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Thursday, October 18, 2012


After many years in isolation, local actors can now look forward to global assistance when it comes to protection of artists’ rights, procuring equitable deals on international productions and the use of their images abroad.

South African Guild of Actors (SAGA) board member, Carlynn De Waal-Smit, recently represented the Guild at the 20th Congress of the International Federation of Actors (FIA) held in Toronto. She was assured of full support in, amongst other things, the ongoing battle to get equitable deals for local actors working on international productions.

“Many overseas companies use South African locations because it is much cheaper to film here, not only is the weather great, but local actors can be hired for a fraction of what they would cost in, say, USA or Europe,” says De Waal-Smit. “The down side of this is that our performers are often exploited, given sub-standard accommodation and per diems, as well as having little recourse to claiming residuals or repeat broadcast fees. An exception to this was Invictus which gave local actors the same daily expense allowance and hotel accommodation as the leading international players.”

One of the main talking points at the FIA congress was the signing of Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances which was adopted consensually by the Member States present at the WIPO Diplomatic Conference in Beijing in June 2012, granting meaningful economic and moral rights to audiovisual performers worldwide for the first time in history at international level.

Members of FIA, from all parts of the world, have indicated their full support and willingness to work closely with SAGA in drawing up internationally acceptable contracts, as well as looking at revising the SA Artist’s Protection Act of 1967 which is hopelessly outdated. The FIA Congress resolved to work toward assuring performing artists of access to social protection and decent working conditions.

“In South Africa, we don’t get much social protection besides UIF, which we can’t claim from anyway,” De Waal-Smit stated, “There is a lot of work to do, but knowing the international acting community is with us, will help spur us on in the never-ending battle for the respect and compensation our members deserve. While we don’t expect local actors to be paid the same as international stars, there is much room for improvement. There is a definite need for a remuneration structure which still makes South Africa an attractive location, while also ensuring that our own actors are paid decently and treated fairly.”

For further information contact Carlynn De Waal-Smit on 011 726 6076.