Cape Town film industry resilient during COVID-19

2 July 2020

The Cape Town film industry has shown resilience during the COVID-19 crisis and continuing business in spite of the pandemic.

The industry successfully lobbied for the resumption of filming under level 4. This after the nationwide lockdown forced the closure of many productions in March.

Crews have rebuilt sets and picked up their equipment to resume filming under strict COVID-19 compliance regime as stipulated in the Cape Town Film Office’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Security guard at Cape Town Stadium checks JP Smith's temperature

Safety on set a priority

The strict hygiene protocols were in full effect when the City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith visited the South African action film Indemnity, currently being shot at the Cape Town Stadium.

“The well-being of staff, cast and crew on set remains a priority.I was screened twice and had my temperature checked three times during my visit to the set at the Cape Town Stadium,” said Smith

“The industry is very resilient and has adapted to the new normal very quickly with a seamless transition.”

The SOP document serves as a guideline for the film industry in dealing with COVID-19 and outlines the basic technical measures companies have to put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and to protect their employees.

The measures are in line with national regulations and international best practice. They include mandatory COVID-19 risk assessments and constant cleansing of work spaces, equipment and transportation.


Smith said he was encouraged by the cohesion in the production value chain to ensure the sector continues to produce and retain jobs.

The industry has taken a knock as a result of the global crisis however production companies are still getting work.

The film permit office has issued 70 film permits since the resumption of filming under level 4.

In total, the office has issued 5 245 permits since last July. It received more than 11 000 film bookings during the reporting year.

City support for industry

Smith acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 has hobbled business over the last four months.

“It is important for us to work with the industry to get it back on its feet. This is a sector that contributes around R3,5-billion a year to the local economy and we want it to continue to grow post the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said additional assistance for the industry is under discussion within the City.  This included, among others, assisting with promoting the city as a world-class film destination, lowering tariffs or other avenues.