New visa rules are already impacting negatively on struggling SA film industry
Channel 24 reported that the newly gazetted visa rules are already having a detrimental impact on the South African film industry with the filming of the hit American crime series Homeland being in jeopardy.
The planned filming of part of the series on South African soil is already delayed and runs the risk of being cancelled. Filming was planned to start in Cape Town next month but due to the sudden visa complications the filming had to be postponed creating a huge production delay and added expense. This is a reputation the strained local film industry cannot afford.
Theresa Ryan-van Graan, the head of production at Moonlighting Films SA said, “Many of the actors simply cannot leave their current locations and go back to the UK or US and wait for an unspecified period in London – the requirements and process is unclear to officials and applicants alike. The previous process worked well.”
The South African film industry claims that they were not consulted before the changes were announced and their unique requirements were not considered. This has a knock-on effect for the South African economy as jobs that would have been created and revenue that would have been generated could now be lost.
It also harms the country’s accessibility for all future similar projects which may deter international film makers and their intended investment in the country. Effectively the new bill will result in many international film and advertising agencies to reconsider South Africa as an ideal location to film which have been valuable to South African tourism too.
Previously the department of home affairs' head office issued a letter of permission after an application was made, which was then attached to an application made at an embassy or port of entry.”
The newly introduced law now states that all applications made by visa-exempt or visa-restricted applicants, must be made abroad. The law is unclear if an applicant must make and application in person at a South Africa mission in their country for visa-exempt applicants, or if an approval letter will still be issued by missions and presented at the port of entry when arriving in the country.