Shin­ing year for film shoots sees top stars vis­it­ing city

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JAN CRONJE

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.

PIC­TURES: MICHAEL WALKER

MON­EYSPIN­NER: A com­mer­cial shoot, above and above left, takes place on top of the Man­dela Rhodes Build­ing in the Cape Town city cen­tre yes­ter­day.

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