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Lights, camera and action: bring on the local film boom

Streaming giant Netflix’s eye has been on SA for some time. It has invested R2 billion here over the last five years and now it has upped its South African ante, pledging more than R900 million to cover four productions – one international and three local – to be filmed here between 2022 and 2023. The pledge was made at the 4th Annual South African Investment Conference in Johannesburg last month. 

It’s great news for an industry devastated by the pandemic. The National Film and Video Foundation reported that the film industry created 31 444 full-time equivalent jobs in 2019/20: that number plummeted to 12 775 jobs from 2020 to 2021. These new productions are an important step towards increasing that number.

SA’s film industry has long attracted international film productions. We have a world-class film industry and talent, a variety of locations and lots of daylight hours to shoot. This, twinned with the explosion of streaming content in recent years, means we’re nicely positioned. Streaming companies are increasingly seeking out stories that resonate globally; they’ll find plenty here.

And this has other knock-on effects for our economy. A study by South African Tourism and Netflix revealed that, after watching South African content, viewers surveyed in Canada, France, the UK, Brazil, US and Germany were 3.1 times more likely to travel to South Africa, reports Business Tech.  

If that means a boost for our economy and more diverse viewing options, we’ll take it!

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 8 April  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.