South Africa has a vibrant, growing film industry that is increasingly competitive internationally. Local and foreign filmmakers are taking advantage of the country's diverse, unique locations – as well as low production costs and favourable exchange rate, which make it up to 40% cheaper to make a movie here than in Europe or the US and up to 20% cheaper than in Australia.
The jewel in the industry's crown is Tsotsi, Gavin Hood's gritty drama about a young gangster in Soweto, near Johannesburg, which won an Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2006. The award, coming on the heels of an Oscar nomination for Yesterday, the story of the struggles of an HIV-positive mother, and U Carmen E Khayelitsha, a Xhosa-language film which won the Golden Bear award at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival, has cemented South Africa's reputation for creative, quality film making.
Building on this reputation, a string of successful big budget international productions have been filmed here, including Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lord of War. Starring Nicholas Cage as a global arms dealer, Lord of War showcases South Africa's wealth of breath-taking locations - with Cape Town appearing as 57 different settings in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere.
Opportunities abound, with the makers of movies, commercials and other productions being attracted by South Africa's highly skilled film crews and technicians, excellent technical capacity and infrastructure - as well as the good weather.
I have 5 locally produced movies in development phase to present to agents, distributors and financiers in LA. My meetings are already set up with a LA Talent Agency. I have to finalise my portfolio of which 2/3rds has been done and get to LA as soon as I can.
I have feature film packaged, budgets, teaser files, agreements etc ready just to finalise and go.
An investor getting on board now will be seen as an executive producer and have points in all the films that I am successful with.
The movies I am going with are almost all based on true stories and a couple with African themes, portraying the diverse culture of our country with its rainbow nation, rich minerals and agriculture and locations that take my breath away every time I travel.
These movies will be produced in South Africa but be sold, distributed and invested in internationally. All of them have the potential to be box office hits.