When anyone experiences a big American blockbuster film it is very hard to not think of Hollywood as the driving force behind it.
Hollywood and movie making are synonymous today and represent the golden era of film where many movies were shot inside lush studios and locations in around Southern California. Since then however, budgets have been slashed and filmmakers have looked for newer, cost effective locations that resemble the same Hollywood friendly look for their bloclbusters.
Josh Lew , in his article in Mother Nature Network, has singled out Cape Town as one of these locations and destinations that are fast becoming one of the most popular locations in the world. Just in the past ten years, we've seen a diverse and escalating number of films being shot in Cape Town and utilising the local film industry and talent.
While Vancouver, Canada. Eastern Europe, Portugal and New Zealand have also seen a rise in film crew traffic, Cape Town remains one of defining spots in Africa.
Lew credits the city's reasonably priced labor, unique settings, experienced film crews and support staff, and a diverse population for becoming the southernmost African metropolis and a major destination for film and television production companies of all sizes.
In his article, he says “The downtown area of Cape Town is in especially high demand thanks to its chameleon-like buildings, which are fitting stand-ins for buildings in many major cities on Earth. Star-seeking tourists have a good chance of running into a film set if they stroll the downtown streets.”
he lists statistics that prove that the city is indeed on a rise with more than 11 500 locations sites booked in the past year and 7372 filming permits being signed and issued in the past 12 months. The city has provided a place for domestic films and shows as well as music video and commercial shoots to do business and also promote the city.
Award winning productions like Homeland are currently filming in Cape Town, and the 2012 Denzel Washington-headed thriller Safe House was set and filmed in the city, a first for South Africa.
This is all in addition to big blockbusters like Leonardo DiCaprio's Blood Diamonds, District 9 Dredd and Invictus. Lew suggests that there are rumours that a large part of the next James Bond film will be set in and filmed in Cape Town.
“Cape Town's growing reputation as a filming destination is bringing much more than glamour and status. In fact, the push to lure films here has little to do with catching some sort of a silver screen buzz and everything to do with economics and industry development.”
He acknowledges that the earning potential for Cape Town goes well beyond the fees collected for filming permits. “Major productions give their foreign crews a per diem, which is money that is spent at local restaurants and shops. Cape Town locals, from camera operators and set designers to extras and personal assistants, are regularly hired for projects large and small. People with experience in these niches are getting a steady stream of lucrative work,” he writes.
He concludes: “Even if the buzz dies down and some other city takes over the title of hottest new filming destination, Cape Town will still enjoy some lasting benefits from its time in the spotlight.”