Think, film and sell local: iLIVE
Over the past few weeks the spotlight has been on the film industry and what can be done to have it compete on a global level ("It's time for Afriwood", July 17).
I think in many cases the point is being missed. In order to create a competitive industry one needs just that - an industry that is complete, from manufacturing all the way to retail.
Hollywood has a multitude of channels (or retail outlets) through which its products can be purchased. The same is true of Nollywood.
The problem with the South African industry is that, while we have the know-how, the locations (international films have been shot here using local crew), and the stories, we don't cater to the entire population.
Phumla Matjila says in her column that only 1.7million people are regular cinema-goers and that the basic reason for that is the high price of tickets. A South African can spend nearly R200 on taking his/her family of four to the cinema. For a family that is living on R2500 a month, 10% of that spent on one evening's entertainment is unattainable, but R30 on a bootlegged DVD can provide endless entertainment for the family and friends.
We can try to attract Hollywood money in order to make "big blockbusters" here or we can aim to create a wealth of our own content with the view to making our money back locally first.
This can be achieved by finding ways to sell to South Africa first at an affordable price.
Hollywood doesn't even make the bulk of its profits from cinema. In fact, DVD sales and rentals outstrip cinema considerably, while TV sales account for nearly half of Hollywood's earnings.
Nigeria makes most of its profits from DVD sales.
Accolades, I feel, need to be given to Chicco Twala for having successfully employed this technique for his movies.
He provides stories for his audience, he sells them at a price that is affordable and he doesn't try to compete with Hollywood or anyone else.
In order for South Africa to be a competitive filmmaking nation, we need to be making films.
Not every film needs to be shown in a cinema and not every film needs to go overseas (only every once in a while will a local film do that). But every film needs to be given an opportunity to be seen, and every filmmaker needs an avenue through which they can make their money back.