8 February 2008
Cape Town’s film industry has been given a major boost with the formation of a public-private partnership that will see the development of a R430-million film studio on the outskirts of the city.
The shareholders in the Cape Town Film Studios project – formerly known as Dreamworld – include Videovision, Sabido Investments, the Rico Trust, the Helderberg African Chamber of Commerce, and Western Cape trade and investment agency Wesgro.
Cape Town Film Studios chairperson Anant Singh said that with all legal documents signed, they were well on the way to meeting mid-year deadlines in terms of funding agreements relating to the building of the studios, as well as bulk infrastructure and upgrading the nearby R301 highway.
“We are pleased that our contractual agreements with the City and Wesgro have been finalised,” Singh said in a statement by Wesgro and Cape Town Film Studios on Wednesday. “We are passionate about building a stronger film industry in our country, being internationally competitive and developing our amazing local talents.
“The studios have been designed to meet both local and international film needs – we want to bring the best producers in the world to our facilities here in Cape Town.”
Cape Town Film Studios, to be located in Faure just outside Cape Town, will contributing to the creation of thousands of construction jobs over the next three years.
In 2004, Dreamworld Film City Limited was chosen as the preferred bidder to develop a world-class film studio complex in Cape Town, with the provincial government undertaking to contribute R30-million in return for a 10% stake in the project, and the city council committing R30-million in the form of bulk infrastructure.
According to Wesgro CEO Angelo Manzoni, the film industry makes a major contribution to the economy, increasing employment and promoting the country as a preferred services destination.
“To date, this is the largest commitment to our film industry, and leads the way by ensuring the existence of a permanent film infrastructure which will ensure a strong and growing order book for the province,” Manzoni said.
High growth industry
Cape Town city councillor for economic development Simon Grindrod added his approval for the project, saying the city had identified film as a high-growth sector and that the new studios would serve as a catalyst for growth in the industry.
The Western Cape continues to attract a host of international and local filmmakers for feature and TV films and commercials.
According to an economic impact assessment study commissioned by the Cape Film Commission, the industry is estimated to have a direct annual turnover of more than R2.65-billion and to have contributed an indirect annual turnover of more than R3.5-billion to the country’s gross domestic product through the multiplier effect.
“The Cape Film Commission is committed to the final realization of the Cape Town Film Studios project as it will accelerate greater film investment into the region,” said Cape Film Commission CEO Laurence Mitchell. “The success of the project will require full industry support.”
Mitchell also lauded the revised Department of Trade and Industry’s incentive for the film and television industries, set to come into effect this month, which is expected to increase foreign investment, local content production and black economic empowerment in the film industry.