Locations Africa Expo Sends Message in Durban: ‘Africa is Ready’

Variety | 7/22/2019 | Christopher Vourlias
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DURBAN–The first edition of the Locations Africa Expo and Conference was held this week during the Durban FilmMart, with an eye toward identifying and growing the opportunities to lure incoming productions to the continent.

“Locations Africa is trying to service a need on the continent to discuss the physical production…on the ground, highlighting film commissions, the services sector, the crew, the facilities, the organizations, the understanding of the incentives and legislative environment,” said Locations Africa’s Azania Muendane (pictured).

Event - Representatives - Film - Commissions - Production

The three-day event brought together representatives of African film commissions, production services companies, location scouts, and other industry professionals dedicated to turning the continent into a world-class locations industry.

“Trying to sell Africa is always the hardest because the Western perception of what we have and who we are is vastly wrong,” said Irfaan Fredericks, of production services company Kalahari Film and Media. “How do we manage our perception?”

Industry - Experts - Challenges - Countries - Production

Industry experts were clear-eyed about the challenges: Few African countries offer production incentives; infrastructure – from roads to power supplies to telecom networks – is often shoddy; specialized equipment is hard to source outside of South Africa; and there can be significant health and security risks—a problem not only for cast and crew, but for production costs that can soar if you’re insuring top talent.

But the continent offers diverse and breathtaking locations that are impossible to reproduce on a Hollywood sound stage, and a dizzying range of stories waiting to be told. As Muendane asserted at the Expo’s opening session: “Africa is ready for production.”

Takeaways

Here were some key takeaways:

African governments need to step up.

Years - Durban - African - Union - Launch

Three years ago in Durban, the African Union announced the launch of a commission dedicated to the rapid growth of film and TV industries across the continent. But from film incentives to co-production treaties to streamlined permitting processes, most African governments aren’t doing enough...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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