Shining year for film shoots sees top stars visiting city
CAPE Town’s film industry has experienced another stellar year with a host of movies, documentaries, TV series and commercials bringing in hundreds of millions of rands.
From Academy Award-winning local director Gavin Hood’s new film Eye in the Sky with Helen Mirren, to the BBC’s TV movie The Gamechangers starring Daniel Radcliffe, the Mother City again played host to several big names.
“As far as long-form productions – such as feature films and TV series – are concerned, this has probably been the busiest year yet in Cape Town,” said Monica Rorvik, film and media promotion manager at Wesgro, the province’s marketing, investment and trade promotion agency.
Some other films shot at least in part in the city this year include zombie action flick Resident Evil: The Final Chapter with Milla Jovovich, the apartheid-era court drama Shepherds and Butchers with Steve Coogan, and Last Ones Out, a South African zombie thriller.
Cape Town also played host to a number of TV series, including the third season of the pirate drama Black Sails, the second season of the supernatural action drama Dominion, and an episode of the BBC’s crime series Wallander, with Sir Kenneth Branagh.
And the new Afrikaans soapie Suidooster, set to be screened on kykNET, has started filming.
Rorvik said the city’s international standing as a location with skilled workers, an uncomplicated permit system and beneficial rebates, continued to rise.
“We have a really good reputation,” she said yesterday following a morning briefing by the Cape Town Film Permit Office.
“People trust South Africans to work really hard and get the job done.”
According to data presented at the briefing, Cape Town issued 5 645 permits and helped book 8 742 locations in the first 10 months of the year.
As in previous years, most permits were issued for commercial and stills photography shoots.
A total of 1 604 permits was issued for commercial shoots and 1 189 for still photography shoots.
Rudi Riek, chairman of the South African Association of Stills Producers, and a consultant with the Commercial Producers Association, said favourable exchange rates also attracted international production companies, particularly from Europe.
The National Association of Model Agencies, the Association of Stills Producers and the Commercial Producers Association had had good negotiations with Home Affairs about securing visas for international clients.
“There is a directive to ensure international clients are processed timeously.
“Our industry also has a good working relationship with the province and the city. Any challenges that come up are dealt with effectively.”
After concern in the film industry earlier this year about whether drones might be used, Riek said the issue had been largely sorted out after new regulations were put in place.
“South Africa is now one of the few countries that have legal drone operators specifically for film, TV and commercials,” he said.
The operators are licensed by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
● For more about the local soapie Suidooster, see today’s Good Weekend.
MONEYSPINNER: A commercial shoot, above and above left, takes place on top of the Mandela Rhodes Building in the Cape Town city centre yesterday.