Trish Downing’s Outgoing Message As IPO Executive Director

That’s a wrap from me.

Little did I think when I took a two-month contract with the IPO in late March 2020 at the start of Covid lockdown, that I’d be here saying my farewells to you all 3 ¼ years later.  Little did we realise then what the challenges and impact of the pandemic would be on the industry, on lives and livelihoods, or what additional challenges government would throw at us while we tried to survive and recover from the pandemic. It’s been massive!

DTIC not paying rebate claims and arbitrarily changing the guidelines, owing the industry R665 million and driving away over R2,5bn in servicing work just in the 2nd half of 2021; ICASA exempting broadcasters from showing any local content at all from April 2020 until 3 months after the State of National Disaster ended (we fought hard and quotas were re-instated within the year); every single piece of legislation and regulation to do with our industry being amended for which we’ve had to make dozens of submissions and do battle across government – from the AV White Paper, SABC Amendment Act, doing away with Section 12 J and 12 O of the income tax act, numerous ICASA amendments, the horrendous journey with the Copyright & Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills and even the Firearms Control Amendment Act, just to mention a few.

Often together with SASFED, we lobbied DSAC and government to allow the industry back to work in Level 4, developing the industry’s Covid H&S Protocols to assure government we could return safely, DSAC and NFVF to improve their relief funding, we set up the South African Screen Support Fund raising and dispersing over R5 million to freelancers and industry organisations in need (including a R250k grant for the IPO), while also working with Netflix on their relief efforts; and contributing to the Creative Industries Masterplan amongst so many others.

As the IPO, we concluded MOUs with the NFVF and with the KZN Film Commission; secured our first-ever projects for which we earned management fees while making a real impact on the industry, including the Intimacy Coordinator Training Programme jointly funded by the NFVF and Netflix and our PESP Get On Set Mentorship Programme; secured 3 interns to assist with the back-office work – anyhow, it’s been a lot, way too much to note here, working 24/7 through good times and bad.

I’d like to applaud a few people in particular for their support and incredibly tireless work for the organisation and the industry: Nimrod Geva, Thandi Davids (both former IPO co-chairs), the amazing Liezel Vermeulen who was my right hand and was most sorely missed when she left, SASFED’s Unathi Malunga, Adjunct Prof Justine Limpitlaw (pro bono lawyer for SOS Coalition who has helped us more than you could imagine), Jeneen Galbraith (Galbraith Rushby), Tanya Cohen of the PPGI, Janet McKenzie of Baker McKenzie; Prof Jen Snowball (SACO/ Rhodes), Wesgro’s Monica Rorvick, FIAPF’s Bertrand Moullier, Olsberg.spi’s Leon Forde, and Thierry Cassuto and Scharl van der Merwe amongst many others – and my steadfast colleagues in Copyright Bill campaigning, CPA’s Bobby Amm, ASA’s Nick Cloete, IBFC’s Azania Muendane and Stephen Hollis of Adams & Adams. Thanks, too, to our interns, Tlhakanelo, Onalenna and Mafoko, and wishing them every success in their post-IPO careers, and to Ayanda and Thea for their brilliant work on the GET ON SET programme. You’ve all lightened the load and heightened the impact. Thank You!

I’m not leaving the industry altogether, so this isn’t ‘Goodbye’ but rather ‘see you again’. In need, you can contact me on tr*********@ou*****.com

Wishing the current Exco all the very best in delivering on their mandate to represent, protect and promote your industry interests.

Warmest Regards, Trish.