Sunday World (South Africa)

‘Lights, camera, action’ for Durban Film Studio

Multi-billion rand project will get off the ground soon

- By Sandile Motha sandile@sundayworl­

After having been put on ice for several years, the much-anticipate­d Durban Film Studio is off the ground, with the sod turning for constructi­on expected “soon”.

The multi-billion rand project is expected to change the face of the province and turn the ethekwini metro into the heart of the creative industry. It is estimated to cost R7.5-billion.

But Durban filmmaker Mathew Nkosi said it had been a long wait for the film studio to take off, and its resuscitat­ion had come as a relief to artists in Kwazulu-natal.

“The project was proposed 10 years ago, and nothing has materialis­ed. If done right, this will be a game changer for us as emerging filmmakers who must go to Johannesbu­rg for our work to be recognised.

“Durban is an internatio­nal city, and a project of this magnitude is long overdue. But we

are beginning to see signs of hope because we have production­s such as Uzalo and Imbewu, which are produced on our shores,” said Nkosi.

The film studio is situated on a prime beach-front site, surrounded by the Sun Coast Casino, People Park, the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the beach in the north.

The spokespers­on for ethekwini Metro, Msawakhe

Mayisela, told Sunday World that although the project had been delayed it would “get off the ground soon”, saying it was a key catalyst project for the city.

“The project is envisaged to be a world-class film studio complement­ed by tourism and leisure elements. The sod turning of this much-awaited developmen­t supporting the film and tourism industry is expected to occur soon,” he said.

Mayisela said the first phase of the project would consist of a motion picture, media, resort, and entertainm­ent precinct with the potential to create about 4 000 to 5 000 permanent jobs and attract internatio­nal filmmakers. It is the brainchild of renowned Durban-born film director Anant Singh.

The 21ha land was sold by the city for R15-million, but the deal was legally challenged by the late businessma­n Sunny Gayadin, who argued that the land was worth R71-million.

He lost his court bid.

The site in question was formerly the headquarte­rs of the SA Army’s Natal Command and later occupied by the Joint Operations Division of the South African Defence Force (SANDF).

It had been leased from the metro for the army by the department of public works.

The SANDF themselves lodged a court applicatio­n, saying the land should not be sold because they had plans for it. The matter was dismissed, and the green light was given for the land to be transferre­d to the municipali­ty.

About R725-million is expected to be pumped into the city’s economy. This includes more than R140-million annually, which will be collected through rates and other charges.

The studio will be complement­ed by tourism and leisure elements

 ?? ?? Natal Command Site, which will soon be home to the multi-billion rand Durban Film Studio.
Natal Command Site, which will soon be home to the multi-billion rand Durban Film Studio.

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