Film Finance World stimulates valuable industry interaction


The second Film Finance World took place on 28 and 29 October at Atlas Studios in
Johannesburg where both emerging and seasoned filmmakers converged to discuss
various aspects of financing and producing film and television projects.

In his keynote speech Andile Mbeki, CEO of the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC),
highlighted some of the challenges which the local industry faces, including a lack of
strong scripts, industry cohesion, intellectual property protection for content
creators, and business minded industry players. Mbeki also highlighted that the GFC
would be aggressively exploring new distribution models and unconventional
platforms in an effort to increase monetisation opportunities for filmmakers.

Conference session subject matter ranged from industry specific financial and legal
framework, to insurance policies and music licensing, and technology, marketing
and distribution. This offered attendees a scope of information and an opportunity to
actively engage with organisations and speakers.

In a panel discussion, representatives from the Industrial Development Corporation
(IDC), KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, and Max-D Productions offered guidance on
the fundamental aspects which should be in place when filmmakers approach a
potential investor. Some key elements mentioned by Trishana Thevnarain of the
IDC were passion, a strong script in its final stages, a realistic budget and
recoupment schedule, as well as understanding a film’s market relevance and sales
estimates. David Brown of Max-D Productions highlighted the importance of
understanding how distributers work and building relationships with them.

A vibrant audience discussion arose from a session on distribution, when an
audience member raised that many black filmmakers feel they are being advised on
what films black audiences want to watch by distributers who are mostly white. A
number of filmmakers questioned whether distributers were in a position to say
they truly understood the market. “There needs to be a better way of deciding what
films work for a black audience,’ said a producer in the audience. “Why should
black movies be allocated low budgets and Afrikaans movies allocated high
budgets? As an industry we have to get out of the mind-set of segregating

Sheer publishing delivered an informative session which clarified some of the
confusion surrounding music rights in productions. Mpumi Phillips emphasised the
importance of having a music supervisor involved in a production: “You need to
have that intermediate who has relationships with record companies, publishers and
artists to help you prepare budgets, source music, make sure you have the relevant
contracts in place and negotiate fees.’

In a session on taking advantage of technological developments, Marius van
Straaten of Visual Impact explored some of the advances in filmmaking gear which
are allowing producers to create better quality work at a lower cost. Van Straaten
closed with some thoughts on future trends in the industry: “There are going to be
lots of new cameras – with higher frame rates and continued higher resolution.
Cameras will no doubt be wifi and LAN integrated.’

– Carly Barnes


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