Leon Schuster as Mr Bones
Veteran film producer Leon Schuster In one of his films Mr Bones. Schuster's movies have made the most money in the country.

One of the most positive developments on the local cultural scene is the advances made in the film sector.

South Africa is clearly a leader in filmmaking in Africa alongside Nigeria. But while Nollywood has found its space in the sector, South Africa's contribution has not yet been properly recognised.

South Africa has produced some of the best films in the world, including the Oscar-winning Tsotsi and has an abundance of talented actors, producers and technical crews.

For example, the film Spud has already made more than R13million at the box office. And Leon Schuster's films have made the most money in the country.

Add to this the fact that South African movies have over a long period done well at festivals, winning the hearts of international audiences and judges, and we have a film industry that is working and creating jobs.

It is also very encouraging that the Department of Arts and Culture, with Minister Paul Mashatile at the helm, wants to make the sector and the live events technical production services sector a top priority.

The National Film and Video Foundation is clearly the engine for spearheading the development of this sector and has contributed a lot to the formalisation of the sector, though up-and-coming filmmakers complain that it is impossible to get funding from the foundation.

The foundation says that this is the result of procedures that have to be followed. The same could be said of other statutory funding bodies such as the National Arts Council and National Lottery, which is said to be sitting on billions of rands of public funds that have to be distributed.

The reason these statutory bodies give for delaying the release of funds is that the procedures are necessary to protect the public's money. Now the question is rightly being asked: what good is this if charities, creative individuals and organisations deserving the funds suffer while people running the organisations continue to get paid?

Meanwhile, the foundation late last year called for nominations for councilors and chief executive Eddie Mbalo's term has been extended until the end of March when a new chief executive will be appointed.

Perhaps, instead of the film sector waiting without taking action while certain individuals with questionable motives and dodgy backgrounds make themselves available for nomination, it should actively participate in the process and make sure that only people with integrity are elected.

Source: SowetanLive