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South African province bows film commission

Pols hope body will attract shoots to KwaZulu-Natal

DURBAN, South Africa — The province of KwaZulu-Natal has launched a film commission that is expected to boost South Africa’s rapidly growing film industry.

Speaking at a ceremony during the Durban Film Festival on Monday, minister of economic development and tourism Michael Mabuyakhulu said the commission would add to the region’s rich cinematic heritage and become a vital engine for growth.

Citing the area’s appeal, Mabuyakhulu noted, “Our province is blessed with scenic beauty and favorable exchange rates, which make it up to 40% cheaper to make a movie in KwaZulu-Natal than in Europe or the U.S.”

The minister expressed his hope that the commission would increase the province’s competitiveness both internationally and domestically; more established film industries already exist in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The KwaZulu-Natal film industry contributed nearly $70 million to the provincial economy last year, according to Mabuyakhulu.

He said that the commission would play a vital role in developing the local biz “along the industry value chain,” from script development to exhibition.

It’s the country’s third film commission after the Johannesburg-based Gauteng Film Commission and the Cape Film Commission, based in Cape Town.

Situated on the Indian Ocean coast, KwaZulu-Natal has been used as a location for films including helmer Edward Zwick’s Leo DiCaprio starrer “Blood Diamond” and South African helmer Darrell Roodt’s “Yesterday.”

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