Production in South Africa is on the upswing, prompted not only by the country’s sagging currency, the rand — the exchange rate makes local services cheaper for filmmakers coming in from abroad — but by a host of new production resources.
Studio Joburg: This sprawling film and TV studio complex, complete with a helicopter landing base, has been used by projects ranging from local director Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 film “District 9” to BBC drama series “Undercover” (set for a U.S. premiere in November).
Johannesburg Film Office: Plans to launch a film office in South Africa’s largest city, already known for its diverse locations, skilled English-speaking crews, and competitive rebates, could turn the metropolis into an even bigger production hub.
Cape Town Film Studios:Outside of Johannesburg, this studio, where Starz’s “Black Sails” is shot, boasts world-class facilities. Cape Town Film Studios has been operating at or near full capacity since opening its doors in 2010. Also entering the fray: Durban, a little more than 350 miles from Johannesburg on the country’s southeast coast and site of an eponymous annual film festival. Producer Anant Singh has announced plans to start construction on a studio complex there early next year.
Creative Space Media: Catering to producers who want to create authentic-looking stories set in wartime, Creative Space offers access to big-league combat equipment and military locations. The company’s Sizwe Zim says it can provide foreign producers and crews with “an authenticity that keeps your audience on the edge of their seats.” Resources touted by CSM include a former army base; active and decommissioned military vehicles and equipment such as fighter jets and attack helicopters; aerial cinematography; and a team of stunt pilots, drivers, and base jumpers. Based in Johannesburg, the company has serviced productions such as “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was partly filmed in Johannesburg, and Blomkamp’s “District 9” and “Chappie.” Other recent shoots in South Africa include Sean Penn’s “The Last Face,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” and “The Dark Tower,” with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.