Applause greets new film, TV incentives

The local film industry last week welcomed amendments to the foreign film and television incentive scheme, which will also support SA’s growing post-production industry. by Bekezela Phakathi

The amendments to the incentive scheme will see foreign film makers benefit from government rebates.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced the amendments last week, saying they could boost the film industry and also enable post-production companies to attract work that is not necessarily being filmed in SA.

The local film industry has been on a drive to position SA as a world-class film-making destination and the amendments to the foreign film and television incentives could go a long way to achieving that goal.

High-profile movies such as Invictus and Safe House have recently been filmed in SA.

Cape Film Commission CEO Denis Lille said last week that the incentives announced by Mr Davies would attract more film makers and investment into the country.

He said the incentives would also boost SA’s international profile and attract big-budget foreign films.

"It is great news.… Other countries in Europe are getting concerned that SA is attracting a lot of business and they are in the process of reviewing their incentives," he said.

Nico Dekker, CEO of Cape Town Film Studios, said the government incentives would encourage international film producers to spend more money in SA.

However, he said the government needed to learn from other countries and create more favourable conditions for film makers, such as making it easier to obtain permits.

Mr Davies said the objective of the incentive was to create an environment that would take advantage of the country’s "diverse and unique (film) locations".

Additionally, its low production costs and favourable exchange rates made it "significantly" more cost efficient to produce a movie in SA than in Europe or the US.

"The South African government takes cognisance of the contribution the film industry potentially has in stimulating the country’s economic growth, strengthening the country’s profile in the global creative environment and in the facilitation of employment creation," Mr Davies said. The revised guidelines would also help bolster the development of the film industry.

"The aim (is for film makers to be able) to shoot in SA and also to conduct post-production activities as well as post-production work for productions not necessarily filmed in the country," he said.

The revised incentive became effective from last month and would be administered for a period of three years up to 2014.

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