South African Minister for Arts and Culture Paul Mashatil and his Irish counterpart Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht signed the first Irish South African Co-production Treaty for Film at the Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday.
The Treaty aims to facilitate greater co-production opportunities between the two countries enabling both to benefit from joint access to local tax incentives, national film funding and broadcaster and regional subsidies. It will also open up access to local markets and create the opportunity to pool industry resources.
Commenting on the Treaty signing Minister Deenihan said “Co-production agreements matter because they open up new territories for film makers to explore and exploit. Today’s agreement aims to allow Irish film makers and production companies to forge closer links with their South African counterparts, for the benefit of both parties. South Africa has a growing film production industry, with recent box office successes to its name, and I would like to see closer links between Ireland and South Africa in growing our joint film sectors into the future.”
Minister Mashatile commented “I am pleased to be signing this agreement with Ireland. The creative industry, which includes film, forms part of South Africa’s drive to use the Arts to tell our own stories and more importantly create sustainable employment.
This partnership will bring new opportunities for the talent that we have in our country, so that they and the industry, reach its full potential. It will also allow creatives from both countries to share experiences and jointly develop content.
South African film makers have earned a place on the international stage, through relationships like this one, we will continue to support them and our future story tellers.”
The Treaty signing was attended by a large number of Irish and South African producers who were attending the Cannes International Film Festival this week.
There have been a number of Irish South African co-productions over the years including John Boorman’s Country of My Skull which was produced by Merlin Films and starred Juliette Binoche and Samuel L Jackson and Gilles McKinnon’s Tara Road which starred Andie McDowell and was produced by Ferndale Films. A more recent Irish-South African co-production was The Good Man which was produced by Irish production company Treasure Entertainment (Man About Dog). Projects that are currently in development that are envisaged to be future co-productions with South Africa include Treasure’s 30 Eggs and Samson Films (Once) 6 Hours which is written by Michael Lavelle.
International co-productions also bring cultural benefits allowing for the increased exploitation of Irish films in co-production territories and growing international audiences for Irish stories.
South Africa boasts a growing indigenous film production industry with the territory becoming a key production location. Recent high profile projects made in South Africa or with South African co-producers include Clint Eastwood’s Invictus which starred Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman and the Oscar nominated District 9 which was produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings).
The co-production treaty between Ireland and South Africa presents many opportunities for Irish and South African filmmakers to exploit in the future.
Source: Merrion Street