Address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the South African Film Summit, Skyrink Studios Johannesburg
Programme Director: Mr V Mkhize
Honourable Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture: MM Sotyu
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala
Ms O Malope
Ms M Ntlatleng
Ms X Kashe- Katiya
Mr A Singh
Mr B Bakupa- Kanyinda
Mr C Stuart
Mr E Miyeni
Film practitioners present
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen.
I extend my warmest greetings to all of you present in this summit.
We have gathered here for the next two days to answer the fundamental question of what will be the contribution of the Creative and Cultural industry, particularly the film sector in developing the South African Story and thus contributing to the efforts of Nation building and Social Cohesion.
The Summit is held under the theme: “Transformation and innovation in the South African Film/Audio-Visual Industry and the 4th Industrial Revolution. Are we geared for change?”
As everyone present in this gathering would know that our democracy is still taking baby steps. This country called democratic South Africa is only turning 25 years old this year.
The film sector as the integral of our society was heavily affected by the gross historical injustice meted out against women and the black population in general of our native land. Effects of this practice which are still being felt to this late hour.
This Summit takes place against the backdrop of a story of a South African film and television industry built by a people that have overcome conquest and conflict, characterised by resistance and resilience to adversity against all odds. It is a story of re-defining and charting a new course wrapped in our unity in diversity that resembles the multifaceted nature of our nation. It is a story of tolerance and appreciation of our differences and uniqueness.
The historical realities underpinning the development of this sector places an emphasis on the creatives themselves and those who control the means of production to ensure that this industry plays its part in fostering nation building and social cohesion, pride in national identify and the participation of those who have been historically excluded from the entire value chain.
As we gather today, we must not forget the long journey that has led us to this point. We must not forget that the majority of our people have historically been excluded in the critical processes and tasks assigned across the value chain in the development of this sector, more importantly young people, women and people with disabilities. Not only have young people, people with disability and women been historically excluded in the industry’s value chain, they have also been on the receiving end when it comes to the distribution of available resources for their creative ventures and ideas, let alone ownership of the value chain.
The Summit takes place at a time when South Africa is no longer Africa’s largest audiovisual media market, having been overtaken by Nigeria. South Africa’s position in the global cultural and creative economy remains insignificant despite having one of the oldest film industries in the world, whereas Nigeria continues to compete globally with Hollywood in the USA and Bollywood in India.
Owning and telling the South African story should take precedence if this industry has to craft its own identity and attain its rightful place in the world of film and television. This is not an impossible task.
The under representation of women in the sector was not unique taking into account the historical injustice. The democratic breakthrough of 1994 amongst others was geared at levelling the playing fields and giving women the opportunity for the meaningful participation in the economy.
Since the advent of democracy and the adoption of various UN Declarations and conventions, South Africa has made a lot of strides in the development of women through a number of policy intervention, legislation and programmes.
How far have we come since 1994?
The cultural and creative industries (CCIs), and in particular the audio-visual sector has long been recognized as a catalyst for economic growth in South Africa with a potential to contribute immensely to the South African economy and to employment.
Many studies have shown the sector’s tremendous contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), revenue collection and its multiplier effect in terms of creating employment. This Summit must answer the rapid developing need to re-oriented towards becoming a knowledge economy, a process already acknowledged in the National Development Plan 2030.
This Summit cannot avoid or escape the imminent disruptions and opportunities presented by all the technological and digital developments. Therefore, adapting and embracing innovation for the transformation of the sector is a necessity if the industry is to realize growth and capture opportunities presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution, digitization and continuing convergence.
In a report released by the South African Cultural Observatory in July 2018, titled: The Establishment of the film sector as a catalyst for economic growth in South Africa: towards a SALLYWOOD framework”.
The report says the following amongst others:
“Worldwide, the potential of the cultural and creative industries to contribute to economic growth and job creation is increasingly being recognised. An important part of the sector is film and television industry, which also plays important roles in fostering national social cohesion,… A few developing economies have been successful in growing their film and television sectors, most notably in Nigeria (“Nollywood”) and India (“Bollywood”).
Significant strides have been made since 1994, there has been a number of policies, strategies and interventions introduced by government and implementing agencies to support the South African film industry. The Summit acknowledges this reality and seeks to respond to rapid developments following policy, legal, market and technological shifts experienced globally.
In addressing the challenges faced by the sector from the government side, the Department of Arts and Culture on the annual basis allocate about R100 million to the National Film and Video Foundation to assist the industry towards achieving its objectives. 75% of this allocated amount is spent on developing and production of film.
As the Department of Arts and Culture we are not the only funders of the industry, various government Departments and Agencies contribute immensely in the development of the sector. Amongst them are the following: Department of Trade and Industry over R300 million. National Empowerment Fund over R50 Million, Industrial Development Co-operation over R300 Million, National Lotteries Board, South African Revenue Service tax breaks for the industry and provincial film commissions from KZN, Gauteng and Western Cape.
In this regard, this Summit must critically interrogate the capability of the South African audio-visual industry to distinctly reposition and re-brand itself if it is to compete against other emerging and/or established creative economies supported by relevant policies, strategies and legislation.
Finally this Summit must come out with clear recommendations on to advance a proposal to position a distinct identity of a South African storyline, galvanise a common consensus about the potential of the SA film industry to be an instrument for nation building, and a catalyst for economic growth, and produce key recommendations towards a 5-year Implementation Plan.
Our participation in the BRICS Film Festival and hosting of the first BRICS Film Forum has enhanced the possibilities of market access, strengthening resources and partnerships to contribute on the rapid growth of our film industry, particularly in Animation if we are to respond to the advent of the 4th industrial revolution.
At the continental level we are still working on coproduction treaties. We should also celebrate 50 years of FESPACU that is gonna be taking place in Burkina Faso.
I want to thank the Reference Group that was made up of various industry organisation for a job well done in their preparation for this Summit and I am looking forward to the outcomes of the Summit and the final Report that should take this industry forward.
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