Giving film makers a break

30 January 2008

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced revised film and television production incentives aimed at increasing local content generation and improving location competitiveness for foreign film productions in the country.

The Location Film and Television Production Incentive, which offers a 15% rebate to foreign-owned productions with a South African spend of at least R12-million (about US$1.7-million), aims “to attract large-budget overseas film and television productions to the country,” the DTI said in a statement on Monday.

The South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production Incentive, on the other hand, offers increased financial support for locally owned productions and co-productions.

Available to South African productions and official treaty co-productions with budgets of at least R2.5-million (about $357 000), the incentive provides a 35% rebate for the first R6-million ($857 000) spent – up from 25% previously – and 25% for the remainder of production expenditure.

Both rebate are capped at R10-million ($1.42-million) per production.

In both cases, the qualifying threshold has been lowered from R25-million ($3.57-million), opening the door for lower-budget productions. This is especially true for local producers, who previously had to bundle a number of productions together in order to qualify for the rebate.

Leading South African film maker Anant Singh – producer of such films as Sarafina!, Cry, the Beloved Country, Yesterday, Red Dust and Faith’s Corner – said the incentive for local productions would be “very attractive for emerging filmmakers with access to smaller budgets.”

The threshold reduction for foreign-owned productions, on the other hand, would help give South Africa “a competitive edge as a location for international film shoots, which will ultimately mean more work for our talented actors and technicians,” Singh said in a statement.

The DTI said the incentives would provide impetus to the growth of the local film and television industry, “creating an environment conducive for South African producers to attract investment and develop stable output and sustainable production companies.”

The DTI added that it was also implementing a number of other measures to help develop the industry.

“These include capacity development for emerging production companies, the development of writers and editors through the enterprise development programme, and the establishment of five pilot programmes in different locations to address distribution infrastructure, local content and audience expansion.”

SAinfo reporter