INVESTMENT

Durban film industry to get study that plugs information vacuum

An intensive review of Durban's growing film industry will be carried out by Martin Cuff Consulting, appointed by the Durban Film Office (DFO), in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development (KZNDED). The Durban Film Review aims to produce a revised business model for the DFO, develop a growth and development strategy for the industry in general, identify and connect the key role-players, and determine the role and exact impact upon the local economy.

This should drive activity and development in the sector in order to boost tourism, job creation and the development of core skills and SMMEs in the region. The DFO is the film-industry development arm of the Ethekwini Municipality, mandated to position Durban as a world-class film production destination and facilitator for the development of the local film industry.

“Essentially, Durban and KZN have been operating in an information vacuum,” says review coordinator Martin Cuff. “This is not unusual; the film industry around the world is notorious for failing to provide the kind of statistical facts and figures that allow governments to understand exactly what it is dealing with and how best to assist.”

The review will cover all entertainment media production activities including feature film, television, TV commercials, stills photography, animation, new media and video games. It will also encompass a range of sector-supporting development and distribution interventions, such as film education and training.

“In spite of the industry's apparent growth (a 41% increase in production activity) over the last five years, the exact impact of the sector in the province is hard to determine,” Cuff continues. “As such, it's also increasingly clear that a ‘business as usual' approach will not serve to create a sustainable business model for Durban/KZN.”

“We believe that the city is finally taking up its rightful place as both a globally competitive film venue and an important contributor to the local economy,” says Toni Monty, head of the FDO, “and we need to be ready to manage the challenges and demands that come with such growth. We are extremely fortunate to have the support and co-operation of our local role players, without whom we would not be enjoying quite as much success and receiving the accolades of local and foreign film makers and companies alike.”

“Cooperation and planning are just two of the success factors of filming in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). We have worked hard to create a well-organised, efficient and supportive infrastructure around the industry in the city and the province,” Monty adds.

“We are fortunate that in Durban we also have the support of our the Department Of Economic Development (KZNDED), City Executive, the tourism authorities and the local industry role players (Durban Film Partnership), all of whom make facilitation so much more efficient. The easier it is for film-makers, producers and directors to turn their projects into reality in a cost and time-effective and efficient manner, the more they want to work in our part of the world. In addition, we also have fantastic locations and scenery.”

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