Tag Archives: Film Permit Office (FPO)

Whilst no targets have been set, the number of film permits issued by …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 12th May 2011

Following weeks of road closures and complaints from residents about filming in the CBD. The CapeTowner asked Terence Isaacs, Head of the Cape Town Film and Permits Offices (CTFPO) to explain the process.

Q. How do film companies apply for a permit?

A. A standard application form is to be completed and submitted to the CTFPO before the planned film shoot indicating the type of filming, size of the area, location, use of parking bays, or any of the service departments like the Traffic or Fire Department must be provided.

Q. What are the basic requirements they need to fulfil?

A. Before the film company can apply for the film permit they need to be registered with the Film Office and the City as a business partner. They need to complete an annual indemnity form and provide proof of public liability insurance prior to the approval of any film permit application.

Q. How do these requirements differ from big film shoots to the smaller ones?

A. The basic requirements are applicable to all production companies.

Q. Who do residents contact if they have concerns about a planned shoot?

A. Residents can call the CTFPO on 021 483 9066 or me on 084 9000 146 and the Metro Control 021 596 1999. Resolution will vary depending on the nature of the concern.

Q. What happens when residents have complaints about a shoot that has taken place, do they contact the film office? If so, how does the film office go about addressing the problem and how does the film office ensure that film companies stick to the conditions of their permit. If not, why not?

A. Residents can contact the CTFPO, myself or Arafat Davids on 084 3000 057 and again the resolution will depend on the nature of the complaint. The CTFPO in addition to random monitoring of film shoots, will also target specific film shoots, due to either size, impact or sensitivity of location. The CTFPO also monitors production companies that may have previously given cause for concern.

Q. What happens when film companies contravene the conditions of their permit?

A. Permits can be revoked and the filming ceased immediately. Companies may also be fined If any municipal by-law or national regulations are transgressed.

Q. Does the film office ban them from filming in the city in the future? If so, are records of these contraventions kept. If not, why not?

A. In terms of the current filming by-law and policy this is not an option and such action could possibly be open to legal challenge.

Q. Why was the decision taken to waive film fees for filming in the city?

A. The City does not charge any location fee for filming on public streets, 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 such as traffic services, parking, etc.

Q. If filming in the city is free, has this decision seen more companies filming in the city? What indication is there that the targets set have been met?

A. Whilst no targets have been set, the number of film permits issued by the CTFPO over the last five years has been fairly consistent despite the global financial crisis. It should be noted that the CTFPO only issues permits for film-related activity on public property and roads within the CCT area. Permits for filming on private land/property or for example SANparks areas are not issued by the CTFPO. The economic impact could thus be much higher. From 2009 to 2010 4 926 film permits were issued.

Q. Previous claims by City officials have been that filming boosts the local economy. How is this economic boost quantified? How are the actual figures given calculated?

A. Economic impact assessments have been commissioned by the Cape Film Commission. They could be contacted for the latest assessment.

Q. Has research been done about the amount of money brought into the city by filming versus the inconvenience caused to city residents?

A. How has the inconvenience caused to city residents been quantified and verified?

Q. Currently film companies are responsible for informing residents of their intentions to film, how does the film office ensure that the film companies have done so?

A. Film Companies are required to provide copies of their letter drops, concurrency forms and indicate the extent of the communications undertaken.

Q. Who is responsible for granting permission to film companies to close down public streets when filming?

A. The Director of Roads and Stormwater issues certificates of closure. Permission is granted on the basis of duration, impact, and for full closures of certain key roads, the production of an acceptable traffic management plan.

Q. Are film companies required to reimburse residents and business for inconvenience caused during filming? If so, who monitors the amounts of money given to each resident or business owner? If not, why not?

A. The City does not support the notion of making “inconvenience payments” as this is tantamount to a hidden cost of doing business in the City and will negate the efforts to make the city a transparent, film-friendly destination. The City rather recommends that production companies support local businesses and source local labour, artisans and service providers.

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.