Filming on location in South Africa with Martin Jacobson of Juice Film
Martin began his film career with a move to Johannesburg in the late 80s that coincided with a feature film boom in the region. He spent ten years in location and transport management, before becoming a Producer at Moonlighting Commercials in 1998.
Martin took the helm as Head of Production at Moonlighting from 2002 until he left in 2009 having become a partner. He opened up Juice Film in March 2011, with a focus on more intimate, more personal production. Carmen Amos joined from Velocity Film in August 2011.
What can you tell me about the region you cover?
Juice Film covers filming in southern Africa to include South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Mauritius and Seychelles. We also have the experience to take projects to other parts of Africa. Recently we facilitated a portion of a feature film in Maldives and can add this to our areas of expertise.
Our main focus is South Africa with the majority of work being shot in Cape Town. South Africa has become synonymous with excellent production standards, high-level crews, top-end equipment, a diverse range of local and international talent that includes models, actors and characters, and expertise in areas such as SFX, construction, model-making, rigging and stunts.
Cape Town Studios has been added to the list of offerings and we now offer world-class studios. All in all, production in South Africa offers a solid infrastructure and experience in all elements of production. Location-wise, within a reasonable range we can offer cityscapes, tropical islands, various beaches, forests, deserts, rivers, exciting landscapes, mountains, lakes and more.
What locations are most commonly used by film and TV crews when they come and film in South Africa?
The range of locations requested includes lakes and beaches, ultra modern housing, suburbia, cityscapes, city and country roads, mountains and mountain passes, forests, wheatfields, meadows, farmlands, arid landscapes and in general interesting landscapes.
Cape Town Studios has been added to the list of offerings and we now offer world-class studios. All in all, production in South Africa offers a solid infrastructure and experience in all elements of production.
What are the more unusual locations that our readers wouldn’t necessarily associate with South Africa?
If I include Namibia, we can offer surreal arid locations that are synonymous with Armageddon. From desert moonscapes to barren black rock landscapes, it can be generally surreal and unbelievable. Other parts of South Africa include canyons, deep river valleys, waterfalls, subtropical beaches and forests and wide-open pans.
What has been your most difficult location assignment to date?
Trying to find the perfect island location in the Maldives. For the particular script we needed an island that looked uninhabited, had the perfect island look with coconut trees, had a lagoon that ran out some 200 to 400 metres and ended with waves breaking onto a reef. This is all a hard find in Maldives in general, but particularly if you stay close to logistical support - these are the best islands and are taken up by resorts!
What types of production do you work on most often?
We work predominantly on commercials, but do work for documentaries, music videos, reality shows and stills, and will involve ourselves in feature films if they come our way. Recently I would say our best work involved a phenomenal Nissan Juke commercial for France directed by Liewen van Baelen through Henry de Czar.
We worked on a Rice Krispies Squares piece for the UK directed by Mark Denton and produced by Sara Cummins of Coy, and a portion of a feature film for Norway called Kon Tiki that was directed by Roenberg. There is also a perfume commercial with Propaganda from Spain with an A-list celebrity and cheetahs. That info cannot be released yet but watch this space!
Are there any tips that you would like to share with our audience about filming in South Africa?
It’s pretty simple. I think the key is to pick a great production partner. There are a myriad of regulations around locations, talent, child talent and crew, but with the right production support you will be guided through it all with relative ease and very few surprises.
What are the most film-crew-friendly hotels in your region and where is your favourite wrap party venue?
There are quite a few. I love the boutique four-star hotel The Winchester. The Mount Nelson is still a firm favourite and is good to our international crews. But there are others that are great that include The Cape Grace, 12 Apostles, Raddisson Hotel, The Bay Hotel and many more. As for a wrap party venue – Asoka is great!
There are a myriad of regulations around locations, talent, child talent and crew, but with the right production support you will be guided through it all with relative ease and very few surprises.
There are usually set costs for Public Liability cover for film units and costs for insuring locations. Can you tell us about location insurance and possibly examples of costs in your region?
There are no set costs for the region. Insurance costs depend on what cover and how much cover each individual company takes. There is no statutory insurance base requirement. As a company we ensure that we have adequate Medical and Temporary disability for crew and cast, and adequate Third Party and Public Liability cover to protect the shoot.
What would you recommend crew and cast do to have fun and relax in South Africa in their downtime?
I think the general recommendations includes going on safari, which is always a perfect end to a shoot. In Cape Town the usual suspects are a trip up Table Mountain, visiting Cape Point, diving with sharks, doing the wine routes and in general enjoying the beaches and beach life, and fine dining.
There are other great options like climbing mountains or doing mountain walks, picnics with champagne on top of Table Mountain and visiting local farmers’ markets. We can suggest lots of other options if crew, cast and clients have more time at their disposal.
After a full on location shoot what do you do to relax. Where do you find peace and quiet?
I love to catch up on sport. Otherwise, a weekend of afternoon sleep is total bliss!
To contact Martin please click here.
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