Leading South African production company Videovision Entertainment is to build a $5m (R50m)international film studio in Durban over the next 18 months, local producer Anant Singh said yesterday.

The studio will be one of two in the country with all the facilities necessary for international film makers. Singh, who sits on the South African Tourism Board, said the self-funded project would be a big boost for tourism in KwaZulu-Natal. Singh said his company was holding discussions with the eThekwini unicity (Greater Durban) regarding possible co-operation because the city needed to attract tourists.

'We realised the need to be proactive in attracting international film makers to South African film studios just like Miami in the US,' he said. The studio will include a sound stage, equipment and production offices for companies to hire. Videovision Entertainment, which owns 12% of SA-listed company Kagiso Media, has acquired over 2 000 films during the past 15 years for local distribution.

'Mr Bones, a locally produced film which we distribute internationally, has made $3.5m (R35), making [it] the second-highest grossing film in South Africa behind Titanic,' he said. Singh asserts that the new studio will be comparable to Fox Studios in Australia and will be a keen competitor for international production in the Southern Hemishpere.