fanie lobolaThe film and television industry in South Africa is in a good place. More movies and TV shows are being commissioned, and the future is bright.

Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of locally produced films and television programmes. Many of these are made in South Africa's indigenous languages, which means local actors, producers, and directors are gaining exposure and skills.

Recent films include Gog’ Helen, Elelwani, Fanie Fourie’s Lobola and How to Steal 2 Million. New television programmes that promise gripping content have been commissioned. Some area already being broadcast, while others are expected later in the year. They include Uzalo, Umlilo, Ashes to Ashes and Matatiele.

The increasing popularity of South African content brings advantages that are too great to ignore. Producing a film or a television drama series requires human capital, which means that there are many more job opportunities for local talent. In turn, this will help to reduce the unemployment rate while making a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.

In a democratic South Africa, it is generally held that film and television producers have a responsibility to produce programmes that will contribute towards nation building, social cohesion, cultural diversity and indigenous languages development, among others. A film such as Fanie Fourie's Lobola, released in 2013, incorporates all these elements.

The film plays out the theme of cultural diversity, telling as it does the story of a Zulu woman (Dinky Magubane) and an Afrikaans man (Fanie Fourie). They meet, fall in love and decide to walk down the aisle. Fanie and Dinky hail from two completely different social, cultural and economic backgrounds and their differences are confronted when the two families come together to discuss "ilobolo".

Florence Masebe, who stars as protagonist Elelwani in the first Tshivenda film, Elelwani, is optimistic about the future of South African film industry and the role it plays internationally.

"We have a potential film industry in South Africa," she says. "It keeps on growing. As South Africans, we need to grow this industry and fix our own distribution channels so that we [are] able to compete internationally more effectively."

That foreign film producers are attracted to South African locations when it comes to shooting films, is encouraging, she says.

"It is a good thing we are attracting a lot of foreign filmmakers. [This] shows that we have great locations in our country."

Source: staff reporter
Contact the Gauteng Film Commission