SA’s film in­dus­try has a grow­ing foot­print, study shows

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Di­neo Faku

THE NUM­BER is 21 656. These are the peo­ple em­ployed in South Africa’s film in­dus­try in the 2016/2017 fi­nan­cial year, a na­tional study on the eco­nomic im­pact of the coun­try’s film in­dus­try has found.

The study, which was com­mis­sioned by the Na­tional Film and Video Foun­da­tion (NFVF) and re­leased in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day, also found that the film in­dus­try con­trib­uted R5.4 bil­lion to the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in 2016/17.

How­ever, the in­dus­try needed to fo­cus on trans­for­ma­tion in or­der to grow, and is­sues such as in­equitable re­source dis­tri­bu­tion needed to be ad­dressed, the re­port rec­om­mended.

The study showed that the con­tri­bu­tion of the film in­dus­try to the econ­omy and jobs had been grow­ing since 2013. In the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year it con­trib­uted R5.2bn to GDP and cre­ated 19 145 jobs, com­pared to 17 533 jobs in 2014/15 fi­nan­cial year with a R5.22bn con­tri­bu­tion to GDP.

The bulk of job op­por­tu­ni­ties were for young peo­ple be­tween the ages of 25 to 39.

“Although the film in­dus­try is pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for the coun­try, it is im­por­tant to note much of this em­ploy­ment is still in the un­skilled and semi-skilled mar­ket within the in­dus­try and this shows that the in­dus­try still lacks trans­for­ma­tion – as the top half of the in­dus­try is still largely oc­cu­pied by mi­nori­ties,” the re­port said.

“Most up­com­ing film­mak­ers can­not se­cure loans or other pri­vate fund­ing from banks. In most cases they do not have busi­ness plans, are not cred­it­wor­thy and do not have se­cu­rity to ac­cess the loans. In­dus­try ex­perts iden­tify that in most cases it is the black film­mak­ers that have been strug­gling to ac­quire this fund­ing,” read the study.

It found that Gaut­eng ac­counted for the lion’s share of 54.8 per­cent of film­ing oper­a­tions while the West­ern Cape ac­counted for 23 per­cent. KwaZulu-Natal and Lim­popo both had 9.5 per­cent of the film­ing mar­ket. “This can be at­trib­uted to avail­abil­ity of re­sources re­quired to carry out full-house pro­duc­tions and the di­verse shoot­ing lo­ca­tions within these prov­inces,” the re­port said.

The re­port also in­di­cated that there were no film­ing oper­a­tions recorded in the North­ern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, and North West for the 2016/17 pe­riod. The East­ern Cape, for ex­am­ple, was cur­rently in the in­fancy stage of de­vel­op­ment.

In terms of pop­u­lar­ity, fea­ture films and doc­u­men­taries were the most liked seg­ments, be­cause they were at­trac­tive and ac­counted for 27.3 per­cent of the se­ries sur­veyed.

“This is at­trib­uted to the fact that there are a lot of donor fund­ing and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sup­port­ing the pro­duc­tion of doc­u­men­taries, as they ad­dress crit­i­cal is­sues that have a di­rect im­pact on so­ci­ety,” read the re­port. “Doc­u­men­taries are also eas­ier to pro­duce since there are rarely ever false events added for en­ter­tain­ment pur­poses,” it said.

Animation se­ries were the least pop­u­lar, and ac­counted only for 3 per­cent of the seg­ments pro­duced. “Although South Africa’s animation in­dus­try holds po­ten­tial, it is small in com­par­i­son to ma­jor in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.”

The in­dus­try was mostly funded by the gov­ern­ment through the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try, the NFVF and the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

SUPPPLIED

Ac­tors pre­pare to shoot a scene in this file photo. Lo­cal film pro­duc­tion has con­trib­uted R5.4bn to the coun­try’s GDP.PHOTO:

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