The Independent Black Filmmakers Collective(IBFC) is a newly established collaborative business to business network and advocacy group formed in late 2017 by wholly black-owned South African film and television companies, representing filmmakers, content creators, film and television/commercials directors, producers, marketers, facilities and services industrialists and entrepreneurs.”The South African film and television industry is one of the most untransformed industries in the country,” states veteran TV producer and working committee member Kethiwe Ngcobo. “The IBFC’s primary aim is to accelerate transformation and increase trade and job creation through enterprise development, thus contributing to the economy to address unemployment and to also engage government in policy change and advocate for those issues, as “one voice” for black filmmakers, producers and professionals.”
“Our vision is to establish an enabling and sustainable business environment for South African black audio-visual practitioners and producers that will, amalgamate and provide support for black enterprise development and ownership of the entire film and television value chain, fast track and nurture the creation and ownership of black intellectual property and assets across the value chain of our industries and accelerate the quantitative and qualitative increase and participation of black film professionals and aspirant Black Industrialists in the creative industry to contribute to the growth of the national economy, selected industrial sectors and value chains, as reflected by their contribution to growth, investment, exports and employment. Key to this, is working with The Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Arts and Culture, The National Film and Video Foundation, film commissions, and international stakeholders in the film and TV sector,” says Ngcobo.
The Independent Black Filmmakers Collective was officially launched at the IBFC Inaugural Indaba (conference), on January 18 and 19 at the newly opened,100% black-owned Sky Rink Studios, located in Johannesburg CBD. The indaba was attended by over 112 film practitioners from across the country, including Gauteng-based veterans, Ramadan Suleman (Fools), Rosie Motene (WAKA Talent Management Agency) and young trailblazers including Vincent Moloi (Tjovitjo) , Queen Motlatle, (Prosthetic special effects entrepreneur), Uzanenkosi Mahlangu (Intersexions & The Alliance), Bonnie Sithebe (Durban Motion Pictures), Thabang Moleya (Happiness is a Four Letter Word), as well as Sihle Hlophe, whose Afrofemcentric shorts and documentaries are being well received by audiences locally and internationally.
Numerous film students who also attended the Indaba were awed by the passion, drive and commitment of the business leaders and experts not only in film and television, but also in industrial enterprise and policy development, intellectual property and copyright who were invited to present strategic interventions and contribute to various themed commissions, that at the end of the IBFC indaba, proposed among others the following resolutions and recommendations:
- Formally establish the IBFC as common voice that will allow Black film and TV practitioners and to engage with each other and with local and international stakeholders to address imbalances and fast track maturity of black film, tv and media industries and ensure participation and ownership of Black film and TV practitioners in and of the content manufacturing value chain including policy, financing, production, facilities and services, distribution, marketing, broadcasting, exhibition and digital technologies.
- Create multiple and diverse instruments for black Industrialists to enter strategic and targeted industrial sectors and value chains especially as part of the digital economy and its ecosystems and to continue to lobby the Department of Trade and Industry for the re-inclusion and participation of the audio-visual sector in the Black Industrialist Program.
- Contribute to policy review of current National Incentive Schemes, especially the DTI Rebate and the South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentives and to grow the number of black productions, black crews, black equipment houses and facilities that benefit and comply with National Incentive Schemes through ensuring training, encouraging compliance and preparing Black enterprises to “service big budget productions”.
- Recommend interfacing and creation of a policy and regulation-driven approach to accessing South African incentive measures through DTI incentives by international conglomerates such organizations as the Motion Picture Association of America.
- Ensure the acceleration of transformation of especially film and television facilities and services sector, through policy intervention to unbundle monopolies and to create opportunities and facilitate investment in establishing and sustaining of high-end, black-owned technical facilities and servicing companies.
- Make inputs into the Intellectual Property Policy and legislation, especially current review of Copyright Amendment Bill through an informed legal position. The IBFC believes that Copyright and IP should stimulate growth and development and therefore that strategic change of the balance of power and ownership of the value chain is critical to create value every stage of creation, especially for filmmakers. The IBFC recognizes and is cognisant of international copyright treaties at WIPO and therefore aims to develop its position on issues relating to fair use and fair dealing.
- Develop producer-centric and sustainable terms of trade in working with South African and international broadcasters and to present business proposals, projects and programmes towards ensuring black participation in the implementation of the National Digital Migration Strategy while also supporting black owned and locally developed new media, online and digital platforms as well as to consolidate and sustain their presence in the digital broadcasting market place. ICASA policy to legislate and or regulate codes of practice and terms of trade for all broadcasters and align all regulations to support this end. Make all DTI incentive measures align with legislated codes of practice so that broadcasters can no longer control incentive funded content by the back door.
- Create the requisite infrastructure for the establishment IBFC-supported distribution and sales companies and contribute towards the growth of current black role-players in distribution, sales, marketing and exhibition through investment in technology and skill development. To provide training and mentorship programmes and skills in local and global distribution, markets, sales, marketing and local independent exhibition platforms.
- Immediately begin processes towards consolidating treaties with BRICS countries, especially given that South Africa is hosting the BRICS Summit in July this year and to lead initiatives towards the creation of a Brics Co-production Market. The IBFC business strategy and business modelling should be driven by innovative approaches to Pan African partnerships and co-productions as underpinned in NEPAD and African Union policies and programmes.
“The IBFC’s purpose is to also identify business opportunities for its members, educate, inform and share information while enhancing the skills set of our local industry and outputting more films. We have a huge task ahead of us -“Kalushi” 2018, 12 Times SAFTA nominated director Mandla Dube and founding IBC member.