President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday visited Project Panda – the working title for Netflix’s live-action anime series, One Piece, which is currently shooting on location at the Cape Town Film Studios.
Per a statement shared by the Presidency of South Africa, the President’s visit allowed Netflix and its local partners Film Afrika to showcase the Project Panda production and its contribution to South Africa’s creative industry.
The President was guided on an interactive tour that included visual effects & stunt demonstrations and a conversation with four (of the more than 30) trainees who are part of the massive project.
The aim was to give President Ramaphosa a deeper understanding of the impact of Netflix’s investments in the creative industries and adjacent industries, including tourism, small business, and supply chain economies.
The biggest production project in Africa to date
One Piece is Netflix’s biggest production project in Africa to date – both in scale and budget, covering South African labour, infrastructure and suppliers.
The production involves more than 50 South African cast members; more than 1 000 crew member jobs (consisting of 67% previously disadvantaged individuals and 46% youth employees), as well an Academy of Creative Excellence (ACE) mentorship programme for more than 30 young creatives and technicians in collaboration with the SA Film Academy during 2022.
Ramaphosa’s visit comes after Netflix announced a US $400 000 (R5.5 million) commitment to support black creatives in the South African film and television industry in September 2021.
The Netflix Black Creatives Empowerment Fund will be implemented in a two-pronged approach: the first is a grant of around R1.4 million to the Independent Black Filmmakers Collective. The second is more than R4m designated for fully-funded scholarships and student debt relief at higher education institutions in South Africa.
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