Information Communication Technology (ICT) and film incubator, the Eastern Cape Information Technology Initiative (ECITI) is stepping up its small business support to entrepreneurs in the film sector.
Film is considered a growth sector in the Eastern Cape with a growing number of entrepreneurs moving to the province to pursue careers in film-making. Film-sector entrepreneurs currently make up a sizeable number of the 16 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) being supported by ECITI.
Some of these entrepreneurs are already making their mark in the sector. Part of the Eastern Cape Information Technology Initiative (ECITI) incubator programme, film incubate Ocean Media in 2010 developed an international film production in Bamako, Mali with a Haitian film maker based in Senegal.
Ocean Media co-operative member, Pule Molebatsi, explains that they plan to “take it to all film festivals around the world.”
“When I was in Bamako I was invited to France to meet with film commissioning editors. It’s an opportunity to find a market for the film and for locally produced EC films.”
“We also received significant assistance from ECITI providing us with film making equipment for the Bamako project,” says Molebatsi.
Another film-maker taking advantage of the growth in the Eastern Cape film sector is Swayani Films’ Bonganjalo Marala. While working as a freelance film-maker in Cape Town, Bonganjalo Marala realised that most film content came from the Eastern Cape.
Bonganjalo saw this as an opportunity to move to the Eastern Cape and stand a better chance of exploiting the opportunities in the film sector presented by the province. Bonganjalo was convinced that the Eastern Cape had many more fascinating yet untold stories that could make it on a national and international stage.
In 2009 Bonganjalo registered Swayani Films and moved to the Eastern Cape. Swayani Films is a multimedia company that focuses on social documentaries as well as corporate videos. His main aim is to make films that portray and help safeguard the rich heritage of the Xhosa culture and traditions. Linked to this, is his desire to contribute to raising awareness and developing the youth through the medium of film.
Subsequently, Bonganjalo came across ECITI from another incubate Ocean Media to help Swayani Films ensure that it has the right tools and platforms to fulfill its objectives.
“Joining ECITI has added enormous value for the company by helping it generate new revenue streams and clients, sharpening skills and improving the quality of our work.
“For us ECITI is moving ideas giving small businesses the tools to realize these ideas. In essence, the incubator has been the glue that has been missing,” says Bonganjalo.
He says ECITI has provided Swayani Films with access to office facilities, subsidized rental, internet access and linkages to the Film industry. The incubator has also created a space for Swayani to network, access to workshops and to develop its marketing and business management.
“For example, ECITI recently sponsored us to go to the Durban International Film festival which exposed us to the latest technological advances in the industry. We were also able to link up with other broadcasters and we are now aware of the standards required in the industry,’ explains Bonganjalo.
Bonganjalo says the company currently employs staff on a project basis and “although the business has not translated into significant financial gains as yet, I have no doubt that the skills we have gained place on a positive and sustainable path.”
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