The National Film and Video Foundation, an agency of the Department of Arts and Culture, presents the annual co-production activity report for 2014. The report is compiled from data captured from the applications for advanced ruling and is aimed at assessing how co-production activities contribute to the local film industry.
In order to reach a wider distribution network of filmed material, most countries have signed co-production treaties with countries that share similar visions. To date South Africa has a total of eight co-production treaties with the following countries: United Kingdom, France, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Germany and New Zealand and is currently finalising a treaty with Brazil.
Over the past three years South Africa recorded a decline in the number of co-production projects completed in a year. In 2011 a total of 16 projects were completed. In 2014 a total of seven projects were recorded, one less than 2013 and five less as compared to 2012. The global financial meltdown has been identified as a possible reason for the decline in the number of co-production projects in the past years. “We have however seen countries that have signed co-production treaties with South Africa set aside budget specifically dedicated to co-productions and therefore expect to see an increase in the number of co-production projects going forward,’ says Zama Mkosi, NFVF CEO.
The NFVF has also embarked on co-production treaty missions to Brazil as well as Nigeria to forge relations with these countries. There is a definite focus on BRICS and other African countries moving forward as the models for the film industry are similar to those of South Africa, making it easier to align and form partnerships.
For the past three years the SA/Germany treaty has been the most active. The treaty has constantly been the one producing more projects as compared to others. For the year under review the treaty has completed four projects namely; Unfriend, Super Dad, Truth and Consequences and Johanna and the Bush Pilot, an increase of one project from 2013 but a decline compared to eight in 2012. The SA/Canada treaty is one of the oldest treaties and in 2014 increased by one project (Shark Killer and Against the Wild – Surviving the Serengeti) from 2013 while the SA/UK treaty dropped to one project (Mandela’s Gun) in 2014 from two in 2013.
Overall the most preferred genre for the year under review was family, with 28.6% of the projects submitted being this genre. The rest of the genres each held 14.3% of the projects submitted.
It is evident the tourism sector and the transport sector were the biggest beneficiaries of the co-production projects with more than R13 million and R7 million spent in the two sectors respectively in 2014. The sector with a minimal benefit was the services sector with less than a million spent on hair and makeup.
One of the necessities of co-production is job creation as the projects pool together human resources from both partnering countries. The co-production report revealed that out of a total of 586 crew members used in the projects 36 were South African. South Africa however enjoyed a wider distribution in casting. Of the 120 cast members used in the co-production projects 71 were South African, with 61 featuring as leading cast.
Feature films have made up the largest proportion of co-production activity for the past two years. For 2014 a total of three feature films were submitted.
The growth of co-productions moving forward is important and is the reason for the NFVF’s trip to Brazil earlier this year as well as the engagement held with Nigeria in Cape Town last month. The partnership with both countries will enable more co-production projects to occur and enable more South African filmmakers to tell their stories and share them with a greater audience.
The results of the co-production report for 2014 can be found on the NFVF website.