‘South Africa to benefit from Hollywood movie production delays’

Nathi Mthethwa
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Western Cape’s Promotion Agency, Wesgrow, says it expects the City of Cape Town and the province as a whole to benefit hugely from delays in the production of movies and television shows in Hollywood at the end of the coronavirus crisis.

US media reports that dozens of films and television series stopped production in the middle of March.

They are now expected to compete for limited studio space to shoot fresh episodes. The number of international productions filming in South Africa has increased over the past decade, especially since the establishment of the Cape Town Film Studio.

Wesgrow’s CEO Tim Harris says the province stands to benefit from a new phenomenon called “home streaming” that’s become popular during the COVID-19 lockdown in many countries.

“One of the results of the global lockdown is that streaming is becoming much more popular and is a bigger growth segment of the film and media space, productions linked to companies like Netflix are growing enormously internationally and we believe that Cape Town and the Western Cape is well-positioned to secure this new business helping to inject some foreign currency during the recovery from the pandemic.”

Relief fund  for SA creatives

In March, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a R150 million relief fund to help ease the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the livelihood of those in the sporting, arts and cultural sectors.

However, some in the creative and cultural industries might miss out on the funds simply because they don’t have internet access. This is the opinion of those who have applied and say the process is flawed.

Production manager and coordinator for Olive Tree Theatre Selaelo Maraka says her team was due to perform abroad and had to make cancellations at the last minute.

“We were invited by Spazio Teatro No’hma in Milan Italy to showcase the play “Mojaji” which was written by Ntshieng Mogoro – to feature in the 11th edition of the International Prize “iL Teatro Nudo” Teresa Pomodoro Award.”

“The cancellation of the shows has been devastating. The tap was closed abruptly. If we don’t perform, we don’t earn,” she adds.

The department has emphasised that the fund was set up to assist all athletes and arts practitioners, based on a set of criteria defined for each of the two sectors. Over 6 000 artists have so far applied for relief.

In the video below, Minister Mthethwa discusses the COVID-19 Relief Fund: