Hollywood, Bollywood for Mother City

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The Cape Film Commission (CFC) has set off on an ambitious strategy to turn Cape Town and the Western Cape into a globally competitive film industry destination. Major deals on the cards includes seven major film productions, including a number of Bollywood productions to Cape Town within the first quarter of 2009 and another animated feature film also scheduled to go into production in early 2009.

The Human Factor, a movie about South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup in 1995, will commence production soon, and will be directed by Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood, with international film stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. It is based on the book The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game that changed the world.

What is probably South Africa's first full-length CGI film, Lion of Judah, was also produced in Cape Town and is set for international release later in year.

In a recent interview, the optimistic CFC commissioner Laurence Mitchell stated, “Cape Town and the Western Cape is set to become a global film industry destination and that 2009 will be a crucial year during which we will have to up our game as the rest of the world would have taken notice”.

Mitchell firmly believes that the hard work and investment into the Cape Film industry over the past seven years is now paying healthy dividends. He particularly highlighted the importance of the tri-party investment into the film industry by the Provincial Government, the City of Cape Town and the film industry as a whole.

During 2008, 22 features films and series were filmed in Cape Town.

The recent CPA survey, which was also funded by the Cape Film Commission, also illustrated that Cape Town still remains the most popular destination for international commercials. In addition, Cape Town has become the home of Bollywood films in SA and several Bollywood films such as Seasons Greetings, Life Partner and 8 by 10 (Tasveer) were shot in Cape Town during 2008.

The CFC is planning to launch an Online Location Service in March 2009 which it claims will be the first of its kind in South Africa. It will hold online Industry specific information about profiled locations such as images, GPS maps, rules and regulations, as well as registration processes, and the site user will also have the ability to perform various functions against the location, such as short-listing and identifying the location contacts and search for a diverse range of film locations in Cape Town and the Western Cape by selecting a region or a type from the category list.

The CFC will also within the next few months launch the Cape Film Industry's Green Campaign, which is aimed at committing the film industry in becoming a clean and environmentally friendly industry.

As part of the CFC's strategy to drive a strong new media campaign, it has earmarked animation as a critical growth area over the next few years and to this end the CFC and Animation SA have agreed to a public private partnership aimed at collaboration in marketing, developing and supporting the animation industry in the Western Cape and SA. It is the intention to grow the Animation industry in Cape Town and South Africa quite rapidly over the next 10 years and with its fruition it should have the capacity to employ more than 10 000 animators at a given time.

This animation programme is set to kick off with the establishment of an Animation Film Resource Centre in the Khayelitsha/Mitchells Plain area. Recruitment on this project will commence towards the end of February 2009.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup also present serious opportunities for growth and development in the film industry and CFC has already started to map out certain projects which it has to do in order to prepare the film and television industry in the Western Cape.

The highlight for the Cape film industry will be the Imbongi Awards, scheduled for late March 2009. These awards will be recognising, rewarding and honoring individuals and companies for outstanding achievement in pre-production, production and post-production work within the Cape film industry.

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