Entries tagged with “Film”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   More than 7000 film permits were issued in 2013, demonstrating Cape Town’s popularity as a film destination. New City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Garreth Bloor says that the film industry contributes R 5 billion to our economy, and created 35000 jobs in the past three years.  The fourth season of the American TV series ‘Homeland‘ is being filmed in Cape Town at the moment, while Sean Penn’s ‘The Last Face’ will be filmed in the next few months, starring Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem.  In the past year 11500 locations and 12000 shooting sites were booked.  Some of the most popular locations for filming are the City’s Darling Street bank building, Artscape Theatre, and the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

*   Brent Perremore from Orphanage Cocktail Emporium has won the Diageo Reserve 2014 World Class National Final as best mixologist in South Africa, held at The Marly in Camps Bay yesterday. He will represent South Africa in the International Championships in Scotland.  Haroon Haffajee of Harry’s Bar in Durban came second and Marson Strydom of Buena Vista Social Café came third.

*   Fleur du Cap achieved good scores in the Tim Atkin 2014 South African Wine Report, released on (more…)

The Cape Film Commission, promoting filmmaking in Cape Town and surrounds and assisting production companies with permits for shoots, has publicly criticised Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism, for no longer supporting the Film Commission, and for handing over the R 4 million to Wesgro, the Western Cape Trade, Industry and Tourism development agency, reports the Cape Times.

Three months ago Minister Winde announced that monies would be allocated to Wesgro for the promotion of the Western Cape’s film industry. In making the announcement, he promised that Wesgro would ‘aggressively’ market the Western Cape as a film destination, ‘to encourage as many international block-busters and commercials to be funded in the Western Cape’, would ‘facilitate access’ to film rebates (from the DTI one assumes), encourage local ‘local content film making’, grow local film audiences, promote the Cape Town Film Studios for film and TV production, and collaborate with other local film-related bodies.

Cape Film Commission CEO Denis Lillie also criticised the Minister’s support of ‘Search for Sugar Man’, produced by a foreign filmmaker, but shot locally, and having been nominated for and winning the Academy Awards’ Oscar for Best Documentary.  He is quoted as saying that the Minister is ‘promoting a foreign film rather than using public money to support the commission in its promotion of the local (film) industry‘.

The Cape Film Commission took 25 local filmmakers to the Berlin film festival and the European film market in February.  This month it is taking 24 filmmakers to the Tribeca film festival in New York, and 20 filmmakers will be taken to Cannes in May.  The Cape Film Commission is considering legal action against the Minister, for breaching a promise of funding until 2015.  The Minister has not commented due to the legal action being taken by the Cape Film Commission.

While we have the highest regard for Minister Winde, we cannot understand why he is placing so much faith in Wesgro. In the 11 months since taking over Tourism marketing of the Western Cape from Cape Town Routes Unlimited, there has been zero visible action and result.  For an economy very badly hit by Seasonality both in Winter and during the early summer months, every marketing action possible is essential to help the tourism and hospitality industry survive the forthcoming winter!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The Sweet Service Award goes to Andrew Cowie of Deukom, who was very efficient in assisting with an upgrade to the Premier Smart Card for the German Bouquet, a process which had been most frustrating to sort out via Multichoice, a company which must have the worst call centre in the country!  Not only did Andrew get the signal sent, but he also followed up telephonically and by e-mail to see if all was working, and helped to get a second smart card set up for the same Deukom subscription.  Andrew helped cut through the ‘Germanness’ and bureaucracy of dealing with Deukom, being British but speaking a good German.

The Sour Service Award goes to ZDF and its screening of a two-part thriller ‘Verschollen am Kap’ (Lost in the Cape) on Monday and yesterday evening.  Clearly based in Cape Town, and filmed in the city centre, the 3-hour movie did not show any beautiful scenes of the city, and would be a major tourism deterrent for Cape Town, the movie implying that the public water supply could be poisoned, that Cape Town only has criminals living there, especially those with darker skin colour, that one can be tortured in Cape Town, that our city is not safe for young people, and that our hospitals are unsafe in that anyone can walk into a ward, dressed as a doctor, and inject a patient with a poison!  One wonders how the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) could have funded this movie, and how permission was given by the City of Cape Town and the Film Commission for filming such a tourism-damaging movie about our city!  The first part of the thriller was seen by close to 4 million ZDF viewers on Monday, on Germany’s third largest TV station.  TOP Productions and Media Film Services were local film companies involved in the production.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

A new music video for song ‘Paradise’ was shot in Cape Town and the Karoo, in-between the Cape Town and Johannesburg concerts of the alternative rock band Coldplay last week, reports The Times.  The music video is said to showcase the “natural beauty and vibrant culture of Cape Town and the Western Cape”, and could have an important tourism benefit.

The Cape Town Film Commission CEO Denis Lillie received a call from the band’s production company Cinergy the day after the Cape Town concert, requesting assistance with permission for filming on the following two days. The filming took place in the first week of summer in Cape Town, in perfect weather conditions.

The music video, for new Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto, is expected to be broadcast on MTV and other music video platforms, and will be an unusual way of marketing Cape Town, at no cost to the city’s tourism authorities.  Provincial Minister of Tourism, Alan Winde, said that it was ‘great news’ that the band had enjoyed being in South Africa. “It will also give a much needed boost of confidence for Cape Town tourism,” he added.

In a Kfm radio interview with drummer Will Champion, he used the word ‘beautiful’ a number of times to describe what an impact Cape Town had made on the band, the highlight being their trip up Table Mountain. He said that the city ‘was the ideal introduction to Africa’ for the band, it being their first visit to the continent.  He praised the ‘beautiful stadium’ in which they performed to a crowd of 50000 fans.

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin expressed his satisfaction with the shoot, and the ability of Cinergy, the Cape Town Film Commission, and the city’s film permit office to organise the shoot in such a short time. “It’s so much sunnier and warmer than where we come from”, Martin told the Johannesburg concert-goers, after Champion recommended shooting the music video in this country.  For the final part of the shoot, the band wore elephant masks at the Johannesburg concert.

The Cape Town location for the ‘Paradise’ Coldplay music video could not have been better chosen!

POSTSCRIPT 11/10: Cinergy Producer Amanda says that the Cape Town film locations are under wraps until the music video is released in the next 3 – 4 weeks.

POSTSCRIPT 19/10: The fabulous new ‘Paradise’ music video has been released today.  It tells the story of an ‘elephant’ leaving London, and flying to Cape Town, enjoying the city, and then unicycling in Paarl and in the Karoo (locations unspecified), but clearly on a game reserve, with buck and a giraffe for company.  It ends with scenes shot at the concert in Johannesburg, at which all band members wear elephant masks. The music video could not have been shot in a better location to match the ‘Paradise’ song title!  We say: You don’t need an advertising campaign for Cape Town, you need Coldplay!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Cape Town Tourism has been conducting a series of ‘Brand Cape Town’ workshops since late last year, to share with its members as well as bloggers and other stakeholders what the outcome has been of a brainstorming session to find a positioning for Cape Town and what it can/should be, and to focus its marketing activities, not only from a Tourism perspective, but also from a general Business approach. 

Scanning the external environment, it identified threats such as the economic crisis, global urbanisation, and a greater consciousness about the impact of flying on the environment and climate change.  It also faced the reality that the seasonality in Cape Town’s tourism industry, unique to our city compared to others in the country, reflects that Cape Town does not have enough business tourism, being the result perhaps of too large a focus on Leisure Tourism in the past, and too little on attracting businesspersons to have their meetings, events and conferences in Cape Town.  Comparing the positioning of major world cities, e.g. Paris is Romance, New York is Energy, London is Tradition, it has historically been Beauty for Cape Town. Through its analysis, it was identified that the positioning of Inspiration is an overarching one that can position Cape Town beyond its more narrow tourism focus, to a broader one, reflecting the strengths of the City in respect of beauty, freedom, innovation, hope, creativity, diversity, dreams, ideas, and solutions to problems.

We have been critical about what we have seen in print about the Brand Cape Town workshops, but a completely different picture emerged in the presentation, which I was invited to attend last week, the last in the process of sharing the outcome of the brainstorm, and in obtaining input to the content of the branding and marketing debate.  To justify the positioning of Inspiration, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold took the attendees through the various ways in which Cape Town inspires its citizens, its local visitors, and its international tourists.  It was an inspiring presentation, and afterwards I felt proudly Capetonian in having learnt a lot more about the achievements of our city and its people.  The following were some of the Inspiration highlights identified for Cape Town in the presentation:

*   Nelson Mandela took his first steps of freedom in Cape Town, and Cape Town should own this historic moment

*   quality education facilities, with four top class universities in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.  Stanford has set up a satellite campus in the city, and Harvard is said to follow suit.   UCT had been voted top university in Africa, and best value for Money MBA in world in a Financial Times survey

*   safe CBD

*   excellent and modern infrastructure, including the airport, the IRT bus system, the station, highways, and the Cape Town Stadium

*   ‘cosmopolitan entry point into South Africa and Africa’

*   Focus on Biodiversity, with the smallest but most bountiful floral kingdom.  Kirstenbosch has won gold or silver for the past 33 years at the Chelsea Flower Show in London

*   Excellent healthcare facilities, with pioneering medical leadership, including Dr Christiaan Barnard’s heart transplant world first

*   One of best value guest house and B&B cities, offering not only 5-star accommodation

*   An historic port city

*   The V&A is South Africa’s leading tourist destination, and has further development plans

*   The Green Point Urban Park

*   A living heritage in the Castle, the oldest building in South Africa

*   A historic showcase of creativity at the Iziko museums and galleries

*   Living contemporary culture with African and European roots, which is not gumboot dancing!

*   Rich music tradition, in goema and Cape Minstrel music, but also current, with Goldfish, Jack Parow, Freshly Ground, Kyle Shepherd, Locnville, Die Antwoord, and Abdullah Ibrahim.  The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has become a world event.

*   Sporting tradition, in hosting the world’s largest timed Argus Cycle race, and the Volvo Ocean Race includes Cape Town, and sportspersons such as Para-Olympic star Natalie du Toit, and the development of the paddleyak

*   A theatre tradition, with Athol Fugard receiving a Lifetime Achievement award at the Tony’s for his plays

*   Africa’s first billionaire and space traveller Mark Shuttleworth, and his Shuttleworth Foundation, supporting IT development.  Development of Silicon Cape.

*   Sustainability Institute of the University of Stellenbosch

*   The Cape Town International Convention Centre is the leading convention centre in Africa

*   The leading builder of twin-hull catamarans

*  The favourite film and photography location, because of the beauty of and good light in the city, and the potential of a James Bond movie being shot in the city

*  Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Past President FW de Klerk

*   Table Mountain, which is a finalist for the New7Wonders of the World

*   Visits by magnificent Southern Right whales, home to penguins

*   Environmentally-friendly Green Cabs, and the opening up of cycle and pedestrian routes in the city 

*   Leading environmental and sustainable city, with all new low-cost housing built with solar geyser panels, and wind-farming in Darling.  ‘Smart Living Handbook’ for sustainability written by City of Cape Town 

*   Three wine routes within Cape Town and 16 on the city’s doorstep, with many boutique wine farms

*   Beer tourism is a new segment, with 40 micro breweries within a 2-hour drive of Cape Town.  Inspiring new BOS ice-tea 

*   Fresh produce markets, with organic foods, outstanding restaurants such as The Test Kitchen and Mzoli’s Meat define Cape Town, and the plan is to develop a Master Chefs Cape Town series.   Having Justin Bonello showcase South African food is a boost for the city.  Charly’s Bakery is a passionate, all-women team, who baked a cake representing Cape Town for the Design Indaba.

*   Cape Town is one of three finalists for World Design Capital 2014, with Bilbao and Dublin, spearheaded by the Cape Town Partnership.  The judges will be in Cape Town from 24 – 27 July, and the winning city will be announced on 26 October. The Design Indaba is a design highlight for the country, with its annual conference and exhibition.  At the last exhibition, attendees were asked to write in support of the city’s bid – this comment summarised what Cape Town stands for: “Cape Town’s people are her most beautiful landscape”.

*    Cape Town has a vibrant fashion scene, designer Dion Chang saying that “The tip of Africa is the tipping point”.

*   Cape Town is at the center of the magazine publishing industry.

*   The city has excellent furniture designers

*   The Joule electric car is being built in Cape Town, the first in Africa.

*   Cape Town has more Social Media users than any other part of the country 

 During her presentation, Mrs Helmbold made a number of statements about our city:

*   Economy based on tourism, finance, infrastructure, food and wine, logistics, and creative industries.

*   Cape Town is at the tipping point, either sinking into oblivion, or living up to the accolades it is reaping

*   Cape Town has been in a brand vacuum since the World Cup – not spending money on marketing the city will lead us to the example of Sydney, which is seeing a steady decline in visitors as it decided to not market the city after the 2000 Olympics

*   A destination is not just a slogan or a logo

*   Cape Town is a city of contrasts, of haves and have-nots

*   Brand Cape Town’s strength is Tourism (Visit), it is neutral on its education and residential facilities (Live and Learn), and weak on its potential as a centre of employment and investment (Work and Invest).

*   Cape Town underperforms in domestic tourism, mainly relative to Durban

*   Conversion of holidaymakers into business tourists is needed for Cape Town, and business visitors must be encouraged to return as holidaymakers, as Cape Town is weak as a Business Brand

*   Cape Town is a ‘challenger brand’ which does not have a long-established history, and stands for freedom, freshness and transformation, attractive to a world that has got tired of visiting boring places. “Challenger brands harness the power of authenticity, locals first, emotional pull, storytelling (Word of Mouse)”.

*   The pillars of Cape Town are Robben Island; its cultural diversity; the food and wine industry; Biodiversity; Table Mountain; Cape of Good Hope; hubs of innovation, creativity, enterprise and government; higher education and skills training; Sports and MICE; and Colour and Light.  

Cape Town Tourism is to assist business-related bodies in the city to market the city with a ‘brand box’.   It has worked with Accelerate, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Wesgro, Cape Town Partnership, and the City of Cape Town in developing the new positioning for Cape Town, to establish it as ‘one of the top world cities to live, work, invest, learn and visit, in order to drive inclusive economic growth and social transformation in Cape Town’.  The presentation we attended was the last, and the implementation phase will now commence, Mrs Helmbold said.  In question time, FEDHASA Cape chairman Dirk Elzinga stated that great things are happening in Cape Town, but ‘we are not telling the world’, he said.

Mel Miller, former ad agency owner and creative director, and ex Cape Town Tourism Board member, is very critical of Cape Town’s new ‘Inspirational’ positioning, saying that it has been used by Edinburgh (‘Inspiring Capital’) already.  Miller points out that a previous tourism strategy consultant to Cape Town Tourism comes from Edinburgh! 

Mrs Helmbold showed a video presentation by Silver Bullet meant to represent Cape Town.  It was certainly not one of a beautiful Cape Town, but one of a very cloudy looking Cape Town, with a lot of focus on clouds billowing over Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, and what appeared as a fast-speed race through Cape Town.  I was NOT inspired by it, and it did not represent any of the Inspiration that Mrs Helmbold had presented to the audience.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Three directors of Cape Town Tourism and heads of important Cape Town business tourism businesses have joined forces to make a plea for how “cool” Cape Town is in the winter months, a period typically plagued by seasonality, with far reduced accommodation bookings, which has an impact on all sectors of the tourism industry. 

In an article in the Cape Times last week, Guy Lundy of Accelerate, Ian Bartes of Cape Town International airport, and Rashid Toefy of the Cape Town International Convention Centre wrote that of all South African cities, Cape Town is unique in its seasonality, which “makes it hard for the hospitality industry to be sustainable”.   They add: “With 18  five-star hotels now operating in the city, we must find ways to increase visitor numbers during winter.”  The tourism leaders says it is not a surprise that Cape Town sees so many restaurants opening and then closing, in that they build restaurants to meet capacity support in summer, but cannot see this through in the winter months when business falls away.  They also state that the number of passenger arrivals in April and May is half of that in December and January.

They blame this on the positioning and marketing of Cape Town as mainly a leisure destination, which “always seem to feature the Waterfront, Clifton and the Winelands on their covers”, with not enough promotion of the city as an investment and business destination.   Conference facilities, factories and office blocks do not feature in the city’s marketing collateral.   They call for more direct international flights to Cape Town, and more flights between the city and other African cities, to make Cape Town a world business destination, and a global African city, given that it already has a world class airport, good hotels, excellent infrastructure, ‘some of the finest restaurants’, natural beauty, entertainment, world-class technology, sophisticated business networks, and a favourable time zone for doing business with the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

To make Cape Town a global business destination, it needs to be considered for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (the M.I.C.E. market).    The Convention Centre is ranked 34th in the world in size of business, and it plans to double its capacity to reach its goal of making the top ten list.    Winter is an ideal time for conferences, the writers say, in that most activities take place indoors.   Whilst conference delegates spend less time in a city on average, their average spend is higher than that of a leisure tourist.   The writers also state that the businesses of the Western Cape, e.g. food and wine, oil and gas, boat-building and ship repair, design, film, technology, renewable energy, asset management, business process outsourcing and medical research should expose their businesses to overseas markets via exhibitions and conferences, to attract business travellers to Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape, including Winelands, West Coast and Overberg towns.

The World Cup demonstrated what a good winter weather city Cape Town can be, with rain on only three of the match days, and snowfalls on the mountains for a short while during the soccer tournament month.  The soccer fans were not put off by the rain and cold, and their ‘gees’ was not dampened in any way.   This leads to a renewed call for the ‘green season’ to be marketed in the winter months.  The cooler Cape weather is attractive to visitors from the Middle East, and the Asian countries, who have to endure hot and humid weather at that time.  The writers also suggest a winter sale, which reduces accommodation, restaurants, and clothing, as is done in Paris, Singapore and New York.   The writers seem unaware that the small accommodation industry has been leading the tourism sector for years, in reducing its rates by as much as half in winter.  This year the restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands also came to the party, and offered good winter specials, some even extending these into current summer specials.

We support the writers’ call for more events to be hosted to attract visitors, but it is sad to read that the City of Cape Town does not have enough funding to support big events (there is activity by Cape Town Routes Unlimited in marketing a small number of approved events, all hosted in summer months).  

If Cape Town had no seasonality, airlines would fly into the city all year round, and would bring travellers, making tourism business more viable and reducing unemployment.   It is for this reason that the business tourism leaders ask that the tourism industry get on board the Cape of Good Business!  

It is interesting that the three writers are Board members of Cape Town Tourism, which focuses almost exclusively on leisure tourism, while the business tourism business that they are pleading for is in the domain of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, on which Board only ACSA is represented, and on which the three tourism leaders may have been able to make a greater contribution than at Cape Town Tourism.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com   Twitter: @WhaleCottage

John Cleese, master comedian, has signed to play a lead role in the movie of the South African-written book ‘Spud’ by John van de Ruit, reports The Times.  Local teenage actor Troye Sivan, who starred in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, plays the other lead role in the movie.

The movie will be financed privately and produced in South Africa, a rarity in South African film production.   This means that the movie producers will make all creative decisions, rather than have them made by financiers and studio executives.

The book and movie are set at the elite private school Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal, and John “Spud’ Milton is the principal character of the book.  Van de Ruit went to school at Michaelhouse.  The story is set in 1990, the year that the ANC was unbanned and Nelson Mandela was released.  The book won numerous prizes, including the Bestsellers Choice Award.

The movie will be a novel means of marketing South Africa.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

The Cape Town Film Office, which has received negative publicity from industry players for its administrative inefficiency, causing shoots to be moved to Johannesburg, should be investigated, the Western Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Garth Strachan, has announced.

According to Screen Africa, Strachan said: “The film industry is up in arms that the Cape Town Film Permit Office is effectively sinking the sector in bureaucratic quicksand. I am mindful of the fact that regulating these activities – including the location and control of shoots and the system of providing permits – is a local council function. However, I cannot simply shrug my shoulders at the numerous complaints from companies trying to do business in the City. News reports in the weekend press confirm numerous complaints and anecdotal evidence that filming in Cape Town, in the view of private sector companies, is very difficult.

“I understand that the Permit Office is facing challenges and is under-resourced. We need a system in place that is 2010 capable in terms of being able to handle media and media tourism groups that are small and travel through locations much faster than commercial or feature productions. However, the City has been aware of these challenges for some time and I would expect them to be further down the road in facing them than we are at present.

“Cape Town is competing in terms of film locations with countries such as Argentina and Australia. Right now with our exchange gives us an advantage over these countries. But the inefficiencies in the City are damaging our reputation and constitute a clear and damaging binding constraint on growing the industry.”

Strachan has requested that Mayor Helen Zille investigate the operations of the Cape Town Film Permit Office and to take immediate steps to rectify the problem. “In circumstances of a global economic downturn, we can ill afford to lose this business and the strong job creation potential of this sector”.

The Western Cape Provincial Government is committed to the film industry, according to Strachan.  ‘We co-fund the Cape Film Commission and have invested R30-million in the Cape Town Film Studios. We need to work together for this industry to flourish, and not hinder its development. Hence the need for strong partnerships to build a competitive film sector. The Provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism stands ready to assist if it requested to do so.”