"In March 2012 the NEF approved loan funding to the value of R50 million for the production of the Mandela movie because the commercial merits of the application were as compelling as the patriotic and heritage value of the story. The investee company is 100% owned and managed by black people, who were operationally involved in the production process. The movie has the potential to profile South Africa globally and to contribute to the growth and transformation of the cultural industries and the local tourism sector. A total of 12 000 jobs were sustained over a period of two years during production of the film," said the NEF's chief executive, Philisiwe Mthethwa.
Mthethwa said that, as one of the financiers, the NEF is "proud to be associated with this historic and epoch-making production. The mandate of the NEF is rooted in the brave and epic narrative of a people determined to play an active and integral role in the ownership, management control, skills development and overall growth of the national economy".
She explained that the NEF's funding of the production is in line with the government's designation of film production as a key growth sector of the economy. "South Africa has a growing reputation as a producer of award-winning local content. The NEF will continue to support black South African filmmakers to take advantage of the country's diverse and unique locations, as well as low production costs and remarkable local talent, as yet another contribution to economic growth and transformation," added Mthethwa.
Economic benefits and skills for local communities
The production allowed for filming industry skills transfer in various roles, such as directing, casting, visual effects and specialist film treatments. There were learnerships and internships offered to ensure on-the-job training for South Africans. The production created economic benefits and skills for the local communities in the areas where the filming took place.
Long Walk to Freedom (Pty) Ltd is a 100% black-owned and managed entity with 51% women ownership. The production presented an opportunity for creating meaningful jobs in South Africa in other related industries, including carpentry and location set construction, transport services, catering and hospitality.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is based on Mandela's autobiography, also called Long Walk to Freedom, and follows Mandela's life journey from his childhood growing up in a rural village, through the anti-apartheid struggle and prison years, to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. The film, starring British actor Idris Elba as Mandela, premiered in Joburg, on Sunday, 3 November.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom will be released in South Africa on 28 November 2013 and the following day it will premiere in New York and Los Angeles.
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