S.Africa film boom draws Charlize Theron

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South Africa’s fast-growing film industry has hit a milestone with its largest commercial production to date, starring homegrown Hollywood actress Charlize Theron, the trade minister has said.

South African-born, Oscar-winning actress Theron is currently shooting a fourth “Mad Max” film, “Fury Road”, in Cape Town — which has also hosted the likes of fellow Academy Award winners Hilary Swank and Denzel Washington.

“This film is significant because it is the largest commercial film that has been produced in South Africa,” said Minister Rob Davies at the Cape Town Film Studios, which opened two years ago.

“It’s a major Hollywood production. Its presence here is going to be creating 800 jobs in South Africa for the duration of that particular film. So I think this marks a milestone in an evolving programme of support for the film industry.”

South Africa’s film industry has more than trebled its contribution to the economy to eight billion rand between 2008 and 2012, up from 2.4 billion rand over the previous four years.

The country offers incentives to draw films and hosted 49 productions between 2004 and 2008, of which 52 percent were foreign. Since 2008, it has approved 271 productions.

The incentives include rebates on local spending, such as 20 percent for investments by foreign films — which Davies said had made the country a competitive destination. He said more than 30,000 jobs had been created.

“South Africa is now very, very well-positioned, and that is beginning to have an impact in terms of the films that are produced here and the jobs that those films create in South Africa. So this is a significant growth sector,” said Davies.

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