Jehad calls film community to action

Former Mitchells Plain resident Jehad Kasu speaks at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

When Jehad Kasu, who grew up in Mitchell’s Plain, took to the stage at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), he called on the South African and Chinese governments to expedite the signing of the official co-production treaty between the two countries, saying the process had been held up by red tape.

Mr Kasu, who now lives in Rondebosch East, is the marketing and communications director of the Cape Town International Film Market and Festival (CTIFMF).

He also spoke about the continuing partnership between the CTIFMF and China’s Global Max Media Group, saying the partnership was pivoted on the “people to people exchange mechanism” entered into between South Africa and China in 2017 through their respective arts and culture departments, in an effort to exchange knowledge in the fields of tourism, education and culture.

“The time has now come for intentions to be converted into action. As such, we call on our respective governments to formalise and expedite an official co-production treaty between South Africa and China,” he said.

“While we understand and appreciate that there are many diplomatic, policy and other considerations that are tangled up in red tape, due diligence and administrative processes, more and more clear evidence demonstrates that the film industry is an underrated catalyst for job creation and economic growth.”

Mr Kasu said the country already had a good working relationship with China in other sectors and that South African films would be able to generate more income,
citing the size of the Chinese market.

“Films often only break-even at the South African box office but if the same film shows in China and does moderately okay, it would generate more income,” he said.

Last year CTIFMF announced its collaboration with the China-Africa International Film Festival (CAIF) aimed at strengthening the exchange of learning culture between China and Africa, through film.

Mr Kasu also reiterated the call that was made at last year’s CTIFMF for the private sector to partner with film promotion agencies, commissions and platforms such as the CTIFMF and SIFF and pledge real resources to a severely underfunded industry in order to fast-track the extraction of sustainable economic, social and cultural value for our respective countries.

He said the private sector was not coming to the party and said there was a severe lack of understanding on how businesses could benefit in terms of monetary value.

“The sector is not being viewed as an ‘investible’ sector. There are ways to cultivate the risk,” said Mr Kasu.

Mr Kasu said they were looking at bringing in experts from overseas to hold discussions with the private sector on how they could benefit through their investments. He said while government was coming to the party by offering incentives, more was needed and this is where the private sector would come in.

The National Film and Video Foundation and the Beijing Film Academy recently entered into a five-year Student Exchange programme and the CTIFMF would like these kinds of collaborative efforts to serve as the training ground for the development of inter-cultural content created between China and South Africa.

This year’s Cape Town International Film Market and Festival takes place from Tuesday October 9 to Friday October 19. For more information visit www.filmfest.
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