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.

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