Frequently asked questions
When is the best time to shoot in South Africa?
It’s possible to shoot year-round in various parts of South Africa. Most of the country has long warm, sunny, days and cool nights. The regional disparity between lush vegetation and sandy plains provides filmmakers with a range of choices, providing a range of backdrops.
South Africa's climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the southwestern corner to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate.
Summers in the Western Cape (Cape Town) are dry and the days long; rainfall generally occurs in winter. Gauteng (Johannesburg) and the interior plateau have a dry, sunny winter, with sporadic showers in the summer months. KwaZulu-Natal (Durban and surrounds) has a subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and pleasantly warm, dry winters.
Summer months: December to March.
Winter months: June to September
Does South Africa have good infrastructure?
South Africa has the largest economy in Africa and is the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa. The country has one of Africa's most sophisticated business environments and is acknowledged for its resilient and stable banking sector.
The private business regulatory climate is regarded as one of the most conducive in Africa, while the tax and financial regulatory climate are robust, with a progressive tax regime that includes a number of incentives for non-South Africans. The country’s transport infrastructure is modern and among the most developed in Africa.
Is filming in South Africa cost-effective?
Very. There's already a great deal of film infrastructure in place. According to a study by the Gauteng Film Commission, it is 40% cheaper to shoot a movie in South Africa’s Gauteng Province than in Europe or the US, and up to 20% less expensive than filming in Australia. The weaker ZAR against the USD / EURO / GBP makes local film shoots even more cost-effective for foreign productions budgeted in their own currencies.
While the cost of travel remains a factor in budget considerations, especially for crews coming from the US, UK, or Europe, added positives such as the country’s broad skills base, established infrastructure, and widespread use of English, weigh heavily in South Africa’s favour.
What foreign tax rebate incentives are available?
A system of incentives put in place by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provides assistance to both domestic and foreign productions. The incentives not only encourage filming on location in the country but also offer additional rebates for post-production work.
The financial incentives currently include a 25% tax rebate for foreign films shot in South Africa with budgets of US$1 million or higher. A 35% tax rebate is offered for co-productions in South Africa. Stage Five Films is a rebate specialist with a 100% track record in applying for and obtaining local rebates.
Is it safe to film in South Africa?
With 3.5 million tourists visiting the country each year, South Africa is widely considered one of the easiest and “safest” third-world destinations to get to and explore. Although South Africa has a high crime rate, much of it is area specific. Our teams ensure we shoot and base crews in safe locations. The safety and well-being of our crews are our highest priority.
Do I need a visa?
You'll require authorisation to travel to South Africa for film purposes. We work closely with local film visa experts to ensure this process is seamless and timeous.
Does Stage Five Films shoot in other parts of Africa?
It’s what we specialise in. To date, Stage Five Films has shot in 17 African countries. We have a deep understanding of the logistical and creative challenges each country presents and have customised solutions for each territory. We have offices in South Africa as well as in Mauritius.
Should I consider local casting?
Definitely. South Africa has an exceptional talent pool encompassing all ethnicities and languages. Most actors are trained in standard English and many specialise in American, British, and European accents.
Which crew members would I need to bring to South Africa?
This is project-specific. South Africa is well known for its technical crews and our creative and production teams are well versed in both small and large scale productions. Our teams are used to delivering to studios, international broadcasters, and streamers.
Does Stage Five Films offer remote filming?
We offer various remote filming solutions to suit each project and have an experienced set of local feature directors as required.