The Film Factory will be releasing three feature films in 2010, Bakgat 2, Night Drive and Superhelde. Danie Bester, director of the company and a producer of Bakgat 2 and Superhelde

Cherie van der Merwe in Bakgat
and executive producer of Night Drive, explains: "All three films were financed as a slate to minimise risk and potentially maximise return.

"I structured the deal after which we started seeing potential investors. Bakgat 2 forms the cornerstone picture, while Night Drive will be our first outing into the international market. Superhelde is an Afrikaans teen comedy and targets a similar market to Bakgat and Bakgat 2. We develop, finance and producer and post all our own feature films."

Asked what they aim to recoup from the films, Bester replies: "All our projects are equity based and we hope to give our investors double their investment back within 24 - 36 months from initial investment. Film finance falls within venture capital and one thus competes with venture and investment funds that give investors consistent returns of up to 25% and more per year. We are currently developing a slate of ten films to produce in 2011 and 2013."

Ivan Botha, Henk Pretorius and Altus Theart on the set of Bakgat

Bester elaborates on their distribution strategy: "Digital distribution (the DTI rebate and digital production) that led to the revolution of affordable delivery to cinema has now become the biggest challenge for filmmakers when going to cinema. Everyone is fighting for the best release date and projects are starting to cannibalise each other at cinemas due to lack of digital release screens. All our films are for cinema release."

Bester explains that one way to counter-act this would be government investment. "It would be great if government could look at a quota of compulsory screens in cinemas dedicated only to South African films, similar to the model that was followed in South Korea and led to the explosion of their local film industry. If 30% of all cinema content has to be local, the rollout of more digital screens to existing cinemas would increase. This would lead to a rapid growth of the local industry."

Bester says they shot the majority of the films in Gauteng. "With Bakgat 2 we shot predominantly in Johannesburg and Pretoria. With Night Drive, Muldersdrift and Johannesburg and Superhelde is shot 95% in Johannesburg. Gauteng has a wealth of brilliant locations."

Asked about what advice he would give to younger filmmakers, Bester responds: "Hook up with a producer that shares your passion for telling stories. Stay absolutely focused on the fact that you want to become a narrative filmmaker. Be aware of the financial reality and try to be as conservative with the budget as possible and know your audience."