Triggerfish Animation Studios walked away from the Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards (PERA) as Overall Winner, along with the titles of Business of the Year and Business with Global Reach. CEO Stuart Forrest explains how film is transforming business on the continent.
4) Definitely. Explain how film can be a key economic driver in Africa.
Forrest: Film has several ways of being an economic driver. Our first two films, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, have proven that South African films can make a profit and sell worldwide. They were translated into over 27 languages and licensed in over 150 countries, generating gross revenues over R1bn between box office and home entertainment.
The National Film and Video Foundation’s 2012 Economic Baseline study valued the South African film industry at R3.5bn, but the study wasn’t able to accurately measure income generated after production, so it under-represents the sector’s potential value. Film also has an economic multiplier effect of 2.81, so for every one rand spent in the film industry, an additional R1.89 is generated in the industries that service the sector.
Film is labour intensive so it employs a lot of people. In animation especially, there are many different areas of expertise, it’s a great way for us to capitalise on our amazing creative and technical talent.
Film storytelling also has a cultural benefit and assists in promoting social cohesion. Every culture has its stories, and we need to be able to tell those stories. When I say culture, I mean South African culture in its broadest sense, which I think in many ways as a nation we’re still trying to define.
Finally, there’s room in the world entertainment industry to hear a voice from other parts of the world. None of the emerging market territories have been very successful at producing global entertainment, and I think we’re uniquely positioned to do this. The PR benefit is that people around the world can see that South Africa has highly capable talent, and this can lead to more consideration around investment, tourism and trade. There’s a saying that ‘trade follows film’ – part of why the US supported Hollywood was because they understood this, that if they could export their culture, it would be easier to then export their other products.