says Williams: “The dti incentives are written by Dr Nonceba Mashalaba, chief director of Product Development at the dti’s The Enterprise Organisation division. Dr Mashalaba was incredibly helpful – she asked us what we would like to see in the incentive and this opened up discussion.
“In March Refinery hosted a meeting in Johannesburg that was attended by the dti and many key South African producers. The meeting, which included a conference call to Cape Town facility Searle Street post-production, was fantastic and compliments to the dti for allowing us such an open dialogue with them.
“One of the big turnkey results to come out of this was the raising of the percentage of the incentive from 15% to 20% for QSAPE of R12m or more. The inclusion of post-production in the incentive is refreshing as now there is no gap between post-production and production and we will be able to attract more post work into the country. It’s important to note that QSAPPE also includes music and musicians in productions.’
For the purposes of the incentive post-production is defined as the point at which the footage leaves set.
Film Afrika’s Rudi van As commends the dti for their hard work. “They consistently work with the industry to make the South African film industry more competitive in an international environment. On behalf of the industry I thank the dti for their open door policy – they are an absolute joy to work with.
“I’m certain the new incentive will secure more foreign investment into South Africa, which translates to more jobs and the growth of the local industry.’
He notes that the dti’s other incentive, the South African Film and Television Production and Co-production Incentive is still active and going strong.
Screen Africa magazine – June 2012