Filming by-law set to give residents a say
AS CAPE TOWN’S film, commercials and television industry grows, the city council has increasingly been hearing from residents annoyed by frequent filming in their neighbourhoods.
A new draft by-law seeks to give residents more of a voice in how filming in the Mother City works, by requiring film-makers to first get the all-clear from local residents when they film on private land.
The draft 2016 Filming By-Law will require film-makers to deliver a “written notice of intention for filming” to occupants of properties next to the film site before they apply to the city’s Film Permit Office.
The city’s current filming by-law, promulgated in 2005, regulates filming only on city-owned land, not private land.
Xanthea Limberg, acting mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, said the city council sought to amend filming laws after receiving complaints from residents “affected and inconvenienced by frequent filming activity in their neighbourhoods”.
“Some residents feel strongly certain filming activities, on a neighbouring property, infringe on their rights.”
The proposed by-law would, for the first time, introduce a community consultation process.
In addition to the notice of intention to film, film crews and companies would have to inform neighbours of the times and dates filming will take place.
They would also have to give neighbours the opportunity to “declare that they have no objection to the intended filming” and advise them of their right to submit objections to the city.
Limberg described the proposed by-law as a “trade-off ” between the film industry – which brings in hundreds of millions of rands per year – and Capetonians who want some peace and quiet.
“We don’t want to create an additional layer of red tape,” she told Weekend Argus. “This is not in any way to hinder the film industry. It is a way to balance the need for the film industry to be allowed to operate with the external impact of the filming.”
Once the film-makers have been given the all-clear, they will need to submit “proof of declarations of no objection” to the city’s Film Permit Office.
The official in charge of permits would then have to consider “any objections from the occupiers of abutting properties” in the decision whether or not to award a filming permit.
The by-law does not say how much weight must be placed on objections, however.
Not all shoots would need to go through the consultation process. Micro shoots, with eight or fewer cast and crew and lasting less than a day would not have to submit notices of intention to film.
Anyone interested may submit comments on the draft by-law by August 31. These may be submitted at libraries, subcouncil offices, via email, fax and post, or online via the “Have Your Say” page on the City of Cape Town’s website, where the draft by-law can be downloaded. firstname.lastname@example.org
US actor Claire Danes in Cape Town in July 2014 on the set of Showtime’s hit spy drama series Homeland.