The Film and Creative Industries received great prominence at the 4th South Africa Investment Conference hosted by President Ramaphosa in Johannesburg on Thursday, 24th March. Film producer, Anant Singh participated in the plenary session in the panel discussion, ‘The African Opportunity – South Africa and Beyond‘ where he spoke about the positive impact of the film, television and creative industries on the African continent, while President acknowledged the economic impact made by Cape Town Film Studios which was developed jointly by Singh and Videovision Entertainment in partnership with eMedia Holdings (parent of e.tv).
During the panel discussion, Singh spoke passionately about the creative industries sharing content in Africa. He used the example of the iconic film, ‘Sarafina!’ which he produced and how he was able to have it distributed in other African countries, and drew a parallel to distribution platforms today. Whilst acknowledging the role streaming services are playing in content distribution, he also warned that content creators should be wary about giving away their Intellectual Property to these organisations which could retain ownership and control, without any future benefit for creators. In his concluding remarks, Singh said, “We have amazing people on this continent. People do amazing things, but we do not celebrate that enough. Potential needs to be harnessed, supported and celebrated.”
In the closing session of the conference, President Ramaphosa said, “In film and other creative industries there is huge untapped potential and more than enough talent. I had the occasion just last week to go to the Cape Town Film Studios and heard about how Netflix has committed quite a lot of money to produce some of their series and cartoons and all those things here in South Africa.” The President added, “I also had the great privilege of talking to Anant Singh one of our country’s great filmmakers and producers…and he told me about billions that he is going to be investing, I thank him for the commitment, that he and others in the creative industries are demonstrating to our country. This is one of the areas that I have also spoken about in State of the Nation addresses, about creating these new industries, supporting those who are in these industries, and ensuring that we create a very good environment for people like Anant Singh.”
The conference this year saw the introduction of the South Africa Investment Conference Business Awards. President Ramaphosa presented Singh and Videovision Entertainment with an award for developing Cape Town Film Studios which has been the catalyst over the past 12 years for the Western Cape to benefit from the significant multiplier offered by the film industry. These studios have enabled the generation of an estimated R7 billion per year in economic activity, with more than R100 billion being accrued to this region since the studios opened.
Singh, Videovision Entertainment and their partners made a significant investment commitment at the conference, announcing an investment of R7.5 billion for the development of film and television studios and related sectors in Durban.