The global pandemic has cost the South Africa film industry billions. But as restrictions ease, the industry is bouncing back – and bringing with it the promise of economic opportunity and job creation.

The film industry was forced to close during the initial Covid-19 regulation and has been hampered by restrictions on international travel. These closures resulted in an estimated loss of around R1.2 billion in 2020 compared to the previous year. At R214 million, this is the lowest in over a decade. Last year, only six local films were released – a far cry from the 23 local films released in 2017.

But now that the industry has opened up, embracing local shoots with smaller casts and only key crew on set, the industry’s economic potential is once again in the spotlight.

Encouraging growth in the film industry is vital for South Africa’s economic recovery after the pandemic. When running at full capacity, the industry contributes around R3.5 billion to South Africa’s GDP and creates more than 25 000 jobs. If this economic potential can be harnessed, the industry could reduce poverty by creating jobs and economic opportunities.

“The filming industry has begun to open up globally, and South Africa is no exception. This industry has become especially important as it is one of the key avenues through which to disseminate critical information on Covid-19,” said Azania Muendane, Founder of Locations Africa.

“But its impact goes far beyond that. The industry is an important job creator, and film sets provide temporary employment, which is much needed in this time of economic downturn.”

Drawing more international shoots to South Africa is the key focus of Locations Africa, a private sector initiative focusing on filming locations, facilities, and skills.

“Our goal is to contribute to the increase in the number of films shot on location in Africa, improve the skills of both private and public sectors in meeting the needs of filmmakers, increase the numbers of businesses and individuals, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds across Africa, participating in the sector,” added Munedane.

To make this a reality, Locations Africa will be hosting a two-day hybrid conference in Johannesburg and streaming live online on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 October 2021. 

Partnering at the conference will be South African Tourism who coming out of the Africa Travel & Tourism Summit are a flag bearer for the promotion of Africa as a choice destination with Film Tourism being a key business focus. 

Film commissions play a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment for film productions to operate and with the added support of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the conference will offer delegates an insight into the practicalities of shooting on location and the facilitation offer. “We are excited to be taking part in this year’s instalment of the Locations Africa Conference.  The KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission was established in 2014/15 with a very clear mandate to attract investment to KwaZulu-Natal province through the promotion of film locations and to position the province as a choice of film destination” Added Carol Coetzee, the KZNFC CEO. 

Other partners include the Film WEGRO’s Film and Media Promotion unit operating in the Western Cape another key destination for film production. 

The conference will unpack the endless possibilities South Africa and the rest of the continent offer filmmakers while highlighting the numerous benefits of filming at Africa locations. To find out more, visit www.locationsafrica.com

ONLINE ATTENDANCE REGISTRATIONS:   www.locationsafrica.com/conference