Why South Africa?
stand in for almost any region in the world. For filmmakers, South Africa offers excellent tax credits up to approximately 30%, which when combined with the exchange rate, holds incredible value for even the smallest independent films as well as the next Hollywood blockbuster. From urban cityscapes to majestic mountains, to beaches, jungles, and sweeping plains, South Africa can stand in for any country and any city in the world. A small perusal of some of the films and TV shows shot in South Africa demonstrates the global nature of its locations. South Africa stood in for Pakistan in the acclaimed TV series, Homeland. It was the Bahamas, United States, and London, for Michael Bay’s series Black Sails. The History Channel filmed the series Gettysburg here as well as Roots. Additionally, Cape Town supplanted Australia when filmmaker George Miller decided to bring Mad Max back to the big screen in 2015 with Fury Road. It stood in for other parts of Africa in Blood Diamond. Joss Whedon brought Avengers: Age of ultron to Johannesburg and said afterwards: “When you’re bringing a movie of this size, you need a government that’s going be welcoming, co-operative and give you the access to the city that you need. The government has been great, the city has been great and people have just opened their doors to us and we couldn’t have done it on this scale without that.” Finally, Cape Town played itself for the Denzel Washington film, Safe House, which was rewritten from Brazil to South Africa to take advantage of the incredible filmmaking climate in the country.
Cape Town is the heart of the South African film and commercial industry. Located on the Southwest coast of the country, the city is also considered one of the top 10 places to visit in the world. The city has a beautiful downtown area, picturesque beaches and harbors, and is located in the shadow of Table Mountain. Cape Town is also located next to South African Wine Country, which features breathtaking landscapes that can stand in perfectly for the USA or Europe. As the film and commercial production capitol, Cape Town has an incredible wealth of production resources and talented, experienced crew. Cape Town Studios has been the home to Black Sails, Mad Max, Resident Evil and Tomb Raider. These studios hold their own as being on par with facilities one would find in London or Hollywood, but at much less cost. Further, Cape Town is very production friendly and the local government does all it can to help keep permitting and approvals cheap, fast, and simple.
Johannesburg, or more affectionately called Joburg, is the capitol of the South African TV business. It has world class stages that host shows not just for South Africa, but are also the home to some of the biggest reality show franchises in other African countries (such as The Voice and Big Brother.) Johannesburg is the financial capitol of the country and features incredible cityscapes, skylines, and urban looks for TV or film. It is also located close to Krueger national park and the landscape outside Joburg is often used to stand in for places like Kenya, Tanzania, are other less production friendly locales across the African continent. In fact, Joburg was the home to some of the biggest scenes in the blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Director Joss Whedon could not have had better things to say about filming in Joburg:
“When you’re bringing a movie of this size, you need a government that’s going be welcoming, co-operative and give you the access to the city that you need. The government has been great, the city has been great and people have just opened their doors to us and we couldn’t have done it on this scale without that.”
Located on the Southeast coast, Durban is a tropical oasis. It can be a surfer’s paradise or the heart of the African jungle. In fact, it recently stood in for the jungles of Brazil. Durban has a gorgeous skyline that fronts beautiful white sand beaches. Outside the city you will find some of the most picturesque landscapes in Africa. Durban is the smallest of the three major cities but is also the closes to the traditional, independent Zulu Kingdom of Kwazulu. It’s size, however, does not diminish its production capabilities and has excellent production resources and local crew.