Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

On a trip to Los Angeles this week, deputy minister of trade and industry Bulelani Magwanishe allayed Hollywood’s fears about the government’s BEE policy.

In a meeting on Friday between the American Motion Picture Association (MPAA), which included officials from HBO, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney and Fox, and an SA delegation of black filmmakers led by Magwanishe, the deputy minister addressed concerns around the latest iteration of the SA foreign film and television incentive programme.

The programme has a requirement to procure a minimum of 20% of qualifying goods and services from entities that are 51% black-owned.

However, according to a statement from the department of trade & industry released on Saturday, Magwanishe said he is confident the MPAA is on board after he explained the government’s commitment to economic transformation in SA.

Magwanishe said the US companies were under the impression that it would be difficult to find black-owned SA companies. However, “to their amazement, our delegation comprised of about 15 competent, credible and reputable black filmmakers from whom they could procure almost everything they will require for shooting their productions in SA”.

“The American film and television industry association and member companies have expressed their support for efforts undertaken by the South African government to transform the industry as part of efforts to redress the imbalances of the past,” the department said. 

Following the meeting, the US delegation came out in support of the incentive programme.

“We support the transformation process in SA and it makes economic sense for productions to use as many local people as possible,” said senior vice-president of HBO Jay Roewe, who added that the delegation had made a good impression.

Fox vice-president of production, tax planning and incentives Karen Mbanefo said while her company supported the transformation objectives of the incentive programme, it needed to know how they would go about fulfilling the 20% requirement.

The meetings were part of the department’s programme to boost the local film industry through, among others, opening up markets for its film and television productions, securing partnerships for co-productions, as well as selling SA as a preferred destination for filmmaking and as a production partner.