EXCO Message December 2021

Dear Colleagues

We come to the end of what has been another exceptionally challenging year for the industry, not just due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and travel restrictions, but particularly due to challenges emanating from our government, most notably the DTIC. Please see the update in the ‘DTIC blamed as rocky times hit South African Film Industry’ story below. Our hearts go out to producers and the investors, suppliers, cast and crew who have been impacted by this crisis and we give our assurance that we will not rest until these issues with DTIC are resolved, local and international trust in the rebate is restored and the industry can get back to work and deliver on its economic and job creation promise. This has been an all-consuming battle for the IPO since the start of lockdown last year and we hope that our efforts will, in the coming year, start to pay off and we will see some light at the end of what has been the longest, darkest tunnel ever for our industry. As the IPO Exco and Secretariat, we extend our deepest thanks to the many subcommittee and other members who have given their time to assist us in this regard and taken the time to complete our DTIC-related surveys – the information you have provided has proved to be a powerful weapon in this battle.
On the upside, we are thrilled with the members with specialist skills and areas of expertise who have stepped up to serve on our various sub-committees. We believe we now have the strongest subcommittees in the organisations almost 30-year history. We thank you for your service to come and know that we can expect many of our organisational hopes and plans coming to fruition through your efforts in the coming year.  We have already seen an impact, for example the Diversity and Skills commitment to SACIA process and assistiing in the placement of 4 x False Bay interns, and assisting new producers with NFVF contracting processes. If any experienced producers are willing to assist with limited-duration mentorship in areas such as reviewing NFVF contracting and budgetng, please let us know.  Special thanks to our Broadcast sub-committee for their tireless work towards finalising standardised broadcast contracts for actors as well as for editors and writers. Will have the first meeting of the Fundraising and Capacity Building subcommittee in the new year.
Our meetings with M-Net and the SABC have continued throughout the year with steady progress and we are happy to advise that we had our first meeting with the e-media group last week. It was extremely constructive and delivered the promise of strong collaboration on matters of mutual interest going forward. Netflix has also committed to working with us on specific issues in the new year. We have also had very constructive engagements with the KZN Film Commission, led by our KZN sub-committee chair Sanjeev Singh, and will see the signing of an MOU with them early in the new year and the implementation of several plans to empower producers in the province.
Much of our work this year has centred around issues that we as producers need to focus on to ensure safe and equitable working environments for all on our sets – from Covid and Intimacy Coordination protocols to sexual harassment, gender parity and an attempt to establish an Industry Ombuds to deal with such cases, which is a key requirement in our engagement with the Department of Employment & Labour regarding their intention to see freelancers enjoying employee benefits. To accommodate several of these issues, and speaking to the DTIC’s constant refrain about fronting in the industry, we have updated our Member Code of Conduct and will be hosting a webinar on this on 27 January (Mozart’s birthday J). We have also drafted a specific Code of Conduct for Exco and sub-committee members which we will share with you then, too. All of these are part of our ongoing efforts to enhance the professional standing, and clout, of your industry body.
We thank the many people and organisations that have taken our industry issues to heart this year and given greatly of their time and guidance. Notable amongst these are Tanya Cohen of the PPGI and her Chair, Jacko Maree, and Founder, Roelf Meyer; Prof Justine Limpitlaw and Prof Jen Snowball, Stephen Hollis of Adams & Adams, FIAPF’s Bertrand Moullier, Jeneen Galbraith of Galbraith Rushby, Olsber.spi’s MD Leon Forde, the Copyright Coalition AV Desk team, the SOS Coalition, Vivien Pierson and the SAIA team, the SASFED Secretariat and many others. We are so grateful for your continued support.
Despite the challenges of the year, we wish you all a happy, safe and revitalising festive season and a smooth and successful year ahead!

Always working in your best interests,