Written by Kevin Kriedemann, The Filmmaker’s Guide To South Africa 2012, p8
2011 was a breakthrough year for the South African film industry. Time Magazine called the country “Hollywood’s hottest back lot.” The Hollywood Reporter named Cape Town Film Studios one of seven “state-of-the-art production facilities giving Hollywood a run for its movie” and announced “South Africa has arrived.” The Location Guide hailed South Africa as an “ever-reliable production hub.” And Variety said the country “is currently the most cost-competitive it’s been in years.”
South Africa is earning a reputation for making films that look twice their budget. Chronicle, a teen superhero flick shot in South Africa for just $12m, earned rave reviews internationally and topped the American box office on its release in February 2012, as did Safe House, a CIA-themed thriller which was shot and set in Cape Town. Dredd producer Andrew Macdonald told Time that filming in South Africa allowed him to make a graphic novel adaptation “that will look like $100 million” for less than half that figure. American producer Peter Safran similarly told Variety that Paul Walker’s upcoming Johannesburg set thriller Vehicle 19 “would have been twice as expensive to shoot in the US.”
South Africa has one of the oldest film industries in the world, dating back to the late 1800s, so the country offers a great value location without the risk often associated with emerging locations.
You’re in safe hands here: since democracy, South Africa has hosted a wide variety of film and television shoots, including Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winners and nominees like Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, Ed Zwick’s Blood Diamond, Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda, HBO’s Generation Kill, Fox’s 24: Redemption and The History Channel’s America: The Story of Us and Gettysburgh. In addition, South Africa has hosted shoots for some of the most awarded commercials in the world, like Traktor’s Fox Sport adverts, which won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix.