Film producers who want to film indoors can expect to be given red carpet treatment when they come to George. A fully equipped studio has been established by the brand-new company, the Garden Route Film Studios (GRFS). A world-renowned tourist area in the Western Cape of South Africa, the Garden Route boasts a remarkably diverse range of filming locations to suit the varied needs of the film, television and advertising industries.
Previously under-utilised because of limitations in industry support services and production facilities, this extraordinary filming destination is now being supported and developed by Garden Route Film Studios, a one-stop production facility that is the new hub of filming activities in the area.
The establishment of film studios is a dream come true for CEO Johan Claassen. “The project has been a long time in the making,” he said. Claasen is a GRFS director, along with Philip de Vries and Johannesburg businessman Neville Bosman. GRFS is financed by a consortium committed to seeing the project through.
A former George cinema complex over 1000m² in size has been converted into a sound-proof studio, a workshop for set building, storage rooms, offices and smaller studios to shoot film, advertising and locally produced TV series. The aims of GRFS coincide with the vision of the Eden District Municipality, who are establishing the Garden Route Film Office with the view of marketing the Garden Route region abroad as an ideal filming destination / location.
An excited Claassen said, “We are ready to put the Garden Route on the world film producing map. We have the local talent; we have a few seasoned film producers and scriptwriters and we already have the infrastructure. We are ready to do business. Where else in the world do you have mountains, lakes, beaches, forests and quaint towns as well as desert areas (such as found in the Klein Karoo) all in close proximity and within 40 minutes’ drive?”
“We can also offer live shows in our studios and we invite creative thinkers to come on board. We are ready to place service providers to the filming industry on our database. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to come on board.”
Garden Route Film Office
The GR&KK film industry can grow by leveraging its unique and diverse combination of locations, ease of access and “Film Friendly” attitude. The challenge for the industry is how to effectively address the constraints it faces, so it can unlock the region’s growth potential. As the Western Cape’s next key economic hub, the region has a fast growing population, ready for both local and international productions. The region is becoming a popular filming destination and embraced the opportunity to become more pro-active and focussed on the industry needs.
The vision of the Film Industry Strategy is to realise the industry’s full economic potential by focusing on job creation initiatives, while simultaneously striking a balance between commercially-orientated productions and independent filmmaking that provide for a diversified range of stories, narratives, viewpoints and experiences.
The GR&KK Film Office’s core business is to facilitate and enhance the contribution of the industry to the economic growth of the region. The GR&KK markets the Garden Route and Klein Karoo, with its inherent beauty and natural attractions and wide range of locations, as a tourism, but more specifically, film destination of choice. It will also act as a centralised industry intelligence hub, ensuring that all interested productions can experience a one- stop shop in a film-friendly environment.