Category Archives: Filming related

Lawyers start circling local government …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 29th November 2012

Residents and businesses in the central city have been asked to “play nice” and be “good neighbours” during the festive season as resources are limited. Brandon Golding, chairman of the Cape Town Community Police Forum (CPF) said this at a police imbizo held at the Cape Sun, last week . “So we have to work smarter, be good neighbours and the community needs to report suspicious behaviour,” he said.

Central City Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks said they were also preparing for the festive season by installing incident mapping systems and cameras on the mobile kiosks around the city. Daniel Rezant from the City Film and permit office said of the 208 events which will be held across Cape Town, 28 were planned for the CBD and the biggest is the switching on of the festive lights which takes place on Sunday December 2. Several roads surround the Grand Parade will be closed and officials are expecting 40 000 people to attend. “There is also the Harrington Square block party on Friday December 7 and the summer market at the Company’s Garden,” Mr Rezant said.

The issues surrounding tables and chairs took centre stage when John Davidson, the owner of Bob’s Bar said establishments in Long Street were still being fined. Following a meeting between police, the CPF, ward councillor Dave Bryant and bar owners in Long Street an agreement was reached to wait for the City to get legal opinion on the permit system before any further action was taken. However, Mr Davidson said this was not the case as police officers continued to fine establishments that serve alcohol to the outside tables. “We all need to know what is going on as we cannot operate our businesses on a shoestring. Police officers keep passing the buck, but we cannot go on like this,” Mr Davidson said. After making a phone call, Mr Golding said he had confirmation from the Cape Town CPF Cluster head, Peter Mead, that while ordinary liquor checks will be taking place, establishments would not be fined for outside tables. “We have confirmed that the normal liquor checks regarding licences are taking place in Long Street but police officers will not be fining establishments for outside tables,” Mr Golding said.

Noise complaints in Long Street also took centre stage when labour lawyer Michael Bagraim questioned Mr Hendricks about noise pollution in the area. “I represent a group of hotels on the upper end of Long Street and over the past three months, the noise situation has worsened. “We have found that it is particularly bad between 11pm and 3pm and with the festive season coming up, I want to know what you are doing about it,” Mr Bagraim asked. Mr Hendricks said the CCID security officers had no jurisdiction to take action against noisy clubs, instead they ask them to turn it down. “The correct channel is the City of Cape Town inspectors and they can now confiscate the clubs’ sound equipment,” Mr Hendricks said. Norbert Furnon-Roberts said the possible pedestrianisation of Long Street could help with noise issues.

Geoff Madsen, developer of Flatrock Suites and Janis Ross of Maremoto agree with Mr Bagraim. In a seperate interview, Mr Madsen said while some club owners co-operated many made no effort. “At Flatrock Suites, we have many people who are selling their apartments because of the noise and many of them are selling below the market price. “The value of the building has dropped by more than 27%. I have raised my concerns, but have been told that because we live in the city we have to put up with it and that it goes against the development of the city,” Mr Madsen said.

Ms Ross said after spending an evening at her boutique hotel on Saturday November 24, she believed the situation was worsening. “The noise levels were the usual bass, boom boom sounds getting louder as the night progressed. “However, the major problem was at about 4.30am when I was woken up by the hooting of taxis spread right across the road and backed up solidly from the Urban Chic Hotel to the Long Street baths. “This lasted for about 30 minutes. This could and should be avoided as the noise levels are unacceptable. “There must be policing and law enforcement during these times to eliminate this harassment urgently.

“The noise in Long Street has worsened due to a lack of enforcement of sound levels and the behaviour of bar patrons and owners,” she said. Ms Ross said the noise had a negative impact on her business as people no longer booked into the hotel and said tourists only stayed for a few days. Byron Qually, convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), said thanks to Mr Madsen who helped connect night club owners and residents at the top of Long Street, there has been some improvement. “The owners of Marvel and Cafe Royale have responded to residential concerns and reduced their noise footprint. Unfortunately noise concerns are still very much part of the rest of the Long Street community,” he said.

He said the association had raised their concerns with Mr Bryant who said he sympathised with the LSRA concerns regarding noise. “Unfortunately the extent of resolution appears stop there. “For example at a meeting requested by the LSRA in April 2011 and organised by the City, it was minuted that Mr Bryant would provide feedback on ‘Exploring the option of a full time and dedicated sound task team, who are trained and authorised to intervene in noise disputes when they occur at night’. “Minutes were sent to him, and have been publicly displayed on the LSRA website. “We have had absolutely no feedback from him regarding this request. “Similarly, when a noise dispute occurs on the weekend and he is called for advice on how to resolve it, only a voice message option is available,” he said. Mr Qually said while pedestrianising of the street, may help resolve pollution from car sound systems, it was unlikely to resolve the night-club sound pollution.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

The City does not charge any location fee for filming on public streets, in ….

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 7th April 2011

While City officials highlight the economic spin-offs of allowing international companies to film in the city, residents claim they have had enough of the lack of consultation. Filming came under the spotlight last week when the Long Street Residents’ Association said they were not consulted about planned film shoots. The convenor of the LSRA, Byron Qually, said the association was informed by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) of the filming of a Hollywood action movie Safe House, which stars Denzel Washington, only two days before the event. On Monday March 28, Church Street between Adderley and Burg streets had been closed. More than 200 people filled the street and were part of a scene in which a large group was protesting. The shoot, during office hours, continued for several hours into the evening, as extras walked down Church Street towards Adderley Street shouting and waving placards bearing slogans such as “Save our jobs”.

Terence Isaacs, head of the City’s Events and Film Office, said the filming of Safe House saw the closure of several streets in the CBD including Wale Street, Queen Victoria, Strand Street, Loop Street, Burg Street and Long Street, among others. Mr Qually said residents had objections and emailed City Director of Health Ivan Bromfield for assistance and direction. The association was referred to the City director for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohammed, who had been copied in on all the correspondence. Mr Qually said he was surprised to see a newspaper article in which Mr Mohamed was quoted as saying residents shouldn’t complain and should be reminded of the economic benefits of hosting such film shoots.

The association has had several problems with the lack of consultation from the Cape Town Events and Film Office, Mr Qually said, and residents often found out about shoots only after permits had been granted. The association had tried on several occasions to effectively liaise with the permit office to make sure that residents are told about film shoots and could raise their concerns before they were granted, Mr Qually said. He said he questioned the ethics of the statement made by Mr Mohamed as it disregarded the uphill battle faced by residents. “Part of the frustration is that filming is not a popular topic to complain about. Mr Mohamed’s approach to try to simplify an issue that has had such devastating effects on residents is just not acceptable,” Mr Qually said. When asked what the main concerns of residents were, Mr Qually said residents were tired of saying the same thing. He said the City was well aware of their frustrations when it came to non-consultation. He said the association was now looking at stepping its complaints up a notch. “In the next few weeks, we will be meeting with the City Bowl Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CIBRA) to discuss how we tackle this and will also be seeking legal advice,” he said.

According to Mr Mohamed, the film and events industry is a multi-billion rand industry and has the potential to be so much more. “The film and events industry impacts positively on ordinary workers such as taxi drivers, students, and waiters whose lives are intrinsically linked to the lives of the people who attend these events. “Residents who are ‘inconvenienced’ by filming and events must become more understanding and tolerant because for every R1 billion spent directly on film and events in Cape Town, approximately 15 000 jobs are being sustained. “The industry also supports many Cape Town based businesses and multi-national enterprises. Equipment and sound hire companies, hotels, catering and food suppliers, inbound tourism operators and media businesses make good money from film and events. The value of film and events to Cape Town’s economy is huge and the biggest beneficiary is tourism,” he said. Mr Mohamed said the budget for the filming of Safe House was approximately R200 million. When asked what is being done to ensure that film companies re-invest in the upkeep of the areas in the CBD where they film, Mr Mohamed said: “Film companies already pay for rates and services. In addition, they pay the costs of traffic officers and road closures. As the industry is labour intensive, the presence of film companies in Cape Town does benefit the economy. “The City will continue to provide an enabling environment for the film industry to grow. The City will continue to balance the demands of the film industry with the inconvenience factor associated with road closures”.

When asked about the applications to film Safe House in the city, Mr Isaacs of the City’s Events and Film office said: “The City first became aware of the possibility of the film being brought to Cape Town in September 2010. “Once the film had been secured the production company began engaging with the City regarding possible locations. “The first planning meeting was held during November 2010 after the shooting schedules started becoming concretised.” Mr Isaacs said the production company did not receive a “blanket permit”. “Permit applications are assessed, processed and approved individually based on a host of factors including the location, activities, expected impact, etc, and in accordance with the shooting schedule presented to the City. “Accordingly, in each area, the permit may have different restriction and conditions imposed. “The film has a number of units filming concurrently. “For a major feature film such as this, a shooting schedule has to be submitted at least between two to three months in advance. “For a film of this nature, the film company is required to communicate and consult with affected residents and businesses or their representatives. “The film company is required to submit a copy of their communications letter, adverts, or radio alerts to the Film Permit Office,” he said.

However, Mr Qually said if these procedures were in place, then residents should have been notified earlier of the shoots. He said the problem with filming in the city was that film companies were not required to pay a fee. Mr Qually said despite the claims by City officials, he questioned what tangible value was brought to the area and asked what proof was there to prove these claims. Mr Isaacs confirmed that film companies did not pay a fee to film in the city. “The City does not charge any location fee for filming on public streets, in public spaces and most City-owned locations. “This decision was taken as an incentive to market and promote the City as attractive destination for filming and, in so doing, to stimulate the local economy through increased opportunities for both local production companies and the host of subsidiary industries that support film-making in the City. “The City, however, does charge for the services it provides,” Mr Isaacs said.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

They offered us big money but I declined. There was no consultation …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 6th May 2010

Long Street residents and businesses are fuming because they were not consulted about the filming of an advertisement for MTN which took place on Sunday May 2. Convenor of the Long Street Residents’ Association (LSRA), Byron Qually said the lack of consultation angered many of the people who live and work in the area. “The filming seemed to be fine, but the consultation is the problem. According to the proposal, the team would be preparing over Friday and Saturday for the shoot on Sunday, but there was no consultation with the residents. “The association was registered with the City to ensure that when events take place in the area, the ratepayers are consulted and our concerns are heard,” Mr Qually said. Mr Qually said he sent a report detailing residents’ concerns to the City on Friday before the filming and he had been discussing the issue with ward councillor, Belinda Walker.

In a report submitted to the City’s film office residents expressed their dismay at not being consulted. One resident said, “With respect to residential rights, the proposal is bordering on the ridiculous, whereby music and noise throughout the weekend and finishing in the early hours of Monday morning, will directly affect the following work week. “Although the LSRA is formally recognised by the City of Cape Town, and is on their database, we are continuously overlooked by the city when events are planned in Long Street. Private film and event companies appear to get their proposals passed by the City without complying with protocols and bylaws. For example noise permits”.

The shoot was done by Bomb Films, based in Gauteng. According to their proposal, the crew required a large number of parking bays on Saturday May 1 which included: 10 parking bays in Long Street, eight parking bays in Bloem Street, eight parking bays in Pepper Street, five bays in Leeuwen Street and two bays in Pepper Street from Friday April 30 into Saturday. The proposal further states that on Saturday May 1, the crew required six officers for the closure of Long Street. The team needed for the film shoot included a preparation crew of 30, a shooting crew of 60 and a cast of 400. It was written by the location manager, Jason Roehrig.

Faroek Kamalie, chairperson of the Palm Tree Mosque said he received a call from Bomb Films who made a request to decorate the tree in front of the mosque for the filming. “They offered us big money but I declined. There was no consultation and no notification about the filming. Many of our people had to park far away,” Mr Kamalie said. Henrietta Dax, owner of Clarke’s book store, said she wasn’t consulted either and had to negotiate with the film company to secure parking bays for her customers. “The store was not affected by the filming which took place on Sunday but I was very upset that I was not consulted. Long Street is a place where people live, work and shop and the road cannot just be closed,” Ms Dax said.

Ms Walker, said she too was notified late last week about the filming. “There were some major concerns about the filming from residents and my first action was that the noise should stop at midnight. It was very difficult to pin down what exactly the film company wanted to do because what they were saying on paper and what they were saying on the phone were conflicting,” Ms Walker said. Head of the City film permit office, Terence Isaacs, said the film permit was granted on Friday April 30 He said the City’s guidelines required consultation between the film company and affected residents and businesses to occur prior to the per mit being issued.

When asked if a communication channel existed between the film office and the LSRA that conveys the information about shoots taking place in the area Mr Isaacs said, “The Film Permit Office (FPO) was alerted to the LSRA by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) representative at a meeting called to discuss the proposed shoot with affected businesses, city services and CCID on Wednesday April 28. A further meeting was then scheduled for the next day which was attended by a member of the LSRA. Currently a direct communication channel is not in place, however the CCID has been doing an excellent job in facilitating contact between the City, businesses and the LSRA”.

CapeTowner tried several times to contact Bomb Films, but at the time of going to print they had not responded.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.