Videovision Entertainment, a diversified film and television company, sees a bright future ahead for the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) movie industry as it basks in the glow of success as its latest project, the Sophiatown-themed film," Back of the Moon" was released this week.
Videovision's chief executive, Anant Singh, says an increasing number of filmmakers have discovered KZN as an ideal location for film shoots.
"The fact that the hit television series like Imbewu: The Seed and Uzalo are shot in Durban puts KZN on the map."
"Recently KZN has attracted a few productions, including Keeping Up with the Kandasamys, which broke box office records; the inspirational film about the Dusi Marathon, Beyond the River; the Durban-themed surfing film, Deep End as well as Imbewu: The Seed, the daily drama series that is broadcast on e.tv."
Another KZN produced soap-opera Uzalo, hit the 10 million audience mark in June.
Some KZN produced films have achieved success both in South Africa and abroad, he says.
"Having Yesterday, which we filmed in KZN, receive the first Oscar nomination for a South African film is certainly a highlight, as well as the Oscar nomination for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Recently Back of the Moon, which was released this week, won the Best South African Feature Film award at the 2019 Durban International Film Festival."
"The film and television industry has grown slowly in KZN and this growth is largely due to the support provided by the KZN Film Commission," says Singh.
More films being made in South Africa now compared to five and 10 years ago, he says.
The South African film and television is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry's rebate programme as well as the Black Filmmakers Fund, which has resulted in more local films being made.
Singh says they are excited about the transformation of the industry and the growth of young emerging black filmmakers who are extremely talented.
According to Videovision, Cape Town is still the premier film production destination, followed by Gauteng, while KZN attracts the least number of productions.
He says the Durban Film Studios is an important project KZN and they hope the development will begin soon.
"The development will comprise of Sound Stages and Production Workshops, television studios for live broadcasts, editing suites, the Walk of Fame, a Back-Lot set area, Midway Centre and a Museum of South African Cinema. It will be a hub for the film industry and the creative industries, as well as potential homes for the KZN Film Commission, Durban Film Office and other film industry.
"We already have an exciting architectural concept which will change the skyline of Durban and will create a must-see-must-do attraction that will benefit the economy of the province and the city."
Singh says the development said the studio complex, which is a R7.5 billion project will boost economic activity in Durban with an estimated 17 000 construction jobs and an additional 4 300 jobs when the development is fully operational.
The production of Imbewu: The Seed with a budget in excess of R100 million has also been a huge boost for Durban/KZN economy, with more than 150 jobs have been created.