Cape Town – Africa’s film destination of choice

Cape Town – Africa’s film destination of choice

Cape Town is a popular destination for international film makers, not least of all because of the reliable weather, unrivalled variety of spectacular locations, stunning scenery and great value.

The film production sector adds value to a wide range of additional sectors in the local economy by creating a demand for products and services – with links to the tourism sector being particularly strong.

The city issued more than 6 700 permits in 2014 for a range of feature films, television productions and photo shoots, among other categories.

A number of local and international movies and series are also on the cards, including ‘Stone Cold Jane Austen’, ‘Eye in the Sky’ and ‘The Curse of Hendon’ – all from the USA; ‘Fear Factor’ India; and ‘Endless River’, ‘Ace Hunter’ and ‘Submarine’, which are local productions.

The streets of Cape Town are also popular for car commercials, with the most recent being shoots for Volkswagen and Toyota. Currently, commercials for Opel, Renault, BMW and Kia are being shot around the city, as well as numerous magazine and fashion photo-shoots taking place mainly for the northern hemisphere summer ranges.

‘This booming industry ensures valuable skills transfer from international crews to our local crews, which is critical to the future sustainability of the industry. The exponential growth in this lucrative industry has led the City to explore other options to expand the current capacity for the film industry.

‘Although some shoots can be a bit disruptive, we can safely say the majority of Capetonians are quite star-struck with the number of famous faces being sighted around the city. The impact of this industry on the local economy makes the temporary disruption worthwhile. Added to that are some of our residents who get the chance to be extras in the films and quite possibly use this as a launch-pad to Hollywood or Bollywood,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Councillor Garreth Bloor.

The local film industry contributes approximately R5 billion to the economy and has over the past three years created more than 35 000 jobs. It is a labour intensive industry and therefore has a long value chain. The film production sector also adds value to a wide range of other sectors in the local economy through the creation of demand for products and services. The industry showcases Cape Town, its diversity of locations, technical film capacity and talent, and also provides value-added marketing and investment collateral for the city.

Cape Town’s downtown streets are commonly used as production locations because they work as many different cities in the world, while iconic buildings are always in demand as they have character. The iconic Artscape Theatre was turned into the American embassy for the series ‘Homeland’. One of the most popular sites has been the cut-off freeway on the foreshore, which is the biggest unintended boon to the film industry.

The City’s competitive film tariffs and user charges for filming ensure that Cape Town remains an attractive option in terms of production costs. The tariff structure acts as an incentive and in so doing helps to stimulate the local economy through generating increased opportunities for both local and international production companies. A host of subsidiary industries and sectors that support film-making in the city also stand to benefit.

‘The film industry plays a vital role in the economy of the Western Cape. It stimulates growth, generates substantial employment, and brings in valuable foreign exchange. It is also one of the best forms of promotion for our city,’ added Councillor Bloor.

Here is a list of some popular movies and series shot in Cape Town in recent years:

Homeland (2014 – Claire Danes)
The Last Face (2014 – Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Jean Reno)
The Giver (2014 – Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep)
Grimsby (2014 – Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Penélope Cruz, and Ian McShane)
Black Sails (2014)
Unearthed (2014)
Konfetti (2014)
SAF3 (2013)
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
Cold Harbour (2013)
Crumbs (2013)
Dredd (2012 – Karl Urban, Lena Headey)
Safe House (2012 – Denzel Washington)
Dark Tide (2012 – Halle Berry)
Chronicle (2012 – Dane DeHaan)
Invictus (2009 – Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman)
Amelia (2009 – Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor)
24: Redemption (2008 – Kiefer Sutherland)
Cavegirl (2008 – Thora Birch)
Doomsday (2008 – Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins)
Oliver Cromwell (2008 – Dominic West)
Rendition (2007 – Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal)
Hitman (2007 – Timothy Olyphant)
Ask the Dusk (2006 – Colin Farrell, Salma Hayek, Donald Sutherland)
Blood Diamond (2006 – Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connolly, Arnold Vosloo)
Catch a Fire (2006 – Tim Robbins)
Lord of War (2005 – Nicholas Cage, Bridget Moynahan, Jared Leto)
Slipstream (2005 – Sean Austin, Ivana Milicevic, Vinnie Jones)
Wake of Death (2004 – Jean-Claude van Damme)
The Piano Player (2002 – Christopher Lambert, Dennis Hopper)
Ryan’s Daughter (1970 – Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills)

For more information on film permits, call +27 21 417 4022, or e-mail

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