Address by the Minister Paul mashatile on the occasion of 4th Film Indaba, Emperor’s Palace
Deputy Minister Women, Children and people with disabilities Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu
The Chairperson of the National Film and Video Foundation Council, Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi
Members of the NFVF Council here present
The Chief Executive Officer of the NFVF, Ms Zama Mkosi
Practitioners in the film industry
Officials from government
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I take this opportunity firstly to welcome all of you to this 4th Film Indaba.
Gathered here, at this important Indaba, are our partners in the film industry that we intend as government to work together with, in taking this industry to greater heights.
This Indaba offers us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the progress and challenges we face in developing further our local film industry.
As we have gathered here for this Indaba, we are emboldened by the reality that our sector, the cultural and creative industries, including film, now occupies the center stage in ongoing efforts to foster social cohesion and nation building as well as the economic empowerment of the people of South Africa.
Indeed we have met at a time when our sector is no longer seen as a nice-to-have addition to the ongoing work of socio-economic transformation.
It is now firmly at the core of this work!
Our Mzansi Golden Economy Strategy, which we are implementing together with our stakeholders, seeks to strengthen the role our sector plays in meeting our country’s socio-economic imperatives.
It also seeks to give practical meaning to the objectives of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP 2) and the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.
In this regard we are reminded that the cultural and creative industries have been identified in IPAP2 as one of the key sectors that are critical to the goal of strengthening our county’s industrial base.
We are also reminded that the National Development Plan, Vision 2030, our country’s development blue-print has this to say about our sector;
“Arts and Culture open powerful spaces for debate about where a society finds itself and where it is going. Promoted effectively the creative and cultural industries can contribute substantially to small business development, job creation, urban development and renewal.”
The NDP goes on to say: “The country’s rich cultural legacy and the creativity of its people mean that South Africa can offer unique stories, voices and products to the world.”
It is, among others, through film that we can open powerful spaces for debate about where we are, as a society and where we are headed.
Film is also one of the mediums through which we can tell our unique and compelling stories to the world.
We have seen on many occasions that the world is hungry to hear the South African story; a story of a people that have overcome adversity and are now working together towards a shared and prosperous future.
We are encouraged that many of our local artist and films continue to receive international acclaim.
I refer here to artists such as Florence Masebe who won the Best Actress in a lead role Award for the film Elelwani at this year’s African Movie Academy (AMA) Awards.
The film also won the Best Production Design Award. A number of other South African productions were nominated and received awards at the same event.
Earlier in the year we celebrated the achievement by the film Layla Fourie, which received the Jury Special Mention Award at the Berlinale International Film Festival.
The recently launched movie, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, based on Tata Madiba’s autobiography, is already drawing significant attention from audiences world wide.
Another movie titled Mandela’s Gun is currently under production.
It will tell the story of Tata Madiba as one of the early combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe to receive military training in Ethiopia, and his extra-ordinary journey back to South Africa, carrying a gun reportedly given to him by Emperor Haile Selassie.
Equally, the many stories emerging out of our continent are becoming popular with world audiences, making our continent one of the leaders in the content development industry.
This was demonstrated recently when buyers of content from major world markets such as the United Kingdom, The United Sates of America and China converged at DISCOP Africa 2013, hosted in South Africa for the second consecutive year.
We also welcome efforts by African film makers and producers to strengthen collaboration and to seek new markets for African film products within the Continent and in the Diaspora.
This was reiterated at the Congress of the Federation of Pan Africa Film Makers (FEPACI) we hosted earlier this year.
Also counting in our favor as we are gathered at this Indaba is that our country is on the verge of rolling out digital terrestrial broadcasting.
This will create numerous opportunities for local content developers, which the industry needs to take full advantage of.
Equally the industry needs to take advantage of the opportunities made possible by advancements in Information and Communications Technology.
Programme Director we hope this Indaba will come up with strategies and programmes that will help us deepen further the gains we have made within our industry.
It is up to you to help us address the specific challenges facing the industry.
These include the slow pace of transformation across the industry value chain, insufficient skills and enterprise development within the sector as well as the skewed distribution of film production and exhibition opportunities and infrastructure.
In particular this Indaba must pronounce loudly on the need to fast track transformation in the sector with regards to ownership of production companies and related services as well as employment across the film value chain.
The Indaba must also help us deal with the concentration of film opportunities largely in Gauteng and the Western Cape.
Our goal should be to spread these opportunities across the country.
This is particularly important since many parts of our country, outside Gauteng and the Western Cape, offer spectacular views of natural scenery, making them possible destination for the making of films.
We must also continue to invest in the development of the skills required by the industry.
Our attention must also focus on the establishment of new and sustainable enterprises, including providing them with enterprise support.
As we prepare to roll out our National Skills Academy for the Creative Industries, we will work with the film sector to strengthen our offering to students studying film through our academy.
Our interventions must also include strengthening investment in the provision of more film production and exhibition infrastructure, especially in previously disadvantaged areas.
Indeed we must work hard to bring back the old “biscop culture” that was so prevalent in the townships especially in 1980’s.
This Indaba must also focus on how to attract more private and public sector funding for the sector.
As the Department of Arts and Culture, we have proposed the establishment of a Film Fund that will form part of the broader Creative and Cultural Industries Fund.
The Film Fund must, among others, pull together all the funding sitting at various institutions such as the National Lottery Distribution Fund, the Industrial Development Corporation and various government departments and agencies.
Linked to this is the need to define a suitable institutional framework for our agencies providing support to the film industry.
In this regard as a Department we have begun processes to transform the National Film and Video Foundation into a fully fledged South Africa Film Commission.
Programme Director, we look forward to the outcome of this Indaba which we believe will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges facing the film industry.
We have not doubt that this Indaba will emerge with a clear programme that will strengthen our film industry as a critical component of the cultural and creative industries.
I wish you successful deliberations.