Filmmaking is new gold for Jozi
08 April 2016
Highly regarded Canadian filmmaker Sandra Creighton believes South Africa, Johannesburg in particular, has an edge as a location for filmmaking as well as in terms of the stories that can be told about it through film.
“There is a worldwide appetite for stories about where South Africa comes from in its struggle against apartheid. There is also an interest about how your country is grappling with issues of race, racism and reconstruction of South Africa,” Creighton told a group of Johannesburg-based filmmakers earlier this week.
Creighton and acclaimed composer and musical director Jack Lenz, both of Arrow Entertainment in Toronto, were in Johannesburg to meet local filmmakers and producers during a visit facilitated by Joburg Tourism, the City of Johannesburg’s tourism entity.
Creighton’s views are shared by Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Councillor Ruby Mathang, who says “Johannesburg is a premier global, all-year round business, filming and leisure destination for local, national and international audiences as well as the gateway to Africa”.
Speaking at the offices of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) in Houghton, Creighton, an experienced film development specialist, said local filmmakers should view filmmaking as a business.
“Although you should make films with a socially conscious content, it is also important to aim to make a living out of your work,” she said.
“South African stories will find relevance with other indigenous audiences in the world, such as the Aboriginal and Maori people in Australia and New Zealand, for instance.”
Creighton said in her three decades of filmmaking she had learned to appreciate the value of collaboration.
“Script writers, technical people and producers need to have mutual respect for each other’s roles,” she said. “Technical and other support staff can make a filmmaker’s work miserable if they are not treated with respect and humility,” she said.
Thandeka Zwane of NFVF concurred with Creighton, pointing out that sound technicians, for example, could make or break the making of a film.
“When sound technicians decide to turn off their equipment, the film producer will not be able to make a movie,” she said. “It is therefore important that film producers collaborate and work well together with other people on set,” she said.
Zwane also announced the funding by NFVF of three local production companies to write, develop and produce three films every year for three years. The three companies are Branded Soul Productions, which is headed by well-known filmmaker Rolie Nikiwe; Burnt Onion Productions, led by popular Isidingo actor Katleho Ramaphakela; and Coal Stove Pictures run by Wandile Molebatsi.