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Press Release : From the Hon. Min. EN Mthethwa – Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture on the Film Hub Launch in SA

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SPEAKING NOTES FOR HON. EN MTHETHWA, MINISTER OF SPORTS, ARTS AND CULTURE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FILM HUB LAUNCH.

Fellow South Africans I extend my warm welcome to all of you present in this gathering. We are meeting in during the month that the people of this country through their government have declared a human rights month.

Fellow compatriots, it remains our task to remake out of our fractured past a more socially and economically inclusive society that is proud of all its cultural expressions; and a people that act together to enable the birth of a new culture and create new forms of engagement towards greater unity.

The challenge we face as a society is the process of building our nation out of a vast cultural and economic legacy of difference and inequality, well articulated in the Freedom Charter of 1955. It states amongst other things the following under the clause

“The Doors of Learning and Culture shall be opened”:

One of the biggest crimes of the system of White supremacy is the damage it has done to the development of the people of South Africa in the fields of learning and culture.

“On the one hand, the minds of White people have been poisoned with all manner of unscientific and racialist twaddle in their separate schools, colleges and universities.

“As far as the non-White people are concerned the picture is one of deprivation all along the line.

“There has been made available to them all the worst forms of so-called Western culture. The best creations of art, writing, the theatre and cinema which extol the unity of the human family and the need for liberty are only made available in dribs and drabs, whilst the general position is one of a cultural desert”.

The Eastern Cape is the victim of this historical injustice deliberately perpetuated to exclude the majority and thus kill the talent.

The launch of this film hub in the Buffalo City is one step in advancing our objective of building the National Democratic Society and correcting the injustices of the past.

The purpose of the film Hub is to bring together all areas of film production under one roof, from pre-production to post production thus providing a high end studios equipped with multiple stages and are capable of meeting the productions needs of high end budget productions while simultaneously servicing the television and commercial production. It will also provide an avenue for aspiring filmmakers to have access to production and post-production facilities at sustainable rates as well as screening facilities. As the Department we are intent in our purpose to seeing more skilled artists and original South African stories coming from all arrears of this culturally rich country.

Film is one of the few unique artistic tools of expression that plays an important role in cultural exchange, co-existence, tolerance and it is easily accessible and reaches a wider audience.

Its audio-visual nature creates an immediate impact that shapes opinions and inspires generations of people for centuries to come. It is this medium that bestows upon us the freedom to dream, to explore controversial subjects, to conjure up images that builds and sustains nations.

This launch takes place against the backdrop of a story of a South African film and television industry built by a people that have overcome conquest and conflict, characterised by resistance and resilience to adversity against all odds. It is a story of re-defining and charting a new course wrapped in our unity in diversity that resembles the multifaceted nature of our diversity as a people. It is a story of tolerance and appreciation of our difference and uniqueness. 

This is a story that, when narrated through fiction drama, documentaries, television series and reality shows, peels off various textual layers of cultural and racial tensions and hidden socio-political contrasts that was held hostage by institutionalized cultural repression.  This is a story waiting to be unleashed.

Economic aspect of the industry.

This Film hub comes as a result of a study that the NFVF undertook five years ago as a means to stimulating the economic activity, driving transformation, creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities, address the lack of film infrastructure that will give access to production and post-production facilities to aspirant filmmakers.  Film Hubs are strongly developmental in character. My Department invested additional amount for this project over and above the NFVF’s normal allocation. This is indicative of our commitment to create access to creative spaces for young aspirant practitioners to thrive without having to leave their communities. Not only will this hub provide affordable, subsidised equipment for film production and post production it will also hopefully attract big production companies to come and shoot in this Province stimulating the local economy.

The cultural and creative industries (CCIs), and in particular the audio-visual sector has long been recognized as a catalyst for economic growth in South Africa with a potential to contribute immensely to the South African economy and to employment. Recent studies have shown the sector’s tremendous improvement in contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), revenue collection and its multiplier effect in terms of creating employment.

The historical realities underpinning the development of this sector places an emphasis on the creatives themselves and those who control the means of production to ensure that this industry plays a significant role in nation building and fostering social cohesion, national identify and the participation of those who have been historical excluded from the entire value chain.

As we gather today, we must not forget the long journey that has led us to this point.  We must not forget that the majority of our people have historically been excluded in the critical processes and tasks assigned across the value on the development of this sector, more importantly young people, women and people with disabilities.  Not only have young people and women been historically excluded in the industry’s value chain, they have also been on the receiving end when it comes to the distribution of available resources for their creative ventures and ideas, let alone ownership of the value chain.

Concluding.

Importantly for us as Sports, Arts and Culture, film is seen as a vehicle to foster friendship, sharing among people, social cohesion and cultural economic tool not only to rival the best in the world but one of the key catalyst for social and economic development growth in the 4th Industrial revolution.

I therefore invite the industry experts to join hands with us to make this dream a reality for the benefit of all of us.

I want to inform this gathering that later on this institution will be properly named as Nomhle Nkonyeni Film Hub.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Issued by National Department of Arts and Culture

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