Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cape Town Film Studios: Croydon's newest neighbours

Anant Singh, Chairman of Cape Town Film Studios has announced the management team that will drive operations of the eagerly anticipated film studios. Nico Dekker, the former head and CEO of Table Mountain Motion Picture Studios, has been appointed CEO of Cape Town Film Studios and will be assisted by experienced general manager and deputy, Rashay Magan.

Singh said Cape Town Film Studios was fortunate to acquire Dekker’s services as he is South Africa’s most successful studio manager to date. “His extensive experience in managing a profitable studio will be invaluable as we get underway with Phase 1 of the multi-million rand Cape Town Film Studios”.

Commenting on his appointment, enthusiastic Dekker says, “I learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t under difficult circumstances whilst developing and running Table Mountain Motion Picture Studios and I believe I can add considerable value in my new role here.”

“This is a 10-year, multi-million rand project that has no equal in South Africa – it is the greatest investment in the South African film industry to date. This is not simply about building studios – it’s about establishing a home for film in South Africa that will benefit everyone. Our vision is for Cape Town Film Studios to be the bridge between the South African and the international film industry. Through active partnerships, we envisage bringing productions into the country that couldn’t previously be accommodated, as well as unlocking financial opportunities that were not available in the past,” he said.

Cape Town Film Studios are the first custom-built, Hollywood-style studios in South Africa’s history. The ownership structure of the studios is made up of a formidable team of shareholders including Videovision Entertainment (Anant Singh), Sabido Investments / etv (Marcel Golding), the Rico Trust, the Helderberg African Chamber of Commerce and Wesgro, the Western Cape’s investment and trade promotion agency.

Other new members of the Cape Town Film Studios team appointed include Fadiel Martin as Accountant and Diana-Jane Weaver as Administrator and PA.

As the management team settles in, Phase 1 of construction is already well underway. Foundations at the site in Faure have already been laid in preparation for the commencement of work on the main building in late October 2008. Phase 1 is valued at a quarter of a billion rand and includes four stages of varying sizes (1 x 2100m2, 1 x 1200m2 and 2 x 1850m2), plus production offices of 1,500m2 and workshop space in excess of 2,800m2. This first phase is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2010.

The tender for the construction of the internal boulevard has been awarded while the winning tender for the supply of civil engineering services will be announced soon. Tender information is available online at www.capetownfilmstudios.co.za.

In preparation for the construction of the studio buildings, earthworks of approximately 180,000m³ of filling material was used during June, July and August to create building platforms and berms. A portion of the earthworks originated on-site – recycled earth - while the rest was imported from commercial sand mines located close to the site.

“Cape Town Film Studios is unique to South Africa because it will be a part of a mixed-use film city that includes commercial and light industrial spaces. We have taken Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom as one of the models for a self-sufficient, fully-integrated ‘film city’. The industry in the Western Cape is going from strength to strength. Not only has a new local television station been launched but we continue to attract top-notch productions each year. We compare very favourably with the likes of Miami, Buenos Aires and Atlanta,” says Singh.

Singh also announced that a waiting list for future property owners and tenants has been opened and emphasised that CTFS will strive to achieve the tenant mix that is best-suited to meet the demands of the industry and of the productions that use the studios.

“This will truly be an all-encompassing, one-stop production centre that offers the possibility to do business and live with the stars,” confirms Dekker. “It is an exciting time to be based in the Western Cape if you work in the movie industry. As they say in the classics: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’”

Any party wishing to express their interests in either:
• property purchases, or
• becoming involved in establishing a business on the studio site, or
• renting premises, or
• the use of the studios for production purposes
should contact the Cape Town Film Studios Office at: 021 462 1838 or email enquiries to: nico@capetownfilmstudios.co.za.

Log onto the CTFS website at www.capetownfilmstudio.co.za for more information.