Getting the money, this is without a doubt the single trickiest part of making a movie or television production. Having to pay for the costs of location, cast, crew, hotel, travel, meals, licencing rights, rentals or any other items required for making even a small production. For example, if ownership of the final product is not critical, filmmakers can get their movies made by co-production agreements or by selling the project to a third party. Alternatively, filmmakers have the following options:
- pay for the film out of pocket;
- incur debt;
- bring in investors; or
- use state production incentives, to partially fund the film.
Having regard to our local films and tv productions, the South African Government offers a package of incentives to promote its film and tv production, as well as post-production industry. The incentives consist the following:
- Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production incentive which is aimed at attracting foreign-based film productions to shoot on location in South Africa and conduct post-production activities in SA;
- South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production incentive which is intended to assist local film producers in the production of local content; and
- South African Emerging Black Filmmakers incentive which is B-BBEE driven and is intended to assist black filmmakers. These are applicable only to productions that are black owned.
The purpose of these incentives is to encourage and attract large-budget films and television productions and post-production work as it contributes towards the enhancement of employment opportunities and raises our international profile within the entertainment industry. In order to qualify for these types of incentives, the productions and/or eligible enterprises are required to meet a certain criterion as stipulated by the Department. The criteria for eligible enterprises for the various incentives takes into account factors such as the type of entity and its shareholders, as well as their role in the production, the format of the production (feature films, tele movies, television drama series etc.), and production budgets.
The financial burden is therefore less on foreign-owned qualifying productions as well as South African qualifying productions as the rebates go a long way into paying for the costs of making films or television productions.