Film Finance Workshop: An Overview

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The Callsheet attended FNB and Wesgro’s informative film finance workshop, which was held on Tuesday 31 August.

production-accountants

Hosted at the stunning Portside Tower in Cape Town’s Buitengracht Street, the workshop covered both fundamental basics and recent intricacies of film financing. Speakers from the major government film funders (NFVF, the dti, IDC and NEF) and from the banking and insurance sector presented.

Tracey Botha, of First National Bank, opened the morning’s proceedings with a discussion of exchange control workings. She stressed the importance of approaching an Authorised Dealer – such as FNB – early on in the project’s process, to facilitate a smooth exchange control process with minimal bureaucratic malfunctions. Both also encouraged the use of Customer Foreign Currency (CFC) accounts, so as to minimize the currency risks.

Glenn Broadhurst, from the short term insurance department at First National Bank, then gave a quick rundown of insurance options for film shoots. The main takeaway from his session was the importance of knowing the exclusions and conditions of every policy; for example, cast and crew over 65s such information is declared upfront – so it is crucial to know the conditions and exclusions of each policy and to inform your broker accordingly.

The NFVF, dti, IDC and NEF then presented quick summaries of funding criteria for each of their organizations. Both the NFVF and dti are moving towards a focus on industry transformation, and are prioritizing black South African filmmakers. The dti’s new Film Incentive policy – which showcases this updated focus on local industry – will be available by mid-August on their website, and will come into effect on 1 September 2018. The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) announced they are offering loans to black South African filmmakers and film industry professionals. The IDC stressed that they offer loans only for commercially viable projects; their main criteria is commercial viability – though their mandate is also to develop South Africa, so the potential impact of projects is important too.

A session on Intellectual Property laws and regulations followed, co-presented by Irish Macleod and Wesgro. The importance of the value chain was explained, but further details will be expanded on in the forthcoming workshop on IP, which will be organized by Wesgro. The Callsheet encourages aspiring filmmakers to keep an eye out for more information on this event, which promises to be highly educational.

Finally, producer Liezel Vermeulen gave a brief rundown of questions to consider early on in the funding process. She encouraged aspiring filmmakers to multi-task, and to move forward every day in some small way. This was an inspiring closing note for the morning’s event.

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