Film Making - a Strategic Industry Says Premier | Western Cape Government

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Film Making - a Strategic Industry Says Premier

15 November 2004
Extracts from Premier's speech at opening of the Sithengi Film Festival

It is most pleasing today to be able to welcome the Sithengi Film Festival and the Cape Town World Cinema Festival to our city and province. T hese two events help significantly in putting Cape Town where we ultimately want it to be: on a par with the other great film festival cities of the world. Helping to make Cape Town a centre that creative people from our own country and continent and the whole world can come to find expertise, great natural beauty and a scenic relevance in which to express themselves through this barrier breaking medium of film.

We are aware of the fact that the divides that generally permeate South Africa, also still permeate the film industry. Sithengi has over the last few years been able to narrow the divide between black and white, South Africa and Africa and us and the rest of the globe.

Cape Town and South Africa in general is a burgeoning international film centre. The breadth of film making here is very informative : whether it is a South African telling typically South African stories such as Anant Singhs Dollars and White Pipes shot in Hanover Park or an array of international stars creating box office movies; we are able to accommodate and contribute in meaningful ways.

By assembling every bit of truth, whether from grief stricken families or the apparatchiks of apartheid; South Africa is able to satisfy the curiosity of the world about our story. Through film we are able to transform the perception of us having undergone an inexplicable miracle, to build the necessary depth of insight that a film like Red Dust gives in its portrayal of the painstaking way that our miracle was constructed.

It is important to acknowledge the role of the SABC as one of the most prolific buyers of our products and its ability to make our great and varied talent available as a public broadcaster.

This industry must be nurtured for the long term. Now is not the time for quick killings. This approach of short term gain must change. The sustainability of the industry depends on our ability to maintain one of our key our competitive advantages. Next to our scenic beauty, life style opportunities and technical capacity, we cannot allow unscrupulous operators to jeopardise our essential cost advantage.

2005 must be a red letter year for the film industry as c onstruction begins on our world class Film City. We see quite a few big films lined up for shooting, both indigenous and international.

We must make sure that this surge of activity in the industry is accelerated and secured by declaring the film industry a strategic industry. This will allow Government to more actively cultivate film making, as it has the automotive industry with advantageous results.

I call on the Minister for Arts and Culture, Minister Pallo Jordan to engage with his colleagues in the Department of Trade and Industry as part of his support for the film industry to assist in this way.

We need this to fully unleash the talents and creativity of our artists and to give them the space to express themselves; mostly successfully, but sometimes also less successfully so that we all learn and grow. Hopefully Minister Jordan can persuade his colleagues that their focus on the bottom line could lead to risk aversion which can sometimes be the antithesis of the creative instinct.

Please contact either Redi Direko (082 805 9119) or for any further queries.

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