The provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal has set aside over R32 million to fund the film industry’s production and development projects, and a further R1.6 million to support local film festivals in 2020.
The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said this is part of the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan approved by Cabinet weeks ago.
“We are encouraged by the fact that the film industry in KwaZulu-Natal, from pre-production to distribution, is playing a vital role in driving socio-economic development in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Dube-Ncube.
According to the department, the industry’s influence has a far-reaching impact, and directly affects companies involved in the production, post-production, casting, crewing, equipment hire, set design and property supply.
“It generates many more jobs indirectly in the support and hospitality industries, stimulating business in hotels, catering companies, restaurants and transport providers,” said the department.
Dube-Ncube has pledged continued support to nurture an excellent skills base in the area of film production, with excellent film locations at competitive rates through the KZN Film Commission.
"The nomination of six of our funded projects for the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) further indicates that their industry can become a significant player in the national and international market," the MEC said.
The films include My Zulu Wedding, Uncovered, Keeping Up with the Kandasamys, Kings of Mulberry Street, Love Lives Here, 3 Days to Go and Deep End.
The department also has big plans post COVID-19 for the industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic.
“The film industry has been notably more vulnerable due to the nature of production and the consumption of its output, wherein physical interaction is required on production sets and in exhibition spaces such as cinemas,” the department said.
The restrictions on movements, gatherings, travelling and closure of cinemas meant that the industry came to a halt.
“As in the case of so many other industries, the film sector is adjusting to recover from the impact of the pandemic,” said the department.
The MEC has since committed to stimulating growth to generate substantial employment in this space.
She also hopes that the Film Commission will also play a role in telling the untold stories of the province.
“It is true that the image of KwaZulu-Natal has changed from a gloomy, hopeless province, at war with itself, to become an attractive destination for investors and leisure-seekers, who cannot wait to set foot on our sandy shores.”
The Commission has begun to prioritise its funding and training to cater for digitally-driven film content such as animation.
“It is a key strategy of the entity that these scarce skills and digitally driven programmes are supported as the drivers of the film sector going forward,” the department said.
The department said it is also pushing the film programmes in disadvantaged communities.
“We will achieve through audience development, information sharing sessions and funding people from designated groups throughout the province.”