Design and craft are not the only art forms being produced at a world-class level in Cape Town, as all Cape Townians know, the film industry thrives in our magical little seaside city. Cape Town has been a hot spot for International film makers and television commercials for decades, though it is recently on the rise with dozens of International TV series and feature films expected to shoot on our shores, in our studios and with the growing respected local crews of South Africa this winter.
While working in wardrobe on a US commercial just a few weeks back, I sat down with the International art director brought over from Los Angeles (he had a South African counter part art directing as well). We chatted for awhile about Los Angeles and his love/hate relationship with the city of angels. He admitted he is away a lot and hardly anything gets filmed in LA anymore. Though it was a pity he said, as it is the birthplace of film and tv with hundreds of incredible prop shops from years past, it is just too expensive to film in LA anymore. He named Cape Town, Buenos Aries, Prague and Toronto the top cities to film in these days. Atalanta and Detroit (recently bankrupt) were US cities that producers were choosing to film in to keep the budget costs down. While many of us here in Cape Town worry about the ailing Rand, overseas film producers and agencies see the gap and the work is pouring into our beautiful and creative hub of a city.
As a creative and stylist, it has been a natural progression for me to enter into the industry this season, (let’s be honest it has sucked me in) and since I have, the work has been flowing. The great thing about the growing industry is that there are so many projects being shot here that there is room for many stylists to pick and choose who they work with and what they work on. Beware though, it is an industry, especially for commercials, that feeds on your adreniline with high pressure to meet deadlines and notorious long hours, though for many it is an opportunity to create and work with like-minded creatives on your own terms as an independent contractor. It is not for the faint hearted, but it is for the those who enjoy being part of a team working to produce and create something magical on camera whether it be a vignette from a product commercial or creating a character on a second season of a TV series.