Garden Route International Film Festival highlights local productions

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Mossel Bay is playing host to the Garden Route International Film Festival which highlights local film productions. Organisers also want to market the region as a film destination. The tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape (WESGRO) is supporting the event to help stimulate growth in the industry, post-COVID-19.

Home to some of the country’s most spectacular sceneries, the Garden Route is an ideal location for filmmakers. With several local and international productions under its belt, the industry slowed down during COVID but is slowly making a comeback.

“It’s about rejuvenating and getting back those people who were filming in the Garden Route and letting them know that the environment has now changed again. So, we are encouraging people to come and look at the locations. Since August last year, we’ve done R27-million direct investments of film that have happened and we have a very good forecast at the end of the year, about R40-million in production,” says festival director,Patrick Walton.

Local youth are also benefitting from learning various skills in the industry.

“What we do is we develop their skills at no cost to do films in a way that we as creatives can. Because sometimes we have professionals doing it with professional gear but what we do is empower the youth so they can utilise whatever equipment they have at their disposal to tell their story,” says Garden Route Film Commission’s Calvin Claassen.

With their horror movie already gaining momentum on streaming platforms, some filmmakers were ecstatic to be part of the festival.

“We are pretty excited to be here. We are taking the film through the festival circuit. It’s been playing at various festivals around the world and having any local festival showcase our work is one of the highlights and being able to attend it in person…this location is really cool, amazing,” says Writer and Director of The Domestic, Brad Katzen.

A real-life story about farmers and climate change also hit home.

“I’ve got a very positive reaction because a lot of people were not expecting to see this style of film told this way because most documentaries are very informative. But this one has a very personal, intimate journey through a Lesotho farmer coming into SA to learn modern methods of farming,” says Director: Lesotho Lwazi Duma.  Lesotho.

Over sixty films will be shown indoors and outdoors until this weekend.

VIDEO: Mossel Bay hosts the Garden Route International Film Festival