Mthethwa: Local content promotes cultural diversity and social cohesion


Promoting local content, diversifying audiences, rethinking distribution and marketing and championing the transformation of the industry were the key issues at a meeting between Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and film stakeholder.

The minister was speaking at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank on Wednesday to discuss the challenges faced in the countrys film industry and chart the way forward on what needs to be done to promote local content.

Chair of the Board of the National Film and Video Foundation Mmabatho Ramagoshi and NFVF CEO Zama Mkosi were among the attendees of the engagement with film stakeholders.

The South African Film industry is one of the industries that seem to not be sustainable, and promotion of local content is also lacking.

Mthethwa stressed the importance of ensuring engagement and promotion of local content.
As part of this agenda we need more stories and more opportunities to occupy more spaces to deepen the African worldview of our people, he said.

He added: Every film tells a story and every story transmits the power of narrative in shaping and changing our lives. The story of a country that is transforming itself is one of metamorphosis, the agenda of change.

Thus the showing of each film is another step towards our freedom, extending our psychic and real liberated zones, But local content also extends beyond the story and includes the development of local skills, infrastructure and technology.

Mthethwa touched on how local content incorporates a range of training areas. He said film making is not limited to script writing, directing, camera, sound, editing, post-production, including distribution and marketing. It needs local content distribution strategies and channels.

Local content promotes cultural diversity and encourages social cohesion. At the same time it nurtures cultural expressions and encourages local languages and idioms. It improves cultural understanding and dialogue and strengthens democracy. It leads to the strengthening of local information systems, he added.

According to Mthethwa, this engagements must be seen as part of an ongoing consultation between film makers, distributors and ourselves with a view to strengthening the film industry.

This is also the opening up of a very necessary conversation between distributors, film makers and government about how to improve local film distribution strategies and marketing plans.

The film industry has shown itself as vibrant and growing and competitive, and this is testimony of the good work done by producers, filmmakers and distributors, but much remains to be done, Mthethwa said.

NFVF Economic Baseline Study (2013) revealed that, the local Film industry contributes R3.5bn to the South African Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while it creates more than 25 000 full time equivalent jobs.

The Economic baseline study further revealed that South African Film industry earned over R670 million towards the South African GDP, and SAFI encompassed over 2 500 direct service providers.

Mthethwa said,the Price Waterhouse Cooper Entertainment and Media Outlook 2015-2019 confirms that film in South Africa is also an activity that has a multiplier effect.
Source: The New Age