Cape Town on a mission to revive dying film industry

Cape Town on a mission to revive dying film industry

The City hopes to revive the film and media sector after a sharp decline in film shoots in the city over the last couple of years.

In 2016, the Cape Film Commission announced it was closing down after 15 years as a result of poor funding and support. The closure knocked the film industry, with about 3 000 members nationwide affected. The shutdown was mainly due to the Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town cutting its grant funding and support to the organisation.

Using stats of 2015, the City said the Cape Town film industry contributed about R3.5 billion to the local economy in 2015 and in the process created at least 10 000 direct and indirect job opportunities.

On Tuesday, the City said it wanted to revive the film industry. They met stakeholders "to realise the dream of putting Cape Town back on the map".

"The industry has experienced about a 40% downturn in the number of productions since the 2017 season, which was a sharp decline in about six months," Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said.

Smith said the Film Office booked 11 578 locations in the 2015 and 2016 season.

"We cannot fix the challenges overnight, there has to be a clear vision and strategy that we all work towards achieving, as partners. The City has kick-started this with the freezing of the filming tariff," Smith said.

Wesgro's chief business officer Yaw Peprah said that despite the challenges, Cape Town remained a world-class film city.

"The Wesgro Film and Media Promotion unit secured a total of nine film and media declarations contributing R1.92bn to Cape Town and the Western Cape's economy in the 2017/18 financial year," Peprah said.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was concerned that the number of incoming film productions had dropped.

Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy said the film industry was built on massive cash. "The film industry is built on immense sums of money; this is a cash injection that benefits all of us," he said.

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