By Oke Peter
Africa’s most exciting conference and expo, Locations Africa Conference, is set to bring together Pan-African delegates in October to share best practices and showcase access to shooting locations. Constitutional Hill, a museum rich in South African history, will host the event on 5 and 6 October in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
As part of Locations Africa Projects, a private sector initiative focusing on filming locations, facilities, and skills, the goal is to increase the number of films and content shot on the continent and improve the skills of both public and private sectors to meet the needs of filmmakers. Furthermore, its aim is to increase the number of businesses and individuals, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, participating in the industry and creating a film brand identity for Africa.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the globe in 2020, the film industry came to a standstill, costing the sector billions. An estimated loss for that year amounted to a staggering R1.2 billion. As restrictions started to ease, some light shone at the end of the tunnel with the production of six local films in 2021. However, this figure was nowhere near the 23 local films released in 2017.
After the pandemic, South Africa needs to grow its film industry to contributing to rebuilding its economy. The sector employs over 25 000 people when it is running at full capacity. The industry can provide job opportunities and reduce poverty if this economic potential can be harnessed.
Azania Muendane, Founder of Locations Africa, says “the event will unpack the endless possibilities South Africa and the rest of the continent offers filmmakers while highlighting the numerous benefits of filming on African locations. Locations Africa bridges the gap between production planning and film exhibition. Our discussions cover physical production, film-friendly locations, equipment available, skills and shooting facilities, as well as how incentives can help inbound productions.”
The various panels during the conference includes speaker from our partners South African Tourism, the Gauteng Film Commission, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, African Film Commissions Network, and WESGRO, Mpumlanga Tourism and Parks Agency, the private sector, film practitioners among others from the continent and the rest of the world.
Locations Africa’s goal is to attract more international shoots to South Africa and the continent at large. The conference creates a platform for guests to meet with agents, producers, and facilitators on the ground.