Film industry in Eastern Cape receives boost

The film industry in the Eastern Cape has received a boost after the provincial Arts and Culture Department announced that three films will be produced in the province. The R8-million project will see two films being shot in rural areas such as Keiskammahoek. Another partnership with Tshedza Pictures will entail a year-long film production in the province. The company is spending R50-million on production while government will contribute a further R10-million to have the film shot in the province.

The announcement that three films will be made in the province, is seen as a breakthrough for the film industry in the Eastern Cape. Filmmakers and artists in the province, often migrate to other provinces due to the lack of development of this industry. These productions also have the potential to unlock economic opportunities in the hospitality, transport and tourism sectors. Arts and Culture MEC Fezeka Nkomonye believes this will unearth raw talent in the province.

“The talent has since left the province must come back but not only that we want to see skills transfer in action, we want to see those who have been in this industry for a long time ploughing back in the province of the Eastern Cape. What we want is not only a Xhosa drama series; we want to see it done by the people of the province. There is going to be a lot of contribution these two drama series and the telenovela are going to make,” says Nkomonye.

One aspiring actress in the province, Siyasanga Nqitheko has lamented the struggles they endure in this industry.

“The main challenge is working for little or no pay working for experience basically l would say we do get exploited when it comes to larger production companies coming to the province using us for crew and cast, we really get the wrong end of the stick,” says Nqitheko.

The SABCs Eastern Cape Regional Operations Managers Ayanda Makaula says an agreement was also reached for two series that will be produced, to air on SABC platforms.

“The SABCs role in the partnership is to assist with training as well as some of the funding initiatives the department and eppac wishes to implement to grow the film industry in the Eastern Cape. It’s a three year partnership as we are really excited to be part of the process. All of these drama series will be produced in the Eastern Cape and will be shown on SABC platforms,” says Makaula.

The first film will air on TV screens early next year.

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