Filmmakers’ observations


Select South African filmmakers comment on where they think the local industry
is heading in 2014.

Chris Roland, producer, ZenHQ Films (The Forgotten Kingdom): 2013 saw an
explosion of locally produced films, which looks to continue into 2014. In the long
term, this is a positive trend. In the short term, it can prove disappointing if
producers do not pay attention to the current playing field. More films means
stiffer competition for audiences, which translates into reduced revenue.

2014 will see a surprising change in the type of local films that resonate for SA
audiences. Heavy social dramas and over-the-top slapstick comedies will see
declining audiences, while smart, well-produced and entertaining rom coms,
comedies, action and thrillers will gain momentum.

David Kau, actor (Blitz Patrollie): I think there will be lots of R2.5m budget films
being made to meet the DTI minimum rebate spend, but I don’t think that
necessarily means there will be many more South African films at the cinemas,
that’s up to the distributors.

I believe more black filmmakers will make or start productions in 2014. They all
just have to put as much effort in marketing and distributing their films to their
target market, wherever that is, rather than wait for the audience to come to
their films.

Hanneke Schutte, writer, director, producer and SA winner of the Jameson First
Shot Competition 2013 (Jimmy in Pienk): Just as in 2013 it looks like the market
is going to be flooded with local films. South African audiences are becoming a
bit more selective when it comes to supporting local films. I think producers and
filmmakers have to become savvier in the way they market their films because
the competition is tough.

We also have to challenge ourselves and constantly strive to make better films,
we can’t become complacent or try and stick to recipes that have worked before.

Ian Gabriel, director (Four Corners): I think the industry is coming of age. It
needs to be more than just a pretty and versatile location at cheap costs. We
need to train more crew, which means we need to look after our crew and
actors better; and we need to improve our production values and develop our
stories more efficiently.

The end result on the screen is the measure of our work and the value of our
industry. We need to keep it strong and protect it for the future. It’s the goose
that can lay the golden egg.

Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, writer and director (Of Good Report): At the risk of sounding
philosophical, the fate of the industry is intrinsically linked to the future of our
country. One is not mutually exclusive to the other.

Our art mirrors the society in which we live; it’s informed by the social dynamic of
our experience. Thus I have a feeling that 2014 will be a definitive year for our
country and thus our industry too.

Raffaella Delle Donne, writer (Khumba): From my involvement in story
development, I’ve been amazed at the amount of people working on ideas for
animated feature films, shorts and TV series that vary from kid-friendly, to “art-
house’ to adult animation.

Khumba has done a lot to put SA animation on the global stage which, hopefully,
will pave the way for other kinds of animated projects to get funded too.

Roberta Durrant, director and producer (Felix)

I feel that well-made films that are exported can do very well internationally.
However, I think that locally, South Africans need to be less apathetic of
supporting local movies and need to step out and support films in the cinemas. I
also believe that our distributors need to allow movie audiences to grow.
This is particularly relevant of a feature film like Felix, which garnered an
audience through word-of-mouth.

Also very important is that enough money is set aside for marketing and
publicity. Nevertheless, with the government’s support, our industry at the
moment is buoyant and we are being recognised internationally more and more
as a film partner of substance, so more and more co-productions will happen.


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