In the March issue of The Media a reader asked where and how he could find funding for his feature film. In response I dealt with the main private sources of funding in summary. This month we will deal with the other main source of funding, namely public.
Public Sector funding can be divided into two main branches, namely direct and indirect funding:
Direct funding consists of awards and loans from government or its agencies to be invested directly into a media project. Unfortunately, there are not too many of these funding sources in South Africa. In contrast, countries like Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia have extensive government programmes to assist up-and-coming and experienced content producers.
The good news, however, is that South Africans can access some of these foreign funds by virtue of co-production treaties (to be discussed another month).
Here is a summary of government and agency programmes for direct funding in South Africa:
Ã¢Â€Â¢ Awards by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF): The NFVF is a government-funded body created by statute. Its mandate is to assist in the development of the film and television media industry in South Africa, and to this effect, the NFVF provides funding for projects – whether full or partial – in various stages of production. For full details on funding opportunities, visit href=”http://www.nfvf.co.za/”www.nfvf.co.za.
Ã¢Â€Â¢ Loans and Equity by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC): The IDC is a corporation owned by the state that invests in various economic sectors, including the media sector, in order to grow that particular part of the economy. The objective of the IDC is profit-oriented, and therefore it will only invest in ventures that will be economically viable. Thus, anyone wishing to access IDC funding will have to submit detailed business plans and might even have to provide security, like the assignment of copyright in the project to the IDC, until its investment has been paid back. The IDC normally only takes up a maximum of 49 percent of equity in any project, coupled with a preferential interest-based repayment programme. For more information on the IDC, visit href=”http://www.idc.co.za/”www.idc.co.za.
Indirect funding consists of tax deductions and rebates offered by government after the production of a media project has been completed. Here is a summary of government and agency programmes of indirect funding in South Africa:
Ã¢Â€Â¢ Tax Incentives (S.24F of the Income Tax Act): This section of the Act provides for the allowance of certain production expense deductions from income received by a film owner. This is not a benefit that is truly used extensively by the industry simply because it does not provide many more advantages over and above the normal expenses deductible in terms of the generic provisions of the Act. For more information, visit www.sars.gov.za.
Ã¢Â€Â¢ Rebate Schemes: The Department of Trade and Industry has devised a rebate programme whereby a film producer or owner can claim back a certain amount of production expenses from the government in accordance with a set formula. Recently that formula was changed to make the scheme more accessible to lower-budget films. For more information, visit href=”http://www.dti.gov.za/”http://www.dti.gov.za/. Qualifying for any of the above programmes could assist greatly in finding funding partners for the remainder of the budget.
Advocate Anton Alberts runs a certifi cate course in Entertainment Law at the University of Johannesburg. This is the only course of its kind in South Africa. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Ms Corrie Hasse at UJ on (011) 559-3201; email@example.com.
Ã¢Â–Â This column first appeared in !_LT_EMThe Media!_LT_/EM magazine.