While South Africa traditionally looked to the developed North for film cooperation opportunities, the country's focus is shifting increasingly to countries in Africa and the South as new drivers of growth in the industry.
SA has co-production treaties with 9 different countries, but only 2 of them (Australia and New Zealand) are outside of Europe and North America. The latest treaty, signed in December 2015, was with the Netherlands.
The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) has been working to change this, however. It signed a memorandum of understanding on film cooperation with the Kenyan Film Commission in 2013, and has held talks on a similar agreement with the Nigerian Film Corporation.
And on 21 June, during the 2016 Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the NFVF signed a memorandum of understanding with the Namibia Film Commission (NFC).
The memorandum aims to create a framework for developing cooperative relations between the two agencies in order to promote joint film development and production between South African and Namibian filmmakers.
NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi, who signed the memorandum at Durban's Elangeni Hotel together with Obed Emvula, chairperson of the board of the NFC, said: "Our mandate as the NFVF is to form solid partnerships, not just in South Africa, but across the African continent."
Emvula noted that about 47 percent of foreign productions taking place to Namibia came from South Africa. "This shows the growth and the need to form firmer ties between South Africa and Namibia."
Specific provisions of the agreement include:
Establishing an organisational-level relationship between the two agencies.
Sharing ideas and best practices on domestic and international film production and promotion.
Promoting co-production by Namibian and South African film and television makers, and on-location filming in Namibia and South Africa.
roviding visiting producers with information on film locations, regulations, incentives and clearance requirements in each country.
Promoting the distribution and exhibition of South African and Namibian Films.
Facilitating training and skills exchange between film practitioners from the two countries.
The memorandum of understanding is an important step towards the signing of a full co-production treaty, under which any official co-production is regarded as a national production of each co-producing country, making it eligible for any benefits or programmes of assistance available in either country.
South Africa currently has co-production treaties with Canada (1997), Italy (2003), Germany (2004), UK (2007), France (2010), Australia (2010), New Zealand (2011), Ireland (2012), and the Netherlands (2015).