A delegation of South African government officials, funders and film executives recently participated in a week-long programme of strategic meetings in Los Angeles with senior US executives.
Meetings covered physical production, co-production, finance and development at the major studios, independents and networks, as well as packaging with agents.
The South Africa/Hollywood exchange is produced by Katrina Wood’s MediaXchange and Dezi Rorich’s Metal Moon.
Attendees included Francois Truter from the Department of Trade and Industry; Nelly Molokoane and Thembakazi Maziko from the Incentive Scheme; and Mawande Seti of the National Film & Video Foundation, Film Afrika’s David Wicht, Refinery’s Tracey Willaism, Marvin Saven from Moonlighting Filmmakers, and producers Junaid Ahmed and Lynne Widgerow. Also joining the group was Gwen Swart from Namib Film in neighbouring Namibia.
Participating US companies included Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, MGM, Legendary Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, WME, eOne Entertainment, New Regency, Exclusive Media Group, Good Universe, Universal Cable Productions, Global Produce and Film Engine.
The programme also included a Finance Forum with spearks including Paytre Topp and Voltage’s Zev Foreman.
Junaid Ahmed [pictured] said: “What emerged for me through these dynamic exchanges is the South African film industry is making a strong impression on a global level. This was evident in nearly all the meetings we attended; the Americans made a point of impressing on us their respect for our production services companies, our talented crew pool, our locations, our government film incentives. What excited me most were the possibilities of engaging with North American producers at the creative content level. These exchanges affirmed that co-productions/partnerships with American studios and independents are seriously possible if our stories/screenplays are strong and resonate at a global level. I believe that we are at the cusp of something great and we have to seize this moment to forge partnerships with the global community of filmmakers to usher in an exciting and dynamic phase in our evolving film industry.”