Market development, access to audience and technological development are the major tools that can drive the South African film industry to its maximum potential of creating sustainable jobs and contributing more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is according to a research conducted by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) in collaboration with the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
The 10 year South African Film Industry review was borne out of the MOU between NFVF and TUT signed in 2008. The review was a follow up to Profile 2000 which was conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and was intended to survey the state of the film and video industry in South Africa from 2001-2010; analyse the business model currently used by production companies and evaluate the viability of the sector taking into consideration the global economic meltdown, and the crisis at the public broadcaster.
NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi says the 10 year review report is such critical document that reflects on the local film and television industry over the past decade. “The document gives insight into various critical factors that impact on the performance of the film and television industry as a whole, areas where there have been challenges, areas where there have been improvements as well as the market dynamics that play or should play a role in the development and growth of the local film and television industry,” said Mkosi.
The report acknowledges the paucity of data and lack of empirical evidence as a hindrance to support the Film industry reel in private investment. Comparing 2000 and 2010 the report notes that in terms of content production, film and television productions are receiving the most attention. In 2000 there were 11 films and 19 television products produced and that has grown to 28 feature films in 2010 and 23 television productions in the year under review.
In the past 10 years there has been major developments in the local film and video industry and the most notable ones as listed by the respondents are; the change in the threshold of the DTI film and television incentive widely known as ”the rebate”, the licensing of more broadcasters, availability of more funding sources as well as availability of more mobile, cheaper yet good production equipments.
Other developments reported on include the availability of more co-production treaties, the success recorded by more local films and the creation of representative bodies to advocate industry stakeholder issues.
However, the lack of access for funding for low budget feature films and the non existence of a legislation to force the SABC to enter into co-production agreements with independent producers could impede the growth of the industry. The researchers further notes that there is a lack of appropriate distribution and marketing networks and a very small market to sustain a commercially viable model without government intervention.
The research uncovered that the global economic meltdown and the financial crisis at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) had an adverse impact on the South African film and video industry. According to the survey, 42.9% of the companies reported that the global economic crisis had a severe impact on their businesses and 54.3% of them suffered a moderate impact while only a paltry 2.9% did not suffer any impact.
The financial crisis at the SABC had a severe impact on 62.9% of the companies surveyed while only 14.3% had a moderate impact and 22.9% reported that the crisis did not have any impact on them.
To view the 10 year review document, visit http://nfvf.co.za/document/10-years-review-south-african-film-industry