According to Jonathan Gimpel, owner of Atlas Studios, which is situated in the
creative hub of Milpark, Johannesburg, business is steadily improving from last
year’s slump in the industry. “My gut feel tells me that this is going to be a busier
year as we’re only in the second week of January and have had several
requests about our studios, including someone who has just been commissioned
to produce a 52-part series for the SABC,’ comments Gimpel.
Of the seven studios, only two are available for rental in 2014. “We’ve had a
good run as most of our studios are fully booked,’ says Gimpel. “We are about
to install an infinity curve in Studio 7, which is most popular for use as a
newsroom and talk shows and is ideal for filming commercials.’ Studio 7 will be
fully refurbished at the end of February and ready to accommodate prospective
Studio 4, a venue suitable for screenings (it currently plays host to the popular
First Wednesday Film Club which shows movies to the public for free), event
organising and live productions, such as fashion shows, and can also be utilised
for chat shows. “The facility is also perfect for corporate activities and
conferences,’ adds Gimpel.
The remaining studios house the long-running soapie Villa Rosa which screens
on pay-television DStv’s kykNET channel. Other studio spaces are taken up for
“We’ve been doing dry-hire rentals for 12 years,’ says Gimpel. “This means that
we don’t supply any equipment, but instead, provide specialised studio spaces
designed for the creation of film, which means that our spaces can be used in a
way that makes economic sense to people who bring their own equipment, such
as cameras and lights.
“If you know what you’re doing, shooting at Atlas Studios is very cost-effective.
Plus we have all the necessary infrastructure that crews require,’ concludes
Atlas Studios is centrally located near the South African School of Motion Picture
Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) and the South African Broadcast
Corporation (SABC). It is also in close proximity to Melville, a suburb where many
individuals involved in the South African film and television industry, reside.