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The Cape brought in billions as a film destination this year - here's how

Nov 23 2019 12:13
Carin Smith


So far this year the film and media unit of Wesgro has facilitated a total of R2.38bn in film and media production spending in Cape Town and the Western Cape, creating the equivalent of 2 265 full-time jobs.

Wesgro is the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the city and the province. It recently announced that overall, for the 2018/19 financial year, it helped facilitate R10.73bn into the Western Cape's economy. In addition, it assisted in generating close to 4 000 jobs for the province.
 
According to Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the ability to work together in finding solutions, across different levels of governments, and between government and the private sector, is not easy, but it is essential in overcoming the many complex hurdles that face SA's economy.

The film and media unit of Wesgro facilitates business-to-business connections, assists with export advancement programmes, and provides advice on access to national film and television incentives provided by the Department of Trade and Industry.

According to Lisa Mini, Wesgro’s film and media promotion officer, it is about building relationships with key government and industry stakeholders. The unit works with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), Cape Town Film Studios and the the City of Cape Town.

According to Mini, her job enables her to have a bird’s eye view of the film and media landscape in the city and province – its strengths, weaknesses and challenges.

"My position has allowed me to use the knowledge and skills I have gained to drive diversity and inclusion in the sector," says Mini.

Five top drawcards

According to Wesgro’s Annual Review for 2018/19, Cape Town and the Western Cape offer the local and international film industry various value propositions.

Five of the top reasons making the city or province a popular choice in the industry are the diversity of locations offered, the moderate climate, the world-class facilities offered, the availability of highly skilled crew, and various film and television incentives.

Success stories

Nick Hall, founding chair of Interactive Entertainment SA (IESA), is regarded as one of the success stories of the unit.

Hall is an intellectual property lawyer who helps grow companies and protects their IP through research and advice.

He also runs the 4th Industrial Revolution online community Make Games SA, which helps "hobbyists" to become productive companies.

In 2018 Hall co-founded the Africa Games Week in collaboration with Amazon, and Playtopia. According to Wesgro, the event is already attracting top publishers and studios to consider the province and the country for further investment.

Another success story is Sea Monster, an animation and gaming company, which had been in existence for eight years. It employs over 30 people on a full-time basis, as well as about 20 developers and other specialists on a regular freelance basis.

Sea Monster uses their animation and gaming skills to drive educational matters for large corporates and public interest organisations.

According to Wesgro, Sea Monster is at the forefront of augmented reality and virtual reality.

The company is presently building a large "gamified platform" to encourage entrepreneurship skills among children.

wesgro  |  western cape  |  cape town  |  film  |  media
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