In 2019, the South African film industry gave the economy R7.2 billion.
Due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, this decreased to only R2.9 billion in the past year.
The most recent Economic Impact Assessment by the National Film and Video Foundation estimates that 60% of full-time comparable jobs in the industry were lost.
Furthermore, only 33% of the foundation’s 83% of active stake – holders who applied for financial aid were accepted.
The Covid-19 global epidemic and related lockdowns have completely destroyed the South African film and video industry. Government relief efforts have not been sufficient to prevent significant job losses.
In 2019, the film industry in South Africa made R7.2 billion in direct and indirect economic contributions to the nation. The pandemic, according to documents by the National Film and Television Foundation (NFVF), a division of the ministry of sport, arts, and culture, caused this contribution to fall to just R2.9 billion even over the course of the previous year.
The film industry supported about 31,444 full-time companies that had implemented prior to the pandemic. According to the most recent Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) study from the NFVF, which was published on Thursday, this decreased by about 60% over the previous year to just 12,775 jobs maintained in 2020/21.
The EIA based on interview sessions with nearly 200 current participants in the film business who were involved with long-form narrative works as well as documentaries, TV shows, TV movies, and short films. The majority of respondents, the majority of whom are based in Gauteng, work for film and production companies.
Even though there have been significant job losses and employees’ annualised income has decreased from R218 million in 2019–20 to R88 million in 2020–21, the government has not done much to support the struggling film industry.
Only 17% of those polled said they had not applied for any of the available public or private film support programmes. However, over the past year, only 33% of candidates have received some kind of financial assistance.
75% of participants said “no” when asked if the movie business has received adequate support. Ineffective and complicated application procedures were cited as a major barrier by respondents. Additionally, the undertrained and overworked staff at funding organisations causes long wait times for urgently needed assistance.
The NFVF maintained that the Covid-19 support was insufficient to meet the needs of the film industry but acknowledged that it “was welcome relief to the very privileged few stakeholders who benefitted.”
While the bureau of sport, arts, and culture’s Covid-19 support programme has been dogged by controversy, the NFVF’s own fundraiser offered film and stills production teams in the television and film industry grants of up to R10,000.
“Unfortunately, Covid-19 has set the sector back in the past year. Our current priority is to collaborate with the industry to rebuild our beloved art.
However, the tide is gradually turning thanks to public-private partnerships, such as the recently concluded agreement between Netflix.com and the NFVF to support regional filmmakers. This will reportedly release about R28 million.
The NFVF’s EIA identified the enhanced small- to medium-sized independent motion pictures for Showmax and Netflix.com as one of the key drivers of the industry’s revival. As funding models shift away from underfunded government agencies and toward international streaming services, respondents have already noticed a rise in consumption from streamers for local content.