South Africa's capital deemed 'film unfriendly'

JOHANNESBURG — A provincial film commission has warned that Johannesburg City authorities are making South Africa’s capital “film unfriendly” with exorbitant location fees.

The Gauteng Film Commission said film crews were being charged more and more to use tourist venues and other public attractions in the northern city or were being refused access altogether, undermining the international media exposure the city stood to benefit from by hosting the 2010 Fifa soccer World Cup.

The Commission’s senior marketing manager Jacques Stoltz said a promotional shoot in Johannesburg involving more than 15 locations over two days could cost up to R25,000 ($3,500) per day.

“In many instances the film crew is in Johannesburg to film the city’s attractions or travel features and documentaries for TV in the run-up to the World Cup. Over and above the location fees, crew also need to pay R450 ($65) an hour for filming on public roads. The result is that even London and New York seem to offer more value,” said Stoltz.

“We have raised these concerns with the city and the tourism industry and have stressed the importance of ensuring uninhibited access by film and television crew to our visitor attractions. This, we believe, is not only in the interest of the film industry but is vital to the marketing and tourism efforts of the city of Johannesburg.”

By contrast, the coastal city of Cape Town does not charge location fees for filming in public open spaces and has no separate road closure fees to help attract filmmakers to the city.

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