South Africa has long been a popular film destination, particularly for European productions looking for opposite season looks in a similar timezone.
South Africa’s vast variety of unique and international location looks continues to attract productions from all over the world. Of particular note are South Africa’s diversity of cityscapes and neighbourhoods, modern villas with expansive vistas, African savannah, mountains (some with snow), a variety of roads ideal for car commercials, white sand beaches, picturesque forests with lakes, and sports stadiums (including several major stadiums built across the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup). South Africa is the most established production service centre in Africa and as such is a resource to much of the rest of the continent in terms of specialised crews and equipment.
Cost & Rebates
South Africa is a relatively cost efficient production centre given the rate of exchange of most currencies against the South African Rand. That, along with the established industry and professional infrastructure means South Africa offers great value for money. South Africa offers a rebate of up to 25% for qualifying productions.
When To Shoot
South Africa’s climate is generally sunny and pleasant, but there is considerable regional variation. The north-west is very arid, the south is temperate, and the north-east has a more tropical climate. Winters (May to August) are generally mild, particularly in the Western Cape. Most of the rest of the country receives only a brief cold spell, with snow falling on the mountain ranges. The rainiest months in Cape Town are May to August. Johannesburg receives most of its annual rainfall in the summer (November to March) making it a great weather film destination for the winter months. During mid-summer South Africa experiences 15 hours of daylight.
Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Contact your local South African embassy or representative for more information. Generally speaking visiting crews are divided into an Oversight Group (i.e. client, agency and production company personnel) and the Specialist Group (i.e actors, models, directors, technicians and the art department).
The Oversight Group from visa exempt countries can travel to South Africa without pre-applying at a South African Embassy or Consulate and will be allowed entry by presenting the relevant form, their travel itinerary and a letter from the South African Production Company to the immigration officials at the airport, their passports will then be endorsed with the relevant authorisation.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
South Africa has a good pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. The majority have local and international experience. There is a great depth of skilled, hard working, dedicated, professional and technical crews. There are a number of DGA accredited ADs based in South Africa. Crews are non-union. Talent. South Africa has a diverse range of people that can fulfill the majority of casting requirements from extras, to characters, to actors and models both local and international. A large number of international models spend the summer months in Cape Town. Talent is non-union and although buyouts are worked out on guideline percentages, these are somewhat negotiable.
South Africa is also home to a wealth of animal actors ranging from big safari animals through to domestic pets. As you would expect to find in any other established film production centre, South Africa has as an extensive range of standard and specialized camera, lighting and grip equipment available locally. Examples of available equipment include: Motion Control, Cineflex, Phantom, Red, and the Freedom Arm (a fully digital gyro-stabilized camera crane). For productions looking to bring in film equipment South Africa is an ATA carnet country.