ISSUE 04 | 2018
+ FILMING WATERY WORLDS
Experts Share their Insights and Experiences
+ LOCAL TELEVISION CONTENT New and Exciting Trends Emerging in TV
18 â€“ 22 June 2018 Cannes | France
CONTENTS / 01
14 20 24 28
Production Forum Founded
03. Donald Clarke Joins Rapid Blue
FILMING IN THE WATER Productions would be sunk without assistance from experts on marine locations.
04. MIPTV: The Biggest Week in Television
06. SA to Host Comic Con Africa
07. Warrior: A Job
08. CTIAF 2018: Bigger, Better, Stronger
LOCAL TV DELIGHTS
SA television has been getting better and better. Kim Crowie explores the shows making waves.
10. Industry Snapshot 14. Filming Watery Worlds
18. Namibia: A
Competitive African Film Destination
THE LOW DOWN ON DRONES
Why it’s important to respect the law when it comes to ﬂying drones.
20. The Rise of Local TV Content
24. Drones Are Not Above the Law
28. Directors Making SA Proud
31. Lorna Withrington on Reaching the Global Market
32. Events to Diarise
DIRECTOR SHOWCASE SA’s hottest directors on their latest work: Jahmil XT Qubeka, John Trengove, Michael Matthews, and Sibs Shongwe-La Mer.
34. Opportunities 35. Associations News 36. Directory of Advertisers
02 / NEWS
SPURS FOUNDING OF SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION FORUM The ongoing drought in the Western Cape has created a shift towards responsible production practices in South Africa, with the establishment of the Sustainable Production Forum by WrapZero, Film Afrika and the Callsheet.
s all industries operating in Cape Town get to grips with the 1 in 300-year drought gripping the City, the film and media industry has been creative in dealing with the fallout. Negative international coverage of ‘Day Zero’, the day the Cape no longer has water, is said to be impacting forward bookings, amid reassurances from officials that the campaign was mainly aimed at getting residents – the biggest consumers – to reduce water usage. Proactive production companies, suppliers and studios are overhauling their processes to ensure efficient water savings measures are implemented and closely monitored, as well as directly communicating to clients around the globe that Cape Town is – and will remain – open for business. Practices that support longterm water security prepare early adopters for the stricter water regulations the City of Cape Town is likely to introduce for the industry. Yet the crisis also highlights the need to look beyond the immediate pressure of water to the bigger issue of true sustainability. “We fully acknowledge the seriousness of the water situation – and not just in Cape Town but in several regions across the country. The steps being taken by the City are very necessary, while the innovative practical solutions
rolled out by many industry roleplayers show how the level of resilience is already increasing,” says WrapZERO, a consultancy focusing on sustainable resource use and efficiencies in film and media production. “At the same time, we urge production companies, suppliers, studios, government and industry bodies to consider how current choices will affect the industry’s triple bottom line in the future. ‘The New Normal’ requires a systemic approach to fully unlock the potential positive feedback between profit, people and the environment. “We need to examine every business decision – big or small – through the lens of sustainability and longer-term impact. For example, on-set caterers can replace glass, metal and ceramic cutlery and crockery with disposable alternatives to save on water for washing up, but that creates more waste. Using biodegradable disposable alternatives is ideal, but only when they do actually end up on a compost heap and not in landfill. “It’s about looking at the bigger picture and being aware of the intended and unintended consequences of our actions. Building relationships with product and service suppliers that can evolve with you will be key in the journey towards sustainability.” In other film regions such as the US, Canada, UK and Europe, much
progress has been made towards responsible production guidelines, including voluntary certification systems. WrapZERO is driving the process in South Africa to ensure that the country remains on par with global best practices by facilitating the establishment of an industry-wide forum. The Sustainable Production Forum (working title) aims to represent a range of interested parties including industry organisations, production companies, studios, suppliers and government departments. The goal of the forum is to promote responsible practices within the film and media industry through advocacy, awareness raising, and promoting sustainable principles through shared information and collaboration. Ultimately this industry-driven initiative will be able to recommend minimum standards that can feed into a local certification process that links up with international best practices. First to step up as a founder partner is progressive production company Film Afrika, which has already made significant process in reviewing and adapting practices across departments: “Film Afrika focuses on the three pillars of responsible, sustainable film production – environmental, social and economic. We would like to encourage all IPO and CPA members, and other film industry representative bodies to get involved in the Sustainable
Production Forum, so that we can charter the best way forward for our unique industry.” Another founding member, the Callsheet, is Africa’s leading film industry publication. It too is committed to seeing the production industry grow to become more sustainable. “Because we’re based in Cape Town,” says Publisher Lance Gibbons, “we’ve experienced the effects of the drought on the industry first-hand. We understand the importance of ensuring that water is not only saved, but that greener options can be found across the management of production shoots. I’ve been particularly impressed at the speed and efficiency with which the industry reacts to situations like this and creates off-the-grid solutions for productions. This, in turn, has assisted in catapulting the awareness of greening and environmental challenges to new levels. We as a company are dedicated to championing sustainable solutions and assisting in driving the industry forward.” Industry members and role-players are invited to join WrapZERO in taking the lead towards sustainable best practice beyond Cape Town and Day Zero. Please contact Liesl Hattingh at +27 (0) 64 686 2434 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in the Sustainable Production Forum.
NEWS / 03
DONALD CLARKE JOINS RAPID BLUE
Production company Rapid Blue has announced that Donald Clarke, Executive Producer and Founder of Lucky Bean, will be joining the Rapid Blue team as Commercial Director and Executive Producer.
fter investment from BBC Worldwide two years ago, Rapid Blue has continued to grow from strength to strength, acquiring some prestigious awards and producing a range of hit television series including BBC Worldwide’s The Great South African Bake Off, Come Dine With Me South Africa, and Strictly Come Dancing, as well as others like SA’s Got Talent, Is’thunzi, The X Factor, Four Weddings and Pawn Stars. Their latest move has been appointing Donald Clarke, founder of production house Lucky Bean as their Commercial Director and Executive Producer.
Clarke was responsible for producing shows like Masterchef SA, Survivor, Fear Factor and Girl Eats World and has also enjoyed success at the SAFTAs and International Emmys. “For over 25 years Rapid Blue has consistently produced compelling content of a world class standard,” he says. “I was fortunate to spend my formative years at the company and thoroughly enjoyed the work and the company culture. In deciding to take up the position I am acutely aware that the world of production is rapidly changing. It is a topic I have discussed at length with
Duncan and Kee-Leen Irvine and we have a shared vision for television and content in Africa.” Says Duncan Irvine, CEO of Rapid Blue: “We are delighted that Donald has agreed to join us at Rapid Blue as he brings deep experience of producing award-winning content in South Africa and across the continent, including some of the world’s most recognisable formats as well as compelling, original shows and branded entertainment.” Both Rapid Blue and Lucky Bean have produced extensively across the continent. Rapid Blue has a studio in Lagos and produced X Factor West Africa, Nigeria’s Got Talent and Idols Nigeria, as well as filming in multiple countries for Kwesé TV. Lucky Bean has filmed and facilitated in over 30 different African countries with the MTV African Music Awards, Twende Kazi (Kenya) and Club MTV to their name. Kee-Leen Irvine, MD and Executive Producer of Rapid Blue, who is currently producing the BBC Worldwide format Dancing with the Stars SA for M-Net, says that they share a similar passion with Clarke for great storytelling and commitment to excellence. “I am so thrilled that Donald is coming back to Rapid Blue and together, we will take the company to new heights.” “Africa has incredible stories; our crews are some of the best in the world and our talent is
increasingly being recognised on the global stage and technological innovations will make this easier,” adds Clarke, “A world class company like Rapid Blue is perfectly positioned to be able to take advantage of this and I am looking forward to contributing my ideas and experience to the Rapid Blue team.” Apart from his experience in creating content and showrunning, Clarke brings significant expertise in the commercial side of the industry. “I can think of very few people other than Donald that I would like to have alongside me as we go out into the market to secure new projects and explore exciting new markets with clients who are looking to produce innovative content across Africa,” says Irvine.
WE ARE DELIGHTED THAT DONALD HAS AGREED TO JOIN US AT RAPID BLUE AS HE BRINGS DEEP EXPERIENCE OF PRODUCING AWARDWINNING CONTENT IN SOUTH AFRICA AND ACROSS THE CONTINENT.
04 / SPOTLIGHT
On the red carpet at MIPTV © Valentin Desjardins
MIPTV: THE BIGGEST WEEK IN TV
MIPTV, which takes place from 9-12 April 2018, gathers over 10 500 entertainment industry leaders in Cannes at the world’s largest television and digital content market.
ailed as the biggest week in television, MIPTV is the brand’s ﬂagship content market and, together with the inaugural gold-standard international series festi val CANNESERIES, and the new Cannes Drama Creati ve Forum, In Development, it att racts over ten thousand delegates including 3 800 top acquisition executi ves. The event covers all stages of series creation
from concept and development to commissioning, pre-sales, promotion, international sales and audience. MIPTV is preceded by the biggest weekend in unscripted content from 7-8 April, comprising MIPDoc, the world’s largest screenings library, conference and co-production marketplace for the factual community, and MIPFormats, the discovery showcase for the global formats community.
MIPDrama Buyers Summit is scheduled for 8 April, and the inaugural In Development runs from 10-11 April. Speaker highlights include Matt hew Henick, Head of Development at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, and Yang Weidong, President of Youku, Alibaba Media and Entertainment Group. Both of these speakers will present topics around MIPTV’s Creators in Demand theme.
“In a world where all channels and platforms want to super-serve their fans, the unprecedented demand for new shows is generating new opportunities for creatordriven stories. At the same time, rocketing budgets need groundbreaking new ﬁnancing models, meaning it is all about ﬁnding genuine partners to help create great stories and great brands. Regardless of the content genre and the size of
SPOTLIGHT / 05
MIPTV IS THE BRAND’S FLAGSHIP CONTENT MARKET AND ATTRACTS OVER 10 000 DELEGATES INCLUDING 3 800 TOP ACQUISITION EXECUTIVES.
content with its ﬁrst-ever Kids’ World Premiere Screening of Find Me in Paris, a live action dance-themed teen series by Cottonwood Media.
IN DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS ANNOUNCED
Find Me In Paris will have its premiere at MIPTV 2018.
the screens, creators and talent have become the most valuable resource,” says Laurine Garaude, Director of Television at Reed MIDEM, organisers of MIPTV. In addition to a stellar selection of keynote speakers and thought leaders taking to the podium, MIPTV has also launched the Kids’ Live Action Pitch, designed to meet the
growing international demand for children’s live action series. As the ﬁrst of its kind, the competi tion jury will select ﬁve ﬁnalists who will have the opportunity of pitching their project on a stage at MIPTV in front of buyers and commissioning editors in the industry. The show will also train its focus on children’s
In early March, MIPTV and CANNESERIES unveiled the 12 projects in the oﬃcial selection for In Development, a programme designed to fast-tracking drama series production. These were shortlisted from 344 submissions. “The DNA of this event is to highlight new voices and tomorrow’s talents. We are very proud of the 12 selected projects and honoured to give these authors and producers the opportunity to meet the best of the industry in an original and unique way,” said Benoît Louvet, CANNESERIES Managing Director. As well as winning the opportunity to pitch a project to a high-level professional audience, the selected projects may be eligible for development funding through the programme’s partners.
Projects being developed • ANGELICA | Produced and written by Jen Mc Gowan and Eliza Lee (USA) • DEAD HEAD | Produced by Screentime NZ (New Zealand) • GR5 | Produced by Zodiak Belgium (Belgium) • LES MISÉRABLES | Produced by Elephant Story (France) • STRANGE FISHING SUNDAYS | Produced by Laniakea Capital (Spain) • THE MACHINERY | Produced by Anagram Sverige (Sweden) • THE SOURCES OF EVIL | Produced by Wueste Film (Germany) • WHATEVER, LINDA | Produced by The Donaldson Company (Canada) Early stage projects • CLASS A | Written by Charley Packham, Oliver Deacon and Simon Schneider (UK) • REVIVAL | Written by Joseph Kay (Canada) • SELFIES | Written by Joanne Lau (UK) • VIOLATOR | Written by Jon Atli Jonasson (Iceland) For more information on MIPTV 2018, visit www.miptv.com.
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06 / NEWS
SA TO HOST
COMIC CON AFRICA
The first official Comic Con to take place on African soil has gamers, TV buffs and comic book lovers all flustered.
aking place from 14-16 September this year, Comic Con Africa is set to wow crowds in Johannesburg at the Kyalami International Convention Centre. This iconic gathering of popculture delights is set to draw stars from shows like Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory, and have already conﬁrmed Nolan North and Troy Baker, who are known for their voice
work on games like Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted and Batman. VS Gaming and Reed Exhibitions will be bringing the convention to South Africa. They promise to have a programme packed with panels featuring ﬁlm stars, producers, comic book artists, video game developers, and writers – not to mention memorabilia and fan art, merchandise and cosplayers galore.
“We try our hardest to bring massive amounts of fun and excitement to the lives of our audience by creating content and experiences that are original, exciting, memorable and exceptionally awesome,” says Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions Africa, Carol Weaving. Comic Con Africa is now open for exhibitors and artists to apply. For more information, visit www.comicconafrica.co.za.
Connie Chiume, who stars in Black Panther, speaks at the launch of Comic Con Africa © ReedPOP
BBDO SOUTH AFRICA NOW OPERATES AS ONE AGENCY
BBDO South Africa recently folded its Cape Town Agency into its primary agency, Net#work BBDO.
N Boniswa Pezisa, BBDO SA Group CEO
et#work BBDO, historically based in Johannesburg, will now operate on a oneagency-two-oﬃces model, with the Cape Town branch taking on an operations and services role, while creative and strategy take place in Joburg. According to MarkLives, the entire agency has been moving towards a pod structure, built around a primary client, but also services smaller clients in the same vein as VML South Africa. Although the Cape oﬃce
is losing its ECD and MD, Mike Schalit, Founder and CCO at BBDO SA and Africa, will remain in Cape Town and manage the CSI pod within the network. The Cape oﬃce will retain 24 staﬀ members, and the 140 BBDO
brand will be phased out, says Boniswa Pezisa, BBDO SA Group CEO. Despite the restructure, BBDO remains focused on building a strong Pan-African agency, with closer association between various oﬃces, she adds.
THE ENTIRE AGENCY HAS BEEN MOVING TOWARDS A POD STRUCTURE, BUILT AROUND A PRIMARY CLIENT.
NEWS / 07
A JOB CREATION SUCCESS Cinemax’s new television series, Warrior, which is being shot in the Western Cape, has made a significant contribution to job creation and foreign investment in the region.
ccording to a recent statement by Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, the organisation is “thankful” for Cinemax’s contribution to economic growth and job creation in the Cape. “Data from the completed ﬁrst episodes shows that approximately 390 local South African businesses have been contracted with. These range from suppliers of construction materials, wardrobe, ﬁlm equipment, vehicles and logistics to suppliers of sound stages, post facilities, catering and accommodation,” he explains. “There has also been a signiﬁcant investment in sets, and the 19 th century Chinatown, San Francisco backlot at the Cape Town Film Studios (CTFS) could be a huge asset for the local industry at large.” The series is inspired by an original concept by martial arts legend Bruce Lee, and tells the story of the Chinese Tong wars in San Francisco. “The production is currently employing over 600 local ﬁlm
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crew, of which around 60% are previously disadvantaged individuals (PDI), and there are approximately 6 000 man-days budgeted for extras and stunt performers,” says Genevieve Hofmeyr, Co-Founder and MD of Moonlighting Films. “There are several programmes aimed at skills transfer and transformation, such as a producer programme (in collaboration with M-Net) where several young black producers will work-shadow the series producers. The VFX training programme is aimed at increasing the VFX talent pool, which is being done in collaboration with the Western Cape government. In addition, we also have our standard mentorship programme, which employs over twenty PDI ﬁlm trainees. The production has identi ﬁed around twenty PDI ﬁlm crew who will be accelerated to senior positions on Season Two should a second season be greenlit.” Only nine foreign crew members are working on the
Andrew Koji is set to star in Warrior. Image © Nicholas Dawkes
project, with the rest being South African. These include DOPs, a supervising art director, a script supervisor, a costume designer, a hair and makeup designer, a set decorator, a SFX supervisor, and VFX producers. “It is important that a local talent tracking mechanism, a policy Motion Picture Association (MPA) members are supporting, can help the industry
achieve its local transformation and employment needs,” says Monica Rorvik, Head of Film and Media Promotion at Wesgro. “It’s exciting that these bigger shows no longer have to bring in as much foreign talent and crew, and it shows that capacity is being developed by the Department of Trade and Industry’s incenti ves – but much more needs to be done there and a strong industry/government partnership can deliver that. MPA member companies and other international producers spend more than US$30billion annually on production. It would be great for South Africa to mirror the growth of the US state of Georgia which, over ten years, went from a US$250 million ﬁlm economy to a US$2.7-billion ﬁlm economy. Thus far South Africa sits at about a US$400-million ﬁlm economy – and that could easily grow to US$1.5-billion if the policy framework of the country is treated with care.”
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08 / SPOTLIGHT
BIGGER, BETTER, STRONGER The Cape Town International Animation Festival took place from 2-4 March and was jam-packed with incredible speakers and inspiring artists. Here’s a look at the highs.
BEST OF LOCAL ANIMATION Throughout the festival a selection of SA’s best shorts, commissioned films, music videos and trailers were screened.
© Corrie de Vries Photography
he 2018 edition of the Cape Town International Animation Festival was arguably the best it’s ever been, thanks not only to the hard work of organisers, but also the enthusiasm and interest of attendees. This year saw the event extend its reach to include a wide variety of local and international speakers who shared their expertise with 2 000 delegates over the weekend of 2-4 March. The River Club was once again the festival’s host venue and provided an exciting atmosphere for artists, producers, and everyone inbetween to make meaningful
connections. In addition to four major screenings – Mary and the Witch’s Flower, The Big Bad Fox, Liyana, and The Highway Rat – the show also had a dedicated Artist Alley that included live drawing and VR showcases, as well as a dedicated space in which to meet and make those all-important business deals. “Certainly the festival has grown, and this is an indication of how healthy the industry is – if the industry grows, so does the festival,” says Dianne Makings, CTIAF Festival Director. “We spend the whole year planning and as we start chatting to people, as we go
to other festivals, so we see what the trends are in animation and from there we develop our programme. It’s so important for the industry to be talking to us because we’re a platform for them. So having a Joburg delegation as well as a Durban delegation was massive for us, and massive for the industry because we can all be in one spot together celebrating the industry.” “The quality of events and speakers were high and more concentrated,” says Yasushi Naito, the Consul General of Japan, “I was personally impressed with the quality of short films produced by students.”
Ali Aschman | Unnatural Growth Chocolate Tribe | Robot & Scarecrow Diek Grobler | Mon Pays Diprente | Anansi Fopspeen Moving Pictures | Vonkelvrou Hilton Treves | DStv: African Festive Luma | Inside Job Lung | The Great Wildebeest Migration Mike Scott | Beatboxing Dave: Forbidden Dance, Bru & Boegie: Love, Goldfish: Talk To Me Mind’s Eye Creative | Dumb Gems & Drag-Ons, The Last Library Naomi Van Niekerk | My Mamma is Bossies Rams Comics | Modimolle Resurrection Seamonster | Water Message Triggerfish | Belly Flop Tulips And Chimneys | Natural Chips Co., Cerebos: Snow
Marc Eckstein of MediaCloud was also impressed with the speakers and turnout. “The event has definitely grown over the last three years… It was
SPOTLIGHT / 09
a pleasure being a sponsor and we look forward to participating next year.” One of the biggest problems with festivals like these, especially on the African continent, is the barrier to access. In order to combat this, CTIAF went so far as to have a ‘mirror’ festival at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha. This included drawing classes, workshops, speaker sessions, and introductions to animation, as well as the African premiere of The Highway Rat. “Shuto Shiota went through and spoke to the kids about animation as a career and they got such a kick out of hearing from an international,” says Makings. “I think all events should have mirror festivals because access is a problem, the normal entrance fee is a problem, and we should all be setting aside a little bit of budget to ensure that people in different areas have access to it. When I asked Shuto what he thought, his feedback was that he wanted to come back and he wanted to focus on that for next year because of the purity of the art that was being made. They were drawing simply because they wanted to draw, and it’s been so long since he’s experienced that.”
THE NFVF PROJECT SHOWCASE
The National Film and Video Foundation hosted the first ever “Road to Annecy” pitching competition at CTIAF. Prior to this, however, was the NFVF Project Showcase, in which local filmmakers shared the productions in development or completed with the NFVF’s help. The organisation is one of the only bodies in SA offering development financing. Projects showcased were Marjetsah by DNA Studios, a TV series 12 years in development and now ready to begin production on the pilot; Fairy Wheels, a 10-minute animated love story by Clea Malingson and Mind’s Eye Creative; Belly Flop, an adorable short by Kelly Dillion recently completed with the help of Triggerfish; and Pulane’s Adventures, a 2D edutainment series by Nompi Vilakazi of Buthano Pictures, aimed at 3-6 year olds.
This year saw four conference streams running at CTIAF: producer and business, technical, creative, and film screenings – making it quite a job choosing which to attend. Many of the local speakers were present on the
Friday, with more internationals sharing their insights over the rest of the weekend. Highlights included Lorna Withrington on Entertainment One and Alexi Wheeler of Nickelodeon talk about their fields of creative development and the ‘formula to success’. Kay Carmichael, Kwabena Sarfo and Daniel Snaddon led a session on storyboarding, while Animation SA’s Isabelle Rorke discussed the challenges and opportunities for the local industry. Isaac Mogajane of Diprente shared the story of Anansi and how to package local for a global market. One of the most popular sessions was that of Shuzo John Shiota, President of Polygon Pictures in Japan, who shared five golden rules to success in the animation industry. Two fascinating locally-led sessions took place on the 2nd: a discussion on the co-production treaty between France and SA ahead of workshops and potential changes to the treaty set to take place at Annecy this year, and a panel on open source software, what it means, the challenges and benefits thereof, and whether this can assist animation studios’ development. The co-production treaty currently addresses feature films; however stakeholders are now hoping to extend this to the
TV landscape so that doors can be opened to more opportunities, finance and collaboration. The upcoming workshop at Annecy will be a place to discuss the treaty in more depth so that all aspects and needs are covered once it is reviewed.
FEEDBACK FROM ATTENDEES “It was great being at CTIAF and seeing the growth and development over 3 short years.” Tasania Parsadh, Channel Director for Nickelodeon “Met rad people, learnt some cool things, and had so much fun. Really appreciate all the work you put into making it such a massive success. Felt a bit like a spunky little sister to Annecy, but with plenty of South African style and flavour.” Andrew Phillips, Creative “Really loved the new look and feel of the Artist Alley.” Inken Gartell, Autodesk “The talks we superb, the content screened was of a high standard, the energy incredible, and all in all, a really well organised event! We all certainly believe, and hope, that the festival was an absolute success. We look forward to the next one.” Jean Mortlock, Lung Animation “Definitely think we need to reach out more to the JHB people next year to show the value of the unique event. We would love to be there again next year with more goodies to share. This is a VITAL event that truly needs more support. Even though the event is in Cape Town, the event benefits everybody in SA.” Rob van den Bragt, Chocolate Tribe
Two of the NFVF Road to Annecy pitch winners © Corrie de Vries Photography
Some attendees dressed as their favourite animated characters © CTIAF
10 / INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT
INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT We dig into the hot topics in the local film production, commercial and animation industries.
SPECIAL FOCUS HANDLING THE DROUGHT
South Africa’s film industry continues to show resilience despite the drought in the Cape, with many companies making an extra effort not only to save water, but also to ensure potential international clients know that this will in no way affect the quality of their productions. Despite this, a number of commercial companies have lost business due to the perception of the crisis abroad, with some saying local government and association bodies’ efforts are potentially too little, too late. “We think the drought has had quite an impact on the business mainly because of the negative impression put out
to international media,” says Bobby Amm of the Commercial Producers Association (CPA). “In some cases clients have been misled into thinking that the situation may be a lot worse than it actually is and this has influenced their decision making.” Rachel Young of Happy Cat Films has felt the sting of the drought on her business rather acutely. “The drought started in 2015 and we are bearing the brunt of it now,” she says, “I don’t know how many calls I have gotten from crew that there is not a single job for some of them at this moment. Honestly, it’s unheard of. In February of 2017 we lost a very large 5-day job to a European
location as there were fires all over Cape Town.” She says that although Johannesburg and Durban are alternatives, they just do not offer the same scope in terms of locations – not to mention the additional cost attached to shooting further afield. “Most Europeans come here looking for pretty locations and with the drought, it’s tough to offer that when everywhere is brown, lakes are empty, ponds are dry, no fountains, no flowers and so forth… I am aware that the CPA, Wesgro and the DTI are doing their best to send messages to the world to let the world know we are open for business, which is very proactive and good of them.” Janette De Villiers, Executive
MOST EUROPEANS COME HERE LOOKING FOR PRETTY LOCATIONS AND WITH THE DROUGHT, IT’S TOUGH TO OFFER THAT WHEN EVERYWHERE IS BROWN, LAKES ARE EMPTY, PONDS ARE DRY, NO FOUNTAINS, NO FLOWERS AND SO FORTH. One of the many regions impacted by the drought. Courtesy of City of Cape Town
Producer at Groundglass says she thinks the press relations and international communications around the water crisis have been handled in an irresponsible way. On a recent trip in London, she was told by several people that they will not come to Cape Town this season because of press coverage saying the city is out of water. “The upshot of this will be a large number of businesses having to close their doors this winter, without a doubt. And not just film companies, but anything linked to our industry and tourism.” Rudi Riek, an industry consultant, echoes her sentiment: “It is great to know that Cape Town residents have effectively pushed back
INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT / 11
IT IS GREAT TO KNOW THAT CAPE TOWN RESIDENTS HAVE EFFECTIVELY PUSHED BACK THE DREADED DAY ZERO AND THE NOTABLE EFFORTS BY MANY PRODUCTION COMPANIES, SUPPLIERS AND CREW TO DO THEIR BIT TO BECOME AS GREEN AND WATER EFFICIENT AS POSSIBLE IS REALLY ENCOURAGING… IT IS A GREAT PITY, HOWEVER, THAT FOR A PERIOD THE NARRATIVE INTERNATIONALLY SEEMED TO BE ONE OF RATHER AVOIDING CAPE TOWN AS A RESULT OF THE DROUGHT.
the dreaded Day Zero and the notable efforts by many production companies, suppliers and crew to do their bit to become as green and water efficient as possible is really encouraging… It is a great pity, however, that for a period the narrative internationally seemed to be one of rather avoiding Cape Town as a result of the drought and many people are seeing the negative effects of this through the downturn in productions coming to Cape Town.”
Grant Spooner, Head of Operations at Marine Scene, says that the drought and Rand combined will definitely have an effect on the sector. “Traditionally the stronger Rand has never helped bolster international companies’ productions here. Wesgro, in partnership with the CPA, have done so much to promote the Western Cape’s media production potential, I can only hope this mitigates the negative effects of these factors
Locals visit once-plentifull water sources © Reuters - Mike Hutchings
on our industry. On a more basic level it has become increasingly difficult to wash, rinse and clean our boats and equipment and we’ve had to invest in grey-water, Rain-water and ground water sources to maintain minimum acceptable wash and rinse capability. Not ideal, but very necessary in the long term.” In addition to asking members and suppliers to continue to stick closely to the water restrictions, Amm says production companies and suppliers are working together to put procedures and systems in place on set to deal with issues relating to water. This ranges from catering through to SFX and letdowns. “Some companies have risen to the challenge very well which is encouraging. We have also communicated with our international clients to advise them on the situation and also point out the things they should be considering, i.e. locations that may not be available, and water released restrictions.” The CPA is launching an initiative called Film Friendly Cape Town, aimed at making the city and surrounding region more sustainable and
welcoming to productions. “We need to work together to spread the word as to why these issues (and the other elements that contribute to making Cape Town film friendly) are so important to our future,” she says, adding that it’s remarkable that Capetonians have halved their water consumption in just a few months when compared with other countries which might take longer. “Right now we need a BIG something to pull business back,” says Young. “For instance, it would be great to see the government step in and offer rebate incentives on commercials like some European countries do, and like Mauritius does. We have to find a new normal. The Rand seems to be getting stronger and stronger, which is not good for business down the line, even if it rains in May.” Despite most trying to bring a positive impact to the sector, it remains to be seen whether the drought has drastically and adversely affected the commercial and film industry in the long term. The Callsheet will continue to stay on top of this story and welcomes your thoughts and updates.
The Theewaterskloof Dam, one of the dams supplying Cape Town’s water © Cape Town Travel
12 / INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT
COMMERCIAL SERVICE FILMING IN CAPE TOWN IN MARCH
Rudi Riek has been working in the film industry for 23 years in various roles and is well known for his expertise in locations related matters. He shares the latest updates with the Callsheet. March is always a challenging month for our industry in Cape Town due to the many large events taking place in the City. As a result of the many events filming on weekends and road closures, it is virtually impossible on most weekends in this month. The challenge is twofold in that not only do the event footprints limit shoots, but the lack of traffic officers also plays a major role. It is also unfortunately the month in which many people do a final push for the commercial season and to be faced with so many events impacting on your shoot is not easy. Through negotiation with the City of Cape Town, many shoots have been assisted through the use of Metro Police and the City’s Event Permit Office who do try their utmost to assist where possible. It is clear, though, that a dedicated film traffic unit – which our industry has been asking about
for many years – would go a long way to increase the City’s capacity, although naturally nothing can be done to make space when there is none. Saldanha Bay Municipality: A delegation from Wesgro accompanied by myself met with the Saldanha Bay Municipality in March to assist them with ensuring their bylaws and policies are aligned with promoting this beautiful region as film friendly, and ensuring red tape is reduced for filmmakers. Tariffs: March is the month in which we keenly watch the various municipality websites for public participation processes relating to tariffs for the coming financial year and it is everyone’s opportunity to have their say in relation to filming tariffs.
BLACK AND WHITE REPORT LAUNCHED
The 2017 Black and White Report was recently launched to assist in measuring the progress and growth of the brand communication industry in the MENA region. Some
of the topics the report covers include creative award rankings and why they matter, stories from individuals and companies working in the Middle East and North Africa, and several different agency rankings. Founder of B&W Fadi Yaish says: “Not only is this benchmark the need of the hour, it is also imperative to hear the voices of the people who stood out among their peers, and understand how they made it to the top of the list. These are the individuals who have distinguished themselves. Who are inspiring, creative pioneers of their brands and who exemplify the bravery to create. Who lead and produce ideas that matter for their brands, agencies and companies.” To read the full report, visit www.loeries.com. Top Creative Agencies in MENA 1. Impact BBDO (Dubai) 2. Memac Ogilvy (Dubai) 3. TBWA/RAAD (Dubai) 4. Y&R (Dubai) 5. FP7/CAI (Cairo) 6. JWT (Dubai) 7. Leo Burnett (Beirut) 8. Leo Burnett (Dubai) 9. DDB (Dubai) 10. JWT (Riyadh)
IT IS IMPERATIVE TO HEAR THE VOICES OF THE PEOPLE.
WEATHER FOR APRIL Cape Town Average Temperatures: 18°C (High: 22°C, Low: 12°C) Average Rainfall: 50mm, 9 rainfall days Sun Hours: 6.54 hours/day Durban Average Temperatures: 23°C (High: 27°C, Low: 18°C) Average Rainfall: 70mm, 12 rainfall days Sun Hours: 8 hours/day Johannesburg Average Temperatures: 16°C (High: 22°C, Low: 10°C) Average Rainfall: 40mm, 8 rainfall days Sun Hours: 9 hours/day Source: Holiday-weather.com
Saldanha Bay © LBH Africa
Fadi Yaish, Regional ECD, Impact BBDO and Founder of the B&W Report
INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT / 13
FILM PRODUCTION sexual harassment and making the industry a safe space in which to work. “We attended a ‘Women in Film’ event in Berlin, where women from various European countries were discussing harassment and ways to deal with it. What was so affirming for us, was knowing that we are not the only ones dealing with these issues…our talk on the Code of Conduct was featured in Variety magazine, showing the relevance of the work we are doing and putting South Africa in the spotlight for being progressive.”
THE SERENGETI RULES AT TRIBECA
Keeping up with Kandasamys
The Serengeti Rules
DOES THE INCLUSION RIDER EXIST IN SA?
Frances McDormand made waves this March at the Oscars when she mentioned the importance of an ‘inclusion rider’ in her acceptance speech. But what exactly is it? Simply put, it is a stipulation that actors and actresses can ask to have inserted into their contracts, which requires a certain level of diversity among a film’s cast and crew. The idea was coined by Stacy L. Smith in a 2014 Hollywood Reporter column. Zoe Ramushu of the SWIFT advocacy group – Sisters Working in Film and Television – says that the mention of the inclusion rider
on the global stage is “another incredibly affirming moment” for the organisation. “At the moment the NFVF in partnership with SWIFT are researching levels of equality and inclusiveness in our industry,” she explains. “As was done with the research on sexual harassment, the survey will be the bedrock on which we then advocate for the incorporation of a South African Inclusion Rider.” She adds that the all-female delegation’s trip to Berlinale earlier this year showed them that SA is ahead of many countries and has made headway with the Code of Conduct, as well as in long term programmes of curbing
A film about the quest to discover the very ways in which life works, The Serengeti Rules has announced that it will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on 21 April. Directed by Nicolas Brown, the film tells the story of a group of young scientists who adventure to Earth’s most exotic places and discover a set of ‘rules’ governing life on the planet. The Serengeti Rules is based on a book by biologist Sean Carrol and is produced by Passion Pictures and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, with support from Science Sandbox. Local actor/ producer Greg Kriek stars in the film as one of the leads. “Couldn’t be more proud to announce that The Serengeti Rules has been officially selected,” he said recently. “What a timely film that will have a major impact on the environment and the role we each have to play. To be a leading man playing Tony Sinclair working with an Oscar winning team is a dream come true!”
WHY DON’T WE WATCH LOCAL FILMS?
In a fascinating, in-depth analysis, Julia Breakley of Memeburn explained why SA is not watching movies made by locals. “Last year, the 24 South African films
SA IS AHEAD OF MANY COUNTRIES AND HAS MADE HEADWAY WITH THE CODE OF CONDUCT, AS WELL AS LONG TERM PROGRAMMES OF CURBING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND MAKING THE INDUSTRY A SAFE SPACE IN WHICH TO WORK.
released in cinemas accumulated R44.5-million altogether. To put that into perspective, Despicable Me 3 made R46-million by itself. Fast and Furious 8 made R72-million,” she wrote. One of the reasons she cites is that films aren’t showing in as many cinemas, with SA films averaging 30 prints compared with top international films sitting around 96. But, despite its success locally, Keeping Up with the Kandasamys was shown in a below-average 26 cinemas, while Van Der Merwe opened in 50 and brought in a measly R618 000. According to Breakley, this discrepancy in numbers points to a disconnect – possibly between filmmakers and their audiences. “When you look at Kandasamys alongside the other South African films, it seems simple how it stands out: the film offers a celebratory glimpse at the underrepresented South African Indian community. And when the majority of the films released last year were either Afrikaans comedies or dark dramas, South Africans chose the light-hearted Indian family flick.” To view the full analysis, visit www.memeburn.com.
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Indoor pool shoot © Marine Scene
Filming content in the water – whether it is in a marine environment or a swimming pool – is a mammoth task only fit for experts. The Callsheet explores these watery depths.
ome of the most iconic films to be made feature the vast and glittering world of the ocean – Master and Commander, The Big Blue, Waterworld, and Jaws are a few that come to mind. Most recently, Guillermo Del Torro’s beautiful and graceful depiction of this dark and fascinating realm has captured the hearts of cinema goers around the world. The Shape of Water, which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture, is a perfect example of the complexities one faces when shooting in this kind of environment. South Africa has had its fair share of water-filled shoots, with most of the recent international productions requiring some level of technical marine or water
expertise on set. These include Tomb Raider, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, The Odyssey, Red Sea Diving Resort, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver, and Outlander, all of which Frog Squad has been involved with. On Tomb Raider, for instance, they did all the commercial diving work on the Hong Kong set and six weeks of work moving blocks underwater as part of a set build on location. In Red Sea Diving Resort they shot all the underwater vignettes for the film in Egypt, and were also involved in the naval marine extraction off the beach. “We assisted the art department in procuring the ten naval boats and hired actual navy divers from SA Navy to take part in the show,” Frog
Squad Marine Coordinator Jason Martin explains. “On the shoot day we provided the camera and support boats along with water safety for stunts and the platform for the drone operators.” Marine Scene have also worked on some fascinating projects, one of which involved the use of animatronics with various cameras mounted in and on them, explains Grant Spooner, who heads up Operations. “In years gone by, most battery packages were heavy and cumbersome. Smaller power packages with exceptional performance and endurance have assisted in many aspects of animatronics and remote control packages.” He says that as a result of these
advances, some “astounding footage” was captured on this UK project. The company also supplied seven vessels to the Volvo Ocean Race to service the event’s official film crew. Outside of South Africa, underwater cameramen like Dan Beecham do well. Based in SA and the UK, he sees the best of both worlds and has worked with BBC on the likes of Blue Planet II and Earth from Space, as well as National Geographic’s Hostile Planet. “My shoots for these series have seen me travelling to some amazing places, oftentimes documenting behaviours that have never been filmed before, with brand new technology – always a challenge, but always exciting,” he says.
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Until recently, many shoots were comprised of underwater jobs. These days, Frog Squad has had a balanced mix of both under and above-water shoots. “The marine elements vary according to the scripts,” Jason explains, “and there seems to be a trend – last year we did four surfing jobs, this year, to date we have done six jobs in two months.” Dan says he’s seen a resurgence of natural history filming, much of which incudes water work. “The success of some recent BBC productions like Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II has created an increase in demand,” he explains. “As such, there are a few big series in production and some others just being commissioned that will hopefully keep shooters busy for the next few years.” He adds that another trend is the increased demand for camera operators who are
multi-skilled. “There are still some operators who get by only doing underwater work, but I find myself getting jobs where there is also a need for some motion control (Ronin/ Movi/Cineflex) or drone work.” Jason agrees, saying that the use of drones is becoming a game changer, and something that is likely to propel the industry into a new era of filmmaking on the water, thanks to the convenience of its set up. Grant adds that the digital revolution continues to “progress performance of sub-surface, on-surface and aerial filming by making camera packages smaller, lighter, more capable and more affordable. Thus some incredible footage is being filmed often in a more cost effective way than in years gone by.” The progression of VFX has also increasingly affected the marine film industry. For example, whole scenes that were once
shot on the water, nowadays might only include beach landings, with ships added to the background in post-production. Feeding into this trend is a need for more controlled environments for water work. Although there is a new, filmfriendly indoor pool facility in Cape Town, it is still not enough. According to Jason, the region is sorely lacking in proper indoor facilities and has lost large water jobs to international studios like Pinewood as a result.
BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET
Across the film sector, budgets remain difficult, with Jason saying that the challenge to every shoot is “bridging the gap between the various departments in the industry while justifying the budget to the production company”. This is often because marine support is not considered a regular line item on most budgets.
Gear is often basic, yet expensive, with operators accumulating it over their years working in the industry. Frog Squad has gone so far as to develop their own gear, such as a 12m purpose-built camera crane boat with silent, 4-stroke motors and space for a full libra or mini giraffe. Another example is a pontoon barge designed for transportation on a trailer. Their craft are licensed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) so that if an accident happens, the gear will be insured. There have been times when shoots not using recognised marine film companies have had mishaps on the water, so productions should be aware of the dangers involved when choosing a cheaper, less reputable or unknown marine service. Below are a few more examples of variety of gear used on water shoots: • Camera cages for shark films on 3D Imax shoots, with crane weights of 680 pounds • Floating light masts for lighting the water or where a light moon is required and there is no access for a condor or crane • Jetskis with camera rigs for surf shots • Picture boats, sail boats, period life boats, Navy attack vessels, traditional paddle boats, surfboards, pedalos, and clinker boats, to name a few • Marine databases (acquired through recognised marine film companies) can save productions a fortune as they do not need to scout for boats
The Crown Season 2, shot in Buffels Bay © Frog Squad
Behind the scenes of Black Sails Season 4, Episode 9 © Frog Squad
GEAR USED IN MARINE SHOOTS
The Sinking of The Laconia, shot in Cape Town © Frog Squad
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BECAUSE OF A DRAIN ON EXPERIENCE IN THE MARINE SECTOR,... AS AN INDUSTRY WE WON’T BE ABLE TO OFFER THE SAME STANDARD OF SERVICE AS WE HAVE IN THE PAST.
In addition, gear is another challenge, as is the cost of operating in such a niche sector. Frog Squad has invested millions in film-focused equipment in an effort to add value to the industry – ranging from underwater cameras, communication and diving gear, to shooting platforms designed to float techno 50 cranes or transport a unit downriver. “We have camera cages for shark movies, underwater scooters
for VFX, and safety gear to placate the most vigilant health and safety officer,” says Jason. That said, all of this comes at a price, and often productions do not realise the cost this kind of work entails until a project is already underway.
THE STATE OF SA’S MARINE FILM SECTOR
South Africa’s film and television industry is in flux at the moment thanks to a number of
reasons ranging from drought in the Cape and national politics to more competitive destinations attracting bigbudget productions. According to Jason, this does not bode well for the health of the industry, particularly from a marine coordinator’s perspective. “Our work is too sporadic... the flow of work is unpredictable, and we lose a lot of crew to offshore or more regular work which pays better and is more structured,” he explains. “The danger I feel we are in is that because of a drain on experience both in the marine sector, and our counterparts in stunts, as an industry we won’t be able to offer the same standard of service as we have in the past.” More and more skilled workers in the film sector are looking for jobs elsewhere, and newcomers are beginning to take
over, resulting in fluctuations all-round. The marine support companies aren’t making the same money they did circa 2012 - 2014. “Black Sails for us was the one show that made sense both financially and in the form of investing, and this was done because we had a top notch producer at the helm, who knew how to make water movies.” The bottom line is that things need to change soon, especially with the cost of gear, loss of skilled workers and lack of work continuity combining to create a lethal cocktail. “Our experience, credits and resources help win scripts and storyboards,” says Jason, “but if the companies involved in marine support can’t survive financially, and if crew and stuntmen are looking at going abroad, it will be back to the dark ages for the marine film industry.”
THE BUSY LIFE OF A MARINE COORDINATOR
production with scenes in or on the water cannot move forward without a marine coordinator. This is a person who, in essence, facilitates the production on the water. They are the fundamental link between the action behind the camera and the shots achieved in this environment. Many come with a plethora of experience in the water, and people like Jason Martin, Jimmy Fraser, Andre Jacques and Grant Spooner are internationally recognised for their expertise. Their job is of utmost importance in supporting key crew like the director, and they also manage other aspects of the production while it’s in the water. “They are central cogs in the making of the feature,”
EVERYONE ON THE WATER NEEDS THEIR OWN SUPPORT, BE IT THE CATERER BRINGING IN LUNCH, OR THE CAMERA DEPARTMENT SENDING CARDS TO THE DIT. A Tomb Raider Hong Kong scene shot in Hout Bay © Frog Squad
says Jason, “the link between art department and construction, camera and action.” They also ensure craft are ferried in and manage cast and crew transport – not to mention
ensuring safety protocol is adhered to. “Everyone on the water needs their own support, be it the caterer bringing in lunch, or the camera department sending cards to the DIT.” Last
but not least, there’s the job of ensuring the picture boat is doing the right action, training the cast, hiding the actual boat driver, and many more tasks to coordinate.
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THE CHALLENGES OF UNDERWATER CINEMATOGRAPHY
Beecham on a marine shoot.
orking with professional camera gear can be challenging at times – but adding an underwater environment to the mix needs a whole new perspective and skillset. Dan Beecham, who worked on BBC’s Blue Planet II for almost two years, says the first thing one needs to be is a capable and confident diver. Jason Martin agrees, saying that potential operators must have a commercial diving license. Frog Squad even goes as far as ensuring their crew is of the utmost quality by
MARINE FILM SERVICES Marine and diving services to the South African film industry. Now operating in Mauritius & Southern Africa.
www.frogsquad.co.za +27823496688 +27823400991
A recent underwater shoot, courtesy of Dan Beecham.
hiring divers with SA Navy experience – some of who are also second, third or even fourth generation commercial divers. “We can and have spent anything from 6-18 hours in the water on any given day, and we can’t have the core of the shoot – mainly the marine crew – not in the water, otherwise the shoot grinds to a halt.” They currently have seven Navy divers on their team, two underwater camera operators, and about five fourth-generation divers who he says are being groomed to take over from the older crew.
According to Dan, one of the challenges an underwater marine cinematographer faces is visibility because this can change daily or even hourly. “Think of it as fog that is always there to some extent,
but increasing or decreasing depending on conditions.” There is also reduced light underwater, he adds, as well as numerous physical or safety limitations that come with running into potential decompression issues.
ONE OF THE CHALLENGES AN UNDERWATER MARINE CINEMATOGRAPHER FACES IS VISIBILITY BECAUSE THIS CAN CHANGE DAILY OR EVEN HOURLY.
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Namibia is an ever-growing film service hub © Imwe Namibia Holdings
A Japanese New Year shoot.
A COMPETITIVE AFRICAN FILM DESTINATION We speak to Guy Nockels, Executive Producer of Namib Film, and CEO of Imwe Namibia Holdings, one of the leading production conglomerates in the Namibian film industry, to find out more about the sector.
amibia has long been a fascinating location and in recent years has hosted big budget films like the award winning Mad Max: Fury Road and the latest instalment of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise. But the industry offers so much more, with companies like Imwe Namibia Holdings pioneering the development of local content in the region. Guy Nockels shares in depth. How was Imwe formed, and why does this kind of business model work? Imwe Namibia Holdings is the holding entity for Namib Film, our commercial division solely dedicated to the production and facilitation of feature films, commercial, music videos, stills shoots and corporate
videos; Magic Touch Films, our documentary division solely focused to the production and facilitation of documentaries and reality television programmes; with Desert Ace Tours and Charters who provides specialised travel packages to international travellers, as well as film production support to visiting production teams; and finally, Equipment List Rentals, our in-house equipment rental division specializing in camera and unit support, as well as location scouting, management and rehabilitation. Each entity has related but distinctly different products, services, markets and opportunities. The consolidation of the four subdivisions under Imwe Namibia Holdings has developed them
into well-balanced entities, offering high quality customer service, branded and wellaccepted media industry products, backed by secondary services to complement each division’s efforts. Who were the clients or projects you worked with in 2017/18? In the last year we had the opportunity to focus on a really diverse list of clients and productions. One memorable production was the popular reality TV programme, Divas Hit the Road, for Hunan TV in China. They had a crew of more than 100 people that travelled over 1 000km in just a few days. There were also really creative projects, including Italian photographer Angelo
Seminara who shot his Great Women for Great Lengths in Sossusvlei, Namibia. What are the typical challenges you are faced with on these projects? International budgets have become tight, but with us being able to offer Namibian locations and services to visiting producers at very competitive rates to film or shoot at compared to other international film locations, Namibia makes our lives easier! What is the ratio of service work to production work that your company does? Traditionally we have focused more on providing services to, and facilitate for, visiting producers and film crews, especially with Namib Film’s
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A recent Tafel Lager commercial shoot.
most recent major Hollywood feature film Transformers: The Last Knight, and Magic Touch Films working closely with RedBull TV, BBC and Discovery Channel. In 2018 we have embarked on developing our own ideas and projects. We feel Namibia has a world to offer not just as a location, but in the form of original content unlike anywhere else in the world. How healthy is the Namibian film industry? Where are things lacking, and in what areas is the industry excelling? As the longest-running production company in the country we can definitely say Namibia’s film industry has grown over the years. The Namibian Film Commission is also currently working
Behind the scenes of one of Namib Film’s shoots.
hard to market the country to the outside world, but as an industry we would still like to be able to offer rebates to large productions. This would make us just so much more competitive because we already have world-class infrastructure, basically minutes away from some jaw-dropping scenery. Regarding local content, there has been an increase in the quality, which always comes with an increased budget. What trends have you noticed in wider African region? Throughout the African industry there are noticeably more TV programmes that focus on travelling on the African continent. We have developed a pride in our countries that we want to share with the world. We incorporate our own cultures
Callsheet Advert Quarter Namib Film March 18.pdf
Callsheet Advert Quarter Namib Film March 18.pdf
and traditions in film, TV and commercials, shifting our focus from the norm of copying Hollywood, and motivating our people to stay true to our ethos. You can see this in the increased African influence in worldwide mainstream films and music. Where do you see the future of Namibian filmmaking heading? The Namibian film industry has become more competitive than ever. This is great, but in light of many new players and service providers in the industry, it is important that our industry manages its hard-won international reputation as a world class filming destination. Namibia remains a production paradise, but while the Namibian film industry is a small industry compared to in other countries,
the industry and the rights and permissions for filming still need to be respected. Can you imagine that there are still rumours of international crews coming to film in Namibia without even a film permit? If we want to keep Namibia a filmmaking paradise – and especially easy to access – we all need to work together.
USEFUL CONTACTS Namibian Film Commission Tel: +264 61 381 900 Email: email@example.com Web: www.nfc.na Imwe Namibia Holdings Tel: +264 64 463 371 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.imwe.com.na
20 / FEATURE
uZalo’s vibrant cast. The soapie is shot in KwaMashu, Durban and has been credited with “opening the industry” by casting budding actors.
THE RISE OF
LOCAL TV CONTENT
As audience appetites for relatable local content increases, so does the demand for original ideas. Kim Crowie speaks to those riding this exciting new wave of storytelling.
outh African television production may seem a far cry away from international content, but the industry is making major strides in creating quality, original series that reach beyond the norm and towards a future where local truly is ‘lekker’. This places the country on the cusp of greatness, with audiences on the lookout for fresh and unique shows, new faces and different storylines, says Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content: Africa at Showmax. “We’re in an era where you can’t afford to not listen to what your customer wants. More content is being
created than ever before, locally and globally, from professionals who’ve been doing it for years, to user-generated YouTube sensations, all the way down to kids filming unboxing videos. With so many platforms to choose from, and so much content choice, at the end of the day the customer will choose what he wants, so you either jump on that ship or let your customer jump ship.”
ORIGINAL COMES IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES
This demand for a plethora of content feeds into SA’s television service industry, and, as a result
of our capabilities, international productions like Outlander, Warrior and Our Girl have been shot on location, using local cast and crews. Another way in which new content reaches the global industry is through co-productions through companies like Stage 5 Films. The company co-produced a Danish mini-series called Liberty, which was shot in Johannesburg and Pretoria between June and November last year. “With a renewed focus on Africa post Black Panther, the future is arguably coproductions with other countries, rather than straightforward production services,” says Dylan
Voogt, Producer at Stage 5 Films. Traditional broadcast shows have also grown in quality and ability, with dramas like uZalo and Tjovitjo holding the nation captive on a daily and weekly basis. uZalo’s first episode clocked in at 5 million views, and most recently had an audience of 8 million for their hour-long funeral special which aired in February. It is currently the most-watched soapie in SA. Mmanitse Thibedi, the show’s Creative Director, attributes their success to the fact that it resonates with audiences. “uZalo explores a myriad of stories of the people of KwaMashu. Some of the
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UZALO’S IMPACT ON THE KZN ECONOMY • 70-80 crew members are contracted annually: Season 1 had 51% Durban and 49% Joburg-based crew; Season 2 had 73% Durban and 27% Joburgbased crew; Season 3 had 97% Durban and 3% Joburg-based crew. • By Season 3, all but 2 cast members were from Durban. • 14 interns have completed the yearlong paid internship programme to date. • Of these interns, 10 have been appointed in formal positions on the show. • Season 3 saw 8 interns enter the programme. • 90% of call actors are from Durban. • 100% of extras are from Durban. • All vehicles, props, set dressing, set builds and costumes are sourced locally.
themes that have been explored are a gay son coming out to his family, love stories, community unity or activism, violence against women, and gansterism.” Tjovitjo, on the other hand, digs into an entirely unexplored subject – the world of sepantsula
dancing. “The dance culture is so specific and it is not a replica of anything that exists anywhere in the world,” Producer Lodi Matsetela explains. The show was originally developed as a feature film but after struggling to raise finance, they found an opportunity to make a TV series instead for the SABC. “The SABC gave us a lot of creative freedom. The synergy between us and out commissioning editor Ntando Mhlongo made it easy to push the boundaries of a typical drama series.” In the world of video on demand, Showmax is making tidal waves. “Our mix of top-drawer Hollywood content and a strong local line-up is working well for us,” says Richard Boorman, Head of Communications, “and I’m pleased to say we’re holding our own against some incredible global services.” One of the ways in which they’ve done this is by creating original content exclusive to Showmax. Tali’s Wedding Diary was launched in December last year, and was an instant success. “On its first day, this show had more than double the number of views of anything else we’ve put on Showmax on its debut, and it proved the point that strong local content can be a key acquisition and retention driver.” Fangueiro adds that although drama has been a favoured genre, there is a trend towards character-driven content. “Audiences are falling in love with
the characters and the lives they live, not only the world in which they exist. Drama is great, but I believe when you start venturing into slightly left-of-centre spaces, tapping into different genres, you may get the overwhelming and unexpected positive reactions you want, like we did with Tali.”
BUDGETS ARE KEY TO TELLING GOOD STORIES
Although exciting new content is constantly being conceptualised, a major barrier to entry in SA is production budget. This challenge can seriously stunt the industry’s growth. “South Africa is stuck,” says Tjovitjo’s Matsetela. “There
THERE ARE NO REAL TRENDS; IF THERE ARE, THE TRENDS ARE DICTATED BY THE BUDGETS THAT PRODUCERS ARE WORKING WITH. GOOD TV IS RECOGNISABLE, AND THAT SUPERCEDES GENRE. THE ‘TREND’ RIGHT NOW ISN’T REALLY ABOUT GOOD STORYTELLING, IT’S ABOUT FORMULAS AND FORMATS. SMILF is one of Showmax’s most popular show.
are no real trends; if there are, the trends are dictated by the budgets that producers are working with. Good TV is recognisable, and that supercedes genre. The ‘trend’ right now isn’t really about good storytelling, it’s about formulas and formats.” Many local creators have embraced YouTube as a platform where they can build an audience for their own content at a very low cost. “Recent television series like High Maintenance, Broad City, and Haters Back Off started as web series that became big shows,” says Ari Kruger, Director at Sketchbook Studios, the company that produced Tali’s Wedding Diary.
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THE MAGIC IS NOT JUST IN STUDIO ANYMORE
Director Vincent Moloi behind the scenes on Tjovitjo.
ONE OF THE MAIN BARRIERS TO ITS ENTRY IN SA IS CONNECTIVITY – OR RATHER AFFORDABLE UNCAPPED DATA PACKAGES – SOMETHING WHICH SHOWMAX IS WORKING TO CHANGE.
TALI’S WEDDING DIARY HIGHLIGHTS Tali’s character has been with Julia Anastasopoulos and Ari Kruger for many years, but the concept for the show was spawned recently while the two were planning their own wedding. “The wedding industry is crazy and it’s easy to get swept away in the performance of it,” says Ari, “We realised this would be the perfect superficial world for Tali’s character.” After shooting a ten-minute pilot, they pitched to Showmax and the rest is history. “The writing process was a lot of fun, we brought in my old friend Daniel Zimbler and the three of us sat together in a room
Despite a lack in budget for shows, more and more broadcasters are dedicating larger sums of money towards out-of-studio work in a bid to create a higher standard of content. Tali, uZalo, and Tjovitjo, are all examples of this, with eTV recently also announcing a new drama Imbewu, to be shot entirely in Durban. “This latest addition of film production to Durban will certainly help support our positioning of Durban as a film production destination of choice,” says Toni Monty, who heads up the Durban Film Office. This is another big production to be established in eThekwini after uZalo – a highly successful telenovela which created many opportunities for the local film industry. uZalo shoots 40% of its footage in the township of KwaMashu, with the rest shot in studio, says Thibedi. “The people of KwaMashu take great pride in the show, as they see a reflection of who they are on screen and know that children from that very community are employed by Stained Glass as performers and crew members.”
VOD – THE FUTURE OF TV?
It’s just a matter of time for South Africa, but worldwide we’re already seeing that VOD is here to stay. One of the main barriers to its entry in SA is connectivity – or rather affordable uncapped data packages – something which Showmax is working to change. “We’ve already taken steps to combat this,” says Boorman, “like introducing the ability to download shows and watch later. We’ve even gone so far as setting up free Wi-Fi hotspots in malls across SA where people can watch Showmax and download shows while shopping.” The company is working with telcos to come up with more long term solutions to these issues. “The VOD model is what we have all been waiting for in SA,” says Kruger. “Showmax adopted a similar approach to Netflix and HBO whereby they give filmmakers a lot of creative freedom and come on board to support their vision. If future VOD platforms are also able to adopt this approach to content creation, we will start to see a lot more high-end series and films being produced locally.”
and came up with the most outrageous and ridiculous ideas.” He says although the shoot was intense, there was enough comedy to go around. “After we’d cut, the crew would all break into laughter, which is great for the morale…the days we had Kate Normington (Tali’s mother) on set were the best, she’d make us cry with laughter.” The show was received positively by both local and expat audiences, and Tali’s Instagram account also helped in creating a buzz. It also started the a conversation of whether Tali was real – not everyone realised it was the same actress behind Suzelle DIY. Sketchbook Studios have already begun working on Season 2. Julia Anastasopoulos stars in Tali’s Wedding Diary. © Gareth Wiese
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MAJOR CONTENT PRODUCERS IN SA
The cast on the set of Tjovitjo Season Two.
Tali’s Wedding Diary was launched on Showmax in December. © Gareth Wiese
Aquavision TV Productions
Na Aap Productions
Area 51 Productions
Ochre Moving Pictures
Off the Fence South Africa
Off the Ground Media
Big World Cinema
One Step Beyond
Pieter Cilliers Productions
Community Media Trust
Cooked in Africa (Okhule Media)
Red Pepper Pictures
Dancing Light Productions
Day Zero Films/Steps
Stage 5 Films
Stained Glass TV
Street Stories Films (NPO)
Endemol Shine Group
Tekweni TV Productions
Geoff Theys Productions
Two Oceans Productions
Man Makes a Picture
Maxi-D TV Productions
Urban Brew Studios
X CON Films
Disclaimer: Although there are many successful television content producers in South Africa, due to space constrictions, The Callsheet is only able to include the major companies working in this field. Please get in touch if you would like your business added to this list.
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DRONES ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW
Phillip Kent, Reneesha Davidson and Catherine Marcus of Legalese explain what it means to own a drone, and what the laws are governing this category of aircraft.
© Knoell Marketing via Unsplash
rone owners, we need to talk. There’s an elephant in the room and it’s called the law. Your toy drone/model airplane/radio controlled plane/quadcopter, or whichever other name you use to describe it, is actually a really small aircraft. In South Africa, all aircrafts (big or small) are regulated. End of story. As a drone owner, you need to understand what these regulations are and what duties you have. From July 2016, Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Regulation, 2011 (CAR) began to regulate drones and drone operations. CAR is the delegated legislation of the Civil Aviation Act 13 of 2009, meaning that CAR is not an industry best practice guideline, departmental notice or personal opinion – it’s South African law, and it applies to you. However, like most things in law, it’s not always so simple to understand. So we’re going to
try and break it down, tackling this issue step by step. What is an aircraft? An aircraft is any machine that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air. This definition does not mention what an aircraft is made of, what it is made for, or where it is sold. It’s a blanket definition that essentially covers any flying machines, and includes drones. What is a drone? A drone is a colloquial term for an RPAS – a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System. We’ll stick to calling it a drone. A drone is a set of configurable elements, namely: the aircraft itself, the station that controls it, and the link between the two. So is every remote piloted aircraft a drone? No, not in the context of the applicability of the drone laws. Basically, there are two
exceptions – if an aircraft that is remotely piloted is either a toy or a model aircraft, the regulations do not apply. Legally, what is a toy aircraft? The definition is quite clear on this: ‘toy aircraft’ means a product falling under the definition of aircraft which is designed or intended for use in play by children; In South Africa, a child (or legal minor) is a person who has not yet reached the age of 18. Right, then what is a model aircraft? Firstly, to be a model aircraft, it must comply with very clear, specific statutory requirements. Secondly, and most likely the most limiting, is the aircraft’s use. To be considered a model aircraft, the aircraft must be only used for competition, sports or recreation purposes. If you receive any kind of remuneration, you’ll have a
tough time affiliating it solely with sports and recreation. What counts as remuneration in this context? ‘Remuneration’ when used in relation to aircraft operations, means defraying all or part of the costs of the operation whether in cash or in kind and whether or not it is commensurate with the value of the service. So, receiving remuneration means that you’re either receiving money, or some equivalent, in order to operate your drone. So in summary, how do I know if Part 101 regulates my remotely piloted aircraft? Start off by assuming that your machine is a drone. Then work backwards and ask yourself three questions: • Are you a legal minor? • Are you receiving no form of remuneration whatsoever for using your drone? • Will you be operating the product as a model at a model airfield? If any of the above applies to you then congratulations, your machine is not regulated under Part 101. This does not mean that your remotely piloted aircraft is unregulated: model aircraft are stringently regulated, and have been an exceptionally well-behaved community in the aviation sector. Speak to your local hobby shop or the South African Model Aircraft Association for further information. However, if you none of these questions apply to you, then your drone operations will be regulated by Part 101.
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My drone falls under Part 101, what now? If you’re not receiving remuneration for the use of your drone, but you are an adult, Part 101 does make provision for the private operation of a drone, and it is very lenient. Private operators of drones need only comply with the ‘Rules of the Air’ and a few trivial administrative requirements. The South African Drone Law Handbook separates the topics for ease of reference if you are a private operator and need a quick reference handbook. The Rules of the Air are a series of rules that define how an aircraft should be operated during flight – such as not flying over people or roads, not crashing, not crashing into people and other common-sense rules. I receive remuneration for operation of my drone. What do I need to do to comply with Part 101? You’ll need an RPAS Operators Certificate (ROC). That is by far the most costly and complex part of compliance. Your drone itself will need some paperwork and markings, and you’ll need an RPAS Pilot License (RPL) to fly it. The drone industry has been fed some misleading information that has resulted in drone owners paying (hefty amounts in some parts of the country) for an RPL, only to discover that this does not entitle them to operate a drone for remuneration and they still require an ROC. Consider directing your efforts at prioritising acquiring an ROC
since, like any operator of capital equipment, you can simply employ a freelance RPL to operate your drone when the need arises. An ROC is far more significant than an RPL. Speak to the Flight Operations Department at the South African Civil Aviation Authority (+27 11 545 1000) for further information. Let’s get real, who is actually going to catch me? It’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to get caught out if you don’t comply with Part 101. There are no secret police or network of aviation spies that snoop around looking for illegal drone operators. However, since the legislation is in place, any injury to persons or damage to property that results from you operating a drone will leave you liable according to the legislation. Firstly, you’re liable for the damages you cause. And secondly, you’ll be found in contravention of the legislation if you’re unlicensed. Aviation law is especially strict with regards to liability – any damages can be recovered from an aircraft owner without needing to prove negligence or otherwise. Additionally, operating in contravention of the Civil Aviation Act is an offence, meaning that you can be prosecuted by the State with fines of up to R160 000 and/or imprisonment of 10 years. For example, you’re flying along the beach in December, overhead all the beachgoers,
IT’S NOT A MATTER OF RESTRICTING DRONES SO MUCH, BUT RESPECTING THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE AND ACKNOWLEDGING THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH FLIGHT, AND MITIGATING THESE RISKS ACCORDINGLY THROUGH RULES AND REGULATIONS.
without a care in the world. The loss of a rotor creates an imbalance that causes the drone to plummet downwards, striking someone. As it turns out, you regularly put your film footage on a blog that you derive an income from through advertising revenue. The person struck suffers damages and has to go to hospital, pay to receive treatment for the head injury and miss an entire day of their holiday they paid for. Even if this hypothetical flight was not for remuneration, every other law pertaining to drone operations (Rules of the Air) was broken, and now you have yourself a big fat civil claim, with a strong possibility of a criminal case if the SAPS gets involved. Why are these over-thetop regulations in place? Above you right now, invisible to the naked eye, is over 100 years of aeronautical rule refinement. Manned aviation has tirelessly (and largely successfully) refined aviation conduct to the extent that it is one of the safest forms of transport available today. The Cape Town – Johannesburg air route is the twelfth busiest passenger air route in the world. Fatalities: zero. In comes remotely piloted flight. There are two matters that make remotely piloted flight so unique. Firstly, operating an aircraft, for the first time in aviation history, is open to everyone. The barriers to entry are now so low that most people who can afford a smart phone can afford a drone. Secondly, remotely piloting an aircraft has removed the first law of aviation safety: the law of selfpreservation. We have a saying when something hairy goes down in flight: “Pilot messes up, pilot dies. Everyone else messes up, pilot dies.” In traditional circumstances, if a pilot behaves appropriately, the pilot survives. This induces a foundation of caution that is built on through Safety Management Systems and proficiency based training.
However, drones don’t have that. Other than legislation, there are no immediate repercussions to operating a drone irresponsibly. It is a combination of this easy access to drones and the low personal risk associated with operating drones that makes the integration of remotely piloted and manned aircraft into the same airspace an extremely tedious task. It’s not a matter of restricting drones so much, but respecting the sanctity of human life and acknowledging the risks associated with flight, and mitigating these risks accordingly through rules and regulations. Is this how it will be forever? No, it’s unlikely. Writing law is extremely complicated. Legislators have to try to write laws that are broad enough to encompass every situation, yet are clear enough to achieve their goal. And these laws must be written for the future, since laws can’t be applied retrospectively. Honestly, we have no clue what tomorrow will look like, yet these laws have to be written to last decades. Because of this, laws, especially with regard to technology, tend to change and develop with the industries that they govern. However, although our drone laws have shortcomings, we can’t ignore them. The regulations are in their infancy so there is hope for improvement. The improvements, of course, can also only realistically come from stakeholders who are involved; meaning sitting on the sidelines, as with most things in life, will get you nowhere. Written by Phillip Kent, Reneesha Davidson and Catherine Marcus of Legalese. Phillip is the Aviation Law Specialist at Legalese, a creative legal agency based in Cape Town. Legalese caters towards specialised industries such as film, music, aviation, tech and fintech. Contact Legalese on email@example.com or +27 21 422 0214.
26 / CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL
RECORD NUMBERS FOR
A record number of people enjoyed the annual Cape Town International Animation Festival, which took place over 2 to 4 March at the River Club in Cape Town.
Visitors explored the many beautiful displays in the CTIAF Artists Alley. © Corrie de Vries Photography
resented by Animation SA, the festival, which is now in its seventh year, saw 2 000 people in attendance. The CTIAF has become a significant fixture on the international festival calendar, presenting the best of local and international films by award-winning animators, as well as providing a unique platform to engage with global industry leaders in a series of insightful workshops, talks and panel discussions. It is a marketplace for the fastgrowing and internationally acclaimed African animation industry, with businessto-business sessions, producer events, networking opportunities and government panel discussions in addition to student competitions and an outreach programme.
Almost sixty speakers and industry leaders from South Africa, Canada, Japan, the USA, UK, Germany and France shared their insights and knowledge with attendees. Members of the public had free access to catch celebrated films such as The Highway Rat, Big Bad Fox, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and Pear Cider and Cigarettes. The public also took part in the popular free drawing and stop-motion workshops and visited the Artists Alley, showcasing the work of forty graphic artists and animation studios, as well as live drawing and virtual reality experiences. “We have been inspired by the response to this year’s festival and excited by how much this event has grown,” says Festival Director Dianne Makings. “From thirty delegates at the first conference seven
years ago, the festival has grown to welcome 2 000 visitors and become the continent’s only dedicated animation festival. “A number of local studios announced exciting developments this year including Sunrise Productions, whose project Munki and Trunk has been acquired by Nickelodeon. We are thrilled that a meeting between them at the Festival in 2015 was the first step in this process,” says Makings. “We found incredible stories at the Festival, including thirteen year old Ndita Lesenyeho, who travelled from Johannesburg to join us for the weekend. Ndita started drawing aged nine and after attending workshops with the Digital Canvas Academy at the Animation School, the animation bug bit. When she heard about the festival, she said she couldn’t not attend, and was determined to get to Cape Town.” The Triggerfish Foundation once again facilitated the
FROM THIRTY DELEGATES AT THE FIRST CONFERENCE SEVEN YEARS AGO, THE FESTIVAL HAS GROWN TO WELCOME 2 000 VISITORS AND BECOME THE CONTINENT’S ONLY DEDICATED ANIMATION FESTIVAL. CTIAF Outreach Programme at the Isivivana Centre in Khayelitsha. This included drawing classes with Animate Africa, and various workshops to teach the fundamentals of animation. The Isivivana Centre
An animator demonstrates some live drawings in the Artists Alley. © Corrie de Vries Photography
CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL / 27
THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN IS PROUD TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH AN EVENT THAT HIGHLIGHTS TO THE WORLD THE RICHNESS OF OUR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES.
WHAT THE SPONSORS SAY
The CTIAF meeting room was constantly a-buzz. © Corrie de Vries Photography
also presented the African premiere of The Highway Rat, which was first screened on BBC 1 in England on Christmas Day and which is produced by Magic Light Pictures and animated at Cape Town based Triggerfish Animation Studios. “The standard of entries for the CTIAF Student Awards was exceptionally high and we congratulate all our winners, especially Lateesha Gillespie and Liam Barnwell. These two students were awarded the phenomenal prize sponsored by Nickelodeon to have the opportunity to participate in a two week internship at their Burbank studios in the USA,” adds Makings. This is the third consecutive year that Nickelodeon has sponsored this prize. In addition to their exceptional talent, the two entrants showcased both vision and leadership in their
applications. This competition is indicative of Nickelodeon’s commitment to creating platforms which contribute to and uplift Africa’s youth and society. The CTIAF is proudly presented by Animation SA and is made possible thanks to generous support from sponsors: the Department of Arts and Culture, the City of Cape Town, Wesgro, Nickelodeon, the High Commission of Canada, The Japanese Embassy and Consulate in Cape Town, and the French Institute of South Africa. CTIAF has also partnered with Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Animate Africa. The Cape Town International Animation Festival 2019 will take place from 1 to 3 March 2019. Visit www.ctiaf.com for the full programme details. Join the CTIAF on Facebook @CTInternationalAnimationFest and Twitter @CTanimationfest.
“The DAC views the platform created by CTIAF as contributing to the growth and development of the sector. We congratulate the CTIAF on yet another successful instalment of the festival.” Department of Arts and Culture “Cape Town as the ideas capital of Africa is fast emerging as a new media hub on the continent. The creative economy, and especially animation, has the ability to provide differentiation in the international market place and unlock competitiveness. The City of Cape Town is proud to be associated with an event that highlights to the world the richness of our creative industries and the cuttingedge work that is being done here.” Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille. “The fourth industrial revolution creates significant opportunities for economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape, and we believe that the growing animation sector in the province is an obvious case in point. The value chain of animation is wide, with one single production resulting in several years of work by large teams of artists and computer scientists.” Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO. “The High Commission of Canada was proud to support
a Canada focus at the 2018 Cape Town International Animation Film Festival. Canada is a global leader in the animation and digital effects industry and wellknown for top innovation and creativity.” Sandra McCardell, High Commissioner of Canada in South Africa. “The Embassy of Japan/ Consulate in Cape Town is pleased to have its second partnership with the Cape Town International Animation Festival in 2018. The 2018 partnership is special because it is our centenary year as the Office of Consul of Japan in Cape Town was established in 1918 as the first overseas mission of the Japanese Government on the African Continent. We are happy to announce that a South African Manga artist group has won the Bronze medal at the 11th Japan International Manga Award and the handing over ceremony of the award took place at the CTIAF 2018.” Yasushi Naito, Consul of Japan Cape Town “Our partnership with the festival has been a valued collaboration for many years and we look forward to this new opportunity to share our support and foster collaborations between the South African and the French animation industries and talents.” Erika Denis, Regional Head of Media, Film & Music, French Embassy/French Institute of South Africa.
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DIRECTORS MAKING SA PROUD
Kim Crowie speaks to some of South Africa’s hottest directors to find out more about their latest productions and what they love about their jobs.
THE LAST WORD Describe your personal film aesthetic in a sentence. Full throttle, baby, all the way and beyond! What was the biggest lesson you learned in making Of Good Report? Filmmaking is not going to make me rich.
Jahmil XT Qubeka
Sew the Winter to my Skin © Yellowbone Entertainment
JAHMIL XT QUBEKA
mammoth. My roots are in a more guerrilla approach to filmmaking. All this legitimacy almost got me flustered but I took it in stride. I love pressure, I thrive off it! We had to battle severe weather conditions, and on at least two occasions we had to stop the shoot because it was pouring with rain.” Although he was mentioned in the Realness Scriptwriters Residency last year, he says he was never part of it, but rather, it was a project he endorsed and is provisionally attached to direct. “I support any initiative that places an emphasis on narrative development,” says Jahmil. “For instance, Sew the Winter to My Skin was part of the prestigious Cinefondation Cannes L’Atelier programme. This gave the project whilst still at script level the opportunity to be exposed to the rigors of the international film market
A prolific local director best known for Of Good Report and eTV’s Hustle, Jahmil’s latest film, Sew the Winter to My Skin, is inspired by the pursuit and capture of a notorious livestock thief in the 50s. “In classic Robin Hood fashion, this miscreant shared what he stole, thus endearing himself to the poor and disenfranchised,” he explains. “The project is different to anything I have done before in that it is a period film with a lot of scope and ambition. It is also wholly supported by our government film initiatives via the dti, the IDC, Arts and Culture, the NEF, and NFVF.” The film presented him with many new challenges – most notably the scope and size of it, as well as harsh weather conditions and altitude pressure in rural Eastern Cape. “The size of the crew alone was
business. It was an invaluable experience in assessing the appetite for films like ours.” Having worked in both TV and film formats, he says each discipline is equally demanding, with TV being “far more restrictive because of entrenched convention.” The local television environment, he says, is not particularly conducive to doing quality work. “The sausage factory demand often dictates shooting schedules where sometimes one has to shoot a ridiculous average of fifteen pages a day. By definition such a demand breeds a compromised vision.” He adds that film is a far more personal experience. “The films I make come from the pit of my soul, the depth of my being. I find the experience of making films to be deeply personal, it’s probably why I’m such a lunatic.”
Any last thoughts on your craft? Doing what I do is an absolute privilege and an honour for me. I consider my craft a gift bestowed upon me by the Universal Giver. It’s precious, it’s personal; everything is personal.
Director of the controversial Inxeba – which has just recently made its way back into cinemas nationally after a brief rating setback – Trengove is both a heroic and notorious figure in SA at the moment. “We were discussing the contentious nature of what we were doing from the very beginning,” he explains, “setting a story about same sex desire inside the context of rites of passage to manhood. We understood that this would provoke strong reactions, but also, that it could be a good film. The question of where we set the boundaries was one we revisited constantly, especially around the time of #FeesMustFall when the social discourse around race and representation
SPOTLIGHT / 29
became much more heated.” Although the film has spurred dialogue around culture and sexuality in SA, he says this was not his ultimate aim, but rather to present a problem with both sensitivity and complexity. “The thing that not a lot of people have spoken about is that the story is as much a provocation for a complacent gay middle class audience as it is for the traditionalists. We’re not here trying to force an agenda but to allow the conversation to happen outside of the film.” That conversation has truly spiralled, resulting in Inxeba’s original rating being overturned by the FPB in February, only to being contested in court and then returning to theatres in March. “The tribunal ruling did all of us a disservice, including the film’s opponents. We were hearing some valid criticisms against the film, but these voices were instantly drowned out when the FPB tribunal hijacked the conversation and made it about what constitutes pornography. Hopefully, now we can go back to talking about what Inxeba is actually about.” He says that one positive outcome is that although the censorship drove the film underground, the “tidal wave of piracy” over those two weeks meant Inxeba reached hundreds of thousands more viewers than
it would have otherwise. “In spite of the financial implications, this is meaningful for us particularly because marginalised queer people from the more remote and rural parts of our country have now been able to watch the film. This is a huge victory and a development we could never have anticipated.”
THE LAST WORD Describe your personal film aesthetic in a sentence. I like films that ask audiences to think for themselves and fill in the blanks. What was the biggest lesson you learned in making Inxeba? Ulwaluko is a profound and transformative experience for many men. When performed correctly, it shows a boy his place in the world of men. In a world that’s underfathered, this is significant.
He’s received critical acclaim for his Western, Five Fingers for Marseilles, which is confident in its genre whilst remaining authentically South African. The film opens in local cinemas in April, and says Michael, this is a huge relief for him. “It was a real struggle to get the film to the starting block of actual production. Myself and Writer/
Behind the scenes of Five Fingers for Marseilles.
Producer Sean Drummond spent eight years trying to get it made, and six of those years were focused on trying to finance it. We wanted the audio and visual scope of the film to raise the bar for SA films, so keeping it as a 95% non-English Western with only local cast, there were no comparable models to reference for financing. It was a hard sell, but we didn’t want to compromise.” Described as part of Africa’s ‘new wave of cinema’, Michael hopes that Five Fingers “continues to open doors to other filmmakers trying to take SA cinema into new directions. To try push different genres and types of films that are strongly South African.” He believes there will be some great local films produced
THE TIDAL WAVE OF PIRACY OVER THOSE TWO WEEKS MEANT INXEBA REACHED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MORE VIEWERS THAN IT WOULD HAVE OTHERWISE. IN SPITE OF THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS, THIS IS MEANINGFUL FOR US PARTICULARLY BECAUSE MARGINALISED QUEER PEOPLE FROM THE MORE REMOTE AND RURAL PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY HAVE NOW BEEN ABLE TO WATCH THE FILM. John Trengove (courtesy of BFI).
in the next few years, as well as an increase in both the quality of storytelling and filmmaking. A few months ago he and Sean signed with WME for international representation, which has opened many new opportunities in the wider industry. “The plan is to keep growing and to use new contacts to create bigger opportunities, but there is definitely a lack of good films and scripts within Hollywood, so it always comes back to that – even if the opportunity seems very attractive. Great scripts and ideas are in real demand. Sean and I have some exciting projects in the pipeline, both in feature and TV. With the US projects that have been offered, the hope is to try bringing the production and filmmaking process to SA, while using LA as the business hub.”
30 / SPOTLIGHT
He’s currently working on Apocalypse Now Now, a completely South African dark fantasy film. “It’s very ambitious and has huge worldwide potential. Terri Tatchell (District 9) is writing the script at the moment and there has been a lot of excitement around the proof of concept we released last year online. So we will be taking that out for financing very soon.”
THE LAST WORD Describe your personal film aesthetic in a sentence. Considered, controlled, and emotive. I love thinking about creating a unique world and tone. What was the biggest lesson you learned in making Five Fingers for Marseilles? It’s good to be prepared and at the same time, open to change anything to make the film better. Any last thoughts on your craft? We really want to grow the industry and create exciting new directions for it. There is no reason we can’t creating world class content that local and international audiences want to see. There truly is an appetite for it. From the experience in the US industry, there is a hunger for great talent and films. We are not isolated here.
SIBS SHONGWE-LA MER
Making waves internationally with his upcoming feature The
Sound of Animals Fighting, Sibs is best known for Necktie Youth, which captivated audiences with his honest yet dark portrayal of today’s youth. His new film is set to shoot in both Johannesburg and Brazil this year, and stars Emile Hirsch and Alice Braga. He says it came about after meeting with Neil Brandt of Fireworx Media. “When he mentioned the locations and a dark realism he wanted for the piece, I was immediately drawn. The complete lawlessness of these spaces and how they kinda occupy a cinematic black hole in my imagination was enough to start me wanting to take this journey.” After deciding how the two creatives could make their concepts work in collaboration, Sibs says he “wanted to express the feeling of falling off the earth into a strange nowhere as well as photograph a telling that explicitly conveyed the duality and the spiritual and psychological ramifications of the hedonist life. The story of Icarus in modern times,” he adds. “There’s also a Western perception of Latin America as samba, Ipanema beach, and bigbooty-bronze-skinned women that has been propagated by the cinema and I think there was this natural desire to see what lurked beyond, making a film in the alleys of paradise.” Sibs has a unique sense of self that spills into his film. “I’m really fortunate to have a job that allows me that opportunity of blatant self-analysis. Personally, I
WHEN HE MENTIONED THE LOCATIONS AND A DARK REALISM HE WANTED FOR THE PIECE, I WAS IMMEDIATELY DRAWN. THE COMPLETE LAWLESSNESS OF THESE SPACES AND HOW THEY KINDA OCCUPY A CINEMATIC BLACK HOLE IN MY IMAGINATION WAS ENOUGH TO START ME WANTING TO TAKE THIS JOURNEY. believe this combative attitude the industry has with the audience creates really sterile work.” He says he was on the brink of death when he first started working on Animals. “Animals was like me sitting naked with myself and taking inventory… ‘Okay so you’re really terrible here, this is what you love, this is what you will die for’. Necktie took a lot more than I could have imagined it would at 23. So this was like seeing what’s left in the rubble and slowly building again. It’s a considered, intimate and ultimately selfish exploit but I feel it’s the most honest and generous thing I can do with my time right now.” Aside from this production, he’s been working on quite a few other projects including The Colour of the Skull, a majority French co-production launched at Berlinale and recently selected for Cannes L’Atelier. He’s also been
working on Meridian, which has iconic Hollywood indie producer Cassian Elwes attached. “We are casting in Hollywood and have some really exciting A-list talent in conversation and a really beautiful tale of love in the face for peril reminiscent of a classic film noir. I’m terribly excitable about the prospect of making a tribute to classic American cinema.”
THE LAST WORD Describe your personal film aesthetic in a sentence. I wouldn’t. I hope to continuously grow artistically and really crave new spaces for myself to explore… It’s still really, really, early days so maybe I actually have a kak boring aesthetic. Let’s see. What was the biggest lesson you learned in making Necktie Youth? It’s really tough to say. Life is beautiful, have hope. Any last thoughts on your craft? I hope that if anything, people see that the best way to make a contribution to the cinema and do good business is to give 100 percent of you. People waste so much energy and money on trying to make a hit or make a buck. Like, I get that really, money is great and we all need to make it, but good, responsible art and commerce are not mutually exclusive.
Sibs Shongwe-La Mer
Urucu Media presents Necktie Youth. A film by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer. Produced by Elias Ribeiro and John Trengove. Photo credit ©Hanro Havenga
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LORNA WITHRINGTON ON REACHING THE GLOBAL MARKET
Lorna Withrington, Director of Creative Affairs for Family and Brands at Entertainment One, shares her insights on reaching the international market through animation.
second phase of development where you work with the broadcaster to make sure that it is correct for the channel. Then hopefully you get greenlit and you’re in production.
orna Withrington of Entertainment One had two sessions at CTIAF, one which she shared with Alexi Wheeler, VP of Production and Development at Nickelodeon. She spoke of her career in creative development, and presented case studies of Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and other surprise hits. She shares her insights on the global industry with the Callsheet. What exactly does your job entail? It basically means that I have to go out into the world on behalf of E-One Family and connect with creators, find new content, and help bring that content into E-One. Once that content is in E-One, we develop it, so really
we work as facilitators. We facilitate whatever that property needs to help it become the next Peppa Pig; the next PJ Masks; the next huge show on TV. What are the phases of development? If we pick something up at a very early stage that’s just the creator’s vision, we’d go through a whole stage of development where we build what the stories are, what the world is, what the show will be, and the art that is involved around that. We might even develop some animation tests to show what it looks like. Then we take that out to broadcasters. Once we’ve spoken to them and we’ve found the right partner for the show, we enter the
Why are shows like Peppa Pig so popular in the market? Peppa Pig is 15 years old in the UK, and in other markets she’s been around a lot shorter. There’s a vast difference between those ages and it becomes about nurturing this brand and holding its audience so that it remains relevant to them. For Peppa, one of the core brand principles is humour. Beyond that, it’s a depiction of everyday family life. When you’re talking to this lowerpreschool audience, their whole world is their family. When I spoke at CTIAF, it was also about when you pitch, making sure you know what the producer or broadcaster you’re speaking to has on their slate. There’s no use you coming to me and pitching an animalbased community show because that’s what Peppa is. We don’t cannibalise our own slate – we’re very careful of that. In animation, story is king. What elements are key in reaching audiences? For us, no story gets into our shows unless it has a clear emotional throughline. We don’t necessarily look for educational content, but every story has those moral tales to them and that emotional storyline is
what will connect the audience to the character and to the story. Story is absolutely king. We talk about being a brandbuilding company, but you cannot build brands from something that doesn’t have an exceptional character and an exceptional story at the forefront because nothing comes without it. It’s the driving force behind the show. What trends have you noticed globally that are influencing these stories? In the upper-preschool age group, everyone is looking for play patterns and the challenge then becomes that every play pattern has been done. How do you find a new way into a new play pattern or an existing play pattern? It’s about finding that ‘aha’ moment of how it speaks to the audience. What are your plans in SA? We’re already working with Triggerfish developing a show at the moment, but I’m here to find new voices and to hear stories that I might not have heard before. Is there a global market for African looking and themed stories? As long as it speaks to a child in every country, it will work. Coco is a perfect example of this. Nothing can hold back a character with a great story to tap. From a global perspective, as long as it tells a story kids can connect to, it will work.
32 / EVENTS TO DIARISE
APRIL RIO CONTENT MARKET 3–8 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 4 – 17 San Francisco, USA
BOSTON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 12 – 16 Boston, USA
AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL NEW ZEALAND 5 – 15 Auckland, New Zealand
ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL & CREATIVE CONFERENCE 13 – 22 Atlanta, USA
DAKOTA DIGITAL FILM FESTIVAL 6 Bismarck, USA
SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL 13 – 22 Sarasota, USA
FLORIDA FILM FESTIVAL 6 – 15 Winter Park and Maitland, USA MIPTV 9 – 12 Cannes, France GO SHORT – INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL NIJMEGEN 11 – 15 Nijmegen, Netherlands IMAGINE FILM FESTIVAL 11 – 21 Amsterdam, Netherlands
INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL 14 – 22 Missoula, USA STOCKHOLM FILM FESTIVAL JUNIOR 16 – 21 Stockholm, Sweden TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 18 – 29 New York, USA HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 19 – 5 Apr Hong Kong, China
MAY MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL 2–6 Maryland, USA BRAND FILM FESTIVAL 3 New York, USA
MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 19 – 26 Moscow, Russia RIVERRUN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 19 – 29 Winston-Salem, USA TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL 26 – 29 Los Angeles, USA SETTING SUN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 26 – 30 Melbourne, Australia HOT DOCS 26 – 6 May Toronto, Canada
NICE INTERNATIONAL FILMMAKER FESTIVAL 5 – 12 Nice, France FESTIVAL DE CANNES 8 – 19 Cannes, France OXFORD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 11 – 13 Oxford, United Kingdom SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 17 – 10 June Seatt le, USA MAMMOTH LAKES FILM FESTIVAL 23 – 27 California, USA
EVENTS TO DIARISE / 33
JUNE BROOKLYN FILM FESTIVAL 1 – 10 New York, USA SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 6 – 17 Sydney, Australia SHEFFIELD DOC/FEST 7 – 12 Sheﬃeld, United Kingdom
MOUNTAINFILM FESTIVAL 25 – 28 Telluride, USA KRAKOW FILM FESTIVAL 27 – 3 June Krakow, Poland DISCOP AFRICA ABIDJAN 29 – 31 Abidjan, Ivory Coast ILLUMINATE FILM FESTIVAL 30 – 3 June Sedona, Arizona NEW YORK SHORTS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 31 – 3 June New York, USA
THE BANFF WORLD MEDIA FESTIVAL 10 – 13 Banﬀ, Canada
RIVER FILM FESTIVAL 15 – 30 Padua, Italy NEW MEDIA FILM FESTIVAL 16 – 17 Los Angeles, USA
SERIESFEST SEASON FOUR 22 – 27 Denver, USA SUNNY SIDE OF THE DOC 25 – 28 La Rochelle, France BERLIN SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 28 – 1 July Berlin, Germany
ANNECY INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL AND MARKET 11 – 16 Annecy, France
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 16 – 25 Shanghai, China
PROVINCETOWN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 13 – 17 Provincetown, USA
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CREATIVITY (CANNES LIONS) 18 – 22 Cannes, France
AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL 13 – 17 Miami, USA
NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL 20 – 25 Nantucket, USA
CAYMAN ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 29 – 2 July The Cayman Islands
EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 20 – 1 July Edinburgh, Scotland
KARLOVY VARY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 29 – 7 July Prague, Czech Republic
MIDNIGHT SUN FILM FESTIVAL 13 – 17 Sodankyla, Finland
NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL 28 – 8 July Grahamstown, South Africa TAIPEI FILM FESTIVAL 28 – 14 July Taipei, China
Photo by Meireles Neto on Unsplash
ENCOUNTERS SOUTH AFRICAN INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL 31 – 10 Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
DANCES WITH FILMS 7 – 17 Hollywood, USA
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL 14 – 24 San Francisco, USA
34 / OPPORTUNITIES
TALENTS DURBAN, IBC AND SUNDANCE TV
CALL FOR ENTRIES
Talents Durban, IBC and SundanceTV invite filmmakers to participate in their upcoming programmes.
accepted their award live from the International Space Station. All entries benefit from the dedicated marketing programme surrounding the awards, which take place during IBC on 16 September 2018 in Amsterdam. The deadline for submissions is 23 April, and full details on how to enter can be found at show.ibc.org/InnovationAwards.
specialised programmes for specific disciplines including directing, scriptwriting and reviewing films for print and TV. The 2018 focus and theme is Breaking Rules, and is a culmination of current topical issues on the African continent. The idea of breaking forth, expressing one’s individuality and creativity is difficult and near impossible in a continent filled with rules and boundaries. Through the programme, filmmakers are invited to share their expressions around this theme. Talents Durban attracts over 500 applicants from across Africa, with 15 Talents carefully selected by an international committee. Applications can be made through www.berlinale-talents.de. The deadline for submissions is 6 April 2018. For more information, contact Sinethemba Makrwalana on +27 (0) 31 260 1816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TALENTS DURBAN CALL FOR ENTRIES
ENTER SUNDANCETV’S SHORT FILM COMPETITION
IBC Innovation Awards © IBC
IBC CALLS FOR THE BEST IN INNOVATION
The IBC Innovation Awards is one of the most prestigious events in the media, entertainment and technology industry, reflecting the latest in the use of technology to engage and excite audiences. “We see projects from around the world, from the biggest players to exciting new providers, all competing to win one of our coveted awards,” says Michael Crimp, CEO of IBC. “The quantity and quality of entries continue to grow each year, and this year we are sure that we will see an even more diverse set of nominations, which means an even tougher task for our judges.” The three categories one can enter are: Content Creation, Content Distribution and Content Everywhere. An international panel of independent industry figures also have the power to award a Judge’s Prize, which in the past has gone to organisations as diverse as French Canadian online content creator Groupe Média TFO and NASA, who
The 39th Durban International Film Festival, with the support of Berlinale Talents has announced the opening of applications for the 11th Talents Durban. The programme takes place from 20-24 July 2018. African screenwriters and directors with animation, fiction, documentary and hybrid projects in development are welcome to apply. The programme also accepts all media formats such as film, television series, web series and content for mobile platforms. The five-day event consists of workshops, discussions, screenings, and
SundanceTV has announced the launch of its inaugural annual 2018 SundanceTV Shorts Competition. The Jury Prizewinning film will be broadcast on SundanceTV (DStv 108) later this year and will premiere at an event during the Sundance Film Festival: London, taking place from 31 May to 3 June. The winner will also receive a trip for two to London. MultiChoice, SundanceTV’s exclusive affiliate partner in South Africa, will be supporting the competition with a representative joining the panel of jurors alongside SundanceTV
and Sundance Institute. The Jury Prize for the 2018 SundanceTV Shorts competition will be judged on a number of criteria including creativity, entertainment value, original storytelling and production values. The jury, presided by Mike Plante of Sundance Institute, will include Harold Gronenthal from SundanceTV Global; Aletta Alberts, Executive Head: Content and 3rd Party Channels at MultiChoice; and Helen Kuun of Indigenous Film Distribution. Submissions to the 2018 SundanceTV Shorts Competition can be made until 15 April 2018 through the website: www.sundancetv.co.za/shorts. Entries must be submitted by the producer or director of the film, who can provide proof of residency in South Africa. Films should be no longer than 15 minutes and must be delivered with English subtitles, if English is not the language spoken in the film.
THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF ENTRIES CONTINUE TO GROW EACH YEAR, AND THIS YEAR WE ARE SURE THAT WE WILL SEE AN EVEN MORE DIVERSE SET OF NOMINATIONS.
ASSOCIATIONS NEWS / 35
The board of directors of CITIA (the organisation behind the International Animation Festival of Annecy, MIFA and Forum Blanc) have appointed Mickaël Marin as their new CEO. He will assume the post on 1 July 2018, and is currently CITIA Managing Director, and Head of Economic Development and MIFA. “I am delighted at the unanimous decision of the board,” says Dominique Puthod, Chairman of CITIA, “Mickaël Marin has the qualities to undertake ambitious projects for CITIA and to continue developing the work in all of the ﬁelds in which it is involved (culture, training and the economy). He is familiar with the animation sector and creative industry due to his prior participation in the success of all of CITIA’s activities. In addition, he knows all about dealing with institutional partners on a local, regional, national and European level, and he has always been involved in relations with CITIA’s international network. His humility, human nature and forward-looking perspective undoubtedly make him the man for the job.” For more information on CITIA, visit www.citia.org.
SA BUDGET HAS ‘SILVER LINING’ FOR ACA
NFVF HOSTS FIRST ‘ROAD TO ANNECY’
Although South Africa is seeing a mixed response to the recent Budget 2018 announcement, the Association for Communication and Advertising believes there is a silver lining for the marketing industry. The macro-economic outlook is very bright, with GDP expected to grow and inﬂation expected to drop – as well as an upturn in investor sentiment. However, says Odette van der Haar, CEO of ACA, the increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) will hit the poorest in SA the hardest – and often these are the core of consumers they most often communicate with. That said, the VAT increase is tempered by increased government spending, of which R57-billion will be allocated to fee-free higher education and training. This, in turn, will assist in growing the talent base in the industry into 2019 and beyond. “We welcome the many positive aspects of the budget delivered by the Finance Minister and look forward to an economic environment that is stable and progressive,” van der Haar says. “This is critical to the continued success of our industry and the broader advertising profession.”
The National Film and Video Foundation, in partnership with MIFA, hosted the ﬁrst ever ‘Road to Annecy’ pitching session at the Cape Town International Animation Festival (CTIAF) on 2 March 2018. The session created a platform for South African producers with projects in development or production to meet international producers, distributors and programmers, as well as international funding agencies with the aim to pitch their projects for either production or sales. Two projects were ultimately selected for recommendation to attend the Annecy Festival, which will be attended by a South African delegation in June. For more info, visit www.nfvf.co.za
Photo by Kelly Jean on Unsplash
NEW CEO FOR CITIA
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The Callsheet Issue 04 is brought to you by Film & Event Media. This month we explore the filming of watery worlds, local-is-lekker televisi...
Published on Mar 29, 2018
The Callsheet Issue 04 is brought to you by Film & Event Media. This month we explore the filming of watery worlds, local-is-lekker televisi...