Written by Dineo Faku
THE number is 21 656. These are the people employed in South Africa’s film industry in the 2016/2017 financial year, a national study on the economic impact of the country’s film industry has found.
The study, which was commissioned by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and released in Johannesburg yesterday, also found that the film industry contributed R5.4billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016/17.
However, the industry needed to focus on transformation in order to grow, and issues such as inequitable resource distribution needed to be addressed, the report recommended.
The study showed that the contribution of the film industry to the economy and jobs had been growing since 2013. In the 2015/16 financial year it contributed R5.2bn to GDP and created 19145 jobs, compared to 17533 jobs in 2014/15 financial year with a R5.22bn contribution to GDP.
The bulk of job opportunities were for young people between the ages of 25 to 39.
“Although the film industry is providing employment opportunities for the country, it is important to note much of this employment is still in the unskilled and semi-skilled market within the industry and this shows that the industry still lacks transformation – as the top half of the industry is still largely occupied by minorities,” the report said.
“Most upcoming filmmakers cannot secure loans or other private funding from banks. In most cases they do not have business plans, are not creditworthy and do not have security to access the loans. Industry experts identify that in most cases it is the black filmmakers that have been struggling to acquire this funding,” read the study.
It found that Gauteng accounted for the lion’s share of 54.8 percent of filming operations while the Western Cape accounted for 23 percent. KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo both had 9.5 percent of the filming market. “This can be attributed to availability of resources required to carry out full-house productions and the diverse shooting locations within these provinces,” the report said.
The report also indicated that there were no filming operations recorded in the Northern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, and North West for the 2016/17 period. The Eastern Cape, for example, was currently in the infancy stage of development.
In terms of popularity, feature films and documentaries were the most liked segments, because they were attractive and accounted for 27.3percent of the series surveyed.
“This is attributed to the fact that there are a lot of donor funding and non-governmental organisation’s supporting the production of documentaries, as they address critical issues that have a direct impact on society,” read the report. “Documentaries are also easier to produce since there are rarely ever false events added for entertainment purposes,” it said.
Animation series were the least popular, and accounted only for 3percent of the segments produced. “Although South Africa’s animation industry holds potential, it is small in comparison to major international markets.”
The industry was mostly funded by the government through the Department of Trade and Industry, the NFVF and the Industrial Development Corporation.