Shoot the Big Five by gyvwpsjkko


									    Shoot the Big Five

The Canon 5D combines a top quality stills camera with a HD progressive
movie recording system.

The 35mm sensor offers half the shallow depth of field of a 35mm
cinema camera, and a full range of prime and zoom lenses bringing an
improved film like quality and look at a fraction of the cost. The
camera shoots 1080 x 1920 lines of resolution at 38 mbs onto a CF
card using a H.264 codec.

This extremely shallow depth of field is made possible by a 35mm image
sensor which is 24mm x 36mm in size.

The 5D with accessories will work in all environments that other HD
Camera’s work in. The real advantage and surprise is when it gets to
filming in extremely low light, this camera’s performance is superb.
It can be rated between 100 ASA and 6400 ASA without grain and be
pushed to 12800 ASA electronically there-after.

Full training is offered to users on request and is subject to

     The Canon 5D MKII Now Available to Rent or Buy
          (little brother Canon 7D Coming Soon..)

                    digitalfilm: +27 (0)11 4637584

             Rentals * Sales * Transfers * Accessories


     Truly amazing Mk11
            – the Canon 5D

 “The 5D is small,
 compact, uses all
 the lenses I
 require, and
 shoots in
 extremely low
 light. The
 is insane – you
 feel like you are                  STILL ON THE MOVE – Craig Brown, Frank Meyburgh and Devon Zivkovic
 shooting stills
 (which you can                                                                   versatility. A photographer can shoot       you are shooting stills (which you can
                                                                                  both still images and motion video with     do) but you are shooting movies. We
 do) but you are                                                                  the same camera and at the same             are always on the lookout for new
 shooting movies.”                                                                settings. When JPEG images are              technology that offers great quality, but
                                                                                  recorded, the same colour settings,         perhaps doesn’t cost as much as a
 – Sally Balkwell
                                                                                  exposure and balance will be applied to     regular HD camera, and the 5D falls
                                                                                  both. Alternatively, one could opt for      into this mould.”
                                                                                  camera raw stills, in which case the           Marais is also a convert. “The 5D is
                                                                                  photos can still be adjusted with great     amazing. The range of accessories is
                                                                                  latitude after the fact, since this data    growing, and Digitalfilm’s matt boxes,
                                                                                  would not be “burnt in” as it is with the   mounts, and extended life battery packs
                                                                                  video. Stills from the camera use the       make this a most versatile tool. I am
                                                                                  full resolution of this large sensor, so    continually amazed at its quality and
                                                                                  photographs from the Canon 5D are           low light capability. A recent shoot
                                    Sally Balkwell                                much better than any stills extracted       down a mine for a corporate video
                                                                                  from any HD camera.                         required no additional lighting, and its
                                                                                     To get the low-down on this              6 400 ISO is a major bonus.”
                                                                                  remarkable camera, how it works and            So how does it post? “It shoots at
                                                                                  its application, we spoke to Craig          30fps,” says Olivier, “but this can be

                                          n a way it had to come. After all,      Brown, Rentals Manager for                  ‘modified’ in post on FCP and Apple
                                          digital camera technology has           Digitalfilm, Tom Marais, local DOP,         and you do in fact edit at 30fps with no
                                          advanced to the point that full-        Eban Olivier, editor and technical          ‘stagger‘ and with full HD out – 4.4.4
                                          frame-rate video is possible using      guru, and Sally Balkwell, producer of       raster. There is a lot of software
                                    the miniaturised circuitry of a digital       Born In Africa.                             available for posting applications, and
                                    still photography camera and nearly all          “We started off with one 5D as part      you can colour and re-size as required.
                                    Digital SLRs provide real-time video          of our rentals menu, and now have           At the end of the process you can
                                    feedback to the display on the camera.        five,” says Brown. “This camera offers      deliver in PAL, and after you have put
                                    Canon was able to use this concept to         huge production value and we were           it through the FCP package it corrects
                                    record the live picture signal as a file to   stunned at its image quality and crazy,     pull down and spits it out at 25fps.”
                                    its memory card. The 5DMk11 uses a            shallow depth of field. It also records        “Do a test process in advance of
                                    large “full frame 35mm” 21.1 MP               onto CF card of either 16 or 32 gigs,       taking the camera out,” suggests
                                    sensor, which is bigger than topline          allowing you 54 minutes and up to 100       Brown. “We strongly advise this so that
                                    HD digital cameras, and for that              minutes respectively.                       everyone is on the same page from
                                    matter a 35mm motion picture film                “We ran extensive tests with the         shoot to post. It is critical to understand
                                    frame.                                        camera, checked what we could do with       the capabilities and what you can get
                                       Raw or JPEG stills captured with           the lenses, follow focus, etc. and          out of it. The later model 7D is due out
                                    the camera are 5616x3744 pixels in a          decided it was perfect for rental and for   shortly, and some of these are destined
                                    4:3 aspect ratio, and in Movie mode it        most applications, particularly             for South Africa. We anticipate having
                                    shoots 16x9. The video view used for          commercials.”                               five of these in stock. The 7D shoots
                                    the live display is a down sampled               Balkwell, who has now used the 5D        25p 1080x1920 and 50p 720x 280 so
                                    image from the same sensor, which is          for several commercials, is delighted       the frame rate will benefit us as well as
                                    recorded as a 1920×1080 high-def file.        with the results. “The 5D is small,         the slow-mo capabilities. We have
                                    This is a compressed file (H264 codec)        compact, uses all the lenses I require,     helped out a lot of our loyal cameramen
                                    at a data rate of about 40Mbps.               and shoots in extremely low light. The      get set up with their own rigs. To date
                                       The real benefit of the camera is its      manoeuvrability is insane – you feel like   we have sold in excess of 50 kits.”

18    SCREENAFRICA – October 2009
                                                                                   TRACKINGTECHNOLOGY CASE STUDY

goes big

        even years ago, when Nairobi-       PROJECTING INTO THE FUTURE – Christie LX500 being used in a tented venue
        based audio visual service
        company, Projector Solutions,
        opened its doors for business, it   purchasing some basic data projectors,         The investment quickly paid                outdoor sports events and houses of
immediately began to educate the local      screens and laptops, they soon heard         dividends and Mahiaini says they are         worship in the local region.
market in the wonders of big screen         about Christie (from South African-          receiving ever-increasing enquiries from       It was in a church that Projection
projection.                                 based Gearhouse). they became the            customers coming to terms with the           Solutions recently achieved one of their
  Managing director Mercy Mahiaini          first company in Nairobi to purchase         benefits of hiring top quality projectors.   most notable successes, rigging two
recognised the need for an efficient        Christie projectors After listening to         However, both the market education         140ft x 120ft rear projection fast-fold
audio visual service in Nairobi and first   the positive feedback from users down        and technician training proved to be a       screens and projecting signals from live
approached the larger corporate entities    in South Africa, they became the first       long process, she acknowledges. “Our         cameras and various playback sources
to find out exactly what they required.     company in Nairobi to purchase               technicians are trained on the job, so       via their two LX500s.
Mahiaini discovered “they were not          Christie projectors.                         they learn as they go along. But this          The venue is a tented dome which
only the big users of projectors but at        Mahiaini explains. “We settled on         month we will take one of our                admits a fair amount of light. Mahiaini
the same time seemed less satisfied         the LX500 [4500 Lumens XGA LCD               technicians to South Africa for              reports, “With the LX500 projectors
with the service offered by other           Digital Projector] series — with Short       training.”                                   we were able to project very clearly to
players”.                                   Zoom and Zoom lenses — because we               The appetite for big screen               the 3 000 congregants, easily
  Projector Solutions set out to rectify    first wanted to evaluate the                 projection extends through product           outperforming the church’s resident
that. Starting circumspectly by             capabilities.”                               launches, awards shows, fashion events,      projectors.”

                                                                                                                                               October 2009 – SCREENAFRICA   19

Get ready for the big
        nimated films are still amongst       attention to Stereoscopic 3D films, be       (SFF Media –               little support from government. “We
        the most profitable in the movie      they animated or live action. It was         Karen van Schalkwyk approached                also feel that Black Ecconomic
        industry. With the release of         recently announced that Spielberg’s          some of the top animation companies           Empowerment (BEE) has played a
        Stereoscopic 3D animated films        DreamWorks Studios had acquired the          in South Africa and got their response.       huge role in South Africa. We have
this trend is likely to make an even          rights to the Japanese animated science                                                    seen BEE companies that have been
bigger mark. One only has to think of         fiction classic Ghost in the Shell.          Can we compete?                               given huge grants from government
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which         Cameron is bringing out the much                                                           and simply done nothing with the
recently topped the local and                 anticipated Avatar at the end of the         Taking into consideration that                money except waste it. If we had some
international box offices. In South           year, and Ridley Scott is going to do Joe    stereoscopic 3D is the way of the future,     real budgets, yes we could most
Africa, at the time of going to press, it     Halderman’s science fiction classic The      the question arises – is where does this      definitely produce to the calibre of
had made over R25m.                           Forever War. Scott has gone on to say of     leave the South African animation             international productions. South
   On the international front everyone        Stereoscopic 3D: “I’ve seen some of          industry?                                     Africans are very hard workers; we have
from Steven Spielberg, James Cameron          James Cameron’s work, and I’ve got to           Mark Hocker of The Boiler Room             great animators, great script writers and
and Ridley Scott are turning their            go 3D. It’s going to be phenomenal.”         says that the big problem is that there is    some great African stories.”

                                              Nigeria’s first 3D
                                              animation movie                                                                        By Ifeoma Areh

  “We intend to
  pioneer the
  evolution of a
  new, dynamic and
  viable movie
  industry in new
  media, right here
  in Nigeria.”
  – Stanlee Ohikhuare

     n June 2009, a selected audience         project has been funded solely by            a star-studded cast list but an array of      movie and film innovations in recent
     had the opportunity to view the          ourselves so far, but we have important      convincingly talented people who              times.”
     trailer of Nigeria’s first full length   partners joining us soon.”                   understand the rudiments of the art,”           The movie is also embarking on a
     3D animated feature film, Lifespan.         Lifespan is the story of a brave little   explains Ohikhuare.                           nationwide tour to create awareness
It was a stunning preview that held the       mosquito called Ivie, who undertakes a          “Research was carried out for about a      among women and children about the
promise of an exciting movie to come.         quest to the cave of a thousand signs to     year before actual production began.          prevention and treatment of malaria.
   Since 2006, Mighty Jot animation           get a dose of blood from a newborn           We researched insects, humans,                Selected states and regions in the
studios, a branch of Stanlees World           baby. The blood is to be used for a          choreography, fashion, language and           country where malaria is prevalent will
Ltd, has worked on the project of             purification ritual that will reverse the    scientific facts concerning our story.        be toured as part of the campaign.
producing Nigeria’s first full length         curse of the gods that has made              We did in-depth research on                   Schools and health centres will be the
animated feature film.                        mosquitoes the deadly agents of              mosquitoes and malaria and we                 venues for this campaign. Health
   “We intend to pioneer the evolution        malaria. The story follows the               presently have more than enough               professionals and NGOs, including the
of a new, dynamic and internationally         adventures of the young mosquito and         material for our Bonus DVDs.”                 federal and state ministries of health
viable movie industry in new media,           the plots of a rival male-mosquito clan.        The entire production crew for this        will provide sponsorship and assistance.
right here in Nigeria,” says writer and          The mosquitoes depicted in Lifespan       project is Nigerian. “We have kept the        Characters from the movie will
director Stanlee Ohikhuare.                   have been uniquely created. The              intellectual input of this project strictly   be used to illustrate important facts
   In comparison to other international       mosquito characters don’t bend over          Nigerian,” says Ohikhuare. “It is a           about malaria in video clips and
3D animated movies, Lifespan is a low         like regular insects but instead, they       deliberate attempt to show Nigerians          pamphlets.
budget feature film. “Our production          walk upright like humans and speak in        that there is a lot we can do as a people       At this stage, the project is 67%
budget stands at approximately N300m          a language we understand.                    if we decide to look inwards. It will also    complete, production is due to be
(about US$2m) whereas other animated             Each character is voiced by a talented    show the rest of the world that funding       completed in October and the movie
box office successful movies have             performer, ranging from famous to            for technology is the only visible barrier    will be released in Nigeria on 15
budgets as high as US$75m. This               unknown. “Our goal was never to have         between us and the most celebrated            December 2009.

20      SCREENAFRICA – October 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ANIMATION 3D

swing                                                                                                                                                                                         The future
                                                                                                                                                                                               Hocker says he would like to see more
                                                                                                                                                                                               government input and less BEE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             “I think the great
                                                                                                                                                                                               demands. “The South African industry
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                                                                                                                                                                                               needs to move away from slapstick             thing is that
goes on to say that these are exciting            to invent “our own industry and new                                                                                                         comedies and TV magazine shows. We
                                                  TRIM: 381mm x 508mm (15"H x 20"W)                TRIM: 762mm x 1016mm (30"H x 40"W)
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times. “It’s great that Hollywood is              uses for 3D animators. We turn out                                                                                                          have such a creative pool and we just          people’s appetite
producing these stereoscopic 3D                   amazing applications for the corporate                                                                                                      need the opportunities. Regarding our          for local content
animated films. It increases audiences            world with very little in the way of                                                                                                        future work we create our own
and their appetite for animated product.          budgets. We have to also be ‘jacks of all                                                                                                   opportunities all the time and continue        keeps growing.
It would be initially difficult for us to         trades’. The US is spoilt in that they                                                                                                      to work.”                                      The animation
compete in the blockbuster arena, but             have huge budgets and 10 000 people                                                                                                            Berry elaborates: “I think the great
we would initially have to address the            texturing one scene.”                                                                                                                       thing is that people’s appetite for local      world has to be
direct to video market.”                             Berry comments: “The biggest issues                                                                                                      content keeps growing. The animation           world class to
   Don Searle of Haptics adds: “We                here are budget and investment in our                                                                                                       world has to be world class to keep an
have already made our mark and have               market. Animators concentrate on                                                                                                            audience. I believe we have what it            keep an audience.
been producing some world class 3D                commercials, features VFX, short films                                                                                                      takes. Regarding future projects these         I believe we have
since our inception in 1990. Many of              and TV series. If we were to shoot in                                                                                                       include more commercials, but this has
our films have won international                  stereoscopic 3D it would mean                                                                                                               been a tough year. There is growth,            what it takes.”
stereoscopic accolades. Yes I think we            importing camera gear, many software                                                                                                        however, in retail animation but the           – Ancilla Berry
could compete, but financing is a                 programmes and monitoring and disc                                                                                                          VFX market is very sluggish.”
problem.”                                         capacity would have to be addressed. I                                                                                                         Searle concludes: “It is important for
                                                  think we are a way off from this, given                                                                                                     local broadcasters to commission local
What’s next for                                   our financial situation.”                                                                                                                   stories that can be viewed locally and
the South African                                    Searle maintains that the industry                                                                                                       internationally. This will have the effect
animation industry?                               needs to concentrate on what is evolving                                                                                                    of developing skills and revenue
                                                  and happening. “We need to step up to                                                                                                       streams. We are currently exploring
There is some scepticism that South               the plate, be fearless, tackle and develop                                                                                                  feature film opportunities but the
Africa will be able to do 3D films. The           and not fall behind, even on small                                                                                                          industry has been quiet the last year
question is what solutions we will need           budgets. I think this could be a worry –                                                                                                    because of the global recession. We are
to find.                                          that we will not be able to keep up, at                                                                                                     optimistic that things will turn around
  Hocker says that the crucial thing is           least not on a significant level.”                                                                                                          in due course.”


face it. your customers just want to see more 3d.

               Face it, with some great new releases audiences just can’t get enough 3D. And with Christie’s
               CP Series of DLP Cinema projectors they can have more than ever before. That’s because

               That’s why the biggest audiences are in cinemas with Christie projectors. They get more
               3D there than anywhere.

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               get the full picture                                                                                                                                                                                                    when it matters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   October 2009 – SCREENAFRICA      21

Recognising the best in Africa
Throughout the world the Promax/BDA Awards,                                                  Eligible entries are those which have     explains Sheldrick.
                                                                                          been produced/aired for the African             Last year broadcast design group
which are presented in each region, are regarded as                                       market or commissioned by African            Orijin won several Promax Awards.
the most prestigious awards for creative endeavour                                        based companies and broadcast
                                                                                          between 15 August 2008 and 15
                                                                                                                                       Says executive creative director Leon
                                                                                                                                       Schoeman: “Promax/BDA is like the
in on-air promotion/marketing and broadcast design.                                       August 2009.                                 Oscars of broadcast design; it carries
                                                                                             Most popular categories this year are:    the same weight. Orijin sees these
The 4th annual Promax/BDA Africa Awards                                                   SABC Best Integrated Marketing               awards in the same light as the
& Conference takes place on 16 October at                                                 campaign (the prize is a trip to             advertising industry regards Cannes
                                                                                          Promax/BDA Los Ageles 2010); Best            Lions. We don’t design to win awards
Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre.                                                 Television Image Campaign; Best              but it’s great to get recognised by your
                                                                                          Station Image Promo; Best Funniest           peers and the competition is fierce at

        ood news in these recessionary       director Vanessa Sheldrick: “Ever since      Spot; Screen Africa Best Movie Promo;        Promax/BDA Africa.”
        times is that entries for this       the first Promax/BDA Africa event in         DSTV/M-Net Best Editing; and Best               Roger Smythe of Masters and Savant
        year’s Promax/BDA Africa             2006, entries have increased year on         Design in Promotion.                         notes that Promax awards are
        Awards are up 20% from 2008,         year. More companies are entering,              Three categories had to be                significant as they are the only
with a total of 625 entries. Says event      proving that the profile of the event is     withdrawn due to insufficient entries –      international awards in the highly
                                                                  growing. For the        Best Interactive Promotion, Best Radio       specialised broadcast field. “The
                                                                  first time ever         Spot and Best Use of New Media.              judging is largely international too, so a
                                                                  we’ve had entries       “This isn’t surprising as the new media      Promax award represents recognition
                                                                  from BBC                categories are still relatively young in     from peers the world over. We're proud
                                                                  Worldwide,              Africa compared to the rest of the           to have won 11 Promax awards last
                                                                  Russian Television,     world,” comments Sheldrick.                  year.”
                                                                  Sony                       This year’s competition had 71               A winner of many Promax/BDA
                                                                  Entertainment,          international judges – all comprising        awards, Clearwater has been
                                                                  Turner and the          promotion, marketing and design              participating in the competition since
                                                                  Brand Gallery           professionals. “We do the judging this       2006. Says creative director – Special
                                                                  from USA.               way for all our territories to keep it as    Projects, Gayle Thompson: “To win a
                                                                  Locally,                fair as possible. There were also nine       Golden Muse or Isis is perceived as one
                                                                  newcomers are           locals who judged the Mama Africa            of the key accolades anyone in our
                                                                  MTV, Ogilvy             Award, Funniest Spot, Something for          industry can garner. It's inspiring to see
                                                                  Johannesburg and        Nothing, Best Public Service                 one's creative work and the outstanding
                                                                  Electronic Media        announcement and Best Promo not              work of others appreciated and
                                                                  Network.”               using programme footage categories,”         acknowledged.”

  THE PINNACLE – Promax Muse and BDA Isis trophies

Promo speak
                                                                                          selection should show diversity in shot      based’ promo one would then select the
                                                                                          size and movement and the edit should        broadcast clips that would work within
                                                                                          work at a pace that is going to make it      the proposed concept and select the
                                                                                          stand out. Audio can either make or          music. Now you can finalise your script
                                                                                          break a promo – music selection needs        and start editing, followed by voice over
                                                                                          to be done with care, considering the        and final mix.
Delegates at previous Promax/BDA Africa Conferences                                       promo’s function, the amount of copy            “The design alternative sees the
will have heard international promo guru Charley Holland                                  that’s going to be placed over it and the    promo producer working less hands on
                                                                                          desired sound design.”                       and more in conjunction with a
refer to “McPromos” – TV promos that are churned out                                         Leach emphasises that a promo has         designer and animator. Music selection
like fast food with no originality or good ideas behind                                   to be attention grabbing and cut
                                                                                          through the on air clutter. “Secondly,
                                                                                                                                       is made at the concept/scripting phase
                                                                                                                                       to ensure that all elements marry nicely.
them. Here, three top South African creatives shed light                                  you need to get the message across with      Voice over recording and final mix
                                                                                          all the salient points. Thirdly, the         remain as above.”
on how to avoid falling into the McPromo trap.                                            promo should be memorable. Ideally it           Studio Zoo does a lot of “self-
                                                                                          should also get people talking.”             briefing. Says Leach: “I might suddenly

       he definition of a promo outlines     reinforce viewer loyalty or invite viewers      According to Thompson, Clearwater         be inspired by something and then
       its functions. “It is primarily       to buy into new brands.”                     doesn’t believe in an exact formula          suggest to the client that we do a promo
       broadcast focused (although               As Studio Zoo director Adi Leach         which, when followed to the letter,          around that idea. But when we do get
       delivery can extend to                points out, the function of a promo is to    makes the perfect promo. “The                briefs we make a list of critical points
other platforms) and seeks to create         sell a product, be it programming, a         functions and contexts of what we do         that the client wants to get across and
interest amongst viewers regarding a         product, or relationship marketing. “All     are constantly changing, especially in a     then find a creative hook – either visual
particular show/channel/service/event        promos are branding pieces. Some are         digital world. Everyone has their own        or music. For instance, if you’re doing a
and inform them when/where to                purely ‘feel good’ aimed at retaining        method, but at the core of a good            promo about animals you could use an
watch,” says Gayle Thompson, creative        audiences; others are to impart              promo is usually a strong, simple            incredibly beautiful graphic design
director – Special Projects, Clearwater.     programme information, while others          concept.”                                    or a piece of music that gives an extra
  Promos that tell viewers when a            provide technical information, about            Traditionally, the creation of a promo    kick.
programme will go out normally sell on       decoders or upgrades for example. The        starts with a client brief. Dean explains:      “Generally, programme promos are
an emotional level and deliver a very        latter are the hardest to do as the          “We then familiarise ourselves with          entertaining and the programme
rational call to action in their closing,    information is so dry.”                      both the material we’ll be using as well     usually speaks for itself. In our case we
says Orijin creative director Bron Dean.        A good promo concept should speak         as the target audience. Next you             do lots of branding for DStv, which
“Promos that reinforce a channel’s           to the target audience. “The language        develop a broad concept and possibly         requires creating a single branding
brand values, propositions and               (ie. copy) used in the script should be      have some copy lines that either have to     message for a multitude of
positioning deliver their message            both relevant to the audience and easy       be incorporated or may be used,              diverse channels, which is very
almost entirely on an emotional level to     to digest,” continues Dean. “Shot            depending on final material. For a ‘clip-    challenging.”

22     SCREENAFRICA – October 2009
Ms NomaXabiso Mahlawe (Deputy City                         Cllr Obed Mlaba (Mayor for Durban) MEC for                  First lady Mrs Nompumelelo          Axe commercial shot at the Durban yacht Club
Msanager – Durban), Julie Fredrikse                        Arts, Culture and Tourism in KZN Ms Weziwe                  Mantuli Zuma with the cast of
(co-producer) First Lady Mrs Nompumelelo                   Thusi, MEC for Local goverment and traditional              Izulu lami.
MaNtuli Zuma, Madoda Ncayiyane (Director)                  affairs Ms Nomusa Dube, Deputy City Manager
Ms Toni Monty (DFO) & Gugu Zungu (DFO)                     – Nomaxabiso Mahlawe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           has the potential to act as a key driver in raising the visibility of film
2009 marks the Durban Film Office’s (DFO) fifth                               to facilitating film production in the region, earning KZN a strong               Key objectives are to:                                                        content from the African continent and to provide African film-makers
year of operation. The past 18 months have been                             reputation as one of the most ‘film friendly’ cities in the country.              •   Assist Durban producers to become viable business entities capable        with the opportunity to pitch film projects to leading financiers
spent examining the DFO’s internal operations,                                                                                                                   of generating and supporting higher and more consistent levels of         and world sales agents and obtain feedback from internationally
including the existing business plan, with a view to                        The ‘Film Industry Review’ identified specific challenges to the growth of             production;                                                               reputed directors and producers in order to form alliances for future
devising a new growth strategy for the years ahead.                         the local sector and the revised growth strategy provides for a number           •   Supporting the development of significant Digital Media                    collaborations.
The recently completed ‘Film Industry Review’                               of interventions to tackle these blockages, including the restructuring of           competencies to give local producers control over production,
commissioned jointly by the DFO and the KwaZulu-                            the DFO and its operations.                                                          distribution and sales.                                                   The completion of an intensive Economic Impact Assessment of the
Natal Department of Economic Development and                                                                                                                 •   Encourage local clusters, partnerships, collectives and networks that     region’s film industry, in order to ascertain its exact impact on the local
Tourism, included a complete review of the DFO                              Looking at the challenges, although the sector has experienced                       enhance existing activity;                                                economy, gives impetus and focus to the Durban Film Office’s strategy
operations in the context of international best                             steady growth over the past years and is supported by a variety                  •   Maximize investment in the region from both public and private            for the year ahead. The economic spend associated with the industry is
practise and a careful analysis of the local industry’s                     of crew, equipment and talent suppliers, there is still not sufficient                sectors through creation of a ‘film-friendly’ environment; and             currently estimated at R300 million, with enormous potential for growth.
success’s and challenges.                                                   business to grow this supply base, added to this, there is a limited             •   Ensure the longevity of the destination through the creation of an
                                                                            pool of experienced producers able to create saleable ideas and raise                Environmental Production Plan.                                            Throughout 2009 the DFO has continued to seek and create
“At the inception of the DFO in 2003, much of the industry intelligence     production finance and fewer producers translates into limited training                                                                                         opportunities to boost tourism for the province, create jobs in the sector
applied to craft the business plan was largely based on the Western Cape    and production opportunities, which results in fewer career pathways for         “Central to all of this, is the exploration of new markets and business       and develop core skills. Leveraging off the heightened status of the
and Gauteng experience,” says Toni Monty, head of the DFO. “Five years      industry entrants                                                                models, particularly in the current global economic climate, which            industry in Durban and with a clearer understanding of our particular
on, it is critical that we develop a unique understanding of the Durban                                                                                      demands we find new and smarter ways of doing business,”                       needs and their own unique offering nationally and internationally, the
and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) experience, if we are to effectively plan for the   “In an industry largely built on relationships, there is limited opportunity                                                                                   DFO continues to actively engage the industry, seek partnerships and
future of the local sector.” Toni Monty, Acting CEO, Durban Film Office.     in our local industry for mentorship and skills transfer, Going forward,         The announcement, at this year’s Durban International Film Festival,          linkages at a local and international level, seek increased funding and
                                                                            we have devised strategic programmes to provide capacity-building                by the DFO and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) of the           support to develop the local industry and local film-makers and as a
The region has celebrated significant progress over the past years with      platforms that will provide opportunity to strengthen local business and         intention to jointly host an international Film Mart in 2010, sparked         result, take Durban to new, unprecedented levels, as one of the leading
a steady increase in production activity and a well established approach    increase market access.’’                                                        enormous interest in the industry. The Durban Film Mart, it is anticipated,   authority in the sector in South Africa.
BROADBAND                          COMPILED By JOANNA STERkOwICz

Learning to surf
The recent
Screen Africa
Talent &
Conference held
in Johannesburg
had a big
focus on the
impact cheaper
                                                  outh African content producers              Money is the driving force of             suffering too much. It’s a different case
                                                  should get onto the right side of       broadband Internet, continued De              with the music industry, which has
and better                                        the soon-to-break tidal wave of
                                                  broadband Internet and
                                                                                          Lanerolle. In the current film and TV
                                                                                          value chain, it is the distributors and
                                                                                                                                        been losing huge amounts for years
                                                                                                                                        because of broadband.

broadband will                            concentrate on niche audiences and
                                          continental or global audiences.
                                                                                          broadcasters who make money as they
                                                                                          control the market. Barriers to entry are
                                                                                                                                           De Lanerolle stressed that content
                                                                                                                                        producers needed to retain their rights
                                            So said independent media and                 the high cost of of purchasing content        and learn to surf the mobile TV and
have on the                               communications consultant Indra De
                                          Lanerolle. “The connection
                                                                                          and in the case of film, organising and
                                                                                                                     shipping prints,
                                                                                                                                        broadband Internet waves. “Forget film
                                                                                                                                        and television but remember
media landscape                           of the Seacom cable will
                                          bring more and faster
                                                                                                                     regulation [of
                                                                                                                                        storytelling, which has been around
                                                                                                                                        since the beginning of human
                                          broadband (eg. at least                                                    concentration      communication.”
in South Africa.                          2mb/s) to South Africa.
                                          There is a 57% growth in
                                                                                                                     of audiences
                                                                                                                     and pricing        Where online meets TV
Over the next                             broadband every 18 months
                                          globally, so by 2011 we will
                                                                                                                        “Broadband      Satellite pay-TV service DStv has just
                                          have 60 times more                                                         completely         launched VUZU, a combination TV
two pages we                              bandwidth.”                                                                changes the        and social networking channel targeted
                                            De Lanerolle likened the                                                 rules of           at the youth. Explained Jason Probert,
take a closer                             advent of broadband to the
                                          building of railways in the
                                                                                                                     because of low
                                                                                                                                        GM Entertainment: DStv Online:
                                                                                                                                        “VUZU is cross-platform and

look.                                     19th century and the
                                          invention of the printing         RIDING THE wAVE –
                                                                            Indra De Lanerolle
                                                                                                                     cost of entry –
                                                                                                                     it costs nothing
                                                                                                                                        interactive so people can watch
                                                                                                                                        programmes, upload photos and clips,
                                          press in the 16th century.                                                 to move a film     message, play games and store content.
                                          He referred to the pinnacle                                                around the         We’ve integrated both Facebook and
                                          of broadcasting as the                                                     world on the       Twitter. VUZU allows you to be on
                                          moon landing 40 years ago. “A live              Internet and every audience member            TV. We commission companies to
                                          radio signal from the Apollo spaceship          can now be a distributor. Broadband is        produce short clips for the channel,
                                          was beamed to a satellite dish in               unregulatable as there are no physical        such as a mockumentary on air bands
                                          Australia and then back to the US and           products to control. It allows you to         for example.”
                                          split to other broadcasters. Six hundred        target niche audiences and there is no           Commenting on global trends,
                                          million people are estimated to have            pricing power in broadband                    Probert noted that online video was
                                          watched it live. This remarkable                distribution. In the first quarter of last    growing exponentially. Hulu, which
                                          broadcast was delivered by a very               year, Google UK earned more money             offers TV programming for download,
                                          centralised and small network.                  in ad revenues than ITV, the most             is the second biggest website after
                                            “In South Africa there are                    popular television channel in the UK          YouTube. “Asia has enormous
                                          5.2 million TV sets, four TV stations           and for many years the country’s              broadband and although kids spend lots
                                          and 48 million people. With broadband           leading advertising vehicle,” noted De        of time on the Internet, they’re still
                                          we will have 1.2 quadrillion                    Lanerolle.                                    watching TV. US research says 98% of
                                          connections. The broadband Internet                 South Africa does not yet have the        the 18 to 24 age group’s video screen
                                          will connect every person on the South          necessary kind of broadband capacity          time is TV, but they’re simultaneously
                                          African network to each other.”                 for this scenario so film and TV are not      on the Internet.”

26   SCREENAFRICA – October 2009

                                                                                                                                                        and vice versa. This requires return
                                                                                                                                                        path, which needs to be across
                                                                                                                                                           “Broadcasters are scrambling to be
                                                                                                                                                        relevant, so most have catch-up
                                                                                                                                                        services, with the granddaddy of these
                                                                                                                                                        the BBC iPlayer, which Siemens was
                                                                                                                                                        instrumental in developing. ITN
                                                                                                                                                        content is now available on iPhone.
                                                                                                                                                        Disney allows you to download content
                                                                                                                                                        through TiVO, so they’re cutting out
                                                                                                                                                        the distribution channel. New
                                                                                                                                                        aggregators of content are popping up
                                                                                                                                                        everywhere. Broadcasters are creating
                                                                                                                                                        warehouses of content in a file-based
                                                                                                                                                        format so that it can be re-purposed for
                                                                                                                                                        different platforms. provides
                                                                                                                                                        actual channels and will allow you to
                                                                                                                                                        create a profile to suit you.”
                                                                                                                                                           With all this proliferation of content,
                                                                                                                                                        the question arises of who will help the
                                                                                                                                                        viewer figure out what content they

The battle for
                                                                                                                                                        want to see. For instance,
                                                                                                                                               is a discussion forum
                                                                                                                                                        about online TV content.
                                                                                                                                                           According to Gonzalez-Flower,
                                                                                                                                                        Siemens thinks the role of the

the viewer
                                                                                                                                                        broadcaster will go from controller to
                                                                                                                                                        advisor. “Broadcasters will be
                                                                                                                                                        aggregators and provide content to suit
                                                                                                                                                        your profile. This will open up a whole
                                                                                                                                                        new world for advertisers and
                                                                                                                                                        broadcasters will go more for product
                                                                                                                                                        placement. Hardware manufacturers
                                                                                                                                                        now realise their new power because
                                                                                     PHOTO By AnDy STeAD

Globally cheap broadband is                                                                                                                             they’re the method of consumption and
                                                                                                                                                        have access to broadband. The problem
                                                                                                                                                        is how to take this proliferation of
wreaking havoc on broadcasters,                                                                                                                         multiformat content and re-purpose it
                                                                                                                                                        for different platforms and audiences.
                                                                                                                                                        We think there will be a need for re-
who are being forced to adapt in                                                                                                                        purposing companies.”
                                                                                                                                                           The impact of all this will be an

order to survive.                                                                                                                                       overwhelming choice of content, new
                                                                                                                                                        levels of contribution, greater activity
                                                                                                                                                        and greater social interaction. “Creators
                                                                                                           BROAD PERSPECTIVE –                          will have far more complex channel

      acebook is a prime example of the   the centre of the universe as it                                 Marcos Gonzales-Flower                       strategies. Content will be end to end
      power of broadband – this social    controlled the consumption and                                                                                file-based and direct. Revenue streams
      networking website took a mere      delivery of commerce. This in turn                                                                            will become more complex.
      two years to reach 50 million       generated new business like insurance                            platforms unfold the battle has become       Distributors and broadcasters will lose
people. Television, meanwhile, has        and led to the discovery of America.                             not for the viewer’s lounge, but for their   control over what and when people
been around since the late 1920s.         But the problem is that the Venetians                            attention, as ‘digital natives’ are          consume content.
  At the recent Screen Africa Talent &    sat back on their laurels and when other                         accessing content on broadband and              “Today’s broadcasters have strong
Technology Conference in                  countries used the new technologies,                             mobile. This will be very important to       brands and viewers’ trust but they need
Johannesburg, Marcos Gonzales-            they began to lose their power.                                  advertisers.”                                to become more relevant. Now it’s
Flower, Global Head of Media                “Broadcasters think they’re like                                  Gonzalez-Flower maintained that           about people logging onto content
Consulting Siemens IT Solutions and       Venice because they control content and                          traditional linear TV will continue but      rather than sitting in a lounge. We are
Services Ltd, UK, drew an interesting     distribution. The battle of the lounge                           with more sophisticated video on             already seeing innovations in
parallel between broadcasters and the     has been around for a long time as                               demand (VOD) services emerging.              advertising such as Innovid, which
Venetian merchants of the 13th century.   broadcasters have always vied for                                “The consumption of content is a social      inserts ads onto blank spaces just before
  “The Venetians created a very           viewers. Now Microsoft wants to                                  activity as it generates discussion –        broadcast, while Zunavision enables
successful merchant navy by using new     control the box in the lounge. In                                that’s why Facebook rocketed. We             any content owner to self-assign spaces
technology like the rudder and compass    Singapore the government is rolling out                          think that VOD will become like ‘my          inside the physical space of their
and built bigger ships which could sail   one gigabyte of broadband per home.                              channels’ where you hook into your           existing videos,” concluded Gonzalez-
further. Consequently, Venice became      As more and more distribution                                    friend’s channels and see their playlist     Flower.

                                                                                                                                                                  October 2009 – SCREENAFRICA   27

Malawi launches film
festival                                                                                                                              Since the country’s independence,
                                                                                                                                   Malawi has produced only one feature
                                                                                                                                   film – Charles Shemu Joyah’s Seasons of
                                                                                                                                   Life – and one documentary, The

           alawi International Film                                                                 recently screened around       Mystery Mountain, which Ndasowa
           Festival, founded by the                                                                 the country, the festival      produced. She explained that Malawi
           country’s British trained                                                                did not feature local          used to have cinemas but they
           filmmaker Villant Ndasowa,                                                               films.                         ‘disappeared’ during the late 1980s thus
debuted in early September 2009 in                                                                     The festival ran            affecting any culture of cinema
two major cities – Lilongwe and                                                                     concurrently with a            watching culture.
Blantyre. “It’s one way of positioning                                                              workshop that intends to          She described the standards of
ourselves in this world and, of course,                                                             run for eight months,          filmmaking in Malawi as “poor” – for
exporting our culture and history,” says                                                            during which time young        quality post-production she has to go to
Ndasowa.                                                                                            filmmakers will produce        South Africa. Her view is that with the
   The festival’s theme was “Opening                                                                five short films as part of    long term training currently underway,
Up to the World with One Language”                                                                  the training and these         in addition to the festival, the next five
and about 20 feature films and                                                                      will be screened next year     to 10 years will see a huge
documentaries from outside Malawi                                                                   as opening films. The          improvement.
were screened.                                                                                      training will be provided         Further positive news is the arrival of
   Local, regional and international                                                                by film trainers from          new cinemas recently opened in
filmmakers have welcomed the festival.     MALAwI TO THE wORLD – Villant ndasowa                Finland and Iceland.               Blantyre and Lilongwe . She envisages
Support came from a number of                                                                      There are no colleges or        these institutions as “a great
cultural institutions such as the Goethe                                                        schools currently offering         opportunity for the growth of the film
Institute Liaison Office – Lilongwe,       European Union and the Malawi              film studies and training, a scenario        industry in Malawi”. Ndasowa co-
British Council, French Cultural           Government.                                that Ndasowa views as a great                produced the current top film Seasons of
Centre embassies and consulates of the        Ndasowa said that because Malawi’s      challenge to the growth of the industry.     Life and believes the award won by the
Finland, Iceland, Germany, USA,            film industry is still new, and the fact   “So the festival will help to develop the    film indicates “big potential” in the
Embassy of Spain (based in Harare),        that the country’s only two films were     industry through training.”                  Malawi film industry.

Meet Malawi’s
Maneno Mutawali
                                                                                      production for the company. While            watched in the SADC region through
                                                                                      with KMP he was trained by Soul City         national broadcasters of the nine
                                                                                      (South Africa) in scriptwriting,             SADC countries’ TV stations.”
                                                                                      directing and producing for television          Mutawali is also credited for creating
                                                                                      and film as well as drama production.        the story/concept in the film Seasons of
                                                                                         His company is currently in               Life, written, produced and directed by
                                                                                      preparation for a health communication       Charles Joyah after adopting his
                                                                                      half hour television drama funded by         storyline. The film has been very well
                                                                                      Soul City, which will be shot under the      received in Zanzibar.
                                                                                      umbrella of OneLove, a continental              He described filmmaking standards
                                                                                      AIDS campaign.                               in Malawi as “very low” with some
                                                                                         Besides managing the production           people claiming to have produced films
                                                                                      house, Mutawali is directly involved as      that “leave a lot to be desired, with the
                                                                                      a producer and oversees other areas of       exception of a few individuals who have
                                                                                      production eg. concept creating, script      a good idea of what filmmaking is all
                                                                                      writing, directing and editing. “With        about”.
                                                                                      over 10 years experience as a TV/film/          To his knowledge there are no up-to-
                                                                                      radio producer, I have credits in            date film facilities in the country. “I am
CREATING AN INDUSTRy – Maneno Mutawali                                                broadcast television programmes, ie.         aware though, of the many government
                                                                                      government, NGO and private sector           department film units which had some
                                                                                      documentaries, reports, panel                film equipment like the 16mm but are

        Malawian filmmaker who is          including Namibia and Zimbabwe, as         discussions, magazines, drama/               no longer in working condition. We do
        trying to create a film industry   well as for training at UNESCO and         comedies and TV/Radio commercials.”          have TV/Video equipments available in
        in his country is Maneno           the Thomson Foundation before the             In 2008 he produced the film The          the country ie. non-linear edit facilities
        Mutawali of Kings Multimedia       launch of TVM. He made producing           Test, packaged in the Untold title series,   Adobe Premier, Avid, Final Cut, etc
Productions. “My experience in             his area of specialty as this is what he   funded by Soul City as a SADC                and some good cameras and lighting
filmmaking dates back to 1997 when I       “enjoys more than anything else”.          regional project. OneLove is a follow-       equipment.”
was offered a job by the national            He quit the national broadcaster in      up to the Untold television series.             At his company, they have in-house
broadcaster TV Malawi (TVM) while          2000 to establish Kings Multimedia         Shooting began on 17 August.                 edit facilities, editing on both the latest
it was still a project,” he says.          Productions Ltd (KMP), where he is             “The Test was probably the most          Adobe and Final Cut. In addition, they
   He was then sent to several countries   the major shareholder and responsible      challenging and exciting drama project       own HDV Sony Camcorders and
for training in film/TV production,        for co-ordinating all aspects of           I have produced. The film was widely         tripods.

28     SCREENAFRICA – October 2009

      “You have it all in you to be all that you want to be.”
                                                                                       Top executives are requiring
                                                                                       ROI information.
                                                                                                                                   well they think you are doing
                                                                                                                                   regarding their development,
                                                                                                                                   how well they are being
                                                                                     • Making sure the training or                 managed, and the impact that
                 Mariam Sha has worked with international best                         development intervention is                 development has had.
                 practice standards and has assessed and advised                       meeting the business needs.               – 360 degree feedback.
                 over 100 organisations. Her clients range from                      • Determining whether the                   – Observe people’s improvement
                 large organisations to developing small                               actions being taken or whether              in work performance.
                 organisations across all sectors.                                     behavioural changes resulting         •   Set objectives for every
                                                                                       from the training align with the          development intervention –

    Return on investment
                                                                                       business case or the reasons for          formal and informal
                                                                                       the change.                           •   Be clear on how the
                                                                                     • Justifying the costs of the               development will impact on
 As a CEO and director, have you             approached as a reaction to               training and development.                 individual, team and
 questioned the value of training and        challenges faced or was process         • Providing base-line                       organisation.
 development? Many organisations I           driven, ie. everyone attends computer     measurements that can identify        •   Ensure post development
 have worked with often slash the            software programmes.                      favourable or unfavourable                discussion.
 training budget first when finances           Now, in times of scarcity, the          trends with respect to the            •   Collect information:
 are tight, not knowing or                   training budget is being questioned.      training curriculum and the               – people’s time (trainee, trainer
 appreciating the value of learning          The approach therefore has changed        organisation’s goals and                    and management support)
 interventions.                              to identifying skills gaps. Training is   objectives.                               – material and equipment
    When I meet with directors, my           an investment to achieve business       • Measurement information can                 (computers, projectors)
 first question to them is: where do         objectives similar to the business        help management identify gaps             – space (training rooms, learning
 they reflect the costs or benefits of       investing in other assets, property,      and give them the tools to decide           centre)
 training and development? Most              etc. where research is conducted on       whether to stay the course or         •   Build time into senior
 often the response is: the income           the long term return on investment        change direction.                         management meetings to reflect
 statement and budget, where training        (ROI).                                    Best practice on measuring ROI            on the costs of development and
 is seen as an expense to the company.         So how exactly, and why do we           on training and development               agree on the benefits.
    A recent approach in international       measure ROI on training and               interventions:                        •   Senior managers evaluate what
 best practice is to account for training    development?                            • Ensuring that development                 the organisation can do now that
 and development in the annual               • Training and development                activities are linked to objectives       they couldn’t do before the
 report.                                          results are not clear.               at organisation, team and                 investment in development.
    For many years the human                 • Training and development costs          individual levels.
 resources departments sent people on             are increasing.
cc6663ND_70+_OPERATORS_226x155_Screen-Africa-OCT.qxd:Layout 1 18/9/09 20:05 Page 1
                                                                                     • Measuring the impact on the           For more information on ROI and on
 training either to collect levy grants      • Lack of alignment with business         organisation, team and                you and your business becoming successful
 from the SETAs or to ensure the                  needs.                               individual by using:                  and lucrative contact me: Mariam@
 budget allocated was fully utilised in      • Competitive pressures on costs          – Customer satisfaction surveys.
 order to receive it again the following          and productivity.                    – Staff surveys before and after a    My team will customise solutions to suit
 financial year. Training was then           • Lack of support for training and          development activity on how         your specific needs.

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                                                                                                                                       October 2009 – SCREENAFRICA       29

Features and the future

                                                                                         break even. Our mistake was under             National Film and Video Foundation
                                                                                         budgeting for distribution. So, as            (NFVF) funding. Even on low budget
                                                                                         producers we’re looking to make a 4%          films, however, you shouldn’t lower
     BEATING THE ODDS – Successful low budget films                                      return on the film, if there are no           your standards. You need a minimum
                                                                                         international sales. From a venture           standard like 5.1 Dolby,” said Raleigh.
                                                                                         capitalist perspective, a 4% return is not       Low budget for the DTI is between
                                                                                         good.”                                        R2m and R6m and between R5m and

Film financing options                               outh Africa’s feature filmmakers
                                                     should be concentrating on
                                                                                           There are three distinct film markets
                                                                                         in South Africa – Hollywood movies,
                                                                                                                                       R8m for the Industrial Development
                                                                                                                                       Corporation (IDC), a parastatal that
                                                     micro-budget movies (as in          local stories made for local screens and      invests in competitive industries.
in South Africa remain                               under $250 000) released            micro-budget movies. “I think South              The DTI’s Nadia Sujee suggested a
                                            straight onto DVD, as a way of               Africa’s focus must be in the latter,”        broader approach to developing the
limited, especially                         growing the industry. This was the
                                            message from Kevin Fleischer, a
                                                                                         commented Fleischer. “We need to
                                                                                         develop local content for local markets.
                                                                                                                                       industry. “You need much more than a
                                                                                                                                       low budget model for the industry to
                                            venture capitalist involved in the           A big threat is piracy – White Wedding        grow. Together with stakeholders, the
in the midst of a                           financing of the local box office hit,
                                            White Wedding, at the recent Screen
                                                                                         DVDs were on the streets at R20, five
                                                                                         weeks before release.”
                                                                                                                                       DTI needs to look at distribution,
                                                                                                                                       audience development and establishing
                                            Africa Talent & Technology conference          Part of White Wedding’s success is due      a film fund. It’s also essential that we
crippling recession.                        in Johannesburg.                             in part to the fact that its two leads,       look at skills required for development.
                                               Fleischer pointed out that Nigerian       Kenneth Nkosi and Rapulana                    Venture capitalists need to be
The obvious answer                          investors put money into Nollywood
                                            films because they’re guaranteed to
                                                                                         Seiphemo, are very well known and
                                                                                         popular actors. Paul Raleigh of Film
                                                                                                                                       encouraged to invest in the film
                                            make a return. “But in South Africa, a       Finances SA, a company that provides             Also looking at the industry value
is to reduce budgets                        return is not guaranteed unless it’s a       completion bonding for films,                 chain holistically is the IDC. “We have
                                            Leon Schuster (Mr Bones) film. A             emphasised that trying to recoup in           invested in over 45 films thus far and
– but how low should                        producer gets less than 40% of the box
                                            office return. We hope that White
                                                                                         your own market means you have to
                                                                                         create local stars.
                                                                                                                                       taken our fair share of risk, but I’ll
                                                                                                                                       admit we haven’t had an ideal
                                            Wedding will make R5m* at the box              “You can’t have a feature film              approach,” said Basil Ford, head of the
you go?                                     office, which means we’ll get R1.7m          industry without stars, so filmmakers         IDC’s Media & Motion Pictures
                                            back. On DVDs the net return to the          need to create these characters.              division. “So we can’t continue as is.
                                            producer is much better than theatrical      Furthermore, a local industry can’t be        We often get approached with half-
                                            release. We estimate getting to R2m          developed unless you have help from           baked scripts as the filmmakers are
                                            for DVD release [formal DVD                  institutions like broadcasters.               eager to go ahead. But they need to get
                                            distribution is being done by Next           Stakeholders are realising the need for       resources from the NFVF to make turn
                                            Video].”                                     an alternative source of distribution. It’s   them into bankable scripts. If producers
                                               It is essential, stressed Fleischer, in   very encouraging that the DTI is              can make some sales in a few territories
                                            any industry to look at the market for       talking to people who are coming up           they can recoup their budgets.”
                                            the product. “You need to consider how       with solutions.                                  *As per SAFACT, White Wedding
                                            much it will cost to make your film.           “In any finance model producers are         had made R4.95m as at 17 August,
                                            Without the Department of Trade &            typically missing about 30% of finance,       off 39 prints after 13 weeks
                                            Industry (DTI) rebate we wouldn’t            apart from the DTI rebate and                 of release.

30    SCREENAFRICA – October 2009

The industry as is
Despite the recession South Africa’s indigenous feature film industry appears to be robust, largely due to the
Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) rebate for local productions. Since March 2008 to May 2009, 29 films have
applied for the rebate.

                                                                                                                                             “Today capital
                                                                                                                                             are reduced
                                                                                                                                             solely to
                                                                                                                                             money. But
                                                                                                                                             what about
                                                                                                                                             creative and
                                                                                                                                             Realising our
                                                                                                                                             dreams comes
STATUS QUO – eddie Mbalo (nFVF), Toni Monty (DFO), Liza Aziz (Fineline Production), Julia
nzimande (DTI, Rehad Desai (Uhuru), Bhekizizwe Petersen (producer, Zwelidumile)                                                              down to
                                                                                                                                             education and

         peaking at a session at the recent         companies that applied for the rebate        Zwelidumile and Zulu Love Letter,           building
         Durban International Film                  are BEE (black economic                      questioned the issue of capital. “Today
         Festival (DIFF), Eddie Mbalo,              empowerment) compliant. Sixty-six            capital and investment are reduced          skills.” –
         CEO of the National Film and               percent of the companies are white           solely to money. But what about social,     Bhekizizwe Petersen
Video Foundation (NFVF), pointed                    owned.                                       creative and cultural capital? Realising
out that eight of the 29 rebate films                  Giving the DTI’s perspective, deputy      our dreams comes down to education
were developed by the NFVF. “We’re                  director: Creative Industries Julia          and building skills. So we need to look
confident that these films will go into             Nzimande noted that 55 productions           at long term issues and unlearn some of
production. However, between NFVF                   had been paid out from the rebate since      the bad habits in the industry. We
funding and the rebate, producers can               2004. “We were recently asked by the         shouldn’t deny new voices, because if
only raise 45% of R2.5m [ie. the                    Minister for a sectoral response from        we reproduce the same kinds of things
minimum budget required                             the industry. Service companies report       over and over, our work won’t be
for the rebate]. So, the funding                    that they’ve been hard hit by the            unique.”
landscape in South Africa remains                   exchange rate and low budgets. They’ve          The industry should put moral and
difficult.                                          particularly been affected by the fact       cultural imperatives first, according to
   “The NFVF can only invest in four                that the US industry has been knocked        filmmaker Rehad Desai of Uhuru.
films per annum [less than R1m per                  by the recession and by union                This would result in a plethora of
film] but the industry really needs to              problems.”                                   viewpoints and plurality of voice. “But I
produce 15 to 20 films per annum,                      While the local feature film industry     fear we’re moving back in this regard.
with 35 to 40 films the ideal. Producers            is doing okay, the opposite is true of the   Now we’re seeing the mismanagement
can make use of Section 24f of the                  TV industry. The SABC’s financial            of the public broadcaster. How will
Income Tax Act but it’s highly complex              and management crisis has resulted it        independent producers deal with the 18
to negotiate and not compatible with                in being over R800m in the red,              months hiatus in commissioning? Even
the rebate. The National Lottery is also            owing independent producers                  before the SABC crisis, budgets were
incompatible with the rebate. And,                  R60m and placing a moratorium                lower than ever, with our writers
there is no clearly defined film policy             on new commissions until                     earning less. The upshot is that more
within any of the local broadcasters.               April 2010.                                  talent will migrate to another country
   “Earlier in the year we met with the                “Consequently, the industry needs to      or another sector.”
DTI, the Industrial Development                     look at new markets both locally and            According to Desai, a production
Corporation (IDC) and public                        internationally. Local content is            company needed to make 20% on each
broadcaster SABC and agreed to a pilot              becoming more and more important,”           project to stay afloat. “If you have
to test this low budget model. But then             said Nzimande.                               R200 000 to spend on equipment,
the SABC crashed so we’re looking for                                                            you’re in the game, as thanks to new
a new partner. ”                                    Beyond the money                             media, the day of the gatekeeper (ie.
   Another point that Mbalo made was                                                             broadcasters and distributors) will be
that only a small percentage of the                 Bhekizizwe Petersen, producer of             over.”

                                                                                                                                                October 2009 – SCREENAFRICA   31
                                DISTRICT9                    COMPILED By kAREN VAN SCHALkwyk

                                Applause for D9
                                District 9, directed by South African born neill Blomkamp and with local actor Sharlto Copley in the lead

                                role, has been hailed by some as the film of the decade, or at least the film of the summer in the USA. In
                                South Africa it held number one position at the box office for many weeks and at the time of going to
                                press it had raked in R7.2m (20 September) at the local box office. even though it does not depict the most
                                humane aspects of human beings, it reveals the fragility of existence and the acceptance of difference.
                                 Here Screen Africa pays tribute to District 9 with a special editorial feature.

                                                                                                                                                            HDHuB pushes
                                              eviewers across the globe      supervise the slum clearance, is
                                              have praised District 9 for    tremendous.”
                                              its creativity, originality,
                                              special effects and social
                                              commentary. Sci-fi films
                                                                                With these types of reviews and the
                                                                             creative and commercial success of the
                                                                             film, it has propelled the careers of both
                                                                                                                                                            boundaries                                  “HDHUB provided excellent
                                              don’t really come better       Blomkamp and Copley towards the                                                                                         service, technical knowledge and
                                                                                                                            PICTURe COURTeSy STeR-KIneKOR

                                than this and many are saying it will be     stratosphere. Blomkamp is already                                                                                       support. They facilitated the
                                a sci-fi classic in the realms of Alien,     working on a sequel to the film.                                                                                        process with such ease.” The film’s
                                The Terminator and The Fly.                  Blomkamp comments (courtesy of Reel                                                                                     editor, Julian Clarke, agrees:
                                   For a film with no stars, no known        Movies news): “I’ve got an inclination                                                                                  “When you use a format like RED
                                director, no known name actors and a         of an idea, but it’s so not fleshed out yet.                                                                            you worry about technical
                                setting off the radar in many an             There is nothing official yet, other than                                                                               problems (for example, shooting
                                American’s understanding of the              the studio saying they want one – it’s                                                                                  digitally makes the medium
                                geography of Africa, it shot straight to     just the case of what the hell it is. It                                                                                vulnerable), but HDHUB was
                                number one in the USA and made               could go in a lot of different ways, like                                                                               with us every step of the way,
                                $37m in the opening weekend. At the          what happens to Wikus? How do you                                                                                       making everything run smoothly.”
                                time of writing, the film had raked in       wrap the character up? Does he become                                                                                      Achieving such seamlessness

                                $109 444 336 at the USA box office,          human again? I’d have to really think                                                 he appeal of ultra-high           was no mean feat. “We ended up
                                $14 336 708 in foreign box office, and       about how it goes.” However                                                           definition formats for            with five to six hours of footage
                                worldwide, $123 781 044. Paul                notwithstanding a prequel or a sequel,                                                adventurous District 9 young      shot daily, on a variety of digital
                                Dergarabedian, Box             Blomkamp will become a huge director                                                  director Neill Blomkamp           formats,” says Jacques McDonald,
                                Office analyst comments: “With a             in Hollywood.                                                                  has certainly paid off as the high-      technical supervisor of HDHUB.
                                budget of $30m, District 9 proves that          Variety recently reported that Sharlto                                      adrenaline sci-fi feature continues      “The challenge was integrating the
                                you don’t have to spend                      Copley is in negotiations to star in the                                       to top international box office lists.   different camera formats and
                                $200m to make a great sci-fi film.”          Ridley Scott big screen remake of the                                          Blomkamp showed his willingness          getting all this information to the
                                   The film opened to rave reviews           hit TV series, The A-Team.                                                     to push the boundaries with his          head editor, whilst taking care of
                                starting off at the Comic-Con comic             District 9 has been a phenomenal                                            improvised “mockumentary” style,         the safe removal, storage, and
                                book convention and then the word            success for the cast and crew of the                                           but it was the use of revolutionary      back-up, including the sending of
                                spread.                                      film, as well as for Blomkamp and                                              high-definition workflows that           footage to New Zealand. We built
                                   Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood           Peter Jackson. South Africans are also                                         really broke new ground.                 a complete post-house in
                                Reporter said that, “it combined the         proud to be part of this picture and                                             D9 was shot on the RED One             Johannesburg with four editors on
                                very best of the post war sci-fi movies      rightly so as besides Blomkamp and                                             Camera with additional footage on        HD AVID. We had 11 connected
                                with their trenchant political               Copley, the crew comprised mostly                                              the HDCAM SR and XDCAM                   systems and in the end pushed
                                undertones and pulse-pounding                South Africans, such as art director                                           cameras, and with no margin for          about 120TB of data to post,” says
                                dynamism and contemporary movie              Emilia Roux and set director Guy                                               error on the $30m feature, post-         McDonald.
                                technique that can blend aliens              Potgieter, as well as talented South                                           production workflows had to be              Whatever challenges the team at
                                seamlessly into a realistic human world.     Africans in major roles – Jason Cope,                                          completely flawless.                     HDHUB were presented with,
                                District 9 flirts with greatness.”           Nathalie Boltt, Sylvaine Strike,                                                 To tackle this task, Kalahari          work had to continue without the
                                   A.O. Scott of the New York Times          Elizabeth Mkandawie, Greg Melvill-                                             Pictures, the South African              editors skipping a frame. A loss of
                                commented: “District 9 is a smart, swift     Smith and Themba Nkosi. The                                                    representative of producer Peter         just one day’s footage meant
                                new film from South African director         location was mostly South Africa and                                           Jackson’s Wingnut Films, pulled in       millions down the drain. “There
                                Neill Blomkamp.”                             the story was inspired by the turmoil                                          HDHUB, the Cape Town based               was no roadmap for what we did,”
                                   Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian            that exists in the country. On the                                             digital post-production facility.        says James Middleton, director of
                                made reference to the brilliant digital      finance side the Department of Trade                                             “There were some initial               HDHUB. “We literally carved out
                                effects and acting achievement of lead       & Industry was involved through its                                            concerns, as this was the first          a road in new territory. What we
                                actor Sharlto Copley: “The digital           incentive rebate scheme.                                                       RED feature shot in South Africa,        achieved then through very
                                effects are so great they make it look          District 9 has undoubtedly                                                  but post-production in New               elaborate processes, is now a lot
                                like a documentary from hell, and            drawn international attention to the                                           Zealand had a lot of trust in            simpler. We did what no-one else
                                Copley’s performance as Wikus van der        depth of talent and skills to be found in                                      HDHUB,” says Steven St Arnaud            thought was possible in South
                                Merwe, the functionary who must              the South African film industry.                                               of Kalahari Pictures.                    Africa,” he says.

                                32      SCREENAFRICA – October 2009

GFC celebrates success of D9
                                              PICTURe COURTeSy STeR-KIneKOR
         istrict 9, which was shot in the                                                                                                                                             producers to shooting in
         Gauteng province of South                                                                                                                                                    Gauteng has been very
         Africa, has been phenomenally                                                                                                                                                positive overall. “Our crew,
         successful around the world.                                                                                                                                                 locations, technical capacity,
The Gauteng Film Commission                                                                                                                                                           facilities, hospitality and rates
(GFC) was instrumental in organising                                                                                                                                                  compare very favourably.
and facilitating the shoot.                                                                                                                                                           People love our ‘can do’
   Jacques Stoltz, marketing manager                                                                                                                                                  attitude. We still experience
for GFC, says that they assisted with                                                                                                                                                 difficulties though with
location permits, liaison with                                                                                                                                                        Johannesburg Metropolitan
government departments and “generally                                                                                                                                                 Police Department’s R450 an
whatever the needs of the film shoot                                                                                                                                                  hour film permit fee. It is a
were. For months we worked with                                                                                                                                                       pity that the City of
Kalahari Pictures to get the                                                                                                                                                          Johannesburg still has not
Department of Defence to release                                                                                                                                                      adopted film as a priority
military vehicles for the shoot.                                                                                                                                                      sector. Greater support from
Unfortunately we just could not get                                                                                                                                                   the City will certainly assist
approval from the Minister. Eventually                                        HUMANS ALLOwED – David James gets direction from neill Blomkamp                                         in growing our industry and
I believe they managed to find vehicles                                                                                                                                               attracting more foreign
that were actually used by the United                                                                                                                                                 work.”
Nations.”                                                                                                                                                                               Stoltz concluded that the
   Stoltz elaborates that they were also      work with and have been hugely                                           internationally to the film. “We are               GFC has also adopted a new approach
instrumental in organising the première       supportive of Gauteng.”                                                  ecstatic with the response to date from            to supporting local filmmakers. “We
and other screenings along with Ster-           Stoltz says that in the pre-production                                 both the US as well as locally and                 have cut back on our marketing
Kinekor. “In August this year we              and production phase, “we were mainly                                    globally. District 9 is taking Gauteng             programmes this year, which will allow
worked on the release of the film and         brought on in relation to organising                                     global in a way that very few                      us to provide greater support to
arranged a special screening in Soweto        locations and assisting in the                                           productions have managed to do. Right              independent filmmakers during the
for Soweto-based cast and crew. We are        identification of the relevant permitting                                now this is such a buzzed-about film.              current financial crisis. We recently put
currently in discussion with Kalahari         authorities as well as ensuring that we                                  We are obviously also hoping that a                out a call for submissions to
Pictures regarding a few other District 9     secured approval on time.”                                               sequel might be made.”                             independent filmmakers in this respect.
related projects as well. I must say that       The GFC has kept track of the                                             Stoltz elaborates that the response             Maybe we can create another film like
they have been an absolute pleasure to        incredible box office success                                            from the international crew and                    District 9 that blows everyone away.”

                                                                                                                                             Equipment that’s more reliable
                                                                                                                                                   than space ships.

               Proud to be associated with
                                                                                                                                              Equipment suppliers to District 9 production.
                                 Office: 011-452 9996                                                                                           CAPE TOWN 021 511 3300, JOHANNESBURG 011 258 5000,
                                     Fax: 086-550 0504
                                                                                                                                                   DURBAN 031 569 3000, MAURITIUS +230 206 3333
                                     Cell: 082 925 2139
                                                                                                                          hero, 16503 C.Sh


34     SCREENAFRICA – October 2009
                                                                                                                                                                DISTRICT 9

Joburg inspired Blomkamp

                                                                                                                 PICTURe COURTeSy STeR-KIneKOR
In an extract from an article             School’s 3D Animation and Visual             is the bleak, dry
written for the Gauteng                   Effects Programme. By age 17 he was          winter landscape,
                                          working on TV series like Stargate           which the director was
Film Commission (GFC) by                  SG-1 and at 20 he cracked an Emmy            particular about
Andrew Worsdale, director                 nomination as the lead animator on           capturing. “From a
                                          James Cameron’s bio-punk sci-fi show         photographic
neill Blomkamp explains                   Dark Angel.                                  standpoint,” he says,
how the harsh environment                   Soon he was directing TV                   “there was this
                                          commercials for clients like Nike and        particular feel I
of Johannesburg was the                   Citroën but Blomkamp was always              wanted to convey
inspiration for his sci-fi film           missing Joburg and he started thinking       about Johannesburg,
                                          about placing science fiction tropes         which is that it’s
District 9.                               within an African city, more                 almost this burnt,

     ohannesburg’s newest symbol is an    specifically his hometown.                   nuclear wasteland, at                                     just what I wanted.”
     alien mothership hovering like         His short-film trilogy Yellow, Tetra       least in winter. It really is like that.”                    The film was shot in Tshiawelo, on
     stalled technology above Gauteng.    Vaal and Alive in Joburg featuring third-       Many filmmakers are concerned                          the outskirts of Soweto, where people
     Director Neill Blomkamp has          world Robo-Cops developed his idea of        about the harsh top-light one finds in                    had lived in shacks on a landfill for
consistently said during all the press    ‘dirty’ science-fiction, combining low-      Gauteng, that the sun seems like it’s at                  years. As filming was about to
hoopla surrounding District 9 that it     tech, eye-level perspective, often shot in   its height most of the day (an advantage                  commence in June last year they were
was the city of Johannesburg that         the dusty Joburg streets and townships,      of course is that the province has few                    being moved to state subsidised
always came first in his mind. “There’s   with seamless CGI.                           rainy days) but Blomkamp and                              housing 20km away. The production
no question that the movie is a             “I thought it’s really cool to put         cinematographer Trent Opaloch                             bought up the shacks that remained,
condensation of all the elements in       science-fiction into the environment of      embraced that quality and then turned                     fenced off the area and created a
Joburg that had an effect on me when I    a big African city. I mean I lived there,    up the dial visually to picture the city as               controlled environment in which to
was growing up, which means it            and you don’t come across cities like        bleak and relentlessly grey, despite the                  shoot.
couldn’t be set anywhere else,” he told   Joburg much, especially in the First         fact that Johannesburg proper is one of                      “Then there’s this constant sense of
independent online magazine               World. They just don’t exist. So that        the greenest cities in the world.                         an urban prison, with razor wire and “In my mind, the film          was the primary reason for making               “We filmed in winter because I                         electric fences and armed guards
doesn’t exist other than in Joburg. It    District 9. No allegories, no metaphors,     wanted the city in the film to look like                  everywhere,” Blomkamp says. “I
was like, Johannesburg first, and         nothing. Just science fiction in Joburg.”    a scorched earth, urban wasteland,”                       wanted to capture the essence of that,
District 9 grew out of that.”               In the film Johannesburg is depicted       comments Blomkamp. “Filming in the                        and I thought it was really cool to put
  Johannesburg-born Blomkamp was          as a wasteland of shantytowns, fast          dead of winter, and wherever you                          science fiction in that environment. I
doing very well for himself after         food outlets, walled luxury compounds        looked, there were fires and ash and                      wanted to see science fiction in
graduating from Vancouver Film            and government fortresses; added to it       pollution dotting the horizon, which is                   that city.”

                                                                                                                                                          October 2009 – SCREENAFRICA      35

                                                                                         PICTURe COURTeSy STeR-KIneKOR
MFS equipment

           edia Film Service (MFS)            Johannesburg, explains: “We supplied
           supplied the entire shoot of       all the lighting, grips and camera
           District 9 with equipment,         support (lenses and accessories). The
           except for the three RED           three RED One cameras were supplied
One cameras. Neil du Toit, MD of the          by Peter Jackson.”
company, says that the success of the            Horsfall adds: “We hope that this
film highlights the fact “that we have        will translate into additional                                               THE wASTELAND – Sharlto Copley as Wikus
the digital expertise as well as the talent   international projects being undertaken
(crew and cast) within the country to         in South Africa, with us not being
produce a product of such high                considered a third world supply base.                                      for the RED One had to be infra-red
international quality with limited            That said, I must admit I’ve been                                          filters that were sill in development by    “We have the
budget.”                                      amazed at the ‘weight’ of having Peter                                     Tiffen & Schneider and not freely           digital expertise
   Du Toit says: “I believe that this will    Jackson’s name behind the project.                                         available for purchase.
have a huge impact on foreign work            Locally Kalahari Pictures did an                                              “Simplistic things such as plugs for     as well as the
coming into the country. This is              outstanding job especially considering                                     the camera were in short supply world-
definitely the best type of advertising       the extremely demanding and high end                                       wide, and necessitated special orders
                                                                                                                                                                     talent (crew and
that we can possibly wish for.”               technical specifications for the project                                   from around the world, all handled by       cast) within the
   Du Toit further elaborates that the        and dealing with tight deadlines.”                                         Media Film Service. Lighting supply
shoot went very well considering that            Horsfall says that some of the major                                    was also a challenge in that the scope of
                                                                                                                                                                     country to
this was the first RED One shoot in           challenges were in regards to the                                          requirements escalated as the shoot         produce a
South Africa. “Transcoding the data           camera department. “This was probably                                      progressed.”
was initially a big problem but the guys      one of the first full feature projects                                        Horsfall concludes: “It was wonderful    product of such
from the HDHUB apparently did                 worldwide being shot with the RED                                          to be part of District 9. It has been a     high international
amazing work solving this matter and          One. The RED One cameras were still                                        phenomenal success and showcases our
really received praise from the gurus         very much a prototype and we flew in                                       talent, creativity and service to the       quality with
abroad.”                                      support accessories from America, the                                      entire world. Well done to everyone         limited budget.”
   Neill Horsfall, the company’s GM in        UK and Europe. The filters required                                        involved in this fantastic project.”        – Neil du Toit

                    Tel 011 440 2246   Fax 011 885 1632
       Janice 083 600 4472   Sam 084 511 5683   Morenita 082 787 4659

36      SCREENAFRICA – October 2009

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