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WHEN Aifheli Dzebu speaks about the politics of film production, she speaks with authority.

WHEN Aifheli Dzebu speaks about the politics of film production, she speaks with authority.

She does so in an animated manner, demonstrating that she knows her subject well and is someone who aims to reach the top of film administration in the country.

I met her at the National Film and Video Foundation offices in Houghton, Johannesburg, where she heads the foundation's policy and research unit.

"Yes, a lot of people think we deal with funding only. That is an assumption that is not true. So many people do not know that we also deal with policy formulation and policy intervention.

"For example, we are interested in knowing what the government thinking in as far as it affects the film industry in country.

"If we feel that the government is coming up with a policy that will affect the industry, we normally make representations to make sure that such policy is in the best interest of the film industry because we are in a better position to know what is happening in the film industry," Dzebu says.

She and her team are developing an information hub that will contain useful information about the industry, such as the number of jobs created by the film industry, the budget of films made in the country and the box office statistics of South African-made and funded movies.

"Unfortunately, it is not always easy to access information from producers. So it is difficult to really say this is the amount of money films make at the box office annually since producers always insist that such information isconfidential.

"But we need this information, particularly when it comes to policy formulation.

But, people tell us verbally that their movie made so much in terms of video sales. But without papers to verify this, it is difficult to say for certain this is what the movie industry is worth.

"As a foundation, whenever we go to the Treasury for budget requests, such information is crucial as the Treasury will always ask how many jobs have been created and how much money the film industry contributed to the gross domestic product," Dzebu says.

"Filmmakers sometimes complain about the public broadcaster, the SABC, particularly when it comes to copyright issues. Another complaint, particularly from black filmmakers, is that they are unable to access rebates from the Department of Trade and Industry."

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