South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is to be developed into a fully-fledged South African film commission and a national film fund is to be established, said Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile at the NFVF’s Economic Baseline Study launch held on 10 May in Johannesburg.
While Mashatile did not divulge further details about the film commission and fund plans, he assured filmmakers of government’s continued support of the local industry.
“Today marks an important day in the development of our local film industry as we are presenting a comprehensive study about the South African film sector.
“The study includes value chain analysis as well as findings about improving the number of direct and indirect jobs that are created and shows that the local industry is a major driver of our economic growth and job creation.
“We will use the study to strengthen the work we are doing, to provide increased and sustained support for the industry,’ said Mashatile.
The NFVF commissioned Deloitte to research and determine the economic benefits and the value chain profile of the South African Film Industry (SAFI) for 2012.
Judy Prins, Deloitte leader of Sport, Media and Entertainment, presented the NFVF’s Ecomonic Baseline Study using verifiable data from the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
“Key findings from this research show that in 2012 the SAFI contributed R3.5bn to South Africa’s GDP (both direct and indirect spend), created more than 25 175 Full-Time Equivalent jobs, earned over R670m towards the South African GDP, encompassed over 2 500 direct service providers and delivered an economic multiplier of 2.89 for every R1 spent in the industry. Another R1.89 was generated within the South African economy. The industry has also shown growth of 84% in the last five years,’ said Prins.
For the study, stakeholder interviews were held with the NFVF, FPB (Film and Publication Board), the dti, IPO (Independent Producers Organisation), SASFED (the South African Screen Federation), Straight2DVD, M-Net, Magic Factory, Indigenous Films, Nu Metro, SAFACT (Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft), GFC (Gauteng Film Commission), ISPA (Internet Service Providers’ Association), Moonlighting, Chicco Twala and individual producers of low-budget films for broadcasters.
Endorsed by government
Mashatile continued: “We believe that this research will contribute significantly to the growth, development and sustainability of our local film industry.
“The study will assist us in our work to generate additional investments in the sector and expand enterprise and business opportunities and create, strengthen competitiveness, build skills-development and provide the necessary support, infrastructure and expand existing and new markets for our filmmakers.’
According to Mashatile the study will assist filmmakers who seek partnerships with the private sector.
“It will also further our ability to attract more investors and leaves us in a better position to identify the best institutional structures to support the growth of the sector.’
He said that this important study was conducted at a time when local films and actors continue to receive acclaim across the globe.
“To us this means that our film industry can compete successfully with the best in the world. It also indicates that the world wants to hear our South African stories, stories of the triumph of the human spirit. I want to assure everyone involved with the local film sector that your work has not gone unnoticed. You have the full support of the government,’ stated Mashatile.
At the launch the dti’s support for the industry was emphasised. The organisation offers and administrates the dti Film Incentive. Qualifying productions include feature films, television movies, television drama series or mini-series, documentaries and long-form animation projects.
As such, the dti Film Incentive pays out between 25% to 35% on Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) for films that meet the definition of a local production / coproduction and 20% of QSAPE for films that meet the “foreign’ film definition. A post-production incentive was introduced in June 2012 and this provides an additional 2.5% and upwards on QSAPE.
The dti is developing “incubator programmes’ and will reveal more details in three months’ time.
It was, however, mentioned that low-budget films would benefit from the incentive announcement as these films that target the broader demographic are on the increase.
Proposed key issues to address are the development of high-quality concepts and screenplays, increased training initiatives across the value chain, increasing the competitiveness of South Africa versus other countries when attracting foreign films, supporting growth and distribution of low-budget films, supporting the distribution of local films into foreign territories, controlling the negative impact of piracy and supporting the development of local film audiences and association distribution methods.
Some proposed initiatives are the provision of development funding for high-quality concept and screenplay development, support for training and transformation initiatives, increasing film incentive for foreign films, development of a separate film incentive for low-budget films targeting the broader demographic, development of a separate Film Incentive for low-budget films such as documentaries (that don’t qualify for the minimum threshold under the current Film Incentive).
The initiatives also include the introduction of more funding and support for the distribution of local films into foreign territories, investigating the extent of DVD and online piracy and the introduction of measures to combat it and the introduction of funding for alternative distribution mechanisms into the broader demographic.
By Martie Bester
screen africa magazine – june 2013