November 23rd marked the launch of the Gauteng Film Commission's (GFC) 'Film Friendly Gauteng' initiative at the stunning Turbine Hall venue in Newtown, Johannesburg. The event was attended by over 50 invitees, most of whom were companies and individuals who had taken the 'Film Friendly Gauteng' pledge, and had seen the benefits of the opportunity to benefit from the growing number of visiting producers shooting in Gauteng.

In his address, Terry Tselane, CEO of the GFC, stressed the importance of Gauteng's locations being welcoming and suppliers being competitive with their pricing structures. Through the campaign, the GFC hoped to attract even more productions to the Province over the summer season.

The campaign is multi-phased with this first phase focusing on industry suppliers. In future phases, the focus will be on the public sector, lobbying for greater support from Government entities and stakeholders - particularly around location filming - as well as on gaining support from residents and communities in Gauteng.

Over 30 companies have already pledged to support the campaign. These include: Urban Hip Hotels, the Crowne Plaza Johannesburg Rosebank, The Westcliff Hotel, Tempest Car Hire, AVIS, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Dinokeng, Crocodile Ramble, Main Street Mall, the Central Improvement District, the Braamfontein Improvement District, Gandhi Square, Newtown Improvement District, Retail Improvement District, South Western Improvement District, Open Window School of Visual Communication, Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking, Hot Shots, Consulting Dynamix, Atlas Studios, Bottomside Studios, Dynamic Space, Cellular Dynamics, Learn3D, Sublime Pictures, Kagiso TV & Communications, Red Cow Animation, The Production Works, The South African Screen Federation, the Commercial Producers Association and ScreenAfrica.

The reaction to the launch was generally positive with the obvious benefits being apparent.

Bobby Amm, Executive Officer of the Commercial Producers Association, who also spoke at the launch, commented: "This campaign could well have legs for the future. As a supplier - a hotel for example - visiting producers will recognise you as being 'Film Friendly' and will use you - by virtue of this, members and the industry will benefit."

Heather Setzen, of Hot Shots, said: "It's a good concept. Collaboration will take us a long way - if we collaborate, we will move forward and this is the way to go in our somewhat fragmented industry."

Marian Brooke of the Crocodile Ramble commented: "So exciting that finally we have reached the point where we all are beginning to realise that we are living, not only in amazing, ground breaking times, but also in a world class province with the potential to market ourselves as the ultimate location and destination in South Africa, something which the whole of our province's population can benefit from economically and also to enjoy our leisure time, as we are all well known for working inordinately hard, but playing equally as hard."

Cheryl Whitehead of Celluar Dynamics was enthusiastic: "The launch was incredible. It was positive and uplifting and the 'Film Friendly' campaign is a great initiative. The GFC is being very pro-active in this regard."

Atlas Studios' Jonathan Gimpel said: "It is a good initiative and necessary but it requires continuous follow-up by the GFC in order to ensure its success."

Gauteng-based service providers are invited to sign-up to the campaign and commit to the pledge. For more information about the 'Film Friendly Gauteng' campaign or to sign up as a campaign partner contact Tumi Ntshingila at +27 (0)11 833 0409 or tumi@gautengfilm.org.za.

GFC's 'Film Friendly Gaunteng' campaign launch

Please view the picture gallery from the Film Friendly Gauteng campaign launch below. Click on ech thumbnail below for a bigger picture.