• Bob

First SA-China film co-production is underway

Director Darrell Roodt and myself took the Chinese producers to Lesedi Cultural Village just north of Joburg

The working title of our film is 'Love Birds.' Since we are structuring it as a co-production, we will need to shoot 21 days and at least half the movie in South Africa. The rest will be shot in Qinghai Province China. It gets pretty cold over there in the foothills of the Himalayas and so we plan to shoot in May and June 2019. But first, we'll visit Beijing in early April for a formal meet and greet.

Darrell Roodt and I had fun showing the two Chinese producers the film industry in Joburg. We watched 10 minutes of his film, The Furnace, at Cut and Paste Post Production Studio. It's looking pretty damn good.

We took a trip to Pretoria to meet Mr. Zhou Yong, Cultural Attache, at the Chinese embassy.

To understand the SA co-production rebate opportunities we visited the Department of Trade and Industry, also in Pretoria.

Here we are having breakfast with Desmond Mthembu and Mak Mogoba of the Gauteng Film Commission.

Checking out Lesedi Cultural Village - this wasn't just a tourist attraction, we are planning to include more of an African flavour in the screenplay so this was a bit of research.

Darrell, Wen Yang and Zoe finding the perfect shot.

Darrell took us to meet Eric at Rapid Lion, Eric used to be an actor but now runs the BRICS film festival. We hope our movie will open the festival next year.

Greig Buckle of Enigma Pictures, the SA producing partner, and I showed them around Cape Town. Here we are having dinner at the Waterfront.

We visited the Cape Town Film Studios where we had a good chat with Nico Dekker and Makkie Slamong. Makkie gave me a tour of the studios last year March where I saw the Samson, Black Sails and Eye in the Sky sets. I told him I was going to be bringing the Chinese to shoot here and so I was happy to see him again, this time following through on what I'd said before.

The studios are currently hosting the HBO show, Warrior, which is set in 1870's San Francisco China Town. The Chinese love period pieces and so I was very keen to show the producers how we dress period sets in SA. Genevieve Hofmeyr, the boss at Moonlighting Films, was kind enough to show us the Warrior backlot, a rare privilege.

Ridley Scott is shooting Raised by Wolves there and the production is so big that they've taken over the entire office. Nico and Makkie have moved into a makeshift office space rendered out of shipping containers. That's selfless dedication!

We also headed over to Atlantic Studios which mostly does local TV shows, but have done some big movies like Tomb Raider. Luhann Groenewald gave us the tour.

One of the Atlantic sets. I think this is Suidoosters, but I could be wrong.

Lauren Van Rensburg, the GM at Refinery, showed us her very state-of-the-art and secure post production studios. When Disney, Sony and Paramount are shooting in Africa, this is where they come to do post.

Our trip went off pretty well and I think we achieved a lot. I'm in touch with 3 journalists who will be publicizing the project. Darrell and I are now working on making the script more South African so it ticks the co-production boxes. The only slightly negative aspect of the trip was the Chinese food!

The dumplings in Cyrildene China Town were less than impressive.

But hopefully the baijiu made up for it.

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