Cape Town, Western Cape Emerging Film, Tech Powerhouse In Africa

by Olamilekan Okeowo

For boasting a variety of world-class locations, studios, facilitation companies, and specialised crew, Cape Town and the Western Cape are fast emerging as a powerhouse in the film and tech sector on the African continent. 

Over the years, the South African film industry and international creators have been shooting award-winning works of art, such as My Octopus Teacher, which has recently been nominated for an Academy Award in the Documentary Feature category. 

Other projects filmed in Cape Town and the Western Cape include GAIA, which was shot in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo and premiered at the SXSW festival recently. Gambit Films’ Blood and Water is currently shooting its second season after a very successful first season, where it was positioned in the top 10 places globally on Netflix.

Recently, Wesgro’s Film and Media Promotion Unit hosted an interactive session at this year’s South By South West (SXSW) Festival, featuring local film industry specialists who unpacked the immersive technologies and innovations that make Cape Town and the Western Cape an emerging powerhouse in the film and tech sector on the African continent. 

The virtual event was hosted by actress, inspirational speaker, and Sea Change Project Ambassador, Zolani Mahola who also concluded the event with a spectacular performance. 

The panel comprised of local and international film industry specialists including Gambit’s CEO and Executive Producer, Bradley Joshua, award-winning writer for stage and screen, Tertius Kapp, Head of International Acquisitions at XYZ Films, Todd Brown, film composer and winner of the “Best Music Score” at the IDA Documentary Awards for My Octopus Teacher, Kevin Smuts, as well as CEO and co-founder of Sea Monster, Glenn Gilles.

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Speaking about the importance of celebrating local talent, Wesgro’s Film and Media Promotion Project Manager, Lisa Mini said: 

“I am thrilled to be part of the Wesgro team promoting the Western Cape’s talent in the Creative and Tech Industries at a festival like SXSW. It is the perfect platform to cross-sell what our province has got to offer the globe!”

During the session, the Film unit also officially launched the very first and highly anticipated “Film in Cape Town and the Western Cape” AV, showcasing the dramatic locations, world-class animation, VFX, and post-production facilities, as well as the talented and diverse sub-sectors of the Creative Industries Sector of the Western Cape.

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Member for Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Asset Management at the City of Cape Town, said: 

“Cape Town has a sophisticated, diverse, and dynamic economy. The City is Africa’s Information Technology hub with more tech start-ups than anywhere else on the continent, and there is no denying the wealth of options available for filming as well as access to world-class production facilitates. 

A cornerstone of my departments’ economic recovery plan is the Six Pillar strategy – our strategic marketing and communications approach to REIMAGINING & REIGNITING visitor demand in Cape Town – so we can share with the rest of the country and the world why the Mother City is the top destination to Visit, Live, Work, Study, Play & Invest. The South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival is the perfect opportunity to showcase that Cape Town has so much to offer no matter what you are looking for.”

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Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, added: “The Western Cape is an internationally competitive film and media destination thanks to our beautiful and picturesque locations, our unique talent, and our world-class expertise. We welcome the opportunity to showcase Cape Town and the Western Cape to the international film market attending the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival so that we can attract international creators and investors to take advantage of our unique offer and support our creative industries which have been hard-hit during COVID-19.”

“As one of the world’s most prominent annual film festivals, SXSW provides an ideal opportunity for Wesgro to showcase Cape Town and the Western Cape’s offering to international markets, with Cape Town and the Western Cape emerging as popular choices for local and international film and commercial productions,” concluded Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris. 

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