I've been a bit quiet, but the Studio has been running at full speed and at the moment we have a thousand people working on the site forming part of six different productions. But the main reason for the letter is to alert you that the new, completely redesigned website of Cape Town Film Studios has gone live.

The new website has been redesigned from scratch and contains a wealth of information about the Studio and its broad spectrum of offerings. Maps, technical data, layout plans, detailed content and service information would help you to get a better understanding of what we are about. The website includes new visuals, filmography of what has been shot to date and shoots that are in production at the Studio. It also provides an opportunity to meet the shareholders, directors and management team. We have included the latest media coverage and a few testimonials.

But have a look, enjoy and give us some feedback.

Greetings!

Nico Dekker 
CEO 

Time is flying and I want to use this opportunity to share a few words with you before I leave for this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

As you know, Cape Town Film Studios started operating in September last year. The pre-production of Judge Dredd, now called “Dredd”, started in September at a time when the construction process was not even completed. Principal photography kicked off in November and continued into this year. The last crew members of “Dredd” left the studio only a few weeks ago. And what an incredible experience it was - hosting the first 3D action film to be shot on African soil! At the height of the production 450 people worked here every day of which 50 were top international experts and 400 South Africans.

Dredd” under the guidance of Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich from DNA Films, provided a unique opportunity for skills transfer through the discovery of the world of 3D action filmmaking. I’m pleased to report that the international production team were happy with the Studios and our services, the South African crew and with the overall experience of shooting in South Africa.

No time was lost on the production and Andrew Macdonald said in an interview with Time Magazine (please read the Time Magazine article here): “There are only a few places in the world that can have this kind of production”; ”Something that will look like a $100 million for less than half that figure”.

Alex Garland, writer and a producer of “Dredd” wrote after the production: “We had an excellent experience working at Cape Town Film Studios. Nico, Monique and their team were immensely helpful to the production and provided a superb and highly efficient studio environment in which to shoot. In addition, the local South African crew were first-rate. The whole experience was extremely positive and we would readily do it again.”

In the meantime two new films have moved into the Studios. A smaller Hollywood Studio production and a UK independent film production are busy prepping, building and will be shooting till July this year. I’ll release the names of these productions in due time. I can say though that some of the world’s most well-known film stars have visited the Studios to work here and were “delighted” and “surprised” by the “quality of the studio set-up”.

Cape Town Film Studios now also offer:

  • the largest permanently installed green screen in Africa
  • a 2D/3D grading cinema with 37 seats for viewing
  • unique ultra-modern localised air-conditioning solutions
  • internal grid systems for specialised grip solutions able to accommodate fly cameras and flying scenes
  • 1 MVA backup generators, making the studio independent of power cuts
  • 24/7 security with high-end detection systems including camera and fibre optic recording
  • fibre optic network connectivity and the ability to transfer dailies from the studio to any part of the world at affordable rates

The Studios actually offer a kind of one-stop shop, with fully furnished boardrooms, art departments, offices, workshops, star rooms and whatever it takes to make a high-end production successful.

CTFS also forms part of a bigger network, able to assist you with any aspect of filmmaking including financing, production, support services and distribution.

But back to my real reason for this letter: I’m visiting the Cannes Film Festival from Wednesday, the 11th till Friday, the 20th of May. If you have a production that you would like to bring to Cape Town Film Studios and South Africa and want to discuss possibilities, you are welcome to contact me in Cannes. You can reach me on my Cannes mobile number: +33 644 271 747 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. but if you want to make an appointment, it might be easier to go via my PA in South Africa, Chantal Oliver, whose email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also leave a message for me at the International Village, South African Pavilion Stand No. 121, in Cannes.

The CTFS management team has now matured and the “magnificent seven” will take care of all your needs: Ross Rayners as General Manager, Monique Leendertz as Studio Manager, Adri Johnson as Procurement and Inventory Manager, Jacques Botha as ICT Manager, Fadiel Martin as Accountant, Ricardo Weppenaar as Maintenance and Technical Manager and Chantal Oliver as HR Manager. For quotations and a first analysis of possibilities, please contact Ross Rayners at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You might remember I promised you around three years ago that we would create the first high-end, state of the art, custom-built film studio complex in Africa. The first six months of operations and the wonderful input and patience from Andrew Macdonald and his “Dredd” team helped us to iron out many of the typical start-up challenges. I don’t think something like this can ever be 100% perfect, but our team is eager to learn and hungry for new experiences and we can’t wait to welcome you to this new, exciting production hub in South Africa.

With kind regards

Nico Dekker
CEO

Suddenly 2010 has almost disappeared and Cape Town Film Studios was born getting off to a roaring start. The paint was hardly dry and the construction teams were still busy putting the final touches to the studios when the production team of Judge Dredd started moving in. Three months later and the filming of this iconic picture is in full swing, with more than 400 people working daily at the studios as part of crew, manufacturing and construction.

Cape Town Film Studios entrance
Judge Dredd, directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point) produced by Andrew Macdonald, from DNA (Last King of Scotland, The Beach, Trainspotting ) and co-produced by Michael Murphey, from Kalahari Pictures (District 9), is the first 3D action film to be shot in South Africa and on the African continent. A film that is providing skills transfer on all levels and opened the door to 3D action filmmaking in South Africa, by South Africans. The international crew, including Oscar winning Director of Photography, Anthony Dod Mantle, (Slumdog Millionaire), Production Designer, Marco Digby (Slumdog Millionaire), and 3D lead Sterographer (a specialised 3D function), Vincent E. Toto and Lee Grumett, First AD (Sherlock Holmes), is backed up by leading South African crew like Emelia Weavind, Art Director, Brendon Smithers, Construction Manager, Rob Carlisle, Fabrication Supervisor, Max Poolman, SFX Supervisor and Rob Fischer, Key Grip, amongst others. Judge Dredd is filming two thirds of the production at the studio and is utilising almost the entire 17000sqm of production facilities completed in phase one.

With the help of production a 37 seater 3D grading cinema was created with a temporary digital lab and editing facilities. The ITC network has been completed, with fibre optic links between all buildings and high speed national and international connectivity allowing daily rushes to be transferred to Los Angeles and New York via Broadband. The 4 completed sound stages have been filled with sets from the film and the production facilities range from housing the stars in star rooms to wardrobe, make up, art department, casting, construction, fabrication, set dressing and all crew departments needed for the film. The studio is also used for backlot and is already proving to be the ideal campus for this kind of film creating superb workflow and work dynamics.

The Judge Dredd production helped studio management to iron out all typical snags resulting from a new building process. The shoot has reached its halfway mark without any major mishap and the studio is now ready to tackle any production in the future. Michael Murphey, in a recent interview with a local newspaper, called Cape Town Film Studios, the best studios he has ever worked in to date.

Please have a look at the website as well, where we are uploading the latest pictures of the exteriors. In the New Year, the website will be transformed into a studio operations website.

The Studio and production are closing its doors on the 21st of December for a break and will reopen on the 3rd of January. Ross Rayners, Studio Production Manager, will be on duty 24/7 and can be reached on the office number during this time (please see contact details on our website: www.capetownfilmstudios.co.za).

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Studio Management, I thank you for having been so supportive over this last year. Please forgive us for having been so quiet, but we were busy building and completing South Africa’s and Africa’s first Film Studio Complex of its kind. We wish you a happy festive season and a very prosperous 2011. I look forward to seeing and hearing back from you in the New Year.

Season’s Greetings
Nico Dekker

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