R90m fund for black South African filmmakers

The Emerging Black Filmmakers Fund launched on Monday, which benefits films that have been directed and produced by black South Africans.

fund for black South African filmmakers
The South African film Tsotsi won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2005. It’s one of the films that the The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), invested in through its film and television production incentive scheme. (Image: TVGuide.com)

Brand South Africa reporter
Help is at hand for emerging black South African filmmakers trying to break into the industry, in the form of a new, R90-million fund launched on Monday by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Film and Video Foundation.

Over the next three years, the Emerging Black Filmmakers Fund will bankroll the full R5-million production and marketing budget of six qualifying feature films a year – with R4.5-million earmarked for development and production, and R500 000 for marketing.

To qualify, a film has to be directed and produced by black South Africans, meaning that a black producer must own at least 51% of the production company behind the movie.

“We have identified a growing need to support the production of South African films and documentaries, particularly by black filmmakers and producers,” the IDC’s head of media and motion pictures, Basil Ford, said in a statement.

National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) chief executive Zama Nkosi said this partnership aimed to address past imbalances in South Africa’s film industry. “Creating this opportunity will benefit our industry immensely, as content is key in elevating our industry, and as we take the sector to another level of attracting new markets and investments,” Nkosi said.

According to a study published by the NFVF last year, the film sector contributes R3.5-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), while providing employment for more than 25 000 people.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its film and television production incentive scheme, has invested more than R500-million in over 50 local films in just over a decade.

These include Tsotsi, which won an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2005, and the acclaimed film adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s biography, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

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