‘The ANC is racist’

2014-06-22 15:00

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“The Industrial Development Corporation [IDC] is racist and therefore so is the ANC, because the IDC is a government agency,” says one of the country’s most celebrated film makers, Zola Maseko.

“They’re basically perpetuating our racist past by claiming blacks don’t go to cinemas and so they can’t support black film makers beyond a certain point. If you’re not making an Afrikaans film or one for a middle class white audience, you don’t get support from the state?...?Why would blacks go to cinemas if they don’t see any blacks on the screen?” the Drum director said.

“As investors, the IDC is the most important player in the film industry. They will lend you 49% of the budget. They are supposed to be growing black film makers, but they have been a hindrance to me making this film.”

The IDC denies it is racist or failing black film makers. It says Maseko has to meet the same requirements as everyone else. But Maseko’s had enough.

“The government will give R320?million to a white British director to make a film about a South African hero who’s played by a foreign black actor. Sello [Maake Ka-Ncube] could’ve been cast as Nelson Mandela [in Long Walk to ­Freedom]. He has the skills and we could have created a new international star,” he says.

British actor Idris Elba played the role of Madiba.

He needs to get to Hermanus by October to film the annual arrival of the whales because a whale is one of the three lead characters in novelist Zakes Mda’s The Whale Caller. Maseko bought the rights to make the feature and ­secured Ka-Ncube for the lead.

The IDC is willing to invest in Maseko’s project, but only at the rate that it ­believes the film will break even – in this case, allowing a budget of just more than R4.2?million.

With a lack of cinemas in black areas, local films notoriously battle to bring in returns at the box office and the IDC’s PR manager Mandla Mpangase told City Press that “the local sales estimates ­provided by Mr Maseko do not support his desired budget level”.

Maseko is not giving up on his dream project. On Mda’s advice, he is crowdfunding through an Indigogo campaign via www.whalecallerfilm.com.

“That way, ordinary South Africans can invest in their own stories because the government won’t.”

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