KZN : An Ideal Destination For Film Production - Pivot
KZN : An Ideal Destination For Film Production - Pivot

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KZN : An Ideal Destination For Film Production - Pivot


Since its establishment in 2010, the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) has witnessed a large number of achievements towards fulfilling its mandate of growing and transforming the provincial film industry. Currently, increased film production is being realised throughout the province, the industry is fully transformed and co-ordinated and there is increased demand for local content through audience development.


KZNFC’s most recent achievement was the successful hosting of a two-day Film Industry Indaba at the Silver Room, Grayville Racecourse Durban, on March 27 and 28, 2017. This event was the first of its kind for KwaZulu-Natal.

The Indaba brought together filmmakers, government agencies and media representatives together under one roof to create and increase more opportunities for the future and to solve challenges that the industry is currently facing. The South African film industry has much potential to grow further and as a job creating industry, has been identified as a priority sector in national and KwaZulu-Natal policies.

The first day was dedicated to strategic presentations, including, the national and provincial film strategies, and the various film incentives available from the Department of Trade and Investment. Renee Williams, General Manager TV of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) briefed delegates on its content acquisition policy for 2017 and beyond, through the theme, “The South Africa I want to
know, the Home I understand”

Day two of the proceedings began with an address by the Mr Sihle Zikalala who has recently approved a new provincial film sector strategy. The remainder of the day consisted of break-away discussions, where issues such as transformation, infrastructure, audience development, industry coordination, funding and training institutions and quality assurance bodies were tackled by a range of speakers from
various organisations representing the film industry.

“We are grateful for the support provided by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, in particular Mr Sihle Zikalala as we continue to transform the industry and position the province as the best global film destination,” said Ms Carol Coetzee â€" CEO, KZNFC.

“Part of hosting this Indaba is to highlight the achievements mentioned, while also creating a platform to share knowledge and industry insights, and offer an opportunity for the voice of the industry leaders and experts to be heard,” added Coetzee. The Indaba will then assist the KZNFC to enhance its support throughout the value chain to local film industry stakeholders, ultimately transforming and enriching the province’s film industry as a whole.


A further achievement was the launch of a state of the art production facility, which provides effective studio and ICTE infrastructure that supports the growing industry and attracts further production. It includes office space, post and sound editing suites, a cinema and production equipment.


The KZNFC provides many opportunities for emerging stakeholders in the KwaZulu-Natal film and television industry. Skills development provides: eSediba
Spark Narrative âˆ' scriptwriting (beginner to advance), Technical Production Training, (accredited progressive qualification), and 101 Directors Training. Internships (2 year programme for 11 graduates) and the provision of bursaries (20 students per annum) are also provided.


The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), the longest running film festival in Africa, is recognised as the Cannes of Africa and continues to be a success. The 38th edition of the Festival will be held in July 2017 and is funded by the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, eThekwini Municipality, and other valued funders and partners. The event is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts in partnership with the Durban Film Office, eThekwini Municipality,and
the National Film and Video Foundation.


Through the Film Fund over 153 projects have been approved since its inception (60% in development). The KZNFC Film Fund focuses on previously disadvantaged individuals, youth, women and KwaZulu-Natal based filmmakers. Of note is that for every Rand invested by the KZNFC an additional R3 must be spent locally in the province.

A further initiative is that of audience development âˆ' taking cinema to communities that do not have cinemas. In this regard the future role of digital visual entertainment
industry needs to be acknowledged. Currently, the distribution of film via the cinema network means local audiences in South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal are small as there are few if any cinemas in townships and rural areas. Consequently, digital distribution and access technology is a must.

A number of South African films have recently been produced with the funding and support from the KZNFC.

These include:


Keeping up with the Kandasamys is directed by Jayan Moodley, produced by Junaid Ahmed and Helena Spring and is described as a ‘love letter to Chatsworth’. Filmed on location in Chatsworth, the film stars Jailoshni Naidoo and Maeshni Naicker as the matriarchal rivals of neighbouring families, whose young adult children become romantically involved, and despite their best efforts to keep them apart, with hilarious results, they are forced to acknowledge that in the end ‘love will always prevail’.

Coetzee said. “Legendary filmmaker, Mr Junaid Ahmed, sadly passed away when the film was in post-production. He was extremely passionate about this project and he brought the film to life for us here at the KZNFC, long before the first frame was shot. The film will steep audiences into the heartland of KwaZulu-Natal, with its cinematic coverage of the beautiful landscapes of the province and the City of Durban.”

Keeping up with the Kandasamys was released in March 2017 and has already earned millions at cinemas across South Africa.


The next film, 28s’ is a gritty exposé of life inside a South African prison, directed by award-winning director, Khalo Matabane and produced by Carolyn Carew and Tsholo Mashile, with executive producers Videovision Entertainment. The film, inspired by Jonny Steinberg’s award-winning non-fiction novel, The Number, with big screen adaptation by Paul Ian Johnson reveals the origins of the fearsome numbers gangs that operate in prisons throughout South Africa. It features Mothusi Magano and is supported by Warren Masemola, Sihle Xaba, Presley Chwenegyagae, Lemogang Tsipa, Kevin Smith, Deon Lotz and Gcina Mhlophe.

Carolyn Carew says that the process of making this film has been long time in the making with Khalo spending the last few years with the real Magadien Wentzel in Cape Town and afterwards with ex-prisoners in KZN to fully grasp the language and culture of the gangs.


Kalushi, which is a South African feature film written and produced by Mandla Dube with Leon Otto, about the life of freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu, was released on the national cinema circuit in March 2017. Based on a true story, the biopic, which took nearly nine years to complete, has been hailed as an important South African story. Kalushi chronicles the life of Solomon Mahlangu (played by Thabo Rametsi) whose life was ended at the age of 23 by execution during the height of apartheid.

“This is a film for people who care about the next person. This is how we honour Solomon Mahlangu. It’s about our humanity as human beings,” Dube. “We see an ordinary young man who somehow becomes a political icon and, through this film, we see him transform from an average hawker to a human rights legend.”

The film won the Rapid Lion award at the 2016 Rapid Lion International Film Festival and was screened at the 2016 Durban International Film Festival where it was hailed by audiences and critics alike. The film went on to screen at the Cannes Marche 2016 and the KykNET Silwerskermfees and has been invited to screen at numerous international festivals. Kalushi scooped the 2017 Best Film Award at the annual Luxor African Film Festival under the theme of international freedom.

The KZNFC were proud to fund the cost of marketing, the launch function as well as the national distribution of the film “Kalushi”.

“We are delighted that through the support of these films, we were able to bring productions into the fold to demonstrate the ever-evolving potential the province has for the creation of film,” concluded Coetzee.

KZN : An Ideal Destination For Film Production - Pivot

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