Hollywood stars head for the Cape

10 February 2009

2009 promises to be a watershed year for the film industry in Cape Town and the Western Cape as the Cape Film Commission pushes ahead with its strategy to turn the city and the province into a globally competitive film industry destination.

According to the commission, deals are being put together to bring seven major film productions, including a number of Bollywood productions, to Cape Town in the first quarter of 2009, while another animated feature film is also scheduled to go into production in the next few months.

Pierce Brosnan will soon join the growing list of Hollywood stars who have made films in South Africa when he starts filming Heaven and Earth, a romantic drama set in the Cape Colony in the 1800s.

The Human Factor, a movie about South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup in 1995, will commence production soon. Based on the book The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the game that changed the world, the film will be directed by Clint Eastwood and star Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

South Africa’s first full length CGI film, Lion of Judah, was also produced in Cape Town and is set for international release later in the year. And negotiations are under way for another CGI animated film to be made in the province, the commission said in a statement last week.

An economic impact assessment carried out three years ago found that the Western Cape film industry contributed an estimated R3.5-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). Cape Film Commission head Laurence Mitchell believes this contribution has now grown to more than R5-billion.

Twenty-two features films and series were filmed in Cape Town in 2008, including the Bollywood films Seasons Greetings, Life Partner and 8 by 10 (Tasveer). Numerous top international commercials were also filmed in the city, including adverts for Peugeot, BMW, Nivea, Oreo, Coke and Hansa.

The Cape Film Commission plans to launch South Africa’s first online location service in March. It will also work closely with the City of Cape Town’s film permit office in supporting their roll-out of an online location permitting system over the next six months.

Other initiatives to be launched by the commission in 2009 include the Cape Film Industry’s Green Campaign, and the Animation Industry Development Initiative, which will include the establishment of an Animation Satellite Film Resource Centre in the Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain area.

The commission has also embarked on a broad plan to train more than 1 000 people in various services disciplines related to High Definition (HD) broadcasting and production, to make sure the industry is ready for the opportunities presented by the 2010 Fifa World Cup and the country’s migration from Standard Definition (SD) to HD broadcasting.

SAinfo reporter

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