The Gauteng Film Partnership and the Gauteng Film Commission are working actively to making the Province as film friendly as possible.  Together, they are looking at practical steps that can be taken to make Gauteng more film friendly and to leverage off the "can do" attitude of the Gauteng film industry and the diverse range of locations available.

GFP, a consultative forum facilitated by the Gauteng Film Commission and comprising expertise and resources from key film and industry related organisation and communities, aims to collectively work at elevating the profile of the audio-visual industry in Gauteng and ensuring integrated growth of the industry.

Established in June this year, the 11 nominated members from the industry, see the GFP as an advisory forum, or think tank.

Commenting on the Partnership, Bobby Amm, Executive Officer of the Commercial Producers Association of South Africa, says it is "a very important step in bringing the industry and the Commission closer together, thereby creating a better understanding and awareness of the specific needs of the sector and maximising all opportunities for growth and success in the film industry."

The initial meetings have served to develop the direction and role of the GFP, as well as providing for an intensive information gathering phase, to enable all members to be conversant with the GFC's activities and objectives.  "This will avoid duplication of work," comments Jacques Stoltz, Senior Manager: Marketing at the GFC.  "It is essential that everyone understand what the Commission does, what its mission is and the programs we undertake, such as support of development of local content, so that the Partnership can focus on industry issues and look to provide their substantial knowledge and expertise in areas that benefit the industry in the Province."

"There is a perceived gap between the industry and Commissions as a whole," comments Amm, adding that the perception is that Commissions tend to do their own thing, without really connecting with the industry.

"It's important that the GFP does not get bogged down by all the industry issues, but rather identify a few strategic projects with a view to showing meaningful progress at the next Film Indaba."

John Stodel, of Scipio Entertainment Group, sees the GFP as an interface between the industry and GFC on common areas of concern.  "The internal workings of the GFC should not be of concern to the GFP but rather we should focus on those identified problems in the industry."

He added that GFC should strive to create the necessary conditions where both the GFC and industry interests are served.

An example of this is the active role that the GFC is taking in working with municipalities and local authorities regarding escalating tariff fees, and has also completed a review of current film permit practices with a view to streamlining the issuance of film permits.

Referring to the film friendly initiative, Terry Tselane, CEO of the GFC, says both the industry and the Commission have to actively show how film is indeed everyone's business.  "We need to raise awareness of the role of film in developing both the economic and social fabric of our Province.  The Deloitte study, termed Project Gaullywood, clearly shows the importance of film to the Gauteng economy, with film in Gauteng contributing more than R2.5 billion per annum to the province.  Gauteng is the creative heart of the South African film industry  we also account for the bulk of TV production in the country while an estimated 48% of all commercials firmed in SA are shot in Gauteng.

"It is through initiatives such as the formation of the GFP, and working actively with such an august body that we intend to raise awareness of film's contribution to our Province, and the roles to be played by the industry, the legislature and local authorities and the public in working together to promote Gauteng as the most film-friendly location in South Africa, and indeed Africa."