Posted 10 May 2009 - 12:39 AM
I was curious about just where in Africa you could shoot a major film and I ran across this story on a new South African studio being built near Capetown.
Construction recently started to turn 200 hectares of land, near pristine wetlands and lush Cape vineyards, into Africa's first state-of-the art studio worthy of Hollywood or Bollywood. Cape Town Film Studios, initially named Dreamworld, lies 25 kilometres east of its namesake city. It is the country's largest ever investment in its film industry, which employs more than 20,000 people. The project, estimated at R430 million funded by shareholders and a R30 million investment by the Western Cape government, has been five years in the making. The first stage should take shape within a year and construction completed by February 2010.
Such an investment during a global recession does not daunt Dekker, who has confidence in South Africa's varied locations, lower production costs and what he touts as highly skilled crews. Already parts of the 2008 film "10,000 BC", the 2006 hit "Blood Diamond" and movies starring big names like Steven Seagal, Juliette Binoche and Andie MacDowell have been filmed here. "People don't come to South Africa only for the locations," he said."Now you can shoot through winter so you attract a different kind of production."
The only other African country with a bustling film industry is Nigeria, but its films are low-budget, mobile, non-studio productions shot on video which are often pirated as soon as they hit the streets.
Morocco has a big film studio in Ourzazate, which has hosted productions such as the 2006 film "Babel" with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, but is not on the scale of Cape Town Film Studios.
Jamaica is also a well-known location for U.K. crews not wanting to travel all the way to Africa. The Pacific Coast of Mexico also provides a great jungle, but not all the news out of Mexico these days would attract a production company. If a producer wanted to shoot in the states, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana can all provide African-looking locations and generous tax incentives.
Maybe Davis, being a French company, has connections with some of the African countries that were formally French colonies. Anyway you look at it, shooting a major production on location in Africa won't be cheap.
A wild moon rode in the wild white clouds,
the waves their white crests showed
When Solomon Kane went forth again,
and no man knew his road.
"Solomon Kane's Homecoming"