Lebogang Maile
“Gauteng has a vibrant and growing film industry and is gradually emerging as a competitive and global player in the international industry," MEC Lebogang Maile said in his budget speech.

The Gauteng Film Commission directly funded 23 film and TV productions to the tune of R2.8-million in 2011, helping create 7 091 permanent and temporary jobs through project funding and filming permit facilitation.

This emerged during Gauteng MEC Lebogang Maile’s budget speech for the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation on Friday 1 June.

“In 2011, at least 253 commercials were produced and shot in Gauteng,” Maile said. “This figure constituted 40% of commercials produced nationally. In the past financial year the Commission funded 23 short films, feature films, documentaries and television productions collectively worth R2.8 million.

“Through the GFC filming permit facilitation service, 192 films were shot in Gauteng in the last financial year. Overall, the GFC has contributed to 7 091 permanent and temporary jobs through film project funding and filming permit facilitation. Pursuant to the transformation agenda, the commission has provided skills development opportunities in the film and television sectors to 843 film makers.”

The MEC also touched on the GFC’s move from Economic Development to his department in April 2012, in line with Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s push to realign government functions for better efficiency.

“The migration is part of our commitment to streamlining and consolidating creative industries in the province,” he said.

“Gauteng has a vibrant and growing film industry and is gradually emerging as a competitive and global player in the international industry. According to the Human Sciences Research Council Creative Industries Sector report, it is 40% cheaper to make a movie in Gauteng than it is in Europe or the US and it is up to 20% cheaper here than in Australia.

“An estimated 80% of registered producers in South Africa are based in Gauteng. An estimated two-thirds of national television production houses are based in Johannesburg. Gauteng is home to major broadcasting corporations including the SABC, DSTV, Top TV and eTV, collectively accounting for over 47 TV channels. Seven out of the Top 10 television shows in South Africa are produced and set in Gauteng.”

Maile also said the provincial government’s efforts to promote film will be drawn under an umbrella supporting the broader creative industries.

“We will be working towards the creation of an all-encompassing agency for creative industries to create and maximise value. This new agency will incorporate film, television, music, fashion, interactive digital media, books and magazines.”

Nonetheless, the GFC will continue to function according to its current mandate, Maile said, including supporting emerging filmmakers, promoting the province both locally and internationally as a preferred film destination, conducting ongoing research and development initiatives, as well as delivering professional film commission services.

He also announced that the commission is currently conceptualising the Gauteng International Film Festival, a “signature event that will see industry players come together to share knowledge, skills and ideas about how to take the sector forward,” he said.

“We will also initiate the establishment of the Gauteng Audiovisual Resource Centres as part of our bid to improve access to content and educational resources for upcoming filmmakers. It is envisaged that these will be located in the public library spaces.

“We are therefore on track in our drive to consolidate Gauteng’s position as a hub of creative industries. We will be moving speedily to enhance the capacity of the commission to enable it to execute its broader mandate. The commission has been allocated a total of R23.4-million this financial year.”