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South Africa Makes Up for Studio Shortage With Diverse Locations

LOCATIONS In a first for South Africa, Robert Bentley and Deon Du Preez are nominated for a Locations Managers Guild of America Award for their work on season four of “Homeland.”

“We doubled Cape Town mostly for Islamabad in Pakistan, as well as Rawalpindi,” Du Preez says. “We also shot it as Washington, D.C., Virginia and New York, Waziristan and Afghanistan.”

Bentley and Du Preez are used to treating Cape Town like a chameleon. Bentley says he’s never been given a location brief he couldn’t find: he’s doubled South African locations for “everything under the sun … from America to Zanzibar and everything in between.”

Du Preez says locations “provide a blank canvas with the right textures” for the designer and their art department to fill in.

“We had great support from the Cape Town Film Office and Roads and Traffic Authorities,” says Du Preez, who is working on the second season of the Syfy series “Dominion.”

STUDIOS Cape Town is crowded. The South African coastal city is fully booked for shooting through 2016, and looking to expand studio space.

The City of Cape Town has proposed that the Good Hope Centre in the city center be used as a temporary or short-term film studio for three years.

The Good Hope Centre has a 14,700 sq.-ft. main hall that is 62 feet high, as well 1,900 square feet space that is 16 feet high, plus two other sizable spaces. Previously used as an events venue, the Centre already has most of the studio staples, including a lighting grid, a kitchen and catering area, and meeting/screening rooms.

Monica Rorvik, head of film at Wesgro, the Western Cape’s tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, agrees. “There is a shortage of space in Western Cape, and the film industry would welcome more options and the expansion of present studios.”

INCENTIVES The Dept. of Trade and Industry offers two incentives: The Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production Incentive and the South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production Incentive.

The incentives start at 20% for international productions with a qualifying South African spend; for projects that shoot elsewhere but do their post-production in South Africa, there’s similarly a 22.5% incentive on local spend.

The South African Film and Television Production and Co-Production Incentive offers an additional 10% to official co-productions; the 35% rebate is only available for the first $515,000 of the South African spend, after which the incentive reverts to 25%.

The DTI has also launched the South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive, which offers a rebate on productions over $86,000, of up to 50% of the first $515,000 and 25% thereafter.

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