Construction of the R430-million Cape Town Film Studios (CTFS) is well under way, with the first phase scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2010.
The complex will be the first of its kind in Africa and will boast state-of-the-art support services once it is completed.
In addition, the studios’ location in one of the most sought-after cities in the world will establish them as a world-class production facility.
Phase One of the construction, which will cost R250-million, includes sound stages, production offices, workshops, retail spaces, commercial offices and light indus- trial facilities.
At a cost of R430-million over a seven-year period, CTFS represents a major investment by its main shareholders, Anant Sing and Marcel Golding.
An undertaking has been made by government to contribute R60-million towards the project.
This financial commitment has been divi- ded between the City of Cape Town in the form of investment into bulk infrastructure and the Western Cape provin- cial government, which has been chanelled through Wesgro in return for a 10% equity stake.
The studios have also received a R16,3-million grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
To date, this is the largest commitment to the film industry and will ensure the existence of permanent film infrastructure in the province.
It is expected that the deve- lopment of CTFS will increase investment in the sector and further drive the region’s turn- over.
The film industry is rapidly becoming a major money- spinner for the province.
A study commissioned by the Cape Town Film Commis- sion and the city municipality estimated the economic impact of the Western Cape film industry at R2,65-billion in the 2005/6 financial year. And about 77% of this, or R2-billion, was earned within the city of Cape Town itself.
According to CTFS CEO Nico Dekker, this project brings the promise of infrastructural development that offers critical opportunities to further strengthen Cape Town’s global market position as a leading film production destination.
Dekker stresses that CTFS’s main priority would be to create a high-quality production house for local aspiring producers in order to grow this untapped sector in South Africa.
While this venture might serve as a catalyst for industry development, Dekker warns that the country will most likely only enjoy financial returns on this project after the next seven to eight years owing to the nature of the industry.
Construction of the studios should mean employment for more than 8 000 people, and what makes it even more bene- ficial is the fact that these workers will largely come from the neighbouring areas, such as Khayelitsha, Blue Downs, Crossroads, Gugulethu and Mitchells Plain.
As government is funding R60-million of the project, the official trade and investment promotion agency for the West- ern Cape, Wesgro, has been tasked with managing the project and ensuring the most favourable outcome for government and for the Western Cape film industry.
Wesgro has identified the creative sector as one of the winning industries for the province as it shows high growth potential.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has hailed the studios as the industrialisation of film making in the country and said it could have positive spin-offs for other industries.