Entries tagged with “Cape Film Commission”.


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

It was a surprise to receive Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde’s media release yesterday, announcing that Wesgro will be responsible for the marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a film destination.

Referring to a reduced provincial budget due to stagnant tax revenues received from the government, Minister Winde said that “Wesgro already has the responsibility of marketing the Western Cape as a tourism, investment and trade destination, adding the marketing of the Western Cape’s entire film industry to the portfolio will mean that we have a streamlined and co-ordinated marketing strategy with which to approach local and international markets.  Wesgro has already started implementing plans to ensure that in the 2012/2013 financial year, film trade and investment to the value of at least R 1 billion will be leveraged”.

The  Minister said that for the following financial year, 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.

While the Minister’s media release justifies his decision to award the role to Wesgro on the basis of a growth in tourism and thus income for the province as well as job creation, and quotes job creation per movie shot in the Western Cape in the past two years, there is no indication that these are largely temporary jobs, and that many of the film freelancers may have been used in more than one of the productions.

While such a film marketing body has not previously existed for the Western Cape (the Cape Film Commission being a City of Cape Town funded body which facilities permits for location usage in the main), one must question Wesgro’s ability to market an industry that it has no experience of.  In April the Minister awarded the role of Tourism Destination Marketing to Wesgro, and the organisation took over the provincial marketing body Cape Town Routes Unlimited staff, many of whom have since left.  In the past eight months we have seen no effect of tourism marketing by Wesgro, and the organisation has not even managed to appoint a head of its Tourism department!

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.

The planned Economic Development Programme (EDP), which was announced by Alan Winde, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, more than a year ago, could see the amalgamation of Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism.

In a report in Southern African Tourism Update, a new steering committee of seventeen members for the EDP is announced, which includes current Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) Chairman Peter Bacon, Protea Hotels Group’s Otto Stehlik, and Western Cape province head of Economic Development and Tourism Solly Fourie, with Minister Winde.  The role of the Steering Committee is to ‘guide the final design, implementation and launch of the EDP’. More specifically, the Steering Committee agreed that the EDP should seamlessly integrate all sectors of the Western Cape economy, it should ‘institutionalise’the partnership between government and business to create mutual accountability for the future of the economy’ of the province, it should guide business around shared goals, it should create an environment that is conducive to small and large business as well as attracting investment to the province, it should provide ‘economic and market intelligence’, and should monitor the performance of the economy.  Greater employment will also be addressed by this not-for-profit body. One of the specific aims of the EDP is to create ‘a single strategy and brand for the region’s economy’, says a media release issued by Minister Winde earlier this year.  The ‘Cape Town and Western Cape’ brand name was highly controversial when it was introduced at the inception of Cape Town Routes Unlimited.

The report states interestingly that ‘it is anticipated that the EDP will resolve the current duplication of marketing efforts by CTRU and Cape Town Tourism (CTT), resulting from a historical impasse between the province and the city, which funds CTT’.  When the Minister first announced the establishment of the EDP, and his desire to amalgamate all economic and tourism related bodies in the Western Cape, Cape Town Tourism expressed its vehement opposition to the EDP, and declared its independence.  The Minister has not mentioned Cape Town Tourism as one of the bodies to be amalgamated more recently, and Cape Town Tourism has also not done so, just referring to its benefit for the province in general at its recent AGM.  Even more interesting as that Cape Town Tourism’s legal advisor Mike Evans of Webber Wentzel referred blatantly, and out of context to the AGM proceedings, to the closing down of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, while he may have meant that the operations of the EDP would be incorporated into the EDP.

Winde has used the model of the London Development Agency for the EDP, and has appointed Cape Town Partnership CEO to lead a task team for the establishment of the EDP, which is to open its doors in April 2012. In September we wrote about the Economic Development Agency, its name at the time, and the list of eighteen Western Cape economic promotion bodies which are to be amalgamated into it, including Wesgro, the Cape Film Commission, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and the Cape Town Fashion Council. There has been no mention of Cape Town Tourism as being one of the bodies since then.

Only through the amalgamation of both Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism can the current costly duplication of marketing Cape Town and the Western Cape be eliminated.  Whilst the City of Cape Town funds Cape Town Tourism, and the DA rules both the city and the province, it will be interesting to see if the City of Cape Town and Western Cape province can see the bigger picture and co-operate in pulling Cape Town Tourism into the body as well, for the benefit of a united tourism industry in the Cape. The proviso of course would be that the EDP should be run efficiently and along business principles.  The management of Cape Town Routes Unlimited has been a disaster, and is not a model for how the EDP should be run!  We call on the Minister to communicate in more detail with the tourism industry, to explain his plans with the EDP.

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

Last night Cape Town Tourism held its AGM with a record attendance of more than 650 members as well as Twitter-invited guests, the interest being high due to the eagerly awaited advertising campaign the industry was promised.  It was a very fast presentation of the campaign highlights, but not an actual campaign, and received mixed reaction.

Mayor Patricia de Lille set the scene, motivating the campaign by saying that the double dip recession means that new tourism markets must be found, and that we must change how we do business, and which business we attract to Cape Town.  We must draw people to work and live in Cape Town, and not just to visit as tourists. She said that the campaign speaks to our needs, is simple, changeable, gives the city new energy, and repositions it. Chairman of the Board and head of ACSA in Cape Town, Ian Bartes,  confirmed the world economic crisis, and that it has impacted negatively on long haul travel, meaning that Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism must be redefined.  He said that the company has to be made ‘future-fit’, a term used a number of times, and therefore duplication was reduced, the company was restructured, efficiency was increased, and overheads reduced, to drive Cape Town to be the top city in Africa by 2020.  Cape Town must be positioned as the city to visit, to live in, to do business in, and to study in.  Board member Claus Tworeck presented the financial statements, and stated that tourism is not for ‘sissies’.  His figures showed that Cape Town Tourism has received a grant from the City of Cape Town of R40 million for the current financial year, and is aiming to make another R6 million in self-generated income. R18 million is going to salaries (i.e. R1,5 million per month, an extraordinary high salary bill), with R27 million remaining for ‘other operating expenses’, the marketing budget not being split out of this figure.   The Discovery/National Geographic campaign is known to cost Cape Town Tourism R8 million, and a figure of R3 million was mentioned by an advertising agency executive for the budget for the advertising campaign, a figure which seems minimal, and would only buy domestic coverage, as a ‘feel-good’ campaign for Capetonians, it was suggested!  Interesting was the mention by Cape Town Tourism legal advisor Mike Evans of Webber Wentzel, who mentioned financial ‘wrong-doing’ by the organisation’s previous Financial Manager (and Deputy CEO), and that Cape Town Routes Unlimited will close down, and therefore one of the resolutions called for the future exclusion of an ex officio representative of the tourism body, initially planned to allow communication between the two bodies, and to be replaced with a representative of the City of Cape Town, being its major funder.  It was interesting to note that not one question was allowed during the two and a half hour presentation, not quite how an AGM should be run!

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold took us through old territory, already covered in its Brand Cape Town and the ‘Strategic Plan’ presentations, justifying its new focus on ‘urban travellers’, making up more than 70 % of tourists, she said. She said there is not enough knowledge about Cape Town, and perceptions about its expense and poor winter weather need to be changed.  The goal is to get back to tourism figures of 2007, and to regain 10% of South African visitors in Cape Town by 2016.  The new VMMS booking system via Nightsbridge is up and running for small accommodation establishments.  A new tiered membership scheme is to be introduced, to attract more businesses as members. She spoke about the joint Discovery/National Geographic campaign with Durban, Johannesburg and SA Tourism, negotiated by its Australian consultant Ian Macfarlane, as if it has been approved, but my call yesterday to Durban Tourism demonstrated that this campaign is far from certain and approved, at least as far as the other areas are concerned.  If run, it would include print articles too, as well as a Discovery-funded film school, teaching young talent about film-making, and using the footage generated for Cape Town Tourism and on Discovery.  A ‘My Cape Town’ campaign was run to instill pride in locals about their city. Mrs Helmbold announced that a new Cape Town clothing range is to be launched, as well as a Cape Town City Card.  A joint Cape Town media and guest relations programme is to be launched with SA Tourism and SAA.

Getting to the advertising campaign, Mrs Helmbold said that it should stimulate demand, disperse visitors across the city, and increase their spend while they are on holiday. The campaign must move away from the stale representation of Cape Town, to one that showcases the real depth of Cape Town, against the backdrop of our ‘home’. The campaign will be launched at World Travel Market in London on 7 November, and Cape Town Tourism will look to partnering with international airlines, to offer packages.  Short city-break packages will be offered, and an (unreadable) Events year-round calendar was flashed on the screen. Historic sites, including the fan walk, will be linked via walks. The number of Visitor Centres will be reduced down from 18 currently, to a ‘handful’, representing 50 % of the budget. The essence of Cape Town is ‘the unexpected city’, no longer focusing on our city’s natural beauty, and that it is the gateway to more beauty in the areas surrounding Cape Town.  Ogilvy Cape Town was challenged to not produce traditional advertising and boring travelogues.  At the core of the campaign is that ‘Cape Town is the urban tonic to put life back into your life’. Visiting Cape Town will create a number of benefits, incorporated in the campaign:

*  ‘Cape Town: I was here for five star menus and I left with a secret recipe’

*   ‘Cape Town: I was here to play and I found a place to work’

*   ‘Cape Town: You go there for beautiful landscapes, and you find beautiful people’

*   ‘Cape Town: I wanted to change Cape Town, but it changed me’

The campaign was described as cheeky, presenting the warmth of its people, representing its proximity, authenticity and intimacy, and highlighting that Cape Town is a city of mind and being.  The pay-off line ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’ is extended into a business application: “You don’t need a conference, you need Cape Town”.

The campaign was presented in a rush, in an audio-visual, with print ads, bus shelter advertising, and more shown.  No mention was made of the campaign budget, the target market, and the cities/countries in which it would be run. As we left the Cape Town International Convention Centre venue, we were handed a yellow envelope, which contained a Campaign Strategy diagram.  In the media release, Mrs Helmbold is quoted as follows: “The marketing campaign is about more than just attracting tourists.  It’s about incorporating business and investment, the creative and innovation sectors and academia into one vision and direction: economic growth , job creation and inclusion to the benefit of all citizens”. In 2008 Cape Town Tourism was tasked by the City of Cape Town to lead a brand positioning process, focusing on that which makes the city unique. Industry workshops were held, and the Cape Film Commission, Accelerate Cape Town, and the Economic Development Programme were involved, to create a city brand for the residents of Cape Town, as well as its tourists, businesses and students.

None of the persons I spoke to after the presentation raved about the campaign.  They seemed luke warm, some stating that too much information about the campaign was thrown at the audience in too short a time. One design specialist could not believe that the campaign was nothing more than an ‘old-fashioned’ print campaign, and he missed the new media connection to it, which should have been the foundation, in his opinion. It was uncertain whether there would be TV advertising, as we were not shown a TV commercial. An ad man, whose agency had been involved in the pitch for the account, said it was nothing more than a ‘feel-good’ campaign for Capetonians, and he seemed a little angry that agencies had been asked to pitch for the account, when it was probably just a tactic to give Cape Town Tourism’s ad agency a shake.

The campaign will make Capetonians even more smug and proud to be living in this beautiful city.  Whether it will make more tourists, businesspersons, students and new residents come to Cape Town to visit and to live here remains to be seen.  Our counter to the campaign: You don’t need an Advertising Campaign, you need Cape Town!

Read the full speech by Mrs Helmbold here.

POSTSCRIPT 18/10: The Cape Times headline today about the Cape Town Tourism campaign, “When a holiday isn’t just a trip, but tripping on Cape Town”, could easily be interpreted to mean something that probably wasn’t intended, and would not be good for the image of the city.  Oddly, the article quotes the Cape Town Tourism PRO Skye Grove as saying ‘that the cost of the campaign has not been determined, but that the body’s annual budget would be aligned to it’. No ad agency would design a campaign without a budget for it, and therefore one wonders why Cape Town Tourism is not divulging this information.  We have written to Mrs Helmbold, asking her for the budget, and to confirm the information about the Discovery/National Geographic campaign budget approval, but we have not yet received a reply from her.

POSTSCRIPT 11/11: I came across this You Tube video ‘interview’ by Cape Town Tourism Communications Manager Skye Grove with her boss Velma Corcoran, the Marketing Manager of the tourism body, at World Travel Market in London over the weekend.  The interview does not give one a feeling of Mrs Corcoran’s ability to market the city, the interview reflecting her lack of confidence and initiative, not making much eye contact with Ms Grove during the interview.  By contrast, a similar interview conducted by Ms Grove with Mary Tebje, Cape Town Tourism’s international media representative in the UK, was far more impressive.  Ms Tebje exudes confidence and sounds very knowledgeable about the UK market, and what it expects from Cape Town as a tourist destination.

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

Über-energetic Western Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Alan Winde, seems to be sweeping out all the cobwebs of the Western Cape marketing agencies, by uniting 18 development and marketing agencies into what is to be called the Western Cape Economic Development Agency, in order to grow the economy and thereby stimulate employment in the province, reports the Cape Argus.

The Minister created controversy a few weeks ago, when he announced that he wanted to amalgamate Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism, the tourism marketing organisations for the Western Cape and Cape Town, respectively.   This announcement met with a storm of protest by Cape Town Tourism in particular, whose Board is not happy to “turn back the clock” and have the wheel re-invented, as this discussion took place six years ago, and led to the formation of Cape Town Routes Unlimited in the first place.  Cape Town Routes Unlimited has not been a success, especially since the City of Cape Town took away its R25 million marketing budget and gave it to Cape Town Tourism instead. The Minister has not included Cape Town Tourism into the list of 18 agencies (yet)!

The 18 Western Cape agencies that are to be united are the following:

*   Cape Town Routes Unlimited:   Western Cape tourism marketing agency

*   Wesgro:   investment agency

*   Cape Craft and Design Institute:   stimulates the development of craft-making

*   Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster:   develops programmes to benefit local clothing textile industry

*   Cape Film Commission:   marketing the Cape as a film destination (filming and post-production)

*   CallingtheCape:   promotes the Cape as a Call-Centre centre

*   Cape Biotech Trust:   promotes growth in biotechnology

*   Cape Information and Technology Initiative: promotes the IT industry

*   Cape Town Boatbuilding and Technology Initiative:   promotes boatbuilding and provides support services to members

*   Cape Music Industry Commission:   promotes growth in local music industy

*   Cape Town Fashion Council:   communication centre for the local fashion industry

*   Performing Arts Network South Africa:  promotes and protects the performing arts

*   Visual Arts Network South Africa:   supports artists

*   Western Cape Furniture Initiative:   promotes furniture industry

*   Western Cape Tooling Initiative:   revitalises the Tool-and-Die Making industry

*   SA Oil and Gas Alliance:  building on opportunities in oil and gas markets in east and west Africa

*   Western Cape Clothing and Textile Service Centre:   assisting small clothing companies to become competitive

*   Learning Cape Initiative Agency:   drives skills development and training.

The Minister announced that the amalgamation is planned to take place over the next four years,  and is geared at countering fragmentation and wastage due to duplication.  The task of the new Economic Development Agency will be to boost growth in the Western Cape economy.   The model for the Minister’s new Agency is the London Development Agency.

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