R15m Eastern Cape Film Fund
The Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council (ECPACC) launched a R15 million Film Development Fund to stimulate a paralysed film industry in the Eastern Cape.
The fund was sourced from the Provincial Economic Stimulus Fund in order to assist in job creation in the creative industry and promote the growth of the creative economy.
Following the runaway success of Knuckle City, currently showing at the Toronto Film festival in Canada, the spotlight has moved back into the potential of the EC film industry.
“We can all agree that we have no film industry, we have filmmakers that have great potential, but there are no supporting structures to ensure that it grows and becomes an industry that contributes to the economy,” said CEO of ECPACC, Phumeza Skoti.
She added that films with high commercial value are shot in the province by external production houses but they bring their own crews, exploit local resources and leave no substantial benefit for the local economy.
“We need to develop a highly skilled cohort of trained film crews with specialist skills, casting agencies, equipment and post-production facilities. We have to produce quality films that we can promote and distribute,” said Skoti.
The fund will focus on commercial and development projects, especially small to medium projects that have potential for growth and will create substantial jobs. It targets 16 local productions that are made up of women and youth producers.
“For every R1 invested in film, there is an employment multiplier effect of R4.9. Film has a relatively high economic multiplier effect of 2.89, higher than tourism’s 2.4. The industry has a higher impact on SMMEs that would provide supportive services to productions such as venue hire, transport, catering, wardrobe, make-up and other necessities,” enthused Skoti.
Skoti also announced that Council will now fund the long-running six-day Eastern Cape Film Festival (ECFF), the brain child of Uteinhage born Nceba Mqolomba, that has been running for six years without government funding. The platform exhibits work by local filmmakers and to inspire young people, women, the disabled community and businesses to understand their role and benefits in the growth of the industry.
The festival funding was also part of the resolutions of the 2018 Film Indaba, which stipulated that the festival must be adopted as a flagship festival for the province.
“Our festival has made great gains in introducing a film culture in the province. We have featured industry experts in the likes of Xolani Qubeka, producer of Knuckle City, Rolie Nikiwe who directs most productions coming out of the country. Our biggest challenge has been the lack of government support. Not having an anchor sponsor meant every cent has had to come out of our pockets to facilitate and ensure fair representation of the province,” said Nceba Mqolomba, founder of the festival held in Makhanda.
Three districts are collaborating with the council to host local film festivals and screenings using municipal facilities to promote the consumption of local content and to bring back the movie-going culture.
A call for applications is out and awarding of funds is scheduled for the end of October 2019. There will be compulsory application clinics and funding masterclasses for selected applicants.