Movie-making is a business not a charity

THE fact that Morgan Freeman has put on a brilliant performance as Madiba in Invictus and no one raised an eyebrow at the producers for "overlooking" local actors in favour of a foreigner, smacks of double standards.

It is ironic that while we idolise everything American, we are quick to condemn the makers of the impending film on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for "taking our stories and overlooking brilliant South African actors" who "can portray our icons with a natural aptitude".

These armchair critics conveniently forget that the movie industry is profit driven. He who pays the piper calls the tune. There is no room for charity in the movie business.

What Darrel Roodt and the producers are doing is perfectly legal and makes business sense - choosing the right investment portfolio, which they believe will guarantee a return on their investment.

Moreover, since there's no copyright on history, the sooner we accept reality the better. Even if a local actress were chosen, I doubt if our cinemas would be packed owing to that fact. Instead the opposite will undoubtedly happen with a star playing a leading role.

We don't want to see our stories told poorly just for the sake of their being told and financed from lousy coffers, while there are people who can invest millions into ensuring that they are told properly.

If this is not an indictment of our Arts and Culture Department and other funding organisations, what is? Those who slam Hudson's selection as unpatriotic need to understand the distinction between blind patriotism and constructive patriotism.

Mlu Mzila, Pretoria