Monday, May 18, 2009

New Bones for South African Film Industry

Despite the apparent foot-dragging of government ministries, the burgeoning South African Film industry, the talents, skills and creativity, specifically of the Western Cape sector, have gained global recognition and kudos for their resourcefulness and attention to detail.
Competing with somewhat more established film and post-production hubs such as Brazil, South Africa has inevitably been playing catch up in an attempt to capitalize on its many positive offerings.

A recent multi-million Rand investment in the world-renowned “Bones Dailies” software by Waterfront Studios, a first for the African Continent, has given the local industry an unequalled opportunity to vie with the World’s best.

“Streamlining pipeline time has always been a major driver for the film industry, yet without “Bones Dailies”, Waterfront Studios were finding it difficult to reduce pipeline times and therefore costs”, says Jonathan San Juan, Waterfront Studio’s Chief Technical Officer, recently relocated to Cape Town from Los Angeles.

High-end digital post-production is crucial to the success of not only Waterfront Studios, more importantly it is essential for the industry as a whole.

“Whilst South Africa has been greatly admired globally from many aspects, the success of the South African film industry, particularly post-production could perhaps benefit from a more technologically advanced approach. Hence Waterfront Studio’s purchase of the “Bones Daily” platform”, continues San Juan.

Lauded as a prime destination for film makers and producers globally, South Africa, specifically Cape Town with its scenic locations and world class artisans, continues to expand.

The cost-effectiveness of South Africa as a film location has long been recognized worldwide with countless box office hits having benefited from South African expertise at a fraction of the costs normally associated with such professionalism.

“Viewed by some as an industry in its infancy here in South Africa, the appeal of Cape Town as a location for many reasons has grown significantly over the last few years”, adds San Juan.

Yet recognition of the huge skills base in South Africa and the huge earnings and potential earnings the industry brings into the country, is muted, particularly at a government level. Support for the industry, though available, is invariably so wrapped-up in bureaucracy, access to it is almost impossible.

The creation of an enabling environment by government, for filmmakers, complete with proper development, quality control and financial efficiency would strengthen the industry and encourage not only public sector investment but heightened opportunities for profitability.

A capital investment in the form of a grant would further push the South African film and post-production industry onto the world stage. Plaudits for the success of the industry are readily accepted by government ministers who have done little if anything to support it.

“With the advent of the “Bones Dailies” technology and associated software, South Africa is more than just catching up with the rest of the world. Increased investment in such technologies will only make South Africa that much more of a player in what is a very competitive global market”, ends San Juan.

“Bones Dailies” looks set to unearth incredible growth in the industry, leaving the skeletons of old technology behind.

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