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Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) Press

The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) is a representative, national organisation of independent South African film, television and video producers constituted to represent, protect and promote the interests and needs of producers. The IPO currently represents the interests of eighty percent of working producers in South Africa.

IPO statement on COVID-19

The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) executive committee recently issued a statement with regards to COVID-19 and current developments within the industry as a result. The IPO wants to ensure the industry that they are working collectively with industry stakeholders during this time, and are mindful of the impact this is having on the film and television business, crew, cast and suppliers.

“Many of our members are battling to formulate the right action with regards to projects already in production or about to start production. We are all mindful of the fact that we are potentially putting a large amount of people at risk by continuing to shoot, and that we might participate in the exacerbation of this national and worldwide health disaster by not containing the spread of the virus. At the same time, we, as producers, are responsible for the jobs of thousands of our freelance cast and crew, and are also very mindful of the economic implications of suspending or cancelling a shoot,” said the committee in a statement, addressed to IPO members and colleagues.

“In addition, in the vast majority of cases, legal liability would ordinarily rest with the producer. We are therefore the ones bearing the brunt of the risks – financial and otherwise – if we continue with a film or TV shoot in order to honour our commitments to broadcasters/ clients despite the current pandemic, or if we suspend it to protect the lives of our people and find ourselves in breach of our contractual obligations. We are therefore caught between a rock and a very hard place.”

“Since the President declared a National Disaster, we have engaged with broadcasters to obtain guidance from them, since in most local productions we are dealing with commissions where they ultimately have the final word on anything we do, but so far they have not come back with a clear policy. It seems some of them are actually keen to hear from us, the IPO, on how we, as an industry should deal with the current crisis with calmness, clarity, unity and responsibility.”

“Heeding our President’s call to do everything in our power to stop this pandemic and save lives, acknowledging what the rest of the world is doing and the ensuing suspensions of all foreign productions in the country, the IPO ExCo has decided to recommend that all our members suspend their ongoing production or delay any imminent production, and inform and consult with their lawyers, their channel CEs and Business Affairs as to the best way of implementing their decision. Action is required TODAY to reduce the exponential risk in virus spread,” the statement continued.

“We have also decided to write an urgent memorandum to all the broadcasters, as well as the department of health and the presidency to outline the specific challenges faced by our industry and to call for an urgent all industry response. All broadcasters have the same anxiety. This is that they won’t have enough material or new material to show and this would cause them a drop in ratings and consequent financial harm. But we believe the industry needs help to do the right thing, to protect the cast and crew’s health, their loved ones and minimise the impact on their financial wellbeing. We will recommend that broadcasters must take responsibility for cushioning some of the economic impact by providing support on halted productions to cast and crew during this unprecedented crisis.”

“We are immediately calling for urgent meetings (telephonically or video conference) with all stakeholders, including SABC, eTV, Multichoice, other broadcasters and platforms, as well as NFVF, DTI, IDC, DAC, etc. to coordinate our actions, with the aims of limiting the immediate impact of this crisis, and allowing our industry to come back stronger when this national crisis is over.”

The IPO will also reach out to the relevant Minister in the National Command Council that was created by the President, and ask for urgent and meaningful support measures to soften the huge blow that the screen industry is about to receive. “We are in the process of reviewing terms of trade, standard commissioning and co-production agreements (incl. force majeure and insurance clauses), as well as our agreements with the various guilds, and will share with you our findings as we go. We are also taking steps to secure the pro bono services of labour and entertainment lawyers to assist our members as they have to face these huge and never-seen-before challenges,” said the committee in conclusion.

Please contact the IPO if you have any questions or matters you wish to discuss with the executive committee at ipoexco@ipo.org.za

IPO on the state of the NFVF

The independent Producers Organisation (IPO) released a statement on the allegations in regard to the divided National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) council, as reported in the City Press by Charl Blignaut on 2 September 2018.

City Press reports various irregularities with regard to foreign trips taken by NFVF council members, many of which were not concerned with operational matters. Besides this, the findings of the Comperio report cite irregular financial approvals and the apparent abuse of position.

The forensic report into the NFVF has not been released to the industry but it is critical that the appointment of a new CEO is treated as an opportunity to thoroughly overhaul the governance practices of such a vital industry body, and represent a return to the letter and spirit of the NFVF Act 1997 and international best practice.

The IPO is alarmed by the apparent appointment by the NFVF council’s of the acting CEO, Shadrack Bokaba without due process, since his application for the job seems to have been made after the deadline published in the advert for the CEO position and because “Impeccably placed sources say Molefe openly told an NFVF executive committee (exco) meeting on 29 May that he had short-listed candidates for the position and that Bokaba had made the cut”, whereas the advert for the CEO position was only published a month later on 1 July.

The film and television industry requires someone with industry experience, to be appointed through an open and transparent process rather than having to accept someone “anointed” by the NFVF council to further their narrow personal interests at the expense of the industry.

The IPO calls on the NFVF council to confirm that the shortlisting and interview process for the appointment of the new CEO has been and will continue to be done in a fair and transparent manner, according to the existing government and industry standard guidelines and NFVF policy. Additional to this, the IPO insists that a member of the IPO be present in all the deliberations of the CEO recruitment process to further pursue a fair and transparent process without delay.

Bongiwe Selane talks success and “Happiness’ at first in IPO series

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: In the first of a series of talks, the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) on 20 April 2016, presented producer Bongiwe Selane at an intimate gathering at Atlas Studio in Johannesburg. The evening was emceed by IPO chairperson Akin Omotoso, who explained the organisations objectives of serving the industry and hosting frequent knowledge share sessions with prominent industry fellows to demystify what producers do. Omotoso then flatteringly introduced Selane.

Selane, vice-chairperson of Blingola Media is also co-producer behind the hit film Happiness is a Four-Letter Word. After nine weeks at the local box office, the film has already raked in more than R12.7 million.

“Film making is an amazing collaborative effort,’ answered Selane in her Q&A with Omotoso. Selane stated that she plans to always be part of the development of the industry. Speaking on the success of the film, Selane said she read the book in 2011 and resonated with it immediately: “It was fresh, it read incredibly visually, like a rom-com, and was tapping into the new emerging country that we as film makers want to document. Even in reading the book I could see an audience for the film.’ Selane explained that she walked around with the book under her arm wanting to create conversation around the making of its film and that part of the reason she left M-Net was to do so.

Selane discussed securing the rights for the book, how she met the author, her now good friend Cynthia Jele. “I met Jele at the M-Net Literary Awards before she won in the best film adaptation category. I said I read your book I’m a fan and wished her good luck. I told her I wanted to be part of making the film, I went to M-Net and told them I want to make this film and they said maybe you could find a team.’ Selane then attended the NFVF pitching session and from there the team was put together.

In speaking of the process from beginning to end she said, “I think many don’t realise how long it takes, it requires a lot of patience.’ Selane shared stories of her first day on set taking selfies to the opening weekend hearing about the success of the film.

“Kudos to my team, I’m so grateful to the people who believed in this project and it’s a collective success,’ beamed a humble Selane. “I set out to make a film that I thought resonated with the audience, that people wanted to see, everyone was so eager to see what it would do and even then we couldn’t anticipate this kind of success. It’s not only a success for me but for the whole industry.’

Omotoso opened questions to the audience, which was made up of movie lovers, producers, directors, casting agents and a number of industry professionals. No topic was out of the question and industry hacks and hints were discussed in depth. Speaking openly about the challenges facing the local film industry and industry players, from profit participation to vernacular in Africa, genre to formula, fears to fees, it was all voiced.

Discussing the secrets behind the success of Happiness is a Four-Letter Word to the IPO hashtag #fillupthecinemas, and the force behind social media, no question went unanswered. The talk was concluded on the note that, “Filmmakers have to have the passion and the conviction to make it happen,’ and that there is much to look forward to in the South African film industry.

To get more information on upcoming talks visit the IPO website.

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