South Africa, Hollywood’s other studio

Julian CleophasOctober 14, 20159min250


When you read the headline to this article you thought “bold statement”, right?

Well, as it stands geographically and financially, South Africa is well positioned as an attractive international destination. There are multiple reasons for this, some of which are the affordable production packages being offered by South African film studios and the nations magnificent landscapes cum locations. 

With world class expertise accompanied by great climate, friendly people and locations capable of looking like almost anywhere in the world, it is no wonder South Africa’s become the hot spot for shooting international film and TV series. 

So why has South Africa become so popular?

Allow me to give you the low down on why South Africa is tailored for your next production…

In recent years, South Africa has seen rapid growth for internationally produced TV series. Accommodating productions like Black Sails (returning for season 2), Bluestone 42, SAF 3, Homeland (season 4), The Bachelor Germany and Sweden’s Next Top Model to name just a few.

When it comes to feature films, South Africa is no stranger. The South African film industry also saw growth in this sector, with films like Resident Evil: Final Chapter (now filming in Cape Town), Prisoner of War (Johan Kruger), Unfriend (Two Oceans Productions), Book of Negroes (Out Of Africa) and Momentum (Anton Ernst) all being filmed in South Africa.

pirate ship

Black Sails Set at Cape Town Film Studios

Would it be normal to drive on the highway and see a huge pirate ship inland nearby Cape Town International Airport? If you saw this unusual structure, that would be the set of international TV series, Black Sails at Cape Town Film Studios. Don’t be surprised to walk through Cape Town CBD and see a whole street converted into a German traffic setting, New York or even Pakistan! So, to lure you closer to South African shores, listed below are a few key points to make you reconsider your next destination.

Exchange Rate

Economically, South Africa does not boast the strongest currency in the world, with a currency conversion of around ZAR 13 to the US Dollar and about ZAR 20 to the British Pound, it should be no surprise why international productions are choosing South Africa. According to Film, South Africa saw a 30 % growth in the film sector over the last 3 years.


The South African Department of Trade and Industry, offers a Foreign Film and Television Production and Post-Production incentive for shooting on location. The rebate amounts can vary, but in a nutshell, the incentive is calculated at 20% for Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) with a cap of ZAR 50 million, adding post-production gets you an increasing 22, 5% incentive for Qualifying South African Post Production Expenditure (QSAPPE) of ZAR 1, 5 million. Shooting in South Africa and accompanying post production with a QSAPPE of ZAR 3million and more will receive 25% rebate.

Co-Production Treaties

South Africa currently has co-production treaties with Ireland, Australia, Germany, Canada, Italy, United Kingdom, New Zealand and France. The finer details on these treaties vary from country to country and can best be explained on the South African Film Commission website.

Zoom-in, Africa's First Film Blog,

Cape Town Film Studios


South Africa is bursting with creative talent and experienced crew, due to a long history of international commercials and features being done in the country. As a result, South Africa has the biggest creative pool of experienced crew and talent in Africa.


Looking at South Africa’s geographical position in the Southern Hemisphere’s Tropical Zone, the country experiences excellent weather conditions. Whether it is winter or summer, South Africa has an average of 8-10 hours of sunshine daily. The coldest time of the year is in July and August, with certain mountainous parts of South Africa collecting snow and experiencing frosty weather conditions.

“Safe House” filming Denzil Washington in Cape Town

To conclude,  South Africa had the pleasure of welcoming Principal film executives from  Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros and the Producers Guild in 2014, who embarked on a ten day tour of the country, meeting government representatives, industry professionals and visiting local production houses and facilities. As a result, the influx of more international productions have grown for the beautiful nation of South Africa.

This is a follow up to our “South African Production Insight” article, on filming in South Africa. Below is a small list of international productions shot in South Africa in 2014, also known as “Mzansi” among the locals.

Film & TV Series Shot In South Africa In 2014







HOMELAND SEASON 4 (Moonlighting)


BLUE STONE 42 (UK-Windfall Films)


BOOK OF NEGROES  (Out Of Africa)


MOMENTUM (Anton Ernst)

Would you agree with my statement that South Africa is Hollywood’s new playground?





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