The year 2015 ended on an interesting note for the Eastern Cape Information Technology Initiative (ECITI) and its partners in the film sector. Having hosted the inaugural Eastern Cape Film Festival in August and three successful Eastern Cape Film Forum film screenings and workshops in Queenstown (Chris Hani), Stutterheim (Amathole) and Uitenhage (Nelson Mandela Bay); this showed the organisation’s determined resolve to lead the transformation of the sector. Our commitment to the sector is geared to not only ensure that filmmakers have a fair shot of survival and are profitable, but to demonstrate its potential impact on local economic development.
Our municipalities continue to lose potential revenue owing to the absence or non-enforcement of by-laws for the sale of filming permits to film production houses. This lost income could be invested in developing local filmmakers and encouraging the generation of home-grown content. This move has become crucial for the survival and growth of the sector as it has been reported that “local and foreign filmmakers are taking advantage of the country's diverse, unique locations –as well as low production costs and favourable exchange rate, which make it cheaper to make a movie here than in Europe or the United States of America”.
Hence, ECITI and its partners are more determined to drive empowerment campaigns for filmmakers and municipalities to ensure that no income is lost. Our programme in this regard will begin in February and interventions will be outlined in due course.
Another notable milestone in 2015 was the launch of the Chris Hani District satellite office and subsequently the Chris Hani District Information Communication Technology (ICT) Forum. We ended the year with firm plans to establish capacity building programmes for small, micro and medium enterprise (SMME), and drive innovation and infrastructure development in the region. Among the steering committee resolutions is to rollout information and awareness campaigns about the ICT Forum within the eight local municipalities in the district and this will be a focal point of engagement in 2016.
To you the reader, enjoy our first issue of the ICT Nerve. Let us connect and engage on how we can transform the ICT and media sectors while empowering our SMMEs.
Kamnandi,Mncedi T. Mgwigwi