Cape Town geared up for summer film business

17 November 2020

Having come out of a devastating lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cape Town film industry is regrouping for recovery this summer.

Eased travel regulations into the country could potentially mean an uptake in business during the usually busy summer season.

It’s not out of the woods yet as the persistent pandemic means innovation will also be required.

Adapting to technology

Producer Warren Ferreira and his team at TinToy Films have recently completed two international jobs, both being handled remotely.

“I think we going to see more of that during peak season,” Ferreira said during a chat with Film Cape Town.

TinToy Films at work

He believes the industry’s ability to dial in international clients in real-time will be advantageous.

“I think we’d look back and say we improved the way we work and communicate,” Ferreira.

TinToy is a Cape Town-based full-service film production company with a focus on TV commercials, music videos and short films.

Like many companies, TinToy has had to adapt to a new normal which comes with health protocols.

Health and safety protocols

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document, developed by the City of Cape Town, has helped keep the wellbeing of staff, cast and crew a top priority.

Castme Talent Agency founder and owner Mireille Santillan
Mireille Santillan

Castme Talent Agency founder Mireille Santillan said the protocols have been key in terms of things running smoothly this year.

Santillan said that Castme Talent has focused on refining its self-tape audition process.

“Self-Tapes for Castings have been a tiresome procedure. But we keep training and keep pushing.”

But for Santillan, adjusting is nothing new. With 27 years of experience, she has lived through many changes and the evolution of the industry.

A few international shoots which they have worked on have all been done remotely with clients keeping a virtual eye on the process.

It’s an approach that is paying off and a similar methodology will be needed for success over summer.

Resilient and recover

The Cape Town film industry prides itself on being solution-driven and innovative. This proactive approach has been adopted by everyone across the board.

The Gambit Films team was in the middle of filming when the pandemic hit in March.

When they resuming two months later, the landscape had completely changed.

“We were trying to figure out how to keep going, move forward while we keep our people safe and give them peace of mind,” said Gambit Films CEO Bradley Joshua.

Gambit Films CEO Bradley Joshua talking to Film Cape Town about Blood and Water, COVID-19 and future of local film industry
Bradley Joshua

The set of Indemnity, at the time based at the Cape Town Stadium, was one of the first to implement COVID-19 healthy and safety protocols.

Joshua indicated crew in Cape Town have bought into the safety protocols.

This, coupled with a relatively low infection rate and eased travel regulations, makes the city a perfect destination for international clients this summer, he said.

In addition, the City of Cape Town has made available a variety of locations.

The interviewed filmmakers believe the way forward for the industry lies in partnerships, pushing towards resurgence and sharing new ideas.

By collaborating, the pair maintains, we’ll ensure that we’re ready for summer and the year to come.

For Cape Town production companies, crews and other service providers: