#FilmTourism: SA's billion-rand film industry shines spotlight on Mzansi's Sun City

2017-08-14 14:20 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town – South Africa’s film industry is delving deep into the cultural, historic, emotional and artistic stories to offer a peak into our lives.

From award–winning films such as Tsotsi and gripping Sci-Fi’s like District 9, to recent comedy-dramas like Keeping up with the Kandasamys, there’s no doubt that writers and directors have depicted the artistic capabilities and diverse stories of South Africans.

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But more than just telling stories about diverse people, film has become a window through which to expose South Africa’s stunning diverse landscape, often encouraging visitors from around the world to visit unique locations they often do not see at tourism offices and holiday brochures.

From townships in Soweto and suburbs in Durban, to taking viewers on a journey along isolated beaches and through old towns that have been restored, film has the potential to  urge film-buffs to get off their coaches and explore the lesser-known destinations.

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Adding momentum to this destination recipe for success is Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism, who took to twitter to remind us of the potential that film has to bring people to our country, while at the weekend’s premiere of Nollywood action comedy, 10 Days in Sun City.

He says that in 2014, the film industry “contributed +R3.5bn”, proving to be a sector “providing jobs and foreign visitors to our shores”.

Ntshona says that apart from the cast and crew being from different African countries, this new film also showcases Sun City, where it was filmed, as a travel destination.

But that's not the first film to do this and it certainly won't be the last. Here are a few South African films that have taken the local film industry by storm while encouraging a global audience to visit places in Mzansi.


This 2006 film placed the spotlight on Johannesburg and South Africa's townships, drawing attention to the many facets of the country. Channel24 describes the Oscar-winning production as "one of the finest films to ever come out of South Africa".

Keeping up with the Kandasamys

Filmed in Chatsworth, a predominantly South-African Indian suburb in Durban, the film not only takes a look at current relationships that exist in the area, but also features some of Durban's beautiful scenery - from beaches and the bustling suburb, to cultural and historical landmarks.

Mr Bones

Love it or hate it - you have to admit that this movie showed the beauty of Sun City. Also, it is one of South Africa's highest grossing films!

The lost city ????

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District 9

This science fiction film certainly showed us South Africa in a completely new light when an alien ship landed over Johannesburg! Inspired by what really happened in District Six during apartheid, the film garnered local and international curiosity in the country, its history and storytelling through the creativity and technology, while positioning it as a first for South African sci-fi.

Check out the trailer:

Films such as Moana, Rio and Madagascar have all generated interest in the countries in which they are set, thereby boosting tourism. Similarly, there have also been films shot in South Africa - even though the stories may not be South African - that have also created interest our country as a destination that needs to be visited and explored. Here are some of the films:

Safe House

The 2012 spy-action film was set and shot in Cape Town, starring Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington. And while Cape Town doesn't need much exposure from an international blockbuster to gain tourism, we admit that it's extremely cool to have one of our cities as the location of a Hollywood movie.

See the trailer:

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Marvel fans were especially treated with this one! The mega-movie had a sequence shot in Jozi - where Iron Man and The Hulk were caught in fight - and a Cape Town visual effects studio also played a role in putting the sequence together.

Check out the scene here:

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