Big US deal for SA films
DESPITE South African actors making great strides in the international movie market with stars such as Charlize Theron, Sharlto Copley, Arnold Vosloo, Mpho Koaho, Fana Mokoena and Warren Masemola, local productions still haven’t fared so well in the world’s number one film market.
But that’s about to change with the announcement that South African Great Movies Production, a production company owned by SAbased filmmaker John Wani, in association with American partner Donald Rabinovitch of CINEMAflix Distribution, have clinched a distribution deal for local films.
The movie has already been selected as the first to benefit from the deal. The US partners have also shown interest in
and The agreement includes a cinema test of a week for the SA film and if the movie is successful, its reach will be expanded by releasing it on the wider US market. This full one-week run will be in a prestigious theatre in New York and/or Los Angeles. Producers will keep 100% of the box office income from that week.
“Cinema is failing in South Africa and this makes it hard for any movie to make a profit at the domestic box office,” Wani says.
“The DVD market is almost nonexistent, television and cable exploit producers. Their pay is too little to make a difference.
“The only option is to target foreign markets starting with the US, Nigeria, Ghana and Europe.
“Our actors are also not well marketed across Africa, which makes it difficult for a South African film to crack the continent. “The need to select an African cast, use English as the film’s language, start promoting our local talent across Africa and the world … would give us [an] advantage to sell our movies to the world.”
Wani says the US is strategic to him as a filmmaker because it’s where it all starts.
“But in my target, Nigeria is a big player and a game changer. With this new deal, we aim to ensure that quality South African films are seen beyond our shores.”
Moreover, there is an opportunity to market DVDs to retail chains, schools, colleges and libraries. Setting up a Google AdWords campaign comes with the deal.
“The services of our well-connected publicist to contact film critics, write and transmit press releases, schedule interviews and compile and distribute production notes is part of the deal.”
This also includes encoding and submitting films to digital platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Sony and Google. The deal will pitch these films to TV, cable stations and networks.
To make certain that the producers retain their intellectual property rights, Wani has ensured the deal comes with possible television, DVD and internet rights should the film meet the requirements of the American market.
The films must also have been released at SA cinemas.
“Aim to ensure films are seen beyond SA