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A squabble over funding for the Cape Film Commission has landed up in court.
The film commission, according to court papers, filed the action in the Western Cape High Court in April in an attempt to get R4.8 million in funding for the 2012/2013 financial year, and a further R5.2m for 2013/2014 (or, alternatively, the amount allocated to the film sector for this period).
On the receiving end of the case are MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde, departmental head Solly Fourie and Wesgro.
Winde indicated on Friday – after the matter came before the court – that they were opposing the application and that they would file answering papers in due course.
In an affidavit before the court, the film commission’s chief executive, Denis Lillie, said the commission had expected that the department would provide funding up until 2015 and that it had been cut without proper notice.
At the time of launching the application, Lillie contended in his affidavit that the commission was on the verge of bankruptcy and that it had had to cancel two projects lined up for December because it had no money.
He further alleged that the conduct of certain officials of the department had been “malicious”.
The MEC, Lillie said, had not simply withdrawn the commission’s funding but “any and all association” with it, demanding that the commission cease the use of provincial government trademarks.
The provincial government withdrew the film commission’s funding in 2011, deciding to channel these funds to investment and trade promotion agency Wesgro.
The commission was formed in 2000, and, according to Lillie, had always been funded by the province and City of Cape Town.
Earlier this year, the commission was desperate for funds, but in July, it said that its operations were back on track after receiving confirmation of R5m in funding from the city, though this had come more than a year late. At the time, Lillie said its operations were vital for the economy because of job creation from international studios filming in Cape Town. Among some of the new shows to be filmed in Cape Town was a series, Rescue 3, by the creators of the series Baywatch.
While the show is set in California, the scenes will be shot in the city.
Earlier this month, the commission launched a further application, which falls within its main application for a review of its funding cut, asking for the respondents to furnish it with certain records and documents.
This was the application that came before the court on Friday; however, it was postponed to November 25 for a hearing.