South Africa’s film industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years but more could be done to propel it into an internationally competitive affair.
This picture emerges from the base study of the industry commissioned by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and conducted by consulting firm Deloitte. Shared last week, the study results showed the film industry registering 14% annual growth over the past five years to contribute about R3.5 billion to the South African economy.
The industry created a total of 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2012 and boasted a multiplier of 2.89. “That means that for every R1 spent in the film industry, an additional R1.89 is generated in the industries that service the industry and ancillary industries,” said an NFVF statement.
It added that the industry justifies the subsidies it receives from government. “The industry more than pays for itself’ with payments to the South African Revenue Services (SARS) of more than R670 million, a figure R420 million more than the estimated R250 million Film and Television Incentive paid by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2012”.
The minister of arts and culture Paul Mashatile said “We are emboldened by the fact that the study vindicates the view we have always held that; the local film industry as part of the broader creative industries is a major driver of economic growth, job creation and the building of sustainable livelihoods”.
Mashitile added “We will use the study to strengthen the work we are doing to provide increased and sustained support for the industry.
Currently we are in the process of converting the NFVF into a fully fledged National Film Commission and establishing a National Film Fund”.
Indeed the study seems to suggest that there is still a huge gap in the support realized by South Africa’s film industry.
NFVF CEO said Zama Mkosi, said “Despite the fact that the local industry grew, it had to deal with significant challenges such as small cinema-going audiences; high exhibitor costs; short flighting windows available for their films; decreasing DVD revenues thanks largely to a thriving pirate trade and to a lesser degree to the effects of online downloading, streaming and video-on-demand”.
He also pointed to a lack of funding available for development and production costs; a lack of distribution incentives; and, little international presence.
Added Mkosi, “despite the significant investment government has made into the film industry through the DTI incentive, producers and film-makers still face challenges in securing equitable
partnerships with foreign film producers”.
The South African film incentives rank amongst the least competitive film incentives in the world to encourage foreign film-makers to film in South Africa, coming 24th in the rankings behind countries like New Zealand, Mexico and Germany”.
Judy Prins; Leader of Deloitte Sport, Media & Entertainment at Deloitte; said “Despite major challenges in the value chain, the industry has shown the commitment and ability to adapt, survive and grow. The industry has grown 84% in the past five years and there is no doubt that it will continue to be an active industry in the future”.