With great beauty comes great responsibility is a twist on the old saying “With great power comes great responsibility”. George Municipality is well aware of the beauty of the natural resources we are surrounded by, and for that reason care was taken in setting up and formalising the George Filming Policy approved in 2021. The policy combined with ongoing promotion of the destination as an ideal filming location has meant that George is getting increasing requests for filming permits, from local as well as national producers.
The municipality recognises the valuable contribution of filming to the economic and cultural environment of George and surrounds and the policy aims to create a film-friendly environment while at the same time balancing the film industry requirements against community and environmental considerations to ensure the responsible use of public resources and the maintenance of community amenities.
George Municipality has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Garden Route Film Office to market locations, promote the destination and train local staff and students to become well versed with the film industry, to foster a better understand of the requirements and the service levels expected from this industry. The return on investment can be extremely lucrative, and although nominal fees are charged for permits, to ensure the sustainable and legal use of the locations, the main benefit is to the George business community.
Film crews can spend several million rand a week in a location, and this money is poured straight into the community for services such as accommodation, transport, arts and crafts, hiring of equipment and casual staff. A production company recently spent in the region of R3 million during their three weeks stay in George, which included a filming day on Victoria Bay beach. This economic injection into George’s economy was applauded by the Executive Mayor, Leon van Wyk. “We are privileged to have hosted a film production unit with a crew of 70 based in local accommodation for three weeks making use of our scenic locations. Local individuals who acquire technical skills on film sets are then retained by film crews during future visits” he said.
“Film Promotion, as with Tourism Promotion does not have a direct return on investment for the George Municipality but is rather strategically marketed to stimulate business for the local tourism and film-related businesses. As Tourism Manager, Joan Shaw puts it “We promote the destination to make the town tills ring! The beauty is that everyone can benefit as the requirements are diverse ranging from accommodation, transport, and catering to engineering, artist, and event actors for bit parts.”
If you wish to register a location of your business as a provider to future film productions, please register on www.gardenroutefilmcommission.com, register, and upload your product details.
For more information or assistance kindly contact Heloine America, at the George Tourism Office on 044 801 9293.
Find the GM Film Policy on www.george.gov.za