Escalating locaction fees in Johannesburg might hamper investment in production

Investment

The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) has expressed concern regarding escalating location fees being charged by tourism venues and other city attractions to film crew shooting in Johannesburg.

This follows complaints that film crew are increasingly charged for access to locations and venues in Johannesburg or in some instances are refused access completely. According to the GFC, such reports give credence to perceptions that Johannesburg is becoming ‘film unfriendly’ and undermines the significant media exposure the City stands to benefit from by hosting the Confederations Cup next year and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. This, the GFC says, could contribute to negative coverage of the country in the international media in the run up to both events.

“A promotional shoot in Johannesburg can easily involve more than 15 city locations over two days. If you add up the location fees, film crew are expected to pay up to R25,000 (US$3,271) per day. In many instances the film crew are in Johannesburg to film promotional films of the City’s key attractions in the run-up to the Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Over and above the location fees, crew also need to pay R450 an hour for filming on public roads. To these crew it understandably feels as if the City is doing them a favour and not the other way around! The result is that even London and New York seem to offer more value, a scenario that will have a negative impact on the country,” says Jacques Stoltz, Senior Marketing Manager for the GFC.

Interest in film shoots covering South Africa has been rising, with the GFC confirming it has noticed a sharp increase in requests for access to filming locations by international film and TV crew. They are visiting the province to report on progress around the hosting of the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. The interest is particularly around 2010 stadia, transport infrastructure, host cities, hospitality and accommodation services, leisure amenities and visitor attractions.

As many of these film shoots are for travel magazines and shows, from some of the province’s key international tourism markets, this provides a valuable opportunity for the City and the tourism industry to market both its public and privately owned tourism attractions to the world in the run-up to 2010.

“We have raised these concerns with the City and the tourism industry and have stressed the importance of ensuring uninhibited access by film and TV crew to our visitor attractions. This, we believe, is not only in the interest of the film industry but is vital to the marketing and tourism efforts of the City of Johannesburg,” Stoltz concludes.