Covid-19 Pandemic Sees SA Film Industry Decline

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The South African Film industry has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The industry recorded a revenue of just over R3 billion over the past year. This is less than half of the R7.2 billion industry in 2019.


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The South African Film industry has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with billions in losses being recorded. 
Over the past year, the industry recorded a revenue of just over R3 billion. This is less than half of the R7.2 billion the industry recorded in 2019.
The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) estimated that around 60% of full-time jobs were lost in the film industry. This after lockdowns prevented film productions during the level 5  lockdown. Then they were allowed to return, the productions were run on skeleton staff.
The NFVF’s Acting Head of Operations, Onke Dumeko described the current challenges faced by the industry as devastating.
She said “If you look at the impact on jobs if you look at the impact on household income as a whole and what industry practitioners have had to do and have had to do in order to supplement their income, and how they've had to pivot when it comes to their respective arts and crafts, it has affected them in insurmountable ways."
Dumeko said, “in South Africa, we have a film industry that is yet to be positioned in a way that is yet to be valued and fully understood for the value that it contributes to the economy,”.
She pointed out that the peak over the five year period prior to the pandemic shows how important the film industry is and the value it can bring to the economy. She believes that plans need to be put in place to ensure the industry can survive a situation that has a similar impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the future.
Dumeko says that the NFVF has executed the Presidential Employment Stilmulis Program (PESP) which provided grants to artists. It has however not been able to provide these grants to around 55% of the applicants. She adds that they have also entered into a deal with streaming giant Netflix worth R28 million for 6 micro-budget films.
“So from a government perspective there are measures in place that are currently in place but that requires the conversation to extend beyond that so that its partnerships with the private sector leverage on existing treaties that we have with other countries” concluded Dumeko.

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