SouthAfrican producers have accused the country's Department of Trade and Industry(DTI) of reneging on a pledge of $38m (R250m) to support the South African filmindustry.
The country's Independent ProducersOrganisation (IPO) has written to the DTI's acting director general TsidisoMatona complaining that the motion picture rebate scheme "launched with muchfanfare" last year has not materialised.
Theincentive scheme, which attracted significant local and international interest,promised a rebate of 15% for foreign productions or 25% for localproductions.
SouthAfrica's Mail & Guardian newspaper quoted one local producer who said theDTI "made a huge noise in telling the world that South Africa was open forbusiness. A year later it is an administrative nightmare. One is pushed frompillar to post, and no one is able to function."
15applications were submitted for rebate last year. It took the department up tosix months to inform the seven successful applicants that they were eligiblefor rebate certificates, but no money has since materialised leading to thedelay in several productions. Local producers say they feel embarrassed andcompromised and unable to press ahead with international co-productions ortheir own films.
TheIPO letter to the DTI says: "The international industry has become scepticalthat the Department can deliver on its promises," adding that certaininternational film productions preparing to shoot in South Africa "have decidedto go to other countries due to the uncertainty around the rebate scheme".
DimitriMartinis, senior manager of Policy at the National Film and Video Foundation,told ScreenDaily.com: "The key issue is that the DTI haven't managed tofinalise the loose ends."
Theadministrative disorder means that certain films like Berlin Golden Bear WinnerU-Carmen e-Khayalitsha credit the DTI as a financing partner - yet todate, it has received no money at all. It is believed that the seven companieswho received the rebate incentive are planning a meeting later in the week inorder to consolidate their plans in dealing with the DTI.